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.

Does My Nanny Have to Pay Taxes?

does my nanny have to pay taxes?A nanny or other employee who works in your home is responsible for reporting and paying required payroll taxes. It is worth making sure that they are aware of their responsibilities at the start of employment, if they do not already know. As a nanny, or other household employee, there are four key taxes that they are liable for:

  1. Social Security (OASDI) at 6.2% (2014). If the household employee is getting paid $1,900 gross or more in 2014, they are required to withhold and pay Social Security.
  2. Medicare at 1.45%. If the household employee is getting paid $1,900 gross or more in 2014, they are required to withhold and pay Medicare.
  3. Federal income Tax not required to be withheld*
  4. State income tax not required to be withheld*

*Federal and state income taxes are not required to be withheld unless agreed upon by the employer and the employee.

But this shouldn’t be confused with not having to owe any Federal and State income taxes. A nanny may pay their own income taxes either at the end of the year or as an estimated payment to the IRS and/or your state. Your must give your nanny a W2 form and a copy to the IRS indicating how much you have paid your employee and they must file that form with their personal tax return. More often than not, it’s a good idea to withhold the income taxes from their pay, so come April 15th they are not short a significant amount of income tax. By doing this they will then get a chance to get a refund when they file their own tax return.

Therefore, it is advantageous to withhold federal and state income taxes because it

  • helps employees distribute their owed income taxes throughout the year, rather than as a lump sum at the end of the tax year;
  • helps to document an employee’s legal employment history; and
  • ensures both employer and employee are complying with the law.

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

Retirement Plan for Nannies

retirement plan 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 nannies or other household employees. If you’re looking for a recruiting advantage over other families and a retention tool for your nanny, you may want to consider offering a retirement plan. Not only can it help your employee build an excellent source of retirement income and experience the benefits of tax-deferred growth, but by providing an attractive employee benefits package, you are helping to create a satisfied employee. Satisfied employees equal a happy workplace, which in turn equals a happy family and life for the employer.

We recommend the SIMPLE 401K Plan offered through the National Household Employers Association (NHEA) as a great retirement benefit to offer your nanny. Key features of the NHEA Domestic Workers Retirement Plan include (effective January 1, 2013):

  • Tax-savings: Household employees have the potential for a pre-tax savings via payroll deferral of up to $12,000; those 50+ years old can invest another $2,500 as a catch-up contribution
  • Flexibility: Household employees have the option to modify deferral amounts
  • Employer contributions: Family/employer MUST make a mandatory contribution on a dollar for dollar match basis up to 3% of the employee’s gross pay, which can be used to reward and retain valuable household workers
  • Self-direction of investments: Household employees have the ability to self-direct their investments from a list of monitored, low-cost mutual funds
  • Employee support: Household employees have access to advisors who can provide them with one-on-one advice
  • Transferability: If household employee changes families, but the new family continues to use GTM Payroll Services, that family can adopt the NHEA plan and continue 401K contributions OR household employee can roll the money to another qualified retirement plan or individual retirement account (IRA)

If you have any questions, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Nannies: What if Your Family Pays “Under the Table?”

paying nanny on the booksWe understand you may encounter working for a family that does not want to pay taxes for employing a nanny. Ask us for help in explaining to the family that it is truly in their best interest to pay you properly and legally. Some of the following reasons may also help:

  • There are two main tax breaks that can offset your employer’s tax costs. By legally employing someone in their home (paying “on the books”), they will be able to take advantage of one of the two following tax breaks:
  1. Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) – Most companies provide this benefit and allow employees to contribute up to $5000 of pre-tax earnings to a Dependent Care account. They would then be reimbursed these tax-free funds to cover childcare expenses.
  2. Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit – For those who don’t have access to a Dependent Care Account, they can claim the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (Form 2441) on their personal income tax return at year-end. They can claim up to $3,000 of the un-reimbursed qualifying child care expenses paid in a year for one qualifying individual or $6,000 for two or more qualifying individuals. The credit can be anywhere from 20% to 35% of their qualifying expenses.
  • Your employer has to report your wages and the taxes they withheld for you on their personal income tax return. The IRS figures to catch a lot of people who forget to tell them about their nannies.
  • You can receive workers’ compensation, which in turn protects your employer if you get hurt on the job.
  • You will be eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefits, as well as unemployment insurance.
  • You will have a legal employment history, which is necessary to obtain a mortgage, car loan, or credit card.
  • Because it’s the law!

Need to point your employer in the right direction to pay you legally? Our partner GTM Payroll Services works with hundreds of families, nannies, and agencies around the country, helping them sort out taxes and comply with the nanny tax laws of the IRS and their state. This helps ensure a healthy working relationship between the family and their nanny.

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

Hiring a Nanny from Craigslist & Other Online Sites

hiring a nanny using craigslistMany people are familiar with online classified ad sites, such as Craigslist. These are low-cost, easy to use, and work much like posting an ad on a college bulletin board or in the local newspaper. These sites also advertise local nannies and families looking for nannies—and while these sites may be good resources for many things, there are two main drawbacks pertaining to hiring a nanny from Craigslist and other sites: time and safety.

Families looking for nannies or other household help via classified ads can expect to find it to be very time-consuming. Just as with a newspaper classified ad, the burden is fully on the seeker to do all the work; all the contacting, interviewing, checking and vetting, etc.

Safety is another key issue. Those advertising on these sites have paid to place an ad; they could be anyone. In addition, when using internet classified ads, anyone can view these ads and access your information. It is never wise to give out personal data (name, telephone number, address, email address) in a public area. These ad sites are not protected by passwords and are unsupervised for the most part. In contrast, traditional nanny hiring agencies and most reputable online hiring sites do not allow your information to be seen by the general public. It is always better to use an experienced and reliable website with a good reputation than a listing or online classified ad site—especially if you are hiring for the first time.

There have been many news articles on the safety issues of hiring someone using a site like Craigslist. Although the site, and many articles, warn the users of criminal misuse and instead encourage those who find jobs on the site to meet in a public place, many users do not heed the warning. There have been cases where criminals have posed as babysitters. Obviously, care should be used if posting an online classified ad, just as you would be vigilant about the candidates who contacted you about a newspaper ad or from a bulletin board. With your family’s care, no amount of precaution can be considered too much.

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

Recordkeeping Requirements for Household Employers

recordkeeping requirements for household employersAccording to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers – including household employers – are required to keep records on wages, hours, and other items as specified by DOL recordkeeping regulations. No particular form is required, but certain identifying information about the employee and data about the hours worked and the wages earned is required by the FLSA. The law requires this information to be accurate. Recordkeeping requirements for employers include the following:

  1. Employee’s full name and social security number.
  2. Address, including zip code.
  3. Birth date, if younger than 19.
  4. Sex and occupation.
  5. Time and day of week when employee’s workweek begins.
  6. Hours worked each day.
  7. Total hours worked each workweek.
  8. Basis on which employee’s wages are paid (e.g., “$9 per hour”, “$440 a week”, “piecework”)
  9. Regular hourly pay rate.
  10. Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings.
  11. Total overtime earnings for the workweek.
  12. All additions to or deductions from the employee’s wages.
  13. Total wages paid each pay period.
  14. Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment.

Payroll records should be kept for at least three years; wage computation records, such as time sheets, work schedules, and changes in wages, should be kept for two years.

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

Household Emergency Plan

household emergency planIt is important for families to prepare for natural disasters and other types of emergencies by having a plan in place for everyone to follow. Below are steps to creating a household emergency plan provided by the State of New York:

  • Meet with your family members and discuss the dangers of possible emergency events including fire, severe weather, hazardous spills, and terrorism.
  • Discuss how you and your family will respond to each possible emergency. Know how to contact all family members at all times. Think 24/7 and 365.
  • Discuss what to do in case of power outages or personal injuries
  • Draw a floor plan of your home. If possible, mark two escape routes from each room.
  • Select two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency such as fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home (a real possibility during the day when most adults are at work and children are at school).
  • Identify an out-of-town friend or relative as your “emergency family check-in contact” for everyone to call if the family gets separated. Make sure all family members have the correct phone number. It is often easier to call out-of-town during an emergency than within the affected area.
  • Post emergency contact numbers near all telephones. Include local police, fire and health departments, poison control, your children’s schools, doctors, child/senior care providers and insurance agents.
  • Make sure everyone knows how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency medical services phone number.
  • Install safety features in your home such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Inspect your home for potential hazards – and correct them.
  • Have your family learn basic safety and first aid measures.
  • Keep family records in a waterproof and fireproof safe.
  • Have emergency supplies on hand.
  • Teach adults how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main switches. If for any reason you do turn off natural gas service to your home, call your natural gas utility to restore service. DO NOT attempt to restore gas service yourself.
  • Make arrangements for your pets. Most shelters do not allow pets. Prior to an emergency, contact your county or local emergency management office and ask them where you could leave your pet. Have ID, collar, leash and proof of vaccination for all pets. Have current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
  • PRACTICE the Plan!

Visit New York’s disaster preparedness website for more information, and get tips on preparedness kits here.

Summer Dress Code for Nannies

summer dress code for nanniesSummer has arrived, and that means hot weather and time spent by the pool. The summer heat also means you’ll want to wear less clothing; but what is appropriate attire for a nanny during this season? Here are some tips on dressing professionally during warm weather.

Suggestions for What Not to Wear

 

  • High heels – even if you are confident you can walk in them (or more likely run in them), they are not suitable while caring for very active children.
  • Sandals – depending on the activities you have planned for the day, open-toed shoes may prove challenging when chasing kids around the playground or park. Plus you never know what will get spilled on those toes.
  • A favorite, stylish, expensive outfit – it will get ruined, either by spit-up, food, arts and crafts materials, or most likely it will get soaking wet from summer water play.
  • Low-cut shirts – nannies should always dress appropriately while in the children’s presence, and smaller kids will certainly pull and tug at shirts, so the lower a shirt is cut, the more “exposure” you risk.
  • Short shorts – again, you want to be a role model for the children and wearing short shorts, “Daisy Dukes,” etc., should not be considered proper nanny attire.
  • Long, dangling earrings or jewelry – be careful with this as well. Long earrings and necklaces can get pulled and caught on things, particularly if you’re running around a playground.
  • Swimwear – no bikinis, please! Anything too revealing is inappropriate when caring for children.

 

Suggestions for What to Wear

 

  • Comfy clothes – you want clothes that will stretch, not tear, when they are pulled. Cotton shirts will make the heat more bearable, and are durable.
  • Tank tops – these are fine as long as they are not low-cut; spaghetti straps are probably too revealing.
  • Cargo shorts or pants – these are a great way to keep cool and comfy, plus you’ll need those pockets for all the treasures the kids will find at the park or beach!
  • Comfy shoes – you need to be able to run and be active! Comfortable sneakers are always a good choice.
  • Rain gear – rainstorms can pop up unexpectedly around here during the summer, so if you’re outdoors with the kids, having a raincoat or poncho may come in handy (as will an umbrella).
  • Sweatshirt/sweater – sometimes the temperature drops lower than predicted, even during the summer, especially if it’s a windy day by the lake, so keep a sweatshirt or sweater around just in case.

 

You can dress professionally and still be comfortable during the summer months! Please contact us if you have any questions at (518)348-0400.

 

Please Join Us Tonight!

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