What Nannies Need to Know About New York Paid Family Leave

nannies new york paid family leaveWe posted an article about how the upcoming New York Paid Family Leave (PFL) law will affect household employers, but nannies and other household employees may have many questions about how they can use this new benefit. ShelterPoint has put together this handy list of things nannies should know about using New York Paid Family Leave.

  1. For foreseeable events (such as birth or scheduled treatments/therapy), you should provide your employer with a 30-day notice of intent before using PFL benefits. If you are not able to provide this notice due to the sudden nature of the qualifying event (such as a family member’s stroke, emergency delivery, or short-notice deployment), you are still entitled to the leave but have to notify the employer as soon as reasonably practicable (typically within 2 days).
  2. If you take intermittent leave, your employer has the right to require you to provide notice before each day of leave – even if it is a regular schedule.
  3. There is no “waiting period.”
  4. Once on leave, you will receive a monetary PFL benefit (partial income replacement) from your employer’s DBL/PFL insurance carrier.
  5. You can’t take DBL and PFL at the same time, i.e, receive benefits for both concurrently. They have to be taken in sequence. And if you qualify for both DBL and PFL, the combined duration cannot exceed 26 weeks in a consecutive 52-week period (whether using those benefits for the same or different qualifying event).
  6. Your employer cannot require you to use up any accumulated paid time off (such as sick/vacation days) before letting you go out on paid family leave.
  7. You have, however, the option to use any vacation days during your Paid Family Leave, thereby receiving your full salary as opposed to the percentage provided for by PFL. However, if you do this:
    • You will not be able to collect both paid time off (such as vacation pay) and monetary Paid Family Leave benefits simultaneously.
    • In this case, PFL provides only the job protection aspect.
  8. Paid Family Leave provides more than just a monetary benefit – it provides job security similar to unpaid leave under FMLA, but regardless of the size of the employer.
    • When returning from PFL, you are entitled to return to your same or comparable position
    • If your employer declines to reinstate you when returning from PFL, you have the right to report this to NY State
  9. If you have health insurance through your employer, it’s continued at your usual coverage level and contribution amount as if you weren’t on leave.

Source: http://pfl.shelterpoint.com/for-employees

Contact us at (518) 348-0400 for more information.

Hiring Through an Agency is the Right Choice

hiring through an agencyOnline job boards have become a more popular way for families to hire a nanny or other domestic worker in recent years, and while both agencies like A New England Nanny and job websites each have benefits, there are some key differences that demonstrate why hiring through an agency is the right choice.

In a survey of household employers conducted by GTM Payroll Services, it was clear that hiring a nanny through an agency rather than using an online job site saved time, boosted retention, and reduced the hassles of bringing on board multiple nannies over a short period of time.

A family that goes through an agency rather than an online job site when hiring a nanny, get a better quality nanny, one they’ll keep for longer, and they’ll spend less time finding the right match. For example, the survey found that 30% of families that hired through an agency had their current nanny for more than 3 years, while only 18% of those that hired through a website had their nanny for the same length of time. Also, 60% of agency-using families had one nanny in the past 5 years, where only 33% of website-using families had just one nanny in that timeframe. Finally, 59% of families that used an agency spent less than 20 hours on the hiring process, while only 24% of those who used a website spent less than 20 hours on the process.

In the same survey of household employers, 74% of those that hired through an agency said the hassle-free process and time savings was a top reason they decided to work with placement professionals. Agencies also aim to put forth the best matches for their clients as 91% of families said security and the screening of candidates was a top reason for going with an agency. Only the top applicants are presented to families for potential interviews, which helps cut down on time spent hiring and may result in a higher quality nanny whom the family will want to retain for a longer period of time.

The supposed benefit of using an online job site is a wider selection of candidates. However, 83% of respondents who used an online job site said the “number of responses from unqualified candidates” was one of the biggest drawbacks of going online to find a nanny. Sifting through applicants that don’t match a family’s criteria can add time and frustration to the hiring process.

Contact us at (518) 348-0400 to find out more about how we’ve been providing peace of mind to Capital Region families for over 26 years!

2018 Nanny Tax Threshold Increases

2018 nanny tax thresholdThe Social Security Administration recently released its employment coverage thresholds for 2018.

Social Security and Medicare taxes (commonly referred to as “nanny taxes”) must be paid by the family and the employee for any household workers, such as nannies or housekeepers, who earn $2,100 or more in cash wages in 2018. This is a $100 increase to the threshold which was last changed in 2016 to $2,000.

Wages paid to a spouse, child under age 21, parent, or any employee under the age of 18 do not fall under the nanny tax threshold.

Employers must pay 7.65% (Social Security at 6.2% and Medicare at 1.45%) in nanny taxes. The same amount can be withheld from the employee’s pay, or the employer can pay their worker’s share and not withhold. The total Social Security and Medicare taxes must be 15.3% of cash wages.

For more information on the nanny tax threshold, visit Employment Coverage Thresholds on the Social Security Administration website.

Learn more about paying your employee legally, and contact us at (518) 348-0400 for more information.

Our Nanny of the Month!

We would like to share our latest staff person to be recognized as Nanny of the Month, and that person is: Jelani C.!

Jelani has shown determination and great commitment during the time she has been with A New England Nanny. Most recently,  Jelani worked with one our daycare clients for almost a month as a fill-in. While we know that daycare settings can be a difficult work environment, Jelani was professional and provided excellent care and comfort to the children.

The things that contributed to our decision to recognize Jelanie include the positive client feedback and wonderful care she’s provided to our clients’ children, as well as the consistent communication and feedback she provides to the agency, and her willingness to take work without hesitation. She’s a great representation of our agency and an important part of the team.

Jelani will soon be starting a part-time position with a permanent family through the agency, while continuing to help our temp families when her schedule allows.

We wish her the best with her new family. We appreciate all she does and we know she will do a great job.

Congratulations Jelani!

Backup Staffing for Schools and Daycare Centers

backup staffing for schools and daycare centersWhat do daycare centers do when they have unexpected call-outs from their staff, or their ratios are not up to where they should be? What if they’re in the process of hiring for a new position and need fill-in help? Back-up care from A New England Nanny might be exactly what they need.

We have been working with schools, daycares, and other child care facilities in the Capital Region for more than 26 years, providing them with a solution to help be better equipped for those last minute emergency needs.

A New England Nanny can provide parents with high-quality back-up care on the days when the organization needs it most. We have a pool of experienced, professional caregivers ready and able to assist for those emergency needs. All of our caregivers are fully screened with background checks, face-to-face interviews, reference checks, fingerprinting, and more.

Our back-up solution is a great resource for organizations and their families to use for:

  • Back-up care when one or more children are sick and cannot attend school
  • After-hours care for parents to use on evenings or weekends
  • Holiday care when the school is closed for vacations
  • Back-up care when the school is closed due to the weather
  • Substitute teachers when an employee is out

We pride ourselves on recruiting only the best and most qualified caregivers.  Hundreds of families and companies across the Capital Region have successfully used our back-up services and appreciate the convenience and value we offer.

Please feel free to contact us at (518) 348-0400 with any questions.

Hiring Senior Care: Options and Questions

hiring senior careFor families that wish to hire a caregiver for their senior loved one, there are many options available. It’s important to understand these options and to know what questions to ask.

There are typically three options for obtaining in-home senior care.

1. Home Health Care Agency: The agency employs the senior care provider to work in the family’s home and maintains control over the worker’s duties. The agency also takes care of payroll, taxes, insurance, and human resources.

2. Referral or Placement Agency: In this case, the agency charges a fee and then finds and recruits the in-home senior care provider on behalf of the family. Control over employment duties lies with the family who will manage payroll, taxes, and compliance with wage and labor laws.

3. Hiring Independently: When hiring on their own, the family finds, hires, and employs the in-home senior care provider. They control employment and handle the responsibilities of being a household employer.

Hiring through a home health care agency is typical when the senior has specific medical care needs that require a trained and licensed caregiver to perform medical treatment.

When nonmedical care is required, many families choose to hire independently or through a placement agency like ours. However, in these cases, the family becomes a household employer in the eyes of the IRS and other government agencies.

Three Benefits of Hiring Independently or Through a Referral/Placement Agency

1. More control
The family has more control over the employment arrangement and can choose how the care is managed.

2. Cost-effectiveness
It’s typically more cost effective especially if the senior needs less specialized care or only needs help for certain hours or days a week. The family saves money by taking on the management and supervision of the caregiver themselves.

3. Less “red tape”
There is far less “red tape” compared to hiring through a home health care agency. However, the family still needs to comply with all applicable tax, wage, and labor laws.

8 Questions to Ask About Your Senior’s Care Needs

However you (or your family) decide to hire an in-home senior caregiver, you’ll want to understand your objectives for bringing an employee into the home to look after your senior.

  1. How much and what kind of care does the senior need?
  2. How is each one of us able to help physically or contribute financially?
  3. Are there services in our community for older adults and their families?
  4. What specific duties will the caregiver perform?
  5. Which days and for how many hours do we need a hired caregiver?
  6. Can we, as a family, provide backup help if the hired caregiver is unavailable due to time off or illness?
  7. Who will be in charge of the hire and employment of the caregiver? This includes recruiting, background screening, managing payroll and taxes, and supervision of work.
  8. Who will act as the liaison with the senior care provider?

 

Learn more about our senior care services, and contact us at (518) 348-0400 with any questions.

Proposed Regulations to Help Prevent Identity Theft

regulations to help prevent identity theftFresh off the recent Equifax breach , the IRS has proposed regulations that may help individuals prevent identity theft when it comes to their W-2s.

The proposal would allow truncated Social Security numbers (SSNs) on Form W-2 in the form of Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TTINs), which would hide full SSNs from identity thieves.

Employers would be permitted to voluntarily truncate their employee’s SSNs only on the copies of Form W-2 that are given to employees. Using TTINs on any documents – including tax returns or statements – that must be filed with or sent to the IRS or Social Security Administration would not be allowed.

Public comments on the proposed regulations are being taken by Dec. 18, 2017. Visit Regulations.gov to submit your comment.

Nanny Tax Compliance Infographic

Mistakes or misinterpretations of nanny tax compliance laws can mean IRS audits, thousands of dollars in fines and penalties or an employee lawsuit. Our friends at GTM Payroll Services have created this handy infographic that highlights what you need to do to maintain nanny tax compliance. Click the image below to view a larger version.

nanny tax compliance

What You Can Do About the Equifax Breach

equifax breachNearly half of the country’s population was affected by the recent breach of Equifax, the consumer credit reporting agency that collects driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers (SSN), and credit card numbers. Hackers gained access to the information of 143 million individuals. While the investigation into the cause of the breach will be ongoing, the initial belief is that a third party and/or an employee is at fault.

There are steps to take to ensure your information is not at risk.

  • First, find out if your information has been exposed by going to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Click the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your SSN. Make sure you are on a secure computer and network connection when you do this. You will then find out if you’ve been affected by the breach. Even if it says you are not impacted, keep in mind that at this point, the accuracy is not 100% verifiable and it may be safer to assume your information was accessed.
  • Check your credit reports for free at annualcreditreport.com. If you see any accounts or activities that are not familiar, your identity may be at risk. Check IdentityTheft.gov to find out how to proceed.
  • Consider freezing your credit files. This will prevent someone from opening a new account using your information (though it won’t help against any existing accounts). Alternatively, you can create a fraud alert on your files to inform creditors that your identity may have been stolen and to make sure anyone opening an account in your name is actually you.
  • Closely watch your bank account and credit cards for any suspiscious activity.
  • Strengthen all your financial passwords with two-factor authentication, such as getting password confirmation via text or phone call.
  • Be aware of phishing scams. You may receive emails from what looks like Equifax or another company saying they want to help, but keep in mind that credit companies should never ask for driver’s license numbers or full SSNs (they may ask for the last 4 digits). They should verify your identity with your credit card number and security questions.

Performance Review for Your Nanny

performance reviews for nanniesCompanies of all sizes establish periodic (written) reviews and evaluations of employees. It is a good employment practice for household employers to conduct performance reviews for nannies, because it allows the employer and employee to communicate what the employee has accomplished and areas that may need development. With the reviews, nannies are provided an opportunity to improve, and the employer has a documented history of the nanny’s performance and problems.

While informal employer-employee discussions relating to job performance and goals are encouraged and expected throughout a nanny’s tenure, it is common practice for an employer to perform a formal written performance review at the end of an employee’s introductory period, and then on a scheduled basis. Many employers choose to review nannies on a yearly basis. Some prefer to evaluate employees every six months. The work agreement and the employee handbook should detail expected review times.

When reviewing a nanny’s work performance, employers need to remember to focus on work performance and not on the employee’s personality or characteristics. Employers should:

  • be as positive as possible, but very clear about situations—speak frankly and in a straightforward manner;
  • offer a review of both strengths and weaknesses;
  • cite specific examples of when the employee has exceeded, met, or failed job expectations;
  • set reasonable goals for the employee to work toward (and meet) in developing and improving skills;
  • schedule a second review to determine the employee’s progress if her or his performance is weak (this could be done in three months or six months—whichever is considered a fair amount of time for the employee to improve and demonstrate better performance); and,
  • list in the review any disciplinary actions, including termination, if the employee fails to improve his or her performance.

Employees may thoroughly examine all performance reviews and may provide a written opinion to be placed in the personnel file. Some evaluation forms have a designated area for the employee’s response. It is common practice for both the employer and employee to both sign the review. This documentation helps protect the employer from any false claim made by a current or former nanny.

Performance reviews may or may not be accompanied by a salary increase consideration. Employers should clearly state that salary increases are awarded in light of an employee’s significant performance and at the employer’s discretion—and certainly are not guaranteed. Salary increases are evaluated by the employee’s:

  • ability to perform all job tasks and functions;
  • attendance and punctuality;
  • willingness to work;
  • ability to cooperate with other employees and household members; and,
  • adherence to all household policies.

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