Kid’s Camp Program During Your Conference or Event

kid's camp program during your conference or eventIf your organization is holding a conference or event in the Capital Region or other Upstate areas and employees will be bringing their families, we have the perfect way to keep the kids entertained while your employees fulfill their work obligations.

The mission of A New England Nanny’s Kid’s Camp program is to assist parents who need child care while they attend events and conferences. Kid’s Camp provides children with a unique, interactive and fun-filled event of their own to attend. As with all of our Conference & Event Services, parents will enjoy peace-of-mind knowing that their children are receiving the absolute best care when attending A New England Nanny’s Kid’s Camp. Parents can relax and focus on their ‘grown-up’ event without worrying if their children are well-cared for and entertained.

A New England Nanny’s Kid’s Camp is a service for groups attending conferences and special events in hotels or other venues. Every Kid’s Camp program is individually customized based on your group’s needs. Parents simply register children ahead of time and when the event arrives, they drop children off at the designated location at the scheduled time.

With a service like Kids Camp, Event Planners can increase attendance for meetings and events. Busy parents that would not otherwise be able to attend an event due to lack of child care, can now join in with the knowledge that their kids are safe and having fun, often at the same location as their event.  Our Kid‘s Camp has an Open Door Policy, so parents are welcome to drop in at any time to check-in on their children as desired. Additionally, your event organizers will have input on every aspect of your Kid’s Camp program, because we customize each program specifically for your group’s wishes.

Want to tie your Kid’s Camp theme into your adult event? We can do that! Interested in a specific type of project for your Kid’s Camp, like outdoor recreation or various art projects?
We can do that! Whatever the theme, we’ll provide the age-appropriate activities that keep children engaged and enjoying every minute of Kid’s Camp.

Kid’s Camp programs are open for all children, from 8 weeks of age to 14 years; as well as programs for children with disabilities. Our skilled and professional staff is available
to provide one-on-one care as needed.

Please contact us at (518) 348-0400 for a customized proposal for service.

 

New York Paid Family Leave and Household Employers

new york paid family leaveNew York State employers — including household employers — will be required to provide paid family leave to their employees beginning January 1, 2018. Our friends at GTM Payroll Services have put together this handy guide to ensure you are compliant with the new law and that your nanny knows how to use this benefit.

What is NYS Paid Family Leave (PFL)?

Passed in 2016, NYS PFL extends beyond the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), providing employees paid leave for various family or medical reasons. PFL can be taken by male or female employees to:

  • Bond with a newborn, adopted or foster-care child during the first 12 months after birth or placement
  • Care for a seriously ill family member
  • Address important needs related to a family member’s military service

Your employee may receive wage compensation of up to eight weeks for PFL in 2018 with a maximum weekly benefit of 50 percent of their average weekly wage or the average New York State weekly wage of $1,305.92, whichever is less.

Full-time employees are eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Part-time workers can take advantage of PFL after 175 working days. They can expect to maintain their same or similar job upon their return to work.

Is my household employee covered by this new law?

Yes, household employees who work 40 or more hours a week and 30 days in a calendar year are required to be covered with both disability insurance and PFL. If your employee does not work at least 40 hours, you may set up a voluntary PFL policy or you may add PFL to your existing voluntary disability policy.

Who pays for NYS PFL?

The program is paid for by employees through an additional payroll deduction that can begin on July 1, 2017. New York State dictates the rate of this deduction and can change it each year. For now, the rate will be .126% of the first $1,305.92 earned each week (max. deduction of $1.65 per week).

While on paid family leave, employees are compensated through the program and not by their employer.

Who is the premium paid to?

Your disability insurance carrier will also be your carrier for PFL. The PFL premium will be paid when your disability premium is due.

Can I set this up if my employee does not work 40 or more hours per week?

You can purchase a voluntary PFL policy or you may add PFL to your existing voluntary disability policy. You can request a quote through our insurance department.

My employee works 40+ hours per week and I want her to be eligible for PFL but I do not have a disability policy set up. What should I do?

Household employers in New York State are required to have a disability policy when an employee works 40 or more hours per week. You can request a quote through our insurance department.

I have a disability policy and want my employee covered for PFL. Can I pay this for her instead of deducting it from her pay?

Yes. If you do not deduct the amount from your employee’s paycheck, then you will pay the cost on your employee’s behalf. You should contact your disability insurance policy administrator to find out how you would make a payment for the PFL policy.

Am I required to deduct the NYS PFL from my employee?

Technically, you are not. However, you will still need to pay the premium to your insurance carrier. If you do not deduct the amount from your employee’s pay, then you will pay the cost on your employee’s behalf. If you would prefer this method, please let us know as soon as possible so we can stop the deduction from your employee’s pay.

Source: https://gtm.com/household/new-york-paid-family-leave-household-employers/

 

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

Technology to Help with Family Travel

technology for family travelLots of families travel during the summer, and while there are always the hassles of dealing with airports, schedules, and making sure your home is safe while you’re away, luckily there are things available to help you manage your summer travels. Here are a couple of pieces of travel technology for families you may find useful this season.

TripIt App

We have found TripIt to be very helpful in organizing travel plans, both before and during your trip. You load any confirmation emails (hotel, car rental, flight, restaurant, etc.) into the app, and it creates a master itinerary that includes all of your bookings in one place. You can then view your itinerary any time from any device, even if you’re not online. You can then add or edit your plans, sync your itinerary with your calendar, and share with others. The app is free, but they also have a paid plan that lets you access more features, such as getting real-time flight alerts, searching for a different seat or alternate flights, and more. Check out more information here. We hope you find it as useful as we do.

Smart Home Security

Remember the old days when you had to rely on neighbors and friends to check on your house when you went out of town? Now there are smart alarm and surveillance packages that will keep your home safe and let you monitor what’s happening from afar. You can remotely control things like door locks, lawnmowers, lights, thermostats, vacuums, and even pet feeders, using your smartphone and an app. PC Magazine recently published an article that compares several smart home security plans and discusses the components, integration, and application of the systems, and displays reviews of each one, along with advice on doing it yourself or having a professional service handle it. Read the article here.

If you or someone you know is traveling to the Capital Region for business or pleasure this summer and needs child care, we’re here to help! Our hotel and event child care services provide parents with peace of mind so they can enjoy some childless activities knowing their kids are in good hands. Call (518) 348-0400 for more information.

Get Out of the House! Rainy Day Activities Around Town

rainy day activities around townLast week we provided a fun list of things to do on rainy summer days to keep the kids entertained at home. But we all know that sometimes, even in wet weather, you need to get out of the house and entertain them around town. Here is a list compiled from both our own family experiences and from some of our nannies who know where to go!

  • New York State Museum – Albany: with exhibits about the earliest life forms in the area, the bones of the Cohoes Mastadon, dioramas about the native peoples of the region, a real New York City subway car, part of Sesame Street’s set, and a 9/11 exhibit, there is literally something for everyone at this museum. “The kids in my family always love the NYS Museum,” says nanny Ginny. And it’s free! There is also a discovery center with hands-on activities for the little ones, and an historic carousel on the fourth floor ($1 per ride).
  • Children’s Museum of Science & Technology (CMOST): CMOST’s mission is to “instill a sense of wonder and discovery in young minds, inspiring a lifelong exploration of science and technology,” and they live up to it! A wide variety of hands-on exhibits, live reptiles and other animals, and craft areas offer fun and educational experiences for toddlers up to 8 or 9-year olds.
  • Children’s Museum at Saratoga: If you have little ones, you must visit this museum. Their imaginations will run wild as they can dress up in different uniforms and play inside detailed recreations of a grocery store, bank, classroom, post office, and a 50’s diner. They can try on real firefighter boots and jackets and slide down a fire pole, or put on a hard hat and build with construction toys. And that’s just the upstairs! Downstairs they can make human-sized bubbles, ride a trolley car, or put on a theatrical show with lots of costumes. Located just a few blocks off Broadway, it’s sure to bring a smile to the kids’ faces.
  • Museum of Innovation and Science: Located near downtown Schenectady, the thing we love best about this museum is the planetarium – the kids are always fascinated by the night sky in front of their faces! Plus they feature exhibits on things like the human body, weather, and building creation. They also have rotating exhibits from the famous San Francisco Exploratorium, and GE also provides a variety of exhibits to engage kids with technology.
  • Via Aquarium – Rotterdam: one of the Capital Region’s newest attractions, the Via Aquarium has become very popular. Fish, jellyfish, stingrays, and sharks are just some of the creatures you’ll see. Plan on going early, as you may have to wait a little while in line before getting into the aquarium.
  • Giggle Lounge – Clifton Park: our nanny Courtney says, “Giggle Lounge is a fun place for those looking for some indoor sensory play experiences.” Ideal for ages 8 and under, kids can play at cooking up their favorite meal, heading to the doctor, or going on an adventure in the camping center. Or they can grab a book and sit down for a little quiet time.
  • Billy Beez/TreePaad: not only do these places offer huge padded fortresses filled with climbing, fast slides, and soft balls to shoot at others, but grownups will have a lot of fun too (if not more)! They also feature video games and bouncy things to keep everyone occupied. Billy Beez is in Albany’s Crossgates Mall, and TreePaad is in Malta.

So now you have ideas for some great places around the area to take kids when you want to stay indoors, just not at home. Contact us for more information at (518) 348-0400.

 

Rainy Day Activities to Entertain the Kids at Home

rainy day activities to entertain the kidsOne of the things many people love about the Capital Region is the wide diversity of seasonal activities that can be found both locally and within short driving distances. There are lots of places for children of various ages to have fun during the summer months, but what about when the weather limits your options?

We’ve been in the child care business for over 25 years, so we have some experience with keeping kids entertained when schools are closed. The list of activities that follows was partially compiled from our experiences with our own children, but we also spoke with some of our caregivers about what they like to do with their “nanny kids” on those days where you just don’t want to make the effort to get everyone dressed and in the car, to keep the kids entertained without leaving the house.

Build a Fort

If your kids are anything like ours, they’ll relish any chance they get to rearrange furniture, cushions, pillows, etc. Have them build their own individual forts, or see how large you can make one as a group. This gives the kids a chance to be creative, learn a little about gravity and architecture, and do something they probably aren’t normally allowed to do. And if you’re so inclined, use those forts for an epic Nerf gun battle!

Indoor Picnic

Here’s another way the kids can get to do something they might not be permitted to do – eat in a normally non-eating area! Grab a tablecloth (or two) and spread them out on the floor. Have the kids help make lunch – if you have a picnic basket or cooler, pack the lunch in there and then take a “nature walk” to your newly-created picnic area, and enjoy the meal.

Bake Cookies

Not only does making cookies work as an incentive for good behavior, but the process helps kill some time and gets the kids involved in something fun. Use the opportunity to teach grade-school kids about the science of cooking – what does each ingredient contribute to the recipe? What exactly is “vanilla extract?” Come up with some creative ways to change your usual cookie recipe by letting the kids add other ingredients. Having a variety of food coloring bottles always helps. Then enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Scavenger Hunt

We’ve done a few of these for Christmas or birthday gifts, but they can be fun any time. Come up with creative hiding spots and clues, with some kind of “treasure” at the end (maybe one of those cookies you baked). Then watch them have fun figuring out the clues and eventually finding their reward. (And the more clues you make, the longer it will take them to find the treasure.) Afterward, have the kids make a scavenger hunt for you! They’ll spend a lot of time writing the clues and finding hiding spots, and it encourages them to be imaginative. Just try not to find their clues too quickly!

Make-Your-Own Board Game

We love board games, but sometimes we get “board” with the ones we have. Time to make a new one! Kids can use regular paper, but ideally some poster board or anything larger than 8.5”x11” would work well. The kids can make their own squares on the board, and come up with creative ideas for what happens when you land on each space. They can find random objects around the house to use as player tokens, or make their own. The time will pass quickly while they make the board and while you play. And the best part is that if they don’t like anything about the game, they can change it or come up with a new one!

So the next time you’re wondering what to do with the kids this summer on those days when the weather isn’t cooperating, you now have a few ideas for kids of any age.

Wondering what to do about child care? We can help with that too! Call us at (518) 348-0400 and see what we have to offer.

 

We’ve got Dads and Grads Covered!

dads and gradsIt’s that time of year again, when we celebrate not only the father figures in our lives, but also the young ones who are moving on to college or beyond. If you’re looking for some help with planning a Father’s Day or graduation celebration, here’s how we can assist.

Father’s Day
Let our caregivers give dad some relief from parental duties. Take him out to dinner and we’ll handle the babysitting. Does he want to golf or fish but you can’t watch the kids or a senior loved one? Well now he can catch a big one and still have peace of mind knowing that his family is well cared for.

Graduation
Need help getting the house ready for a graduation party? We have housekeepers, party planners, and organizers on staff to ease the demands of putting a fun bash together. We can also send a chef to help cook and serve food! And if you need someone to watch any babies or young children during your party, we have you covered. Just let us know what you need and we’ll handle it.

Contact us at (518) 348-0400 and let us know how we can help!

Wage Theft Crimes and Household Employers

wage theft crimes and household employersWhile household employees are often excluded from federal and state laws protecting against wage theft and overtime pay because of the limited number of employees within the home/ business, the crime of wage theft crimes and household employers are not mutually exclusive. A growing number of states are addressing the wage theft by some employers—employers who pay workers below minimum wage or do not pay overtime, resulting in overworked, underpaid employees. Many (but not all) of these employees tend to be immigrants who come to the United States desperate for any work, and who therefore accept what is on offer—even if the job entails an infringement of worker’s rights and federal and state law.

According to a 2013 briefing report, “Low Wages and Scant Benefits Leave Many In-home Workers Unable to Make Ends Meet”, by Heidi Shierholz, in-home workers, such as nannies, housekeepers, and senior care workers, often receive such low wages that they are living below twice the poverty threshold. While the household employer must ensure his or her employee receives at least the minimum wage and other protections such as overtime pay, meal breaks, etc., domestic worker organizations are calling for action at the federal and state level as many employers are in violation of this.

In addition: in-home workers’ hourly wages are nearly 25 percent lower than those of similar workers in other occupations (after accounting for demographic differences) and in-home workers’ median weekly pay is 36.5 percent lower than similar workers in other occupations.

According to the report, in-home work is expected to grow 53.2 percent, compared with 14.3 percent for other occupations. All federal and state laws and efforts to protect domestic workers will add to the occupation’s growth. Some states, including New York, have enacted Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights laws that help with this protection.

The 2012 report, “Home Economics: The Invisible and Unregulated World of Domestic Work”, also documents “serious and widespread” mistreatment of domestic workers in the United States. Generally domestic workers, said the report, “are underpaid, in many cases less than the minimum wage, and often at levels too low to adequately care for their own families…Employed in private homes, behind closed doors, domestic workers endure long hours and substandard pay. There is little economic mobility and almost no financial security…”

The historic 2009 study, “Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers”, highlighted the low-wage workforce in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City, the nation’s three largest cities. The study found that core employment laws—like minimum wage and overtime pay—were aggressively and systematically violated. It estimated that two-thirds of the 4,387 workers surveyed experienced pay violations and that the average worker lost more than $2,600 in annual income due to the violations, a full 15 percent of annual income. Private households yielded the highest minimum wage violations—exceeding 40 percent. Child care workers experienced the highest violations of any job, with 89 percent of in-home child care workers earning less than the minimum wage and 90 percent facing overtime violations. Wage theft appears to be widespread, particularly with low-wage workers and immigrant workers.

A number of states protect workers with wage theft prevention laws, including New YorkCalifornia, and Washington, D.C. Wage theft prevention laws mandate that employers provide workers with written, detailed information on how much and when a worker is paid. These employer pay notices must generally be provided upon hire and when there is a change to the information provided. Employers not following laws and regulations could find themselves facing penalties and even jail time.

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

Win Flowers for Mother’s Day!

mother's day contestWe are excited to announce that beginning at 12pm on Tuesday, May 2nd, we are holding a photo caption contest on our Facebook page where you could win a bouquet of flowers delivered anywhere in the U.S. in time for Mother’s Day!

Just like our Facebook page, then type your caption into the comments section of the post for your chance to win. The contest ends at 12pm on Wednesday, May 10th. Read the rules here.

Good luck!

National Nanny Training Day 2017

For more than 10 years, we have been hosting National Nanny Training Day for local nannies – last Saturday we held our 2017 event at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Latham, and it was our biggest event yet! Over 30 nannies attended the day-long event and received important information about professional standards, the benefits of being paid legally, financial advice, and CPR certification.

Here are some photos from the event – thank you to our sponsors and vendors, and to all the nannies who attended. Looking forward to National Nanny Training Day 2018!

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Writing and Implementing a Household Employee Work Agreement

household employee work agreementA household employee work agreement is a detailed outline of the employment engagement. It establishes a clear understanding between you, as the employer, and your employee regarding their duties and responsibilities and helps reduce the likelihood of issues and misunderstandings during their employment. A household employee work agreement will also set the tone of your working relationships with open and clear communications.

Follow these tips as you prepare your own household employee work agreement.

Writing a Household Employee Work Agreement

  • Take your time and thoughtfully consider what to include in the work agreement.
  • If you plan to use a standard work agreement template, customize it to suit your household’s specific needs.
  • Specify the nanny’s schedule, wages, benefits, and job responsibilities.
  • If there is a time frame for employment (i.e. temporary placement), include those dates in the agreement.
  • The agreement should be easy to read and understandable by all parties involved.
  • Consider including a confidentiality clause that extends during and after employment.

Implementing a Household Employee Work Agreement

  • Once completed, discuss the work agreement with the employee and answer any questions and concerns they may have.
  • If the employee expresses a concern that can’t be resolved, recommend that the employee seek their own legal counsel.
  • You and your employee should sign and date the agreement. Provide a copy to your employee and keep a signed copy in the employee’s file.
  • The agreement should be in place prior to the employee’s start date.
  • Send A New England Nanny a signed copy for our records.

We are here for advice and input into creating your work agreement. Contact us at (518) 348-0400 for more information.