For Nannies

Support, Resources, and Tidbits of Information for Nannies

advice-for-nannies

 

In this article you will find answers to:

Finding a job: frequently asked questions

Resources about workers rights

How to get paid on the books

Important things to consider:

 

Your safety:

Avoid this Nanny Scam.

 

nanny-faqs

Finding a job: frequently asked questions

 

Can I post to Park Slope Parents about my availability?

No. We only allow employers to post about nannies with whom they have worked.

 

My current/past employer is a member and wants to post on Park Slope Parents on my behalf. How can I help make that happen?

Posting to the PSP group has requirements which have changed over the past few years. Please have your PSP member employer read Helping Your Nanny Find a NEW Job as well as  How To Post For your Nanny on PSP that links to the requirements. You might help by providing your work start date as well as your future availability. Your employer must be a Brooklyn resident to become a member of Park Slope Parents.

 

If you want to get a head start you can send your employer these links:

Requirements for Nanny Posts [CHILDCARE] on the PSP Classifieds

Requirements for Nanny Share [NANNY SHARE] posts on the PSP Classifieds

 

How often can my employer post about me on Park Slope Parents?

We only allow recommendations once every two weeks, regardless of who is posting. Also note that PSP only allows 12 posts per calendar year for a nanny. One thing that can make you look like a stronger candidate is having your former employers post multiple recommendations on the same nanny post.

 

Why can my employer post once every 2 weeks, and capped at 12 post a year? 

Feedback from members, regardless of recommendations coming from multiple employers, is that too many posts about a candidate is seen as a red flag in their search.  Members will avoid approaching nannies who are frequently written about for a variety of reasons: frequency is symptom of unhireability and persistent posting is spam-like. In other words, PSP has found that when it comes to talking about how great your nanny is, there can be too much of a good thing.

 

Can I ask my employer to forward me ISO post from Park Slope Parents members?

No. Forwarding ISO messages is strictly prohibited. Your employer will need to reach out to the poster on your behalf. If a nanny is found to be contacting potential employers from Park Slope Parents we no longer allow recommendations to be posted about that nanny.

 

How long does it take for my recommendation to appear on the Park Slope Parents Classifieds list?

It can take 24-36 hours for a post to appear, longer on weekends. It might also take longer if the post is missing required information or there are errors in formatting.

 

How long does my recommendation stay up?

Your recommendation exists on the Park Slope Parents Classifieds list indefinitely. Most potential employers search back a month or less, though, so posting every two weeks (especially during times when many nannies are looking for work) is important. 

 

I need a job-- what other websites can I use to find a job?

There are many places where you can post your availability yourself.  While we do not have explicit experience with these other websites, these are places PSP members have used to hire and post for babysitters.

 

What else can I do?

  • Post your availability on bulletin boards in coffee shops, pediatrician offices (remember to ask permission)
  • Talk to your nanny friends and ask them to tell their employers that you're looking for a job 
  • If you work in a building or know other parents, tell them about your availability and ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for jobs
  • If you have a good relationship with the child’s preschool, tell them you are going to be available

 

NOTE: Slipping your information into the pocket of a mom on the street is not a great way to endear yourself to potential employers. I know that it might seem resourceful and proactive, but parents tell us that it is off-putting.

NOTE: Park Slope is a diverse community comprised of many different types of families.  Some families seeking nannies on this group may have values or domestic habits that are different from yours such as having  orthodox religious views, special diets (such as being vegan/vegetarian or keeping kosher) or special medical needs. Park Slope is home to blended or adoptive families, LGBTQ parents, international families, and single parents to name just a few. Please take a moment to consider whether you can work for a family whose values may be different than your own.  Always use tact and be respectful when speaking with prospective employers.

 

worker-rights

Resources about worker rights

 

Here are some important documents to read and understand:

New York Domestic Workers Bill of Rights:

  • Spells out mandatory overtime compensation over 40 hours, paid time off, and more. In short, the DWBR gives your nanny:
  • The right to overtime pay at time-and-a-half after 40 hours of work in a week, or 44 hours for workers who lives in their employer’s home.
  • A day of rest (24 hours) every seven days, or overtime pay if they agree to work on that day, even if they have worked less than 40 hours.
  • Three paid days of rest each year after one year of work for the same employer.
  • Protection under New York State Human Rights Law, and the creation of a special cause of action for domestic workers who suffer sexual or racial harassment.

 Overview:

Pay and Overtime:

  • Guaranteed minimum wage rate of $10.50 (rising to $12.00 on 12/31/2017 and $13.50 on 12/31/2018)
  • Overtime pay of time-and-a-half of the worker’s regular rate of pay for every hour over 40 hours worked in a week (44 for live-in workers).

Disability Benefits:

  • Any worker who works more than 40 hours a week must be supplied temporary disability benefits by their employer.

Protection from harassment:

  • Workers are protected from harassment based on gender, race, religion or national origin.

Time Off:

  • One day (24 hours) of rest per week
  • 3 sick days per year after a year's tenure. 

 

Wage Theft Protection Act:

  • This requires new employers to provide yearly written documentation of their pay rates (including nannies paid off the books), proper wage statements, current employer information and more. Notification should occur at the time of hire and between Jan 1- and Feb 1 of each year. Copies of the notice must be kept for 6 years but don't need to be filed. Templates can be found here.

 

Unemployment Eligibility:

  • Workers paid on and off the books are eligible to file for unemployment benefits even if they have not paid taxes on their income.

 

Worker's Compensation and Disability Insurance:

  • A nanny who works 40 or more hours per week for the same employer must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance and disability benefits.

 

Earned Sick Time Act:

  • Domestic workers who have worked for the same employer for at least one year and who work more than 80 hours a calendar year earn two days of paid sick leave under City law. This sick leave is in addition to the three days of paid rest to which domestic workers are entitled under Section 161(1) of the New York State Labor Law.
  • Go to labor.ny.govand search “Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.” Go to www.nyc.gov/PaidSickLeavewhere DCA provides guidance specifically for domestic workers.

 

paid-books

Getting paid on the books

 

Why get paid on the books?

  • You'll be eligible to receive unemployment if you are laid off without cause. (NOTE: If you are paid 'off the books' you can still fight for unemployment but it's more difficult and your former employer will get fined thousands of dollars)
  • You'll be enrolled in Social Security and Medicare Benefits, so you'll have security in retirement.
  • You'll have Disability Benefits. (If you become ill, are injured, or take maternity leave you can receive benefits while you can't work
  • You'll build an "employment history," necessary for things such as credit cards, auto insurance, credit ratings and buying big ticket items like a house or car.
  •  It's the law. It is illegal to be receive financial compensation without paying the appropriate taxes.

Understanding how your pay is impacted being "On The Books":

  • Your employer is required to pay your Social Security, Medicare and Federal and State unemployment.
  • They are also responsible for paying disability insurance.
  • On top of that, YOU will owe federal and state  taxes that your employer can take out FOR you. .
  • NOTE: Some employers will pay this for you so you have a higher take home pay, but they are not legally obligated to do so and that extra money also counts as income.
  • While you may want to keep the same take home pay that you had if you have been paid off the books in the past, know that the benefits of being paid on the books is better than the extra money, which WILL come back to you down the road.

Question to ask your employer about being paid on the books: Is my hourly rate pre-tax or take home?

  • What you're asking is whether you'll walk away with $X/hourr or $X-taxes/hour. For example, if your pay is $17/hour pre-tax, then your take home pay, after taxes, is about $14/hour. So if you're making $17/hour and working 40 hours, your take-home pay would be around $560 (not $680).  However, if the hourly rate is a take-home rate, your employer will be paying in about $20.64/hour ($825/week), so that you walk away with the full $17/hour (or $680/wk).
  • There's a good Nanny Paycheck Calculator HEREif you want to better understand the implications of an on the books job.

 

Things to keep in mind about your job

 things-consider

Before you are hired

Job security issues

Pay

On the job expectations

 

Before you are hired:

Review the eWork Agreement (you can find an example here). Even if you or your employer do not want to sign it, you should be aware of all the things that it spells out. Discussing the issues below before you are hired can save a lot of trouble in the long run.

What paid holidays will I receive with this job? Negotiate ALL holidays up front. Some employers don’t get basic days off like MLK Day and Presidents’ Day, while others do but may expect you to work. Know what to expect and spell it out! There’s nothing as awkward as finding out that you have to work when you thought you’d have the day off. If you don’t discuss it and your employer gives you the day off begrudgingly it can leave bad feelings.

How many vacation days will I receive? Knowing how often the family goes on vacation or has family/friends visit will help you better plan your life. Asking this question, along with saying “I’m available 52 weeks a year; will I be paid for days when grandparents are in town or when you come home early?” is a good thing to know (and should be in your work agreement). Most families pay their nanny 52 weeks a year, but we’ve heard from nannies that some don’t get paid when they don’t work, even if they are available to work. Knowing that the family is gone more than the agreed upon two weeks’ leave but you will get paid will give you peace of mind.

When will I get paid when you go on vacation? We’ve heard from nannies that a family takes a two week vacation but doesn’t pay the nanny until they get back. If you’re counting on a weekly income point it out that you’d love to get paid ahead of time for at least a week of the two week pay.

  • Do I get time off of my own choosing?- If an employer travels a lot and gives you four or fives off during the year, for example, they may be shocked to learn that you want time off of your own choosing and feel like you are demanding too much. Negotiate whether you will be able to take your own time off or if you’re expected to take time off only when they are off. Discuss this up-front in case you want to take a trip for a family reunion you don’t have to feel like you’re putting them out.
  • Are you a punctual person? This is a tricky issue to bring up, but knowing how reliable your employer is can be important. We’ve heard from many a nanny that they are hired for a certain time period but that their employers are chronically 10, 15, or even 20 minutes late. It is especially crucial to know you can count on your employer being home if you have your own time-sensitive obligations. Will I get paid if I’m sick? By law you are given 2 days paid time off, but that is after working for a family for a year. Figure out what will happen if you get sick and can’t work. Find out whether you will get paid if you’re sick. Many employers will take the day off if you’re unable to work; some will hire a replacement for you. You can ask if it would be helpful if you find a replacement. Most employers say they don’t have issues around their nanny being sick, but know how many you have up front, and also how much lead time you need for medical appointments. (Give your employer as much lead time as possible around medical appointments).
  • Can I bring my child to work? This can be a loaded question to bring up after you start a job, so bring it up early if it may be an issue. Some parents are okay with this, others are not. Some may even expect to pay less on days you bring on your child. Talk through these things up front.
  • What are your expectations around household related chores? - Some employers want their person they hire to be both a nanny and housekeeper. This may include doing laundry or other housework on a regular basis when the opportunity arises. Others don’t mind if you just stick to childcare. Either way, make sure you’re clear on each other’s expectations before you take the job. (Your ability to help with things changes as a child grows-- so review the expected responsibilities with your employer.)

 

Job Security Issues 

Are you planning on having more children? This is a question we’ve heard many nannies ask potential employers. A nanny may feel more security taking a job when there’s an expectation that the family will have another child. Be careful asking this question, though, since some families may have had difficulty getting pregnant or there are other reasons they can’t have children.

Are you planning on moving anytime soon? This is another questions we’ve heard nannies ask potential employers. Just realize that lives change (employer job loss and promotions) and you can’t count on a “no we don’t plan on moving” answer for job security.

Will the job change if a child starts school? Some parents want to keep their nanny when their child starts school but can’t justify paying full time wages for part time work. This sets up a difficult situation if the employer wants the nanny to take on other duties (cleaning, shopping, food prep) but the nanny doesn’t want their job to change. Even if you think you made it clear during the time of hiring that you don’t want to do other tasks it may be time to look for a different job if adjusting duties is going to bring about feelings of resentment.

 

Pay

Will you be paying me by the hour or a “salary?” - Some employers will pay you for a certain number of hours and if they go over those hours they’ll pay you overtime. Others will pay you a set salary for a number of hours (e.g., 35 hours) but expect that over the course of the year you’ll work a few more hours one week and a few less another, averaging out in the end to be fair. Legally they should be paying you by the hour, with any hours over 40 paid at 1.5x your hourly rate. (You should always keep track of your hours for future reference if need.)

  • Will I be expected to switch my hours around? Some employers will give you an afternoon off here and there but will have the expectation that you will make it up at a later time. They might take 5 weeks off during the year and expect an extra date night or two to make up for the extra 3 weeks of vacation you receive. You may or may not be able to fulfill these requests (you may not be available for date night babysitting), but bring this up before you’re hired so you can be on the same page. (NOTE: Legally you should be paid by the hour for the number of hours you work on a weekly basis. Many nannies get paid a ‘guaranteed rate’ so that their income is consistent. Making sure that you’re on the same page is important.)
  • What is my overtime rate? By law your employer is required to pay 1.5x your hourly salary over 40. However, we hear over and over that instead that the overtime rate is a few dollars more, not time and a half. However, if you are scheduled to work 30 hours a week and want overtime if you go over those hours you need to negotiate that rate which is not required to be 1.5 times your rate.
  • Guaranteed Hours - Will you get paid even if you don’t work? While there’s an underlying assumption that nannies get paid even when the family is on vacation, some employers instead pay on a “pay as you work” basis. Discuss this up front so you aren’t surprised to find out that you only get paid if you work and it’s the employer who decides. Other employers may want to have you do errand running or household chores at times when they are home with the kids.
  • When and how much are raises? Find out if it’s after 6 months or a year. Also, find out if you’re being hired to work for one child if pay be increased if they have a second child? The increase is typically $2-$3/hour), but sometimes it can coincide with a yearly raise and is clumped together . Knowing these rates beforehand so help you be prepared. Also, realize that you may have to broach the subject of a raise because, sad to say, it may not be on the employer’s radar screen. It can also get tr
  • Can we have meetings to make sure we’re on the same page and that we have good communication? You can’t do your job if you don’t know how to do it better. Ask for reviews of your work or “quarterly sit-downs” . These meetings provide an appropriate time and space to discuss your working relationship when you’re not in the middle of the comings and goings of daily routine. They don’t have to be long meetings. You may want to discuss subtle changes to your work (coming earlier, staying later), upcoming kid changes (potty training, transition to a new bed, etc.), and also any lingering questions or issues that shouldn’t be left to “fester” and create negativity. You should also be paid for these meetings.
  • Will there be a nanny camera when I’m working? Be clear that you are absolutely okay if your employer wants to videotape your behavior when you’re on the job. Request that if they DO want to videotape you that you’d appreciate honesty rather than finding out that there’s a secret nanny camera. There’s nothing to ruin a working relationship than deceit.

 

On the job expectations

Here are some issues we’ve heard as they relate to a nanny’s appearance and behavior while taking care of kids:

 

Appearance

  • Ask about perfume or cologne—Some parents don’t like their babies to smell like the nanny’s cologne. (Actually, we advise skipping any strong smells (body lotions, perfumes, etc. if you’re working.)
  • Fingernails—Some parents worry that their children will get scratched if the nanny has long fingernails.
  • Dress Code—If your employer expects you to slide down the slide and chase your ward in the park, this is difficult to do in high heels, so make sure you know what’s expected in your dress. This is true as well for too much make-up.
  • Cell-phones/Earphones - Have a clear idea of what employers expect in terms of your ability to talk on your cell phone or listen to music when you are on the job. Realize that they may not be okay with you listening to music or talking on the phone, even if the parents do it.
  • Taking Personal Days Off—Give your employer as much notice as possible if you need to take a day off. Obviously this doesn’t include emergencies, but if you have medical appointments, etc., lead time is crucial for working parents to make necessary plans. If you can help with replacements that the employer knows and trusts, all the better.
  • Your Relationship with the Kids— Face it, mothers don’t want their kids to like the nanny better, so balance your feelings and relationships with the kids carefully. If the kids are calling you “Mommy,” quickly teach them to call you something else. Furthermore, comments such as, “I’ve raised that baby since she was born. She’s really my child” can be taken as a slight to the mother and cause employers to feel that you are undermining their job as “primary caretaker.” No matter who you are talking to (especially the mother) keep these comments or feelings to yourself (even if you feel it’s true!)
  • Discussing Bad Parents in Public - Unhappy in your job or with your employer? While you may be frustrated with your employer, watch what you say to other people and don’t badmouth them. Especially don’t talk about your frustrations in front of 1) the kids (no matter how old) and 2) at the playground in earshot of mothers who might know your employer. Talk to people you trust in a secure location. (Don’t worry, we’ll be telling parents the same thing in another document).
  • Gossip - No matter what you do or how well you’re doing your job, at some point you may end up having people talk about you behind your back, either to your employer or among their friends. There are even websites devoted to anonymous reports of “bad” nannies (some of whom might deserve it, alongside others who are being unfairly targeted). Either way, it’s an unfortunate part of the territory, and there’s little you can do to stop it except to keep doing your job the way you know how and hope that the gossipers eventually lose interest and move on. If you feel like it’s getting out of hand, you might want to bring it up with your employer so they know your side of the story; they’ll appreciate your candor, and you won’t be as distracted wondering what they might be hearing from somebody else.
  • Drama - Whatever you do, don’t let it draw you into arguments or conflicts with the people involved. Fair or not, no employer wants a nanny who seems to attract drama. Just turn the other cheek and stay positive about your work and yourself. And remember that the gossips are a small minority among the thousands of people who appreciate and respect the nannies in our community.

 

Other job resources:

Interviewing for a Nanny Job - Nanny Interview Tips

Nanny Interview Tips: Guide for Nannies Preparing for a Nanny Job

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