Unique Benefits for Nannies

benefits for nanniesWhile providing employee benefits is largely optional and seldom required by law, employee benefits greatly help the household employer attract and retain high-level employees. To get and keep the most talented employees, employers must treat employees like professionals. Therefore, offering employee benefits is an important consideration for all household employers. By providing an attractive employee benefits package, the employer is helping to maintain a satisfied workforce. Satisfied employees equal a happy workplace, which in turn equals a happy family and life for the employer.

The most popular household employee benefits include medical or dental insurance, paid time for vacation, holiday, sick or personal leave, bonuses, and annual pay increases. But there are several unique benefits for nannies and other household employees that you can offer.

Flexible Work Hours

Although this may not suit all household schedules, employers willing to consider flexible working arrangements (when requested in advance) are likely to establish a more loyal, stable, and happy household workforce. Recognizing and remembering that employees have a personal and social life outside of work is important to any employer-employee relationship. Many household employers allow for part-time work, time off during the week if the employee worked during the weekend, or time off for the occasional personal commitment or infrequent sick day—with each potential circumstance being discussed in the work agreement, in the employee handbook, and at the start of employment. Clear communication is essential for mutual understanding. Therefore, employers offering permanent flexible work arrangements should carefully plan schedules with the employee, particularly if the household help member is tasked with dependent care. Employers should be aware of their state’s policies on mandatory time off, especially when considering a flexible working arrangement.

Prepaid Legal Services

Some employers offer employees prepaid legal services as an employee benefit. Prepaid legal services may involve citizenship, divorce, adoption, and so on, and create a unique value to employees who require legal advice and representation. Prepaid legal services may be available through a subscription plan. Employers need to clearly state in the work agreement and the employee handbook the premium requirements for prepaid legal services, and if such services are provided at the employer’s discretion.

Use of Employer’s Personal Property and Facilities

Use of personal property and facilities normally unavailable to the employee outside of work can be considered a great employee benefit. This may include use of the home computer, television, exercise equipment/gym, swimming pool, and so on. The employee handbook needs to clearly list what is available for employee use and to whom this can extend in terms of friends and family of the employee. The employee handbook must also clearly state which parts of the property and facilities are off limits. Employees should be reminded that the employer owns the property/facility, and that the employer has the right to inspect and monitor usage—including, for example, user history files on the internet and sent email messages. The employee handbook should outline procedures for reporting needed repairs or any damage or misuse of property and facilities to the employer.

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

2014 Nanny of the Year!

2014 Nanny of the Year Last week was National Nanny Recognition Week, and as we have done in previous years, we have selected a nanny that stands out as our Nanny of the Year. For 2014, we are proud to announce that our Nanny of the Year is Sonya!

Sonya has been working in childcare for over 15 years. She grew up in a small town near the Canadian border, and received her degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Plattsburgh. Sonya first came to A New England Nanny in 2004 and has worked with three of our families as a full-time nanny. She has also worked with families through the temp program and has been wonderful. She has chosen to be a nanny as her career, her commitment to her families is remarkable, and she loves what she does!

When she is not working as a nanny caring for her 18-month-old charge, she enjoys spending time reading, camping, visiting with family and friends, visiting with her past families and catching up on how everyone is doing, and as you can see from her photo, going to Disney! Sonya currently resides in Cohoes with her husband and her cats.

Sonya has been recognized as our Nanny of the Year for all that she has contributed to her families and continues to do!

We are very much honored to have Sonya as a part of our staff here at A New England Nanny. Please join us in congratulating Sonya!

Nominate Your Nanny!

hirenannyIs your nanny the best nanny?

September 21-27, 2014 is National Nanny Recognition Week! During this week, families, businesses, and the media are encouraged to focus on the positive aspects of the nanny profession, the important role nannies play in the lives of the families, and the wonderful contribution they make in the lives of the children they care for.

There are numerous ways to celebrate this special week; one way is for you to nominate your nanny for our Nanny of the Year! Each year, A New England Nanny honors a nanny who has made a lasting impact on a family, and is an inspiration to others in the profession. Nominations are open to all full-time and temporary nannies. If you would like to nominate a nanny, please send us a brief essay about why your nominee deserves this special recognition.

Please email your essay to Melissa@anewenglandnanny.com by Wednesday, September 24th. The winner will be announced on Friday, September 26th, and will receive a very special gift!

Please let us know if you have any questions or need more information. Have a great day!

Types of Senior Care

types of senior careSenior care relates to a wide range of care, but commonly refers to services that are extended over a long period of time to people needing assistance in performing normal activities of daily living (ADL). Simply, senior care is the care of older people, especially the care of an older parent most often in the home of a son or daughter. In-home senior care can include a wide range of medical and non-medical services, such as: adult day care; respite care; household financial planning and management; companionship; geriatric assessment, evaluation and care management; medical home health care; non-medical home care; live-in home care; home safety; home renovation and maintenance; hospice services; meal preparation and delivery; personal care (bathing, grooming, toileting); rehabilitation services (physical and occupational therapy); transportation; physician visits; and, even transition services, such as home sale, relocation, downsizing, or asset liquidation.

Types of senior care jobs for at-home care                        

Chore Workers: largely assist with minor household repairs and maintenance, including yard work, housecleaning, snow removal, and installing safety devices, such as ramps and shower grab bars. Chore workers may also do grocery shopping, laundry, and meal preparation. (Chore workers may be available through nonprofits, churches, or senior centers for free or for a fee based on a sliding scale.)

Certified Nursing Assistants: CNAs generally assist with bathing and personal care.

Companions: offer company or supervision to people who cannot be left alone. They may prepare meals, and some may stay through the night. They are generally available through home care agencies or independently hired.

Home Health Aides: help patients with daily activities, such as rising from bed, bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, and walking. Some home health aides work with a nurse and/or physical therapist to provide medical help, and most home health care is medically ordered by a doctor—usually after discharge from a hospital to home but still requiring skilled care. Home health aides may also take temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure readings, change bandages, and assist with physical and occupational therapy exercises. Home health aides are available through certified home health agencies.

Homemakers: clean, shop, launder, and prepare meals and are available through home care agencies or independently hired.

Licensed Practical Nurses: LPNs generally provide nursing care other than administering medications and work under a RN’s direction.

Nutritionists: offer dietary guidance, establishing a diet compatible with the senior’s medication.

Occupational Therapists: OTs use rehabilitative exercises, techniques, and equipment to improve activities of daily living (ADL) such as dressing, eating, and bathing by working on muscle control and coordination. OTs work to make everyday tasks easier.

Personal Attendants: assist with personal care and accompany clients to medical appointments and recreational/social activities.

Physical Therapists: PTs work to restore mobility, flexibility, and muscle strength and help to alleviate pain through exercise, massage, ultrasound, and other specialized equipment. PTs also train patients on using canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and other assistive devices, while also training caregivers and family members on techniques such as transferring to and from a wheelchair to bed or toilet.

Registered Nurses: RNs provide medical care and educate people on disease treatments and prevention. Care may include administering medications (including injections and intravenous [IV] therapy), caring for wounds, inserting catheters, and cleaning feeding tubes, and much more.

Social Workers: evaluate the social and emotional aspects affecting the patient and then offer counseling for depression, grief, and loss, and help identify available community resources. Often, social workers serve as case managers in very complex cases that demand a coordination of services. (A MSW is a social worker who holds a master’s degree in social work and is state certified.)

Speech Therapists: or speech language pathologists help to restore speech and retrain patients in breathing, swallowing, and muscle control after an accident or a debilitative disease.

For more information on how A New England Nanny can help you hire someone for these jobs, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Senior Care Payroll and Tax Guide

senior care payrollHave you hired a senior care employee to work in your home? Follow this senior care payroll and tax guide to ensure you are compliant with employment laws.

Step 1 – Determine if you have an employee or independent contractor

The main difference between an employee and a contractor is that an employee operates under the control and supervision of his/her employer (you), and a contractor retains all control over themselves and their services.

Step 2 – Research Tax Laws

The IRS states that anyone paying an individual $1,900 or more in gross wages during the calendar year, legally employs a household employee and must comply with all state and federal tax laws pertaining to household employer status.

Step 3 – Follow Payroll Regulations

According to the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all senior care employees must be paid at least minimum wage, however, benefits such as room and board can account for a portion of that wage. There is no limit to the number of hours an employee can work – provided there is a mutual agreement. Overtime may be required in your state. Paid vacations, holidays and sick days are not required by law.

Step 4 – Submit Federal and State Forms - can be downloaded from our affiliate partner GTM Payroll’s website

  • Complete SS4 Form for an Employer ID #
  • Register for State Unemployment ID #
  • Register for State Withholding Tax ID #
  • Complete your State New Hire Report
  • Have employee complete W-4 Form
  • Have employee complete I-9 Form

Step 5 – Add Workers’ Compensation to Your Insurance Policy

New York State requires household employers to carry a workers’ compensation and/or disability policy if you employ someone on a full or part-time basis. These policies will protect you from lawsuits and liability in the event that your employee is injured on the job.

Step 6 – Set Up Dependent Care Assistance

You can pay your senior care employee with pre-taxed funds through an employer-sponsored Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), if your employer offers this plan. A plan of this type would allow you to set aside up to $5,000 per year “tax free” money that you can use to pay for senior care. Contact your employer’s Human Resources department for more details.

Step 7 – Calculate Withholding Taxes

Our affiliate partner GTM Payroll Services offers a free wage calculator on their website.

Step 8 – Distribute Paychecks Regularly

You have the option of paying your employee weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, monthly, or at any other agreed upon interval. Wages should always be paid via check so both parties have a record, and the amount should always be net (after all applicable taxes are withheld). You can also offer the option for direct deposit (check with your bank for details).

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

National Nanny Recognition Week

National Nanny Recognition Week 2014

Religious Accommodations for Nannies

religious accommodations for nanniesTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on a job applicant’s or employee’s religion.  But did you know that federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws may also require household employers to provide religious accommodations for household employees, such as nannies, with sincerely held beliefs? As a best practice, we recommend adhering to the guidelines that follow.

While the law only requires an employer to make religious workplace accommodations upon request, there are some proactive best practices that you can take.  For example, you may wish to provide a limited number of “floating holidays” as part of a vacation/sick time/personal time policy that you have created.  Floating holidays allow employees to enjoy income replacement when observing religious holidays.

Another proactive measure is to discuss in advance any religion-based dietary concerns that may arise.  If your nanny will be preparing meals in your home, there may be certain foods that he/she will not wish to come in contact with based on religious beliefs. Employees observing religious practices by abstaining from eating or handling specific foods are likely to appreciate such consideration of their dietary restrictions.  Furthermore, employees generally welcome the freedom to be able to wear or display religious symbols at work.

It is critically important to recognize religious accommodation requests and have a strategy for responding in a manner that is not construed as being insensitive or discriminatory in nature. We recommend providing reasonable accommodations of an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would make your employee unable to perform the duties and requirements set out in the job description.

Last year, individuals filed almost 4,000 EEOC charges against employers across the county for religious-based discrimination claims.  The keys to remaining outside of that statistic are:

  • to discuss in advance any religious accommodations that will be made and to put those details in the work agreement
  • to ensure you are not discriminating against individuals based on closely held religious beliefs and are offering reasonable workplace accommodations to those who request them based on religion

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

Is Your Nanny Changing Her Name?

nanny changing nameQuestion: If your nanny or other household employee gets married and asks you to start issuing paychecks in their married name, what are your record-keeping responsibilities?

When an employee officially changes their name for marriage or any reason, the employee needs to:

  1. Present you with a new signed Social Security card, issued in the correct name. Make a copy of this for your payroll records.
  2. Fill out a new W-4 Form, reflecting the change in name, marital status and withholding allowances.

It is the employee’s responsibility to provide this information before a paycheck can be issued in their new name. This ensures that taxes are properly credited to the employee’s account, and that quarterly and year-end reports match the records of the Social Security Administration and the IRS.

A newly married employee may also want to make beneficiary changes on a life insurance plan and may need to fill out an enrollment change form to add the spouse to a health insurance plan. You can also remind them to notify the following organizations of a name change:

  • DMV
  • Post Office
  • Voter Registration
  • Banks
  • Credit Cards
  • Doctors

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

Hiring On Your Own?

hiring on your ownAre you hiring a nanny or household employee? Have you found the right one but aren’t sure what steps to take? Are you concerned about background checks, reference checks, interviews, and all the paperwork that the hiring process entails?

This is a very time-consuming process, and most families are unable to take enough time out of busy schedules to conduct the in-depth screening, interviewing, and paperwork needed for hiring a new person for their family.

Don’t go it alone – let the professionals at A New England Nanny take care of it for you!

A New England Nanny is a fully licensed and insured household placement agency, providing peace of mind to thousands of families for over 23 years. Once you have found the domestic worker you are interested in hiring, our experienced, professional staff will handle the following:

  • Applicant interview
  • Applicant reference checking
  • Criminal checks
  • DMV check
  • Social Security trace
  • Credit check
  • Drug screening
  • Complimentary payroll consultation (if applicable)
  • Manager consultation
  • Sample employment contract
  • Sample Work Agreement
  • Employee Handbook
  • Tools and tips for a successful employment relationship, including:
    • Daily time log
    • Medical care release form
    • Time off request form
    • Performance evaluation form
    • Incident report form

We are offering this valuable package for a one-time fee of just $1,000!
For more details and information on taking advantage of this service, please contact Melissa Schoonmaker, Director of A New England Nanny, at (800) 929-9213 ext. 7202.

Our Featured Nanny: Alicia!

photoWe are excited to introduce you to a member of our talented team, Alicia P.! Alicia joined A New England Nanny this past spring, and she has been a valuable addition to our staff. She is part of our temporary services team, caring for children of all ages and providing companion care as well. The most telling sign of her success? She keeps getting requested by families to come back!

Born and raised in Saratoga County, Alicia graduated from Ballston Spa High School and is currently taking classes in early childhood education. Her hobbies are reading, scrapbooking, and being outdoors as much as possible. Currently residing in Malta with her family, Alicia had this to say about why she enjoys working with A New England Nanny:

“I enjoy helping people – I think that’s why I like this job so much! Whether it be an elderly person or a child, I like to help. Children are so much fun and I enjoy helping them grow and learn. I have two children of my own, ages 6 and 7, and they are my world!”

If you would like to request Alicia for child care or companion care services, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.