Hiring a “Mary Poppins” Nanny

hiring mary poppins nannyHaving placed nannies for over 25 years, we can say honestly we have seen it all when it comes to families hiring in-home caregivers. When a new mom calls to find out about our agency, one thing we often hear is “Can I have a Mary Poppins nanny?” Unfortunately, wanting to hire Mary Poppins and pay her $10 an hour is not very realistic. Mary Poppins used magic to care for the Banks children. The nannies we place do not seem to have those magic powers. But they are loving and nurturing individuals who are dedicated to caring for children and making a difference in a child’s life (despite not having a fashionable hat and a parrot umbrella when they show up on your doorstep).

Families need to be honest about their expectations of the person they will be hiring, as well as their budget. Although many tend to equate babysitters and nannies, ask yourself whether you would hire the high school student down the street care to care for your 4-week old baby on a full-time basis. Nannies are not babysitters. In fact, the majority of them have chosen this as their career.

From our years of experience, there are a few key points to keep in mind when hiring a nanny:

  • Nannies need to be accommodating and flexible with the families they work with. On the flip side, the family also needs to be accommodating and flexible with the nanny they work with.
  • Make sure there is a connection with the nanny and feel comfortable with your decision. We’ve seen families hire the first person they interview and others who hire the tenth person.
  • Consider your job description and the attributes you are looking for in the person you hire.
  • Share your child rearing philosophies with the candidates; having the same approach can be very helpful, since it means both of you are on the same page.

As you go through the process of interviewing various personalities, if you finally think you found your “Mary Poppins” (or as close as you can get), make sure to check references and conduct a background check. We have encountered so many families that find their nannies elsewhere and end up having to come back to the agency for a replacement because they did not do the proper screening prior to hiring.

Our last tip: if anyone mentions paying your nanny “off the books,” understand that as a household employer, you are responsible for paying your nanny legally.

We have heard so many wonderful stories about how a nanny becomes a part of the family. A New England Nanny has placed nannies who have been working with the same families for 5, or even 10 years, and that is what makes our job so rewarding. Call us at (518) 348-0400 and let us know how we can help you!

How Much Should I Pay My Nanny?

how much should i pay my nannyOne of the most frequent questions we get asked from our families who are hiring a long-term nanny is how much they should pay them. How much to pay a nanny is something to figure out early in the process, not after you decide to hire someone. This way there are no surprises for either side.

Remember, hiring a nanny is hiring a professional to work in your home, much like a small business owner hires someone for their team.

If you’re hiring through an agency like ours, we will help you determine an appropriate offer for the type of nanny you’re seeking. But to get a general idea of all the factors that influence what you’ll pay your nanny, see the list below.

Factors for how much you pay a nanny

  1. Fair Labor Standards Act
    Full- and part-time nannies are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). They must be paid an hourly rate that is at least the federal minimum wage or the minimum wage for your state or city if it’s higher. Overtime pay of time and a half must also be paid for more than 40 hours of work per week.
  2. Location
    As with most jobs, nannies that live in areas that have a higher cost of living or in metropolitan areas tend to be paid more. According to the latest research by the International Nanny Association, the average hourly rate for a nanny in California is $23/hour. Washington, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland are also on the higher end of the pay scale with average rates of at least $20/hour. But in an area like the Capital Region, the average pay rate is around $15/hour.
  3. Live-in or Live Out
    Will your nanny be live-in or live-out? A nanny who lives in your home could be paid less if they are receiving room and board.
  4. Full-time or Part-time
    Are you hiring a full-time nanny or is it a part-time position? A full-time employee has more job security and may receive benefits that can keep their hourly rate lower than a part-time nanny.
  5. Experience, Education, and Training
    As with most professions, experience counts. Think about how many years of child care you would like to have in a candidate. What about certifications, formal education, or training in a child care field? The more experience, education, and training a nanny possesses, the higher her pay will be.
  6. Responsibilities
    What other responsibilities will your nanny have? Will they be expected to cook dinner, wash dishes, do laundry, walk the dog, or pick up the kids from school? Also, will your nanny need to be on call? Will they be expected to care for your children if you’re called into work? Additional responsibilities and being on call could increase the pay rate.
  7. Number of Children
    The number of children the nanny will care for will impact pay. The more children, typically the higher the pay.
  8. Benefits and Incentives
    As you determine your nanny’s hourly rate, you may want to consider benefits and incentives for your nanny. This will also help you attract and retain the best talent. Consider paid time off, paid holidays, health insurance (or health insurance stipend) and a retirement plan. Also, think about bonuses for excellent performance, annual cost of living increases, and reimbursement or increased pay for completing training or getting a degree.
  9. Tax Obligations
    When budgeting for your nanny’s pay, remember you have employer tax obligations on top of what you pay your nanny. Check out GTM Payroll Service’s easy-to-use tax calculator to help you figure this out.The tax calculator will also provide your nanny’s gross and net pay. Your nanny will be most interested in their net pay – or take-home pay. This is the amount in their paycheck after taxes – such as income tax, Medicare, and Social Security – are taken out. Their gross pay is their take-home pay plus the taxes that will be withheld. Make sure you and your candidate are clear about gross and net pay to avoid any confusion come pay day.

When you have agreed on compensation, put the hourly pay rate and other policies in a written work agreement.

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

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!

Hiring Without Performing Background Checks? Bad Idea

hiring without performing background checksThe old adage, better to be safe than sorry, cannot be more true when it comes to using sources to hire an employee for your home. The media is rife with stories on the dangers faced when household employees are hired without performing background checks. Even more stories are bandied about the household help community by word of mouth. The dangers of hiring without background checks being performed range from theft to physical harm. All of which may be avoided by thoroughly checking an employment candidate’s background.

In early 2013, a nanny from Ireland was accused of killing the one-year-old Cambridge, MA girl in her care from physical trauma much like shaken baby syndrome. A simple background check would have showed orders of protection against her and a violent past. (While the nanny spent two years in jail, the Massachusetts state medical officer in 2016 reversed the medical decision in this case as well as two others dealing with shaken baby syndrome, resulting in the nanny being immediately deported to Ireland. The case remains in the news as 1,800 medical pediatricians petitioned the Massachusetts governor in 2016 to review the state medical officer’s controversial decision.) (The Boston Globe, WCRB)

A mother, who wrote a 2015 parenting.com article, details why a background check could have saved her family from a dangerous situation. The mom admitted she did not perform a background check when she hired her nanny via Craigslist. “Had we done a simple search,” she wrote, “we would have uncovered her [the nanny’s] history of passing bad checks and a string of arrests from her early 20s. But we didn’t, and we got burned—bad.” The nanny also worked as a restaurant hostess, a job the nanny did not disclose to her household employer, and also created a website featuring poses in various states of undress. The nanny stole credit card information from restaurant patrons and ended up in jail.

Household employers must be sure to be thorough in their checks. Employers who relied on a national agency to perform background checks are finding its checks were insufficient—and have paid dearly. In 2014, A California nanny who had been hired online physically abused the twins she was charged with caring. In 2013, a greater Boston area nanny—a notorious thief with dozens of larceny and fraud charges and who served jail time—stole some $280,000 from her employer’s checking account. And, in Chicago in 2013, a three-year-old child died from a fractured skull while in the care of a nanny with previous legal run-ins and a 2010 DUI conviction.

The importance of background checks—and the increase of parents asking for background checks on their nannies—markedly increased after a nanny stabbed two New York City children to death and then tried to kill herself. This horrific 2012 Upper West Side murder opened parents’ eyes to the dangers of ignoring background checks. As with any hire, it is wise to treat every source for finding a nanny or other household help with caution and use common sense throughout the process. Each hire should not involve any short cuts.

A New England Nanny performs rigorous, thorough screenings of all our applicants, ensuring peace of mind for any family that hires through us. Learn more about our background checks, and contact us at (518) 348-0400 for more information.

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.

6 Reasons to Pay Your Nanny Legally

6 reasons to pay your nanny legallyIt may seem easy to just cut a check or hand over cash to your nanny each week for her services. You don’t have to deal with tax calculations, forms and the hassles that come with being an employer. Your nanny may feel the same way. However, that’s a roll of the dice – for both you and your nanny – and one that you may not be able to afford. Here are 6 reasons to pay your nanny legally:

1. Your Nanny Files for Unemployment

For whatever reason, you and your nanny part ways. Perhaps it didn’t work out or your kids are now in school so you don’t need a full-time caregiver. She now needs to find a new job and files for unemployment benefits to help during the transition period. But your state’s labor department has no record of your nanny holding a job. And why would they? You haven’t been paying unemployment insurance. A red flag is immediately raised and you can expect a call from your state with a hefty fine soon to follow.

2. Your Nanny Gets Hurt on the Job

Any number of injuries or illnesses can happen on the job. Some can be serious enough to send your nanny to her doctor’s office or even the hospital. The doctor asks how she got hurt. In retelling her story, she says it happened while she was working. Now there’s a workers’ compensation claim. You live in one of the many states that require household employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Of course, the workers’ comp board in your state has no record of her even being employed because you haven’t paid your nanny legally. Again, expect to be contacted by your state and prepare to open your wallet.

Workers’ compensation helps restore your nanny’s lost wages and cover some of her medical bills. Even in states where workers’ comp may not be required, it’s a good idea to have this protection.

3. You’ve Hired a “Less than Professional” Nanny

Nannies who take their jobs seriously likely won’t take your position if you plan to pay them under the table. They know the benefits of being paid on the books even if it means a little less in their paychecks each week. They have verifiable incomes and legal employment histories. They can receive unemployment, Social Security, and Medicare benefits. And now, the Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have health insurance or pay a fine. By being paid legally, your nanny may qualify for a subsidy when purchasing coverage through a health insurance marketplace.

This is the type of nanny you want looking after your children. Your chances of having a long-term relationship with a “professional” nanny are much greater than with one where joining together in tax fraud is the beginning of your association.

4. Your Nanny Sues for Not Withholding Taxes

Let’s say you and your nanny decide to pay off the books. She’s enjoying the extra money in her paycheck and so far you haven’t had any issues. However, she starts to understand what she’s missing. She can’t get credit or apply for a loan as she has no work history. She realizes she’s not saving money toward retirement. She sees other nannies enjoying these benefits. Now she wants to be part of it. So she sues you for not following the law.

5. You Incur Fines and Penalties for Not Following the Law

There are a number of wage and labor laws and regulations that domestic employers need to follow. Some may be bundled into the New York Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. Others fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Department of Labor rules, or IRS designations. These rules designate how to classify an employee for tax purposes, pay your employee including for overtime hours, properly track hours, provide time off, pay a minimum wage, and more. Not following the law will get you in trouble with your state and possibly the federal government. They won’t hesitate imposing a fine or penalty for your missteps.

6. You’ve Invited an IRS or State Tax Agency Audit

Getting caught paying your nanny “under the table” in any of the above scenarios could also trigger an IRS audit. Now the government is looking through your tax returns to see what else you may up to. If you haven’t done anything else wrong, the audit could just be a hassle. But you still may need to pay back taxes or a fine for not legally paying your nanny. According to The Motley Fool, failing to pay employment taxes can cost on average $25,000 in penalties and interest.

Take the time to do it right. Or, even better, have someone do it for you and save yourself the trouble. You will have peace of mind and may be able to take advantage of tax savings through the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and your employer’s Flexible Spending Account.

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

Do You Need a Non-Disclosure Agreement for Your Nanny?

nanny non-disclosure agreementIn the corporate business world, many companies require their employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement stating that any private and confidential information they come across must remain safe, as employees are privy to reports, policies, procedures, and other internal business-related communications. The world of household employment, while in a very different setting, is not so different when it comes to private information. So do you need a non-disclosure agreement for your nanny or other employee?

As a household employer, your employee has potential access to intimate and sensitive information. Whether it’s overhearing a conversation about finances, seeing a child’s medical records left on the counter, or being given the home alarm system code, your nanny must be trusted to keep information like this private and confidential both during and after their employment. Employers who are well-known in their community and those with celebrity status will be even more likely to make the employee legally bound to keep household information private.

While many employers will simply rely on good faith that their nanny or other employee will not violate that trust, some may wish for the security of a non-disclosure agreement. Such an agreement should be presented when the employee is hired, and should state clearly that the nanny is not to disclose any information pertaining to the household, whether she is on the clock or not. Households with multiple employees may also wish to state that workers may not discuss salary and benefit information with one another*.

* Under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employees have the right to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment, including their work hours, work conditions, and pay. However, domestic workers are among the types of employee not included in this law.

Employers that decide to use a non-disclosure agreement should also include the consequences an employee will face if they violate the agreement by disclosing – or even threatening to disclose – private information. Such consequences could be getting a court order preventing the employee from disclosing such information, or preventing the employee from going to work for someone to whom they disclosed the information. Other consequences could include the employer having the right to claim losses and damages from the employee. Termination is another potential consequence for the employee’s breaking of the agreement.

A New England Nanny’s temporary caregivers sign an agreement with the agency to not discuss or disclose private information. Families that hire long-term caregivers need to create their own agreement if they choose. For more information, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Is My Nanny an At-Will Employee?

nanny at-will employeeYes, nannies are at-will employees. In every U.S. state except Montana, employment is presumed to be at-will, meaning either the employer or the employee can legally terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice, and with or without cause. The employer has not guaranteed employment for a period of time, and the employee has not promised to stay; therefore, either party can end the relationship without financial penalty. There are, however, exceptions and limitations to the at-will relationship, so employers should still be careful when terminating an employee.

When a nanny and a family sign a long-term agreement for employment, it is not a legally binding contract with regard to the exact amount of time the nanny will be employed. Rather it’s setting expectations for the employment relationship, and serves as a commitment the family is making to the nanny, showing that they want the nanny employed for the length of time designated by the agreement, but does not guarantee that length of time. However, if there is language in the agreement that states a nanny must give two weeks’ notice before leaving, and then the nanny quits without giving such notice, the agreement can be viewed as a legally binding document should the family wish to pursue legal action against the nanny for violating the terms of the agreement.

It’s important to keep in mind that at-will employment does not permit an employer to terminate employment based on the employee exercising a legal right or belonging to a protected class (e.g., race, sex, religion, national origin); such a basis would be illegal and could lead to a discrimination claim. Consequently, the safest way to terminate an employee is to have documentation that justifies the legitimate business reasons behind the termination. This documentation would include infractions of policy, instances of poor performance, and any disciplinary or corrective action taken. The more an employer can do to show that they gave a terminated employee the chance to improve, the better.

The bottom line is that while at-will employment makes it sound like you can terminate a nanny at any time, with or without notice, and with or without cause—and to a degree you can—legitimate and documented business reasons are always your best bet.

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

Nanny vs. Day Care: What’s the Right Option for Your Family?

nanny vs. day careAmong the multitude of decisions that parents have to make is, if necessary, what kind of child care they will need. Should they hire a nanny? Should they use a day care facility?

While it’s an important decision, it doesn’t have to be a stressful one if the parents understand the differences between using a nanny and enrolling in a day care. There are pros and cons to each, and all must be considered.

Here are the key differences between using a nanny and using a day care center.

Nannies

The Pros

When a family hires a nanny, they become the employer. They make the schedules, they decide on the duties that will be performed, and they provide specific instructions for the child’s care. They also negotiate the nanny’s salary and benefits, so they know the exact cost of using this kind of child care. Many families value having control over the situation; schedules can be changed as needed, and parents can ask the nanny to provide updates throughout the day.

Families with non-traditional schedules can hire a live-in nanny to care for a child in the evening and during the night. There are certain requirements a family must provide in this situation, such as a private place for the nanny to sleep with a bathroom. But for families that can accommodate one, a live-in nanny may be a good option.

Some families want their child to have one-on-one attention from a caregiver, which a nanny provides. The nanny can adjust their approach based on both your instructions and how the child reacts to different things throughout the day. There is no competition for attention; a child may form a real bond with their nanny, and some families consider that a key piece of the child care puzzle.

Having a nanny can mean less busy work for parents. Lunches and snacks don’t have to be packed in the morning; the nanny can handle getting a child dressed, something all parents know can be a laborious task. Winter weather can make it even more difficult to pack up and get a child out of the house; a nanny can handle that instead. Some families have their nanny do the kids’ laundry, light house cleaning, prepare dinner, or other simple but time-consuming jobs that a parent would be grateful to find done when they get home from work.

Families that hire a nanny through an agency have access to helpful child care resources, along with guidance and support from the agency, including back-up care should their regular nanny not be able to come to work.

Using a nanny for child care means families may be eligible to claim the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) or Child and Dependent Care tax credit, which can help offset some of the cost of the nanny’s salary and benefits.

The Cons

If a nanny calls out sick one day, or needs several days off due to an unexpected emergency, families that hire on their own (not through an agency) will need to find a replacement or take time off of work to care for the child. This can be disruptive for the parents, but also for the child, especially if they have started to form a bond with their nanny. Being dependent on one person for child care can cause these inconveniences.

Many families find nannies through online job boards; these nannies are not required to have any specific education credentials or certifications (such as CPR or first aid). A family searching for a nanny with all the qualifications they require can be time-consuming, and performing background checks becomes the parents’ responsibility. While there are legal protections for nannies in many states, there is no regulation process for anyone who wants to be a nanny; all the hiring decisions are made by the family.

Any family that pays a nanny over $2,100 (2018) in a year must also pay employment taxes; families must file all applicable nanny tax forms, Social Security, Medicare, federal and state unemployment insurances, and income taxes. Some states also require that a household employer have a workers’ compensation policy in case a nanny is injured or becomes ill while on duty.

Hiring a nanny means a family is now running a business with one employee. They need to negotiate salary and benefits, such as vacation and sick time, health insurance, and even retirement benefits. Families are advised to create a job description, a work agreement, and must ensure they are complying with applicable discrimination and harassment laws. Figuring out all the obligations of being a household employer takes a lot of time and effort (but using a payroll service like our partners at GTM Payroll can take all that off your plate).

Day Care

Pros

Day cares provide socialization for children that many families find integral to their child’s development. Children in day care learn about sharing, playing with others, interactional behavior, and other social skills. They make friends and develop relationships with their peers.

Many day cares bring in special instructors for art, music, or dance, and day cares usually have far more toys, art supplies, and playground equipment than any one family. Children get to know many of the day care staff, not just the teachers in their room, so that when there are substitutions it’s not stressful for the kids.

Many day care teachers have educational backgrounds in childhood education and/or psychology, so they can form a curriculum based on the children’s ages and maturity levels. Children in day care often come home knowing their ABCs, numbers, colors, and shapes.

Day cares run on a set schedule, and many of them are open past 5:00pm to accommodate families getting off of work. Many also open early, around 7:00am, to assist families who need more time in the morning to get to their jobs.

Day care center employees have been background-checked and screened. Many require that their teachers have a degree in an appropriate field, along with CPR and first aid training. Parents may find peace of mind knowing that day cares are state-regulated and subject to laws regarding teacher-child ratios, safety, and cleanliness.

Many day cares provide snacks, and some also provide breakfast or lunch, which means families don’t have to spend as much time getting food together in the morning. Children are often exposed to new foods and learn to try new things at day care, something they may be much more reluctant to do at home.

Families can help offset the cost of day care through the DCAP; this plan allows individuals to qualify up to $ 5,000 of their annual salary federal and state income tax-free.

Cons

While some families value the set schedule a day care provides, it can become an inconvenience if a meeting is going late and a parent can’t get to the facility by closing time. Day cares charge extra for late pick-ups, so it may be a struggle to balance work responsibilities and the day care’s hours.

Some children may find the stimulation at day care overwhelming; new faces, lots of new experiences, and perhaps more noise than they are used to. While day cares emphasize socialization, it may not be the right environment for a child.

More kids mean more germs. Children are more likely to develop colds and viruses in a group environment, and then they bring those germs home, which mean parents and other family members may find themselves getting sick more often than usual. If a child has a fever or vomits, most centers will require the child stay home until for at least 24 hours (or as long as it takes for the fever to go away); that means arranging other child care or staying home from work until the child is healthy enough to return. Day cares charge their regular rate whether the child is there or not.

Along with being closed on major holidays, many day cares close on various days throughout the year for professional development and training, or for religious holidays. On those days, if the parents still have to work, other child care arrangements will need to be made.

Day care centers sometimes have high turnover rates, so if a child forms a bond with one or more of the staff, they may struggle if those staff members leave.

The Costs

For some families, after considering all the pros and cons listed above, their decision about child care may depend most heavily on the cost.

Nannies

According to the International Nanny Association’s (INA) 2014 Salary and Benefits Survey, the national average hourly wage for nannies was $18.66, with some wages over $22 per hour. 62% of nannies surveyed received paid vacation time, and 12% received either full or partial health insurance.

If a family hires a nanny for 40 hours per week and pays the average of $18.66 per hour, the cost to the family would be $746.40 per week, or $38,812 a year. That does not take into account the costs involved with the hiring process; using an agency means paying a membership or placement fee, and hiring through an online job board means families will pay for background checks. Workers’ compensation and health insurance are additional expenses as well. If a family decides to use their accountant or a payroll service to handle the payroll and tax responsibilities, those are also additional costs to consider.

Day Care

The cost of using a day care center varies greatly from state to state, and changes based on the age of the children. In general, the older the child gets, the less day cares charge; some centers also give families a discount if they have more than one child enrolled.

For example, according to Child Care Aware of America, the average annual cost for infant day care in New York is $14,144; for an infant and a 4-year-old in day care, the average annual cost is $25,844. In Florida, infant care averages $8,694 annually, and $16,362 for an infant and a 4-year-old. In Illinois, the costs using the same examples are $12,964 and $22,531 respectively.

Additional costs need to be considered for using a nanny or babysitter when the day care center is closed or if the child is sick and can’t attend day care.

Ultimately parents know better than anyone else what is best for their family, both financially and emotionally. It’s not a decision to be made lightly, but having all the information and understanding the pros and cons to each option will make the decision a little easier.

Negotiating the Right Pay Rate for Your Nanny

negotiating the right pay rate for your nannyYou likely have an hourly rate in mind that you’d be comfortable paying a nanny or other household employee. When determining your budget, keep in mind your tax responsibilities that need to paid on top of your employee’s pay. You may also need to pay for workers’ compensation insurance. According to federal law, household employees are non-exempt, which mean they are paid an hourly rate and not a salary. Understanding the difference between gross pay and net pay will be a big help when negotiating the right pay rate for your nanny.

Gross Pay
This is the pay for your nanny or household employee before taxes are withheld.

Net Pay
Sometimes referred to as “take home” pay, this is the amount of money your employee receivesafter all taxes have been withheld.

You should make it clear to a potential hire whether you’re offering gross pay or net pay to avoid any confusion come pay day.

To help illustrate how the difference between gross and net pay works out in real dollars, please watch this brief video demonstration from our friends at GTM Payroll Services.

Visit GTM’s Nanny Tax calculator to determine a gross pay and hourly rate for your employee that will generate a specific take-home pay.

We are also here to help you discuss salary options with your nanny. For more information, contact us at (518) 348-0400.