14 Birthday Gift Ideas for Your Nanny

birthday gift ideas for your nannyIs your nanny’s birthday coming up?

This is a great time to show your appreciation, acknowledge their hard work and recognize how much they contribute to a smooth-running house and the happiness of your family.

So we’ve put together some great birthday gift ideas for you.

1. Day off with pay
2. Spa/salon gift card
3. Entertainment tickets to movies/concerts/sporting events
4. Gas card
5. Grocery store gift card
6. Purchase of a tablet or cell phone
7. International Nanny Association (INA) membership
8. Shopping gift cards (Target, Macy’s, Amazon etc.)
9. Gift card to favorite coffee spot
10. iTunes gift card
11. Favorite restaurant gift certificate
12. Gourmet gift basket or spa gift basket
13. Pedicure/Manicure
14. Flowers

For more information, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Saying Goodbye to Your Nanny

Saying goodbye to your nannyAll good things, and possibly some bad things, must come to an end. One of the most difficult aspects of being an employer is to face the end of an employee relationship, whether terminating an employee or dealing with a resignation.

There are certain ways to handle the end of a relationship, which should be provided in the household’s employee handbook and the work agreement, and should be consistent with relevant laws. The best strategy that any employer can use when terminating an employee, accepting an employee’s resignation, or saying goodbye to your nanny is to address the situation as soon as possible and to be honest.

Always end an employee relationship professionally. Deal with it head-on and without delay. Often, an employer’s first instinct to terminate an employee should be acted upon, since it is seldom that the employer’s perspective or situation changes.

When the relationship ends on good terms, some households make an employee’s goodbye an event, involving the entire family in a dinner celebration or a night of reminiscing. Some employers provide the employee with an album with stories and photos, while others may provide a more businesslike gift, such as a watch or a plaque.

One of the most potentially difficult situations to deal with when a nanny leaves is how it impacts the children. Whether the nanny is leaving on good terms or was terminated for unfortunate reasons, the children she cared for during her employment will certainly have questions about why she’s no longer with them, and in the case of younger kids, they may have developed a real attachment that can be difficult to reconcile. The household employer should be involved in communicating an employee’s departure plans with the family. Household employers may ask the nanny to explain to children why they are leaving the home, what his or her plans are, and how the change may affect the family. Sometimes hearing the news from the nanny may allow the children to understand the situation better.

Employers should reinforce to their children that they are not at fault for the nanny’s departure. Depending on their age, you can be honest about why the nanny is leaving, whether for good or bad reasons. But it’s important to stress that it was nothing the children did to make the nanny leave. Explain to them that some goodbyes are natural, and just because the nanny is leaving, the family need not lose all contact with her. It is merely a change in the relationship; perhaps something that goes from full-time contact as an employee to visits as a guest or a friend, or even an occasional babysitter.

Recognize that there can be a positive ending when one employee leaves, and take the necessary time to prepare the family for a new hire.

For more information, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Valentine’s Day – Go Out and Celebrate!

valentine's day babysitting

National Nanny Training Day 2016

national nanny training day 2016

2016 Household Employment Laws

2016 household employment lawsIt’s a new year, and with that come changes or new laws and regulations that impact employers across the country, including household employers. Here is a brief overview of 2016 household employment laws.

Minimum Wage
The minimum wage went up again in this year in New York, rising from $8.75 to $9 per hour. Household employers need to ensure that they are paying their nanny or other employee at least that amount. If you are already paying an employee more than the minimum wage, you are not required to increase their rate of pay.

Mileage Rate
The standard mileage rate changed on January 1st of this year to 54 cents per mile for business miles driven, a decrease of 3.5 cents from 2015. This applies to employers who ask their nanny or other employee to use their own vehicle when performing work-related duties (transporting children, running errands, etc.). Household employers affected by this change should make sure to revise their expense reports and policies accordingly.

Nanny Tax Threshold
Also note that for 2016, the domestic employee coverage threshold amount has increased to $2,000, up from $1,900 last year; this means that you are required to pay taxes if you pay a nanny or other household employee at least $2,000 in a year. For those employees that earn more than $200,000 in a year, employers are required to pay an additional Medicare tax of 0.9%.

For more information, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Nannies and Nut Allergies

nannies and nut allergiesIf you are the parent of a child with a nut allergy, you may be wary of having a nanny or other caregiver in charge when you are not there to ensure your child’s safety. This is a common concern, but one that can easily be addressed and handled professionally, allowing you to maintain peace of mind when your nanny is on the job.

Reputable nanny agencies will tackle the issue of allergies before hiring or placing a nanny. When a potential nanny is being placed in a home where a child has a nut allergy, the nanny will be made aware of it and advised about what precautions to take, such as making sure to read any labels on food they may be bringing into the home, and to not consume any nuts prior to arriving at the home, as nut dust and particles may be present on the nanny’s clothing or skin; severe allergic reactions can occur just from the dust, not just by consuming the nuts themselves. Parents may feel more comfortable instructing the nanny not bring any food into the home at all, if the family will provide food for the nanny while she is working.

Nut allergies can be an issue when going out to restaurants. If the parent says it’s ok to take the child out to eat (they may even have a list of approved restaurants), the nanny should make sure to inform the server about the allergy.

Unfortunately, allergic reactions can still happen even after precautions have been taken. It’s important for nannies to be aware of the signs of exposure so they can properly handle the situation. A child’s allergic reaction may include rashes or hives, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, sniffles, wheezing or difficulty breathing, and dizzy feelings. By recognizing the symptoms of a reaction, the nanny may be able to care for the child in a timely manner and avoid the need for emergency services.

In extreme allergic reactions, anaphylaxis may occur, which can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Kids that have severe allergies need to be monitored extra closely to avoid any exposure that may result in anaphylaxis. Parents who have a child at risk for this type of reaction may want their nanny trained on using an EpiPen to inject medicine into the child during a severe reaction. In this case, the nanny should make sure to always have the EpiPen at close hand, and to take it with her if she leaves the house with the child.

As long as there is good communication between the parents and the caregiver regarding a child’s nut allergy, emergency situations can be avoided and a quality nanny-family relationship can be created.

For more information, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

W-2s for Nannies

w-2s for nanniesIt’s that time of year again – tax season! Many household employers may have questions regarding W-2s for their nannies or other household employees. Please see the answers below to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Q: Does my nanny receive a 1099 form?
A: No. Household employees, in most cases, are not independent contractors. They receive W-2 forms. View more information on this topic.

Q: What is the deadline for giving the W-2 to my nanny?
A: The W-2 form needs to be postmarked by February 1st, 2016.

Q: I paid my nanny directly for the first 4 months of the year. Are those wages included on the W-2?
A: Yes. You should include all wages (on your own or with the assistance of a payroll provider) on one W-2 and not more than one.

Q: My nanny was paid a net amount. Why are the wages on the W-2 higher than what I paid her?
A: The W-2 form reports Gross wages paid to an employee, not net. Even if you negotiated and agreed upon paying a net wage, your employee’s Social Security, Medicare, and possibly Federal and State income taxes are added on top of the net in order to calculate the Gross wages that are reported as their income.

Q: When do I have to file the W-2 and W-3 with the Social Security administration?
A: If you have a payroll provider, you should first check with them to see if they are doing this on your behalf. If you have to do it on your own, the deadline for submitting the forms electronically is March 31, 2016. If filing a paper form, the deadline is February 29, 2016.

Q: What do I do with the Schedule H form?
A. This form is included with your personal income tax return. You should provide a copy to your accountant, or you should include the information if filing your own return.

Q: What is reported on a Schedule H form?
A. A Schedule H form reports total gross wages, your employee’s portion, and your employer portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes, your federal unemployment tax, and contributions made to your state for unemployment insurance.

Q: My nanny was on disability for a few months. Are those wages included in the W-2 form? 
A: Yes. The disability company should have provided a report of your employees’ income that was paid out to him/her. You should provide this report to your payroll provider to be included in your employee’s W-2 wages.

Please contact us at (518) 348-0400 if you have any additional questions.

Tax Responsibilities for New York Household Employers

tax responsibilities for new york household employersIf you pay your nanny or other household employee $2,000 (2016) or more in a year, you are required to pay state and federal taxes.

Taxes required to withhold, file, and pay:

  • Social Security
  • Medicare

Other taxes GTM strongly recommends withholding (but are not required):

  • Federal Income Tax
  • State Income Tax
  • Local Taxes, such as the New York City Local Tax

In New York, household employers are responsible for the following four taxes, to be added on top of the employee’s gross wage:

  • Social Security Tax Rate of 6.2%
  • Medicare Tax Rate of 1.45%
  • Federal Unemployment Tax Rate of 0.6%
  • State Unemployment Tax Rate of 4.1%

Calculation Example: Employee earns a gross salary of $850 per week:

Weekly – 52 pay periods per year Gross Pay $850
Federal Income Tax $101.32
Social Security $52.70
Medicare $12.33
State Income Tax $36.17
Local Income Tax $22.93
Employee Take-Home Pay $624.56
Federal Unemployment* $5.10
Social Security $52.70
Medicare $12.33
State Unemployment** $34.85
Employer Responsibility $104.98
Total Employer Responsibility $954.98

* On first $9,000 of gross wages/calendar year
** On first $10,500 of gross wages/calendar year

Through our partnership with GTM Payroll Services, we have arranged for you to receive a FREE payroll and tax consultation. Their experts will walk you through your responsibilities step-by-step. Call GTM at (888) 432-7972 and mention our agency to receive a special discount!

Contact us at (518) 348-0400 if you have any questions or need more information.

Open Interviews for Nannies, Babysitters, and More!


New 2016 Mileage Rates

new 2016 standard mileage rateThe 2016 standard mileage rate has been announced by the IRS. This rate is used to calculate the deductible costs of driving a vehicle for business. This applies to household employers who choose to let their nanny or other household employee use their car for performing their job duties.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, the standard mileage rate will be 54 cents per mile for business miles driven, a decrease of 3.5 cents from 2015. Household employers affected by this change should make sure to revise their expense reports and policies accordingly.

Please contact us at (518) 348-0400 if you have any questions.