The PSP Guide To Hiring a Nanny/Babysitter: Part 1: Deciding What you Need and Developing a Job Description

Based on the feedback of its membership of over 5,000 families strong, the Park Slope Parents Guide to Hiring a Nanny is an amalgamation of best-practices, insights and honest expressions culled from years of experience by a diverse group of parents who have all been where you are now.

Section Highlights

 

Getting Ready:

-Tools

-Timeline

-Steps

 

 

Deciding what you need - questions to think about before starting the hiring process

-Job basics

-Pay Basics

-Child Basics

-Other needs

-What type of employer are you?

 

A Nanny Responsibilities and Expectations:

-Childcare duties

-Household duties

-Compensation Basics

-Compensation Realities

 

Paying on and off the books:

-Benefits to paying on the books

-What if I don't pay on the books?

 

The End Result: A Job Description

 

The PSP Guide is broken out into three very informative yet concise chapters that will walk you this process step-by-step, from start to finish. Reading through this guide at the start of your nanny hiring process will pay dividends throughout. Even if you have already been through the process, this guide has information that is helpful for any parent who is employing a caregiver for their beloved child/children.

 

GETTING READY

Take a deep breath...hold... release.  If you need to hire a Nanny then get ready for a wild ride that will test your project management skills, your patience, and your temperament all the while teaching you a lot about yourself and your parenting desires. (This in and of itself is an eye-opener).  Finding a caregiver for your child may be the toughest -- and potentially most important -- hire you'll ever make. Doing it right will require a lot of time, energy, and concentrated effort which can be frustrating since you may be sleep-deprived, on maternity leave and trying to make the most of your last days before returning to work.

Park Slope Parents has put together this step-by-step guide to help you navigate this process, incorporating advice from parents from our email groups, our Nanny Surveys, interviews from parents who have been through the process, and resources from the best of the web. Understanding the etiquette and practices that govern the domestic worker market is a complex set of issues beyond finding the person best-suited to take care of your child and become a member of your household. However, if you're nervous about the thought of hiring a Nanny here are some words of wisdom:

 

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: "I know how hard it is to hire someone to take care of our little ones. It is hard to trust what seems like a complete stranger with our children. Your children are going to be exposed to a lot of strangers in their lifetimes (doctors, teachers, other parents), so it is a gift for a child to be able to develop a loving relationship with someone outside the family early on. It is also a gift to you.  Think of what peace of mind you will have if you are able to talk with and understand and trust the sitter, thus knowing your child is in good hands from the start." - Park Slope Parents Member

 

Tools

There's no need to get elaborate with spreadsheets, let's keep this simple:

Candidate Tracking Grab a notebook, a folder or 3 ring binder, calendar, open up a Word Doc and let's get started.

Candidate Communication You may want to set up an extra email account if you want to have a separate place to send and receive emails.

Reviewing Candidates You'll want to print anything you find related to the different Nanny candidates such as Facebook pages, Google search findings, etc.  You'll need to be part detective, part project manager, and part HR director.

 

Timeline

The question of how much in advance to look for a Nanny depends on what type of situation you are looking for and the season. The majority of respondents on the PSP Nanny Survey found their Nanny in less than a month, however, if you are not going to pay on the books you won't need as much advance notice. Also, it may be difficult to get a commitment from a potential Nanny more than 3 weeks in advance so looking too soon may not be very fruitful..  "Nanny candidate heavy" months are typically August and September since many children are transitioning to a daycare or school situation so Nannies are looking for work. If you are planning on paying your Nanny on the books you should start looking about 6 weeks before you want a Nanny to start work. (A more detailed description of this is in the Paying on the Books section).  You'll need 20 days advance notice once you find a Nanny to file her paperwork, so that gives you 3 weeks to find the right one. There are also peaks before January and also in June, but there are always good candidates available.

 

Seven Steps to the Nanny Search:

There are many different ways to do the Nanny Search, but we recommend:

STEP 1: Deciding what you want and need

STEP 2: Searching and the Application Process

STEP 3: Interviewing References and Candidates

STEP 4: Negotiating the Work Agreement

STEP 5: Making an Offer

STEP 6: Nanny Orientation

STEP 7: Trial Period and Reviews

 

Reminder:

If you don't have a lot of experience in management or HR, you may misstep and fumble. If you realize you mishandled an interview, have rocky negotiations, or find out the seemingly perfect caregiver is not so perfect after all or turns you down (eek! rejection!), fear not. No one does this perfectly! Hiring a Nanny and being a parent have little in common but you are negotiating both right now . Keep calm and let's go.

 

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: "I sometimes think our anxiety over trusting other adults is more of an expression of fearing the loss of control. The reality is while no one, not even the most wonderful care giver in the world, is perfect, it's very unlikely that someone would harm or neglect a child. In my case, I've always found that when I've been willing to put my trust in someone looking after my child, they have always taken that trust very seriously. At a time when there is so much mistrust in the world people feel honored when you take a chance on them and work really hard to live up to your expectations. I think can work the opposite way too. Everyone has to find their own comfort level. For me, I trust recommendations I get from people I know. I *really* trust my instincts and don't feel bad about backing off from something if it doesn't feel right - even if I can't articulate why. Most importantly I have stopped trying to control everything and really tried to concentrate on the things I can, i.e. do my children feel safe? Do they feel loved? If I've got those things right then the other stuff - the cheetos they ate at the birthday party, Sponge Bob, etc. all recedes in importance. Anyway, this is my way of saying, take it slow, trust yourself and things will work out one way or another. And one day you'll look back on all this anxiety and laugh."

 

STEP 1. DECIDING WHAT YOU NEED

Before you even start to look for a Nanny, you need to decide what tasks you want your Nanny to do and what qualities you  want her or him (although 92% of all Nannies are female) to have. Talk it through and prioritize. You may want to ask friends for their experiences.  Knowing what you are looking for will streamline your search process and you will be able to: 1) advertise accurately and get the best candidates; 2) easily eliminate candidates who don't meet priority requirements; and 3) talk honestly and knowledgeably in an interview about the job requirements. It will also help head off disagreements or concerns you and your partner might have down the road about what's most important about the person you hire . If this is your first child it's hard to know what you will need, but just hold on, we'll help you.  Here is a list of questions to help you hone in your needs and wants:

 

Job Basics

  • Do you need someone live in or live out?
  • What kind of experience is important? (Does the person need to have several years experience, expert knowledge of infants, children with special needs, etc.)
  • Realistically, what are the hours? (Remember if you are working outside the home to factor in your travel time which will make the Nanny's work week longer than your work week)
  • Do you need someone with flexibility? Someone who can stay late with short notice or come early some mornings?
  • Do you need someone who can work weekends or overnight schedules?
  • Do you take a lot of vacation or have a summer house so that there will be more than typical time off (or an expectation for travel with the Nanny)?
  • If you are hiring part time, what days do you want? (If you hire a Nanny to work on Mondays realize that there are many holidays falling on Monday that you may not have coverage)
  • Do you need someone who lives nearby? (Paying for a late night cab can become costly if the Nanny lives far away. Also, for some people it is important that the Nanny has knowledge of their neighborhood and all the child-friendly spots.)
  • Do you have age requirements? Do you want to have someone young? Do you prefer someone older and more seasoned? (Do you envision a "sage grandma-type? An energetic playmate-type?)
  • Will they need a driver's license?
  • Do you want them to have first aid or CPR training? (HERE is a list of CPR classes if you want to have a potential Nanny take a class.)
  • Will they need a cell phone with a plan that supports texts or photos?
  • How long do you see the relationship lasting?  Do you see it lasting a few months, few years or longer? (Nannies want a secure job, so you may be able to hire a higher quality candidate if there is a long term job involved. However, if the Nanny is great with newborns and you want her for years, are they also able to help with homework?)
  • Is Nanny's athletic ability or stature important? (Toddlers run around a lot and a Nanny who isn't in shape may have a hard time chasing a toddler around the park)

Pay Basics

  • What can you pay and how will you pay? (More on this later.) [insert a link for the page]
  • Is it important that she is legally authorized to work in the U.S.? (Note: Both documented and undocumented workers are eligible for rights under the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights as well as the Wage Theft Protection Act).
  • Are you willing/able to pay more for someone with a background in child development?

Childcare Basics

  • Do you want someone who takes your child to lots of outings, classes, and play dates or someone who plays more at home? (Remember that classes add to the cost of childcare on top of the Nanny's pay)
  • What kinds of activities should come naturally to her: reading, playing on the floor, physical activities in the park, etc.?
  • Does your child need extra discipline or extra affection? (Do you expect that your Nanny will be doing any of the disciplining?)
  • Is your child mellow or demanding?
  • Do you want someone who will follow your precise plans every day or someone who will develop her own daily routines? (NOTE: Nannies with a lot of experience can be a godsend when it comes to having a lot of different ways to handle transitions like sleeping, napping, potty training, temper tantrums. However, as a parent you have to be open to their advice.)
  • Do you want someone who checks in frequently and asks questions or who is more independent?
  • Do you want someone who sill set up playdates or do you want to be doing that?
  • Are you going to want someone who will take your child to the doctor or therapist appointments?
  • Do you need someone with specialized skills, such as experience with a physically disabled child or occupational therapy?
  • Do you need someone who can handle assistance with homework?
  • Do you feel strongly about no television; a caregiver's children visiting; or other Nannies whom you do/do not know visiting with their charges?
  • Do you have any special religious considerations (e.g., such as a caregiver who will help your child keep kosher)?
  • Do you feel more comfortable with someone who has kids of their own?  Without kids? If kids are okay, do you mind if they bring them to your home on days they have school holidays?
  • Would you prefer someone younger or older
  • Do you mind if the Nanny brings her child on school holidays?
  • Do you care if your Nanny invites other Nannies and children over for playdates or would you prefer that your home not be a social hub?

Other Needs

  • Do you want someone who does no housework, only baby-related housework or some heavier housework? (Create a precise list of those tasks, both daily and weekly, and put that in the Work Agreement to be discussed later).
  • Do you want someone who will prepare the child(ren)'s meals? The whole family's meals?
  • Do you need someone who will manage other household staff (e.g., a once-a-week cleaning person)?
  • Do you need someone who will care for or deal with pets?

You need to know who you are and what you want, so that you can match what you want with the nanny’s qualifications during the interview.

 

What type of employer are you? (NOTE: Ask your spouse and friends for honest answers about these questions)

  • Are you the type of person who wants a written or verbal account of your child's day? (You'll need someone who is open to this)
  • How important are appearances? Do you want your child to always look clean and tidy or is it important that they be allowed to get dirty or messy?
  • Are you a bit of a controlling type, wanting someone who will follow your rules precisely and getting upset if someone tries to do something a different way? (An experienced Nanny may feel fairly useless if she is felt ordered about.)
  • Are you a stickler for being on time or is a few minutes early or late okay with you? (Will you be upset if your Nanny is occasionally late but expect her to be flexible if you are slightly late?)
  • Are you open to other ways of doing things and other ideas than your own? (If you have it set in your mind that you want only organic food in your baby, will you get upset if your Nanny feeds him/her a bit of Kung Pao chicken from the local Chinese restaurant?)
  • Do you want a relationship with the Nanny or is this strictly employer/employee? (It will always be a little of both, but if you don't want to be chatty with your Nanny or ask her about her life outside work, know this about yourself).
  • Are you a half-full or half-empty type of person? Do you typically find and accentuate the positive or see what needs to be corrected? (Fear is a big wet rag for Nannies, so knowing this about yourself will help you have the best relationship with your Nanny)
  • Do you change your mind often and so know that your Nanny will be trying to match a moving target in terms of pleasing you?
  • Are you a bit of a workaholic and expect the same from others? (How would you feel if you come home and your Nanny hasn't done the dishes during the baby's nap?)
  • Are you laid back about things in your house or does everything have its place? (Kids are messy, so if you are expecting the Nanny to have everything picked up at all times you could be in for some disappointment).
  • Are you religious or more atheistic? (Are you going to be okay if your somewhat religious Nanny tells your child(ren) about Easter?)
  •  

 

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: “We have found greater success with Nannies that have other interests going on in their lives. They bring experience and happiness from their own personal pursuits to our home and children. We have delighted over the Nannies that have been incredibly playful, interactive and have a great understanding of child development.”

 

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: “We hired a very young inexperienced Nanny, and after a 2-week training she is as competent as many more experienced Nannies. If you are not set on a particular age, give young Nannies a benefit of a doubt!”

 

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: “Do not dismiss a Nanny because he is male. Ours is great because he's good with both an infant and our 8-year-old son. It is hard to find a Nanny who is a good fit for both ages. There are not a lot out there, but a young, energetic male has turned out to be a boon for us. Find out if your Nanny can provide back-up whom you can trust. My friend's Nanny had a death in her family and had to go to another country for a week, leaving my friend stranded.”

 

A Nanny's Responsibilities-- What is reasonable to expect of your Nanny?

So now you've got your wish list of everything you want in your Mary Poppins-esque Nanny.  However, what you may want your Nanny to do and what your Nanny is expecting to do can be two different things. If you have school-age children and employ a Nanny full-time, it makes sense to ask a caregiver to do housework, errands, etc while a child is out of the house for most of the day. But if your child is at home, most caregivers (and parents) in New York believe their job is to focus on the child.  Many will as a routine clean up after your child, and probably won't mind emptying the dishwasher or stopping at the dry-cleaners during an afternoon walk. But they are unlikely to scrub your bathrooms, clean out your refrigerator or do any heavy-duty, non-child related chores that require substantial time or energy UNLESS you specifically outline in your advertisement, pay a higher rate, and agree to these things up front. It's also important to be realistic about what the Nanny can do when she's with your child. If you can't get the cloth diapers washed, the laundry done, the baby fed, the beds made and take the baby to the park all in one day then it's unlikely that your Nanny will be able to do it either.

 

So what responsibilities do Brooklyn Nannies generally fulfill?  Based on data collected in the 2013 Nanny Compensation Survey, there are certain childcare related duties that Nannies fulfill and reviewing these can help you best understand what is reasonable to expect your Nanny to do.

 

Childcare Duties

90% was Kids' bottles/ dishes

86% Fix the children's meals

84% Take child(ren) to extra-curricular activities (e.g., music classes, tumbling class, story time)

71% Arrange play dates

62% Do the child(ren)'s laundry

43% Bathing/bedtime routine

26% Keep child(ren) out of the house while parents work in the home

 

Park Slope Parents found out that in addition to taking care of the child(ren) and the immediate kid needs, Nannies also fulfill other duties.  However, the more of these responsibilities a Nanny takes on, the more they will expect to be compensated.

 

Here is a breakdown of some of the other duties you may want a Nanny to fulfill and the percentages of employers from the 2013 Nanny Compensation Survey who have their Nannies do these things:

 

Household Duties

76% Light housecleaning (e.g., putting away toys, cleaning up the table)

22% Clean the kitchen

20% Buy child(ren)-related supplies (e.g., diapers).

14% Do all household laundry

10% Heavy housecleaning (vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, making household beds other than kids' room)

7% Pick up/ Drop off dry cleaning

6% Take care of pets

5% Fix meals for the whole family

2% Iron

1% Move the car for alt side parking

22% DO NOT expect their Nanny to do any of these duties

 

All duties are negotiable and you, of course, will find a range of candidates willing to do a range of tasks. Some will tell you during the interview process they will do all that you want but then not follow through. Make sure to double check with references what they do, what they do well, and how much they are getting paid.  If you want a Nanny to do these types of duties then discuss these up front and put them in the advertisement so things are clear from the beginning. Remember that Nannies talk to one another and most know what other Nannies earn and the responsibilities they fulfill. If you expect your Nanny to do these things without compensating them you could end up with a frustrated resentful Nanny.

 

Keep in mind that you may also revise some of the answers to these questions as you interview caregivers and get a sense of those things on which you might want to place more importance and on which you may have to compromise.

 

Compensation Basics- How much should I expect to pay my Nanny?

There are a number of factors that go into how much you will have to pay your Nanny, including number of kids, part-time vs. full-time, neighborhood, Nanny's experience, job responsibilities and more.  We have a whole section on "Paying your Nanny" but here are some of the Nanny norms:

  • Part-time pay (under 40 hours) is typically higher than full-time pay.
  • You'll pay your Nanny for a full-day's work if you come home early or if 'grandma' comes to visit.
  • You'll pay your Nanny if you take more than the typical 2 weeks vacation you may have agreed upon even if she is not working.

Nannies consider themselves full-time employees, not freelancers, and as such has set their schedule to work for you on certain days and times. If you choose not to use them you'll create a frustrated Nanny. There are some creative solutions (have the Nanny do a sleepover weekend in exchange for a week that you're on vacation) but if you want your Nanny to be happy, feel secure, and not look for another job (and you do) you'll need to pay her the equivalent of 52 weeks a year UNLESS you discuss this up front. Further, don't expect that if you find your Nanny work for a week that you're gone that she's going to be happy working with another family, learning their norms and rules, just so you don't have to pay for that week. What may seem fair to you (hey, they are working and getting paid) is actually bad form for an employer and unfair to the Nanny.

 

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Twins or Triplets? According to 2013 Nanny Survey data, 34% of paprents more than average for twins & multiple experience.  2011 data reveals that the average pay is $1.17 more ($16.00 compared on no multiples $14.83)

Do you pay more for an experienced Nanny? Amount of experience doesn't seem to impact pricing unless it's a Nanny's first job. In that case pay is about $.70 less than those hire than 1 year.

Do you want a Nanny with a lot of experience? People are mixed about experience. Some people want someone with a lot of experience so they can bring to the table different ideas and ways of tackling issues such as potty training. Others feel that long-term Nannies may be more set in their ways and be less open to the way a new Mom wants to do things.

Compensation Realities- How much can I afford to pay my Nanny?

The ranges and averages listed above are just that-- aggregates of the overall group.  It is most important that you know what you can pay your Nanny that won't max out your finances.  There may be parents in the Brooklyn area who can afford to pay a Nanny $20/hr for their newborn, but if that's not your situation you can find a Nanny that will work for less.  If you are paying a Nanny for 40 hrs/week, every $1/hr more you pay a Nanny will cost you over $2,000 a year. So having a clear idea of how much you are willing to pay rather than asking the Nanny what she wants to make will help set the tone that you are finding a Nanny who can work within your price range rather than feeling like you are going to the poor house paying a Nanny that you really want.

Other Nanny Associated Costs

  • Cab fare:  Cab fare for late nights is standard (after it's dark). If your Nanny lives a $40 cab ride away and you want to have a weekly date night then factor in another $2,000 a year for cab fare.
  • MetroCard: About a third of people pay for a MetroCard for your Nanny. If you'd like to give this perk then factor in another $1500 or so for a year's worth of unlimited ride weekly passes. (2011 MetroCard rates are $104 per unlimited ride card).
  • Pocket Money: If you are providing pocket money for your Nanny, $15/week for snacks and drinks on the run will cost you another $750.
  • Heavy Housecleaning. You may expecting heavy housecleaning if you have a newborn who takes two naps since you think your Nanny may have extra time to clean- but 1) you need to pay her and 2) she also needs breaks.
  • Flexibility. If you want your Nanny to work early mornings and late nights, travel with you, and work some weekends expect to pay more.
  • Second Language. If you want someone to teach your child a second language, expect to pay a higher rate.
  • Other skills/responsibilities Nanny Employers pay include helping with therapy, cooking family meals, driving, administrative skills, twins/multiples experience, schedule requiring odd hours, and paying on the books.

Other ancillary costs and financial considerations when hiring a Nanny. Keep in mind that there is an expectation that the Nanny will get a raise after the first year and also that if you have another child the rates will also go up. Music and other classes add to the costs as well.  If you start your Nanny at the max you can pay, with benefits such as a MetroCard then in a year you are going to be stretched.  While the Nanny may have been working for her last family at $17/hr and no one wants to hire someone at a lower rate than they made, but you've got to consider your own resources before you put yourself in a position that you go back to work and pay your Nanny half your salary, making staying home seem more desirable than making such little money to be away from your child(ren).

 

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: "Pay as much as you can. You won't regret this and it does matter. This is a hard job!"

 

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE "Paying an Extra $5/hour when asking her to watch other kids (i.e. if my kids have a drop-off play date when she is here) has gone a long way towards maintaining harmony."

 

 

How much vacation do YOU receive?  It's standard to give your Nanny 2 weeks' paid vacation. However, you may receive (or take) more vacation than that. If that's the case, you will be expected to pay your Nanny for time above the 2 weeks she has off since it's your choice to take off more than the agreed upon time and she's able and willing to work. IF you know that you'll be taking more than 2 weeks off, figure this into your negotiations.  There are creative ways to deal with this issue, including trading extra weeks for date nights or a couple's weekend. However, realize that if the hours go over 40 for any week that the Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights deems that Nannies need to get 1.5 times their hourly rate even though it's a "swap" of hours.  Another option is to take more time for yourself (or with your partner where it works out) to visit the city child-free (and relive the days of childlessness!), although that can lead to guilt of having fun with out your child. Yet another option is to offer a base pay at a slightly lower level knowing that your Nanny is only working 48 of the 52 weeks but giving the nanny 52 paychecks. And of course you can also just say that they will receive that as unpaid time off and that the job is a 50 week, not 52 week arrangement.

 

How much vacation do you need to provide? By law you must provide 3 days paid leave after the Nanny has worked for a year, but standards are much higher than the law mandates. IF you are hiring a part-time Nanny, you will be expected to give a percentage of the 2 weeks that is standard for most of the Nannies in our area.  That means if you are hiring a nanny for 2 days/week, you'll give them 4 paid days off, 3 days/week, 6 days off, 4 days/week, 8 days off. REMEMBER- if you are hiring a Nanny part-time and the days she will work will fall on holidays (like the multiple Monday holidays of MLK Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day) you'll need to discuss whether these will be paid holidays on top of paid vacation days. If you have to work on those days make sure to work out those details BEFOREhand.

 

Experience

People are mixed about experience. Some people want someone with a lot of experience so they can bring to the table different ideas and ways of tackling issues such as potty training. Others feel that long-term Nannies may be more set in their ways and be less open to the way a new Mom wants to do things.

 

 

PAYING ON OR OFF THE BOOKS

Another basic issue to consider is whether you want to pay your Nanny on the books. If you want to pay on the books OR leave the option to pay on the books at a later time you'll eliminate many candidates who are not qualified (or wiling) to be paid on the books.  This is a simple question but a loaded one that deals in some cases with immigration, tax issues and sometimes righteous indignation. For example, we know from data and from talking to people going through the process of hiring a Nanny that most Nannies say they don't want to be paid on the books.  If this is important to you may need to push for it.

We need to be clear here.  If you pay your Nanny more than $1700 a year, you are LEGALLY required to pay her on the books and your Nanny MUST contribute to Federal and State Taxes. Park Slope Parents believes that you should pay on the books and that it's the "right thing to do," but understand that many (72% based on our 2011 survey) people do not pay on the books. So why pay on the books?

It's easy to jump on the "the chances of getting caught are slim" and "most people I know don't pay, why should I?" bandwagon and get give up with the "it's too complicated and difficult to figure out how to pay on the books." You can claim you are helping someone who could not otherwise make a decent living in the U.S.  However, there are lots of good reasons to pay a Nanny on the books, including:

 

How paying on the books helps the Nanny:

  • You help your Nanny accumulate retirement benefits
  • Your Nanny may qualify for earned income credits
  • The Nanny will have unemployment if you need to dismiss her
  • Your Nanny has a written record of a work history tied to her SSN (or employment number). This record can help her buy an apartment/house that she might not otherwise qualify for.
  • Your Nanny will be accruing Social Security, disability and Medicare benefits
  • You don't need to worry about penalties and problem with paying your Nanny under the table

How paying on the books helps you:

  • You don't need to worry about a disgruntled former employee 'turning you in'
  • If your company has a childcare flex account you and pay using pre-tax income to offset costs
  • You can get childcare tax credits (which help offset the extra costs) (IRS form 2441)
  • You can sleep better at night knowing that you are doing the 'right thing.'

If decide to do the right thing and pay your Nanny on the books, you may need up to 30 days notice to get the Nanny paperwork in.  Currently the best guide to Paying on the Books is by Senator Liz Krueger's office HERE. It is missing information about the Wage Theft Protection Act (documenting the wages your Nanny will receive) which you can research HERE

 

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: "I think the fact that we pay our Nanny on the books just puts our relationship on a very professional and respectful level.  In return, she is more than flexible with time off and we basically help each other out with scheduling."

 

What if I don't pay my Nanny on the books?

Even though you are legally responsible for paying your Nanny on the books, 72% of people surveyed in the 2011 Nanny Compensation survey said they pay off the books.  Failure to pay your Nanny on the books can rise to the level of a felony offense. While seldom caught and prosecuted (fines and repayment of the taxes owed is usually the result), you do run the risk of prosecution (charges such as "conspiring to commit tax evasion") and the embarrassment of getting caught (and losing out in bids for high-profile jobs later on in your career.)

If you decide to pay part on and part off the books (which is what about 10% of people do), you may be opening yourself up to the most liability since you can't claim ignorance of the necessity of paying on the books.

When you are interviewing Nanny candidates many will tell you that they don't want to be paid on the books.  Many don't know the benefits of being paid on the books, and, of course, others are undocumented workers who think they can't be paid on the books.  Regardless of the reason, in the majority of cases it is the employee who will be held responsible for unpaid taxes and the penalties related to not paying taxes.  Many of the new laws also protect both documented and undocumented workers (the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, Unemployment Benefits, and the Wage Theft Protection Act) making it riskier to pay off the books.

 

END RESULT: JOB DESCRIPTION

Whew!  Lots to think about and we haven't even started interviewing Nannies!  So far so good though; having a clear indication of what you need, what you expect, and what you can pay will help weed out a lot of the candidates who can't fit your needs. But the importance of this preparation stage can't be overemphasized: You wouldn't go into an apartment search without a specific list of needs and wishes; you certainly don't want to look for a caregiver without one. At the end of the day you should come out of all these questions with the following things:

  Start Date

  -Hours needed per week (and flexibility if need)

  -Responsibilities

  -Special skills needed

  -Basic parenting philosophy and how that will affect the Nanny's job

 - Need for documented worker/ paying on the books

 - Pay Range you can afford

 

 

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: “I think the most important thing when hiring a Nanny is to make sure that you discuss upfront your expectations - for example, whether taking personal calls is permitted, and how many. I'd also really encourage people to ask their Nannies to help with light housework, it's a huge help and there's a lot of down time with little children. I'd also suggest strongly that people who are at work all day do some "spot checks" to look in on their Nanny to make sure they know what's going on, and that they approve.

  

 

Let's move to Part 2-- The Search Process, Work Agreement and Application!