7 Nanny Transition Tips

nanny transition tipsEnding a job is never easy.  Whether it is the nanny’s or the family’s decision, or a mutual agreement to part ways, there are many things for nannies to take into consideration during this time of transition. To help you through this challenging and unsure time, we have developed some nanny transition tips and helpful resources to get caregivers back on track and on the way to the next great chapter in their career.

Transition Checklist

  • Make sure to return any items that your employer provided you during employment (i.e. car or house keys, car seats, garage door opener, gas card, cell phone, etc.).
  • Make sure you understand the process of receiving your final paycheck and any remaining pay (severance) that has been agreed upon.
  • Ask for a letter of reference from your employer.
  • If applicable, contact the agency you were placed through to notify them of the situation and to reactivate your profile with them.
  • If you have been involuntarily terminated or you feel you are entitled to unemployment benefits, contact your state’s unemployment office to find out if you are eligible (see resource #2 below).
  • If you have medical or dental insurance through your employer, find out if you are eligible for COBRA or Mini-COBRA (see resource #1 below).
  • Make sure to update your previous employer if your address changes so the proper W2 year-end tax information is sent to the correct location prior to January 31st of the following calendar year.

Helpful Resources

1)      Health/Dental Continuation Coverage

2)      State Unemployment Benefits

3)      Job Placement Resources

  • NannyJobs.com (http://www.nannyjobs.com) is a job posting site where household placement agencies recruit for nannies and other household employees.  Create a profile, apply to jobs, and search the agency directory for a placement agency near you.
  • My Next Move (http://www.mynextmove.org/): Search careers by keywords, browse careers by industry, and discover your interests and related careers.  Receive a job market outlook, salary range, and suggestions for similar occupations.     
  • Sponsored by the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, CareerOneStop (http://www.careeronestop.org/) provides local resources to explore new careers, find education and training, get advice on resumes and cover letters, interview tips, salary negotiation, and more.

Best of luck in your job search and your future endeavors!

2018 Tax and Wage Issues for Household Employers

2018 tax and wage issues for household employersWith a new year just around the corner, there are several tax and wage issues that will impact household employers, particularly those in New York, including changes to the minimum wage and mileage reimbursement rates.

Minimum Wage
On December 31, 2017, the minimum wage for employers in Upstate New York will rise to $10.40 per hour.

The wage for employers in New York City with 10 or fewer employees must pay $12.00 per hour. Employers in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties must pay at least $11.00 per hour.

Mileage Rate
If you reimburse your nanny or other domestic worker for mileage, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (plus vans, pickups, and panel trucks) are increasing, effective January 1, 2018. The new rates will be:

  • 54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (was 53.5 cents in 2017)
  • 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (was 17 cents in 2017)
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (no change from 2017)

New York Paid Family Leave
Beginning January 1, 2018, just about every employer in New York State – including household employers – will need to comply with the New York Paid Family Leave (NY PFL) law. Any employer that has 1 or more employees is required to provide coverage unless they are a public employer or are an employer-only exempt employee.

Employees can use the benefit 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

Learn more about what employers and nannies need to know about NY PFL.

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.

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.

Creative Benefits for Nannies

creative benefits for nanniesFamilies looking to recruit the best household employees need ways to attract them, especially if they’re unable to pay higher salaries. Something that often does the trick is finding some creative benefits for nannies, particularly if those benefits address specific needs. Here are a few ideas.

Retirement Benefits
One benefit to consider is a 401K plan. Our affiliate company, GTM Payroll Services, has a SIMPLE 401K Plan offered through the National Household Employers Association (NHEA) that will not only give you a recruiting advantage over other families without a 401K plan and a retention tool for your nanny, but it will also help your employee build an excellent source of retirement income and experience the benefits of tax-deferred growth. Other options are the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and the Roth IRAboth are fairly simple programs to establish as an employee benefit, and therefore, suitable as a household employee benefit.

Educational Reimbursement
Continuing education, training, seminars, and conferences play an important role in helping promote professional growth and elevate employee performance—making the educational reimbursement benefit a win-win proposition for both the employer and employee. You may also consider paying for professional membership fees or trade journal subscriptions. Employers who offer this benefit can claim up to $5,250 tax-free for employer-provided educational assistance; graduate-level course work is also covered. The IRS does state that employers who offer tax-free educational assistance are required to have a written plan describing the terms and benefits. If you decide to offer this benefit, laying out an educational assistance plan in your employee handbook or work agreement is essential.

Student Loan Repayment
For those nannies that have recently graduated, many of them may have accumulated substantial debt. A benefit families may wish to offer current or prospective employees is student loan repayment. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that repayment of a student loan is considered taxable income, and at present there’s no tax write-off for employers who offer a loan repayment benefit. Employers, however, do have some leeway on how to offer the benefit. The amount of the benefit can be offered monthly or as a lump sum, it can be capped, and it can be tied to an employee match. A waiting period is also fine.

Prepaid Legal Services
Some employers offer prepaid legal services as an employee benefit. Prepaid legal services may involve citizenship, divorce, adoption, and so on, and create a unique value to nannies who require legal advice and representation. 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.

A few other benefit ideas include:

  • Provide your nanny with a mileage reimbursement or a gas card to help with their commute or with transporting children.
  • If your nanny has their own car, provide an auto club membership or periodically cover the costs of tune-ups and oil changes.
  • Establish an employee assistance plan or gift certificate to a spa/health club as a way to help your nanny de-stress.
  • Provide your nanny with scheduled free time each week for them to make personal errands and phone calls.

If you’re looking for an enticing benefit to attract new talent, one of the benefits described above may be something to consider. If these benefits aren’t desirable or doable, that’s okay. The important thing is that you appeal to potential employees by distinguishing yourself, and there’s no one way to do that!

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

Health Insurance for Your Nanny

health insurance for your nannyAnyone can be caught off guard by an unexpected illness or injury. Offering health insurance for a household employee benefits both the employee and the employer. Not only does it help employers with recruiting and retaining top quality nannies and other employees, but it safeguards against future health problems, minimizing surprise illnesses and the resulting absenteeism. For employees, having health care coverage limits out-of-pocket costs, protects assets, and safeguards future earnings.

More importantly, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all individuals to have health insurance or risk being fined. The ACA can be complicated to navigate, especially within the realm of household employment. Here is a quick guide for obtaining health insurance for your nanny or other household employee.

First Steps

Before diving into the complex world of health insurance, there may be a couple of easier solutions.

  • How old is your nanny? Your employee may be able to be added to her parents’ policy if she is 26 years old or younger.
  • Is your nanny married? If so, it may be more affordable for her to be added to her spouse’s health plan, if the spouse is covered through their employer.

Obtaining Insurance

Individual health insurance plans can be purchased by:

  • Visiting your state’s health exchange or the federal exchange if your state does not offer one. See this list of states that have their own exchange.
  • Obtaining coverage directly through an insurance company, or by contacting a private exchange site.

Can You Cover or Reimburse Your Employee for Premiums?

If your nanny purchases coverage on a state or federal exchange, then by law, an employer may not cover or reimburse for premium payments. If your employee buys coverage through a private exchange or directly from an insurance company, then you can pay part or all of their premiums for them directly if they are your ONLY employee.

If you have more than one employee, you can set up a plan to help cover part or all of their premiums, and receive tax-free benefits. These plans include HRAs, POPs, FSAs, and HSAs. Through these plans, no taxes are paid by either the employer or employee on health care coverage.

Important Rules

  • Household employers that also own their own business may want to put their nanny on their business health plan. This is not permitted, because a nanny is not employed by the business – they are a household employee. Insurance companies will likely refuse to pay any benefits if you submit a claim for a household employee through a business insurance policy.
  • It’s also important to know that a household employee requesting individual coverage must apply for coverage themselves – the employer cannot submit an application or other paperwork on the nanny’s behalf. The employee must fill out the forms and submit their medical information.
  • If you as the employer are applying for a group plan, a group application must be completed by the employer and the employee must sign the enrollment forms.

Our affiliate GTM Payroll Services’ in-house insurance brokerage can guide you through the insurance rules and regulations in New York. For more information, contact GTM at (800) 929-9213 or get a free insurance quote.

Should You Offer Vacation Time or PTO?

vacation or pto for nanniesOne of the most common benefits that household employers offer their nanny or other employee is paid time off. This can be in the form of sick time, vacation time or PTO (Paid Time Off). Sick time is to be used in case the employee is ill or must care for an ill loved one, and vacation time is for the employee to simply take time away from work. But what is the difference between sick or vacation time and PTO?

Vacation policies are intended to be used for the specific purpose of vacation or leisure time, and employers who offer vacation time generally offer sick leave as well. The alternative to having two separate benefits is a singular PTO benefit, which may be used for any purpose the employee chooses.

Some states consider vacation and PTO (but not sick leave) to be accrued wages. Consequently, those states require payout of unused vacation and PTO at termination and have rules limiting use-it-or-lose-it policies. In New York, whether an employer must pay for unused time depends upon the terms of the vacation and/or resignation policy. So when you create a policy to offer vacation or PTO as a benefit to your nanny, you must decide whether the nanny will be paid for any unused vacation time or PTO hours should they leave the job.

While New York does not yet have a state law that require employers to offer paid sick leave, it is a national trend and such a law may come to New York soon. Should a paid sick leave law be enacted here and you decide to offer a PTO plan instead of paid sick leave, it is critical that you ensure the plan meets all the requirements of the mandatory sick leave law or ordinance. What household employers do need to abide by in New York is the state’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which guarantees domestic workers at least three days of paid rest each year after one year of work for the same employer.

Regardless of which benefits you choose to offer, you’ll want to make sure they are clearly articulated in writing and that your employee(s) are made aware of what is available and how the policy or policies operate.

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

New York Paid Family Leave Law Affects Household Employers

new york paid family leave household employersEarlier this month, Governor Cuomo announced the New York Paid Family Leave law, which is the nation’s longest and most comprehensive. This law impacts all private employers and employees in New York, regardless of size – including household employers and nannies.

How much does it cost employers and employees?

The family leave program will be funded by a payroll deduction of between 45₵ and $1 per week from each employee’s paycheck. It will become part of the deduction for New York State’s Temporary Disability Insurance, and it will not require a contribution from employers.

When will it take effect and how much are the benefits?

The paid family leave will be phased-in over a number of years. Beginning in 2018, paid leave benefits will be set at 50 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage and capped at 50 percent of the statewide average weekly wage. When fully implemented in 2021, the benefits will be set at 67 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage and capped at 67 percent of the statewide average weekly wage.

When the plan is fully phased-in, employees who have worked for an employer for six consecutive months will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. Part-time employees become eligible on the 175th day of employment. Leading up to the full phase-in, employees will be eligible for 8 weeks in 2018, 10 weeks in 2019 and 2020, and 12 weeks starting in 2021. The leave is protected, meaning employees must be returned to their same job or a comparable position, with the same benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

What can it be used for?

Employees may use this time to care for and bond with newborns or newly adopted children or foster children, to take care of themselves or a family member with a serious health condition, or to address certain legal, financial, and childcare issues that arise when a spouse is called to active military service.

Please note: this is not the same as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA is unpaid leave and only applies to employers with at least 50 employees.

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

New York’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights

new york's domestic workers' bill of rightsOver the past six years, we have seen states and cities enacting labor laws to protect domestic workers’ rights. These workers include nannies, housekeepers, drivers, personal assistants, and more.

On Nov. 29, 2010, New York State became the first state in the nation to extend workers’ rights and protections to people working in the household help industry, mandating that domestic workers be:

  • paid time and a half over their basic hourly rate when they work more than 40 hours per week. (Live-in household help working more than 44 hours per week are entitled to overtime.);
  • provided one day off for every seven days worked, or overtime pay if the workers agree to work on their day of rest;
  • paid at least three rest days each year after working for the same employer for one year;
  • paid weekly; and,
  • protected against harassment under the New York State Human Rights Law.

New York’s law mandates employers:

  • pay an eight hour work day at the minimum wage of at least $8.75 per hour (with a credit toward the minimum wage if the employer provides meals and/or lodging to the employee);
  • provide written notice about sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays and work hours;
  • keep detailed payroll and time records of the hours the employee worked, wages paid and deductions;
  • pay taxes for unemployment insurance if the household employee is paid $500 or more in cash wages; and,
  • obtain workers’ compensation insurance (to cover work-related injury or sickness) for an employee working at least 40 hours per week, and disability benefits (for when an employee cannot work because of injury or sickness (including pregnancy) from an event occurring outside work).

California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Oregon now have similar Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights laws, and other states, including Illinois, Ohio, and Texas, are working to offer comparable protections.

Why did these laws come about?

Employers—from household employers to large corporations—regularly fail to pay overtime or fail to pay for all hours worked. Termed “wage theft,” this practice amounts to an estimated $105 billion per year in stolen wages, according to the national report Home Economics: The Invisible & Unregulated World of a Domestic Worker. This report, issued by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and DataCenter, found:

  • $10/hour is the median hourly wage for the domestic workers surveyed;
  • nearly a quarter (23 percent) of survey respondents are paid less than their state’s minimum wage;
  • slightly more than half (56 percent) of the survey respondents worked more than 40 hours per week for their primary employer;
  • many domestic workers are paid a flat rate that does not fluctuate based on hours worked;
  • widespread substandard working conditions, which go unreported largely due to domestic workers’ isolation in the workplaces; and,
  • domestic work, though conducted in private homes, contributes substantially to the public good. Household labor is a linchpin connecting the economics of the home and the workplace.

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

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.