When is a Child Too Sick for a Nanny?

child too sick for a nannyOne of the worst feelings a parent can have is when their child is sick, especially when the child is too young to communicate exactly how they’re feeling, where it hurts, etc. Needing child care can complicate things when a child is ill. Parents often don’t like to leave their children when they’re not feeling well, but sometimes they simply can’t stay home. Certain illnesses are contagious, however, and so exposing a caregiver to a contagious child can become an issue. So when is a child too sick for a nanny?

A New England Nanny will provide nannies or babysitters to mildly ill children. “Mildly ill” is interpreted to mean the child:

  • does not have an excessively high fever
  • has preferably been to a doctor
  • is recuperating from an illness such as: cold, ear infection, fever, minor injury, pink eye*, strep throat*, tonsillitis, or intestinal disorder.

*For contagious illnesses that are treatable with medication, the child must be on an antibiotic for at least 24 hours.

For contagious illnesses that are not treated with medication, A New England Nanny has the right to refuse care due to the possibility of spreading the illness to the caregiver, who in turn could spread the illness to other homes/children they may work with. These illnesses include:

  • stomach flu
  • hand-foot-and-mouth disease
  • chicken pox
  • measles
  • mumps, and others

These are conditions that may warrant care being refused. A caregiver has the right to refuse to stay, if upon arrival, conditions are different that were initially described to the agency’s representatives.

Please contact us at (518) 348-0400 if you have any questions.

8 Summer Day Trips from the Albany NY Area

day trips albany nyParents and nannies are often on the lookout for new ideas for keeping the kids entertained. But sometimes the usual local haunts and activities just won’t cut it. Sometimes you need to pile into the car and hit the road! Luckily the Capital Region of New York offers plenty to do just a short drive from the Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, and Troy areas. Here are eight places that are sure to be fun for both you and the youngsters.

  1. Cooperstown – just 90 minutes from Albany, this little town is world famous for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But even if you don’t have baseball fans in your family, there is plenty else to see and do. The Farmer’s Museum is one of the oldest “living history museums,” featuring exhibits, craft demonstrations, and hand-on activities that show what life was like centuries ago. It’s fun and educational for all ages. There is boating and kayaking on Otsego Lake (also known as Glimmerglass Lake), and the cute town features lots of shopping and dining.
  2. Lake George – the “Queen of American Lakes” is an hour from Albany, and has plenty to offer for the whole family. Miniature golf courses and ice cream shops can be found all around Lake George Village, with great shopping and dining along the waterfront. Numerous types of boat cruises and other water activities are always popular, including swimming in the sparkly clear water. There hiking trails in the hills surrounding the lake, and the historically-inclined will enjoy Fort William Henry, French and Indian War site from the 1700’s.
  3. Howe Caverns – an absolutely stunning adventure, and only 45 minutes from Albany! Several types of cave tours are offered, depending on age and how adventurous you are, but the basic tour is perfect for families of all ages. The enormous caverns are lit with multi-colored lights, highlighting the intricate details of this subterranean wonder. Plus there’s a short boat ride on the underground river! Beautiful rock formations and the comfortable year-round temperature make this a must-see for Capital Region families. During the summer, there’s an outdoor activity area with zip lines, rock walls, and more.
  4. Manchester, Vermont – the Green Mountains of Vermont are beautiful during every season, and Manchester is a great place to begin exploring. Manchester is an hour and a half from Albany, and you’ll find plenty of charming shops, restaurants offering delicious local fare, and historical buildings to wander by. Just outside of town there is a wealth of hiking and biking trails, fishing excursions on local lakes, and just taking in the natural beauty of southern Vermont.
  5. Lake Placid – It might only be a couple of hours from Albany, but this village in the Adirondacks feels like it’s a world away. Gorgeous flowers and trees surround the huge lake, and the year-round activities are bound to keep families entertained. In the summer, hike the bridges around High Falls Gorge or the trails at Cobble Hill, or take the mountain bikes out for some action. Of course lots of fun is to be had on the lake itself – waterskiing and tubing, cliff diving, or just a leisurely cruise around the water will hit the spot. The winter season offers some of the best skiing in the Northeast, especially Whiteface Mountain. You can also check out the Olympic Center, the Olympic Jumping Complex, and the Olympic Sports Complex, all created for the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Village of Lake Placid features great dining options at its many restaurants, hotels and resorts, with fun shopping experiences on Main Street, and many cultural activities.
  6. Kaaterskill Falls – Just over an hour away from Albany is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the region. Kaaterskill Falls is the highest cascading waterfall in New York State, with more than a 260-foot drop! Renowned painters and photographers have captured the beauty of this natural wonder, and the trail to reach the falls is less than 1.5 miles round-trip, making it doable for many kids. However, caution is advised as the rocks near the falls can be very slippery – make sure everyone stays on the marked trail.
  7. Hudson – When you think of the Hudson Valley, the town of Hudson is what should spring to mind. A frequent destination of visitors from New York City looking to escape to the tranquility of Upstate NY, Hudson has lots to offer, and it’s only about 45 minutes from Albany. This walkable town features a shopping district, historic architecture, and is home to numerous restaurants of all kinds. Surrounded by farms, there is a focus on local, farm-to-table eating that draws foodies from all over the state. 10 minutes outside of town is the Olana State Historic Site, a 250-acre landscape designed by artist Frederic Edwin Church. The grounds feature a Persian-inspired house at its summit, showcasing amazing panoramic views of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains.
  8. Natural Stone Bridge and Caves Park – Located a little under 90 minutes from Albany in Pottersville, NY, this site includes natural formations that are over a billion years old! Also featuring the largest marble cave entrance in the east, this beautiful area can be explored via a self-guided trail that winds around waterfalls and deep pools. Some of the caves are accessible by foot, but others require spelunking gear. Tours are available during the summer for the more adventurous. Kids can also enjoy the playground, rock walls, gemstone mining, dinosaur bone digs, and there’s even a disc golf course for those so inclined.

As you can see, there’s fun for everyone – and you don’t have to go very far to find it! Have a favorite day trip destination? Tell us about it in the comments. And if you need an extra hand with the kids on one of these trips, or want to leave the little ones behind so you can get away for the day, call us at (518) 348-0400 and we’ll send a professional caregiver to help.

July Nanny of the Month!

july nanny of the monthIt’s time again to recognize a member of the A New England Nanny team that has WOWed our clients!

This staff member has only been with us less than a year, but in that time has proven to be a real team player. She is being recognized for:

  1. Providing excellent care, based on client feedback
  2. Working without hesitation when available.
  3. Keeping her schedule current and correct
  4. Her superb communication with the agency, always following up in a timely fashion when contacted

For these reasons, Kyra has been named our July Nanny of the Month! Thank you Kyra for positively representing A New England Nanny and being an integral part of the team. We appreciate all you do for our families.

We are very pleased and lucky to have Kyra on board as part of our staff.  She will be awarded a $50 Visa gift card and our many thanks for being a positive representation of the agency.

Do you need a Kyra for your family? Call us at (518) 348-0400 and let us know how we can help.

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!

Summer Child Care: Nanny or Day Camp?

nanny or day campWhile children undoubtedly look forward to being out of school for the summer, those three months off can be worrisome for parents, especially those whose schedules don’t change during the summer and still need to make sure their kids are cared for. While day camps are a popular option, it might not be the right one for every family. Some may choose to hire a summer nanny to look after the children.

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

Here are the key differences between using a nanny and sending the kids to camp.

Nannies

The Pros

When a family hires a summer nanny, they set the schedule, they dictate the duties the nanny will perform, and they provide specific instructions for the child’s care. The nanny’s pay rate and benefits are negotiated, so they know the exact cost of hiring a summer nanny. Many families prefer having a situation where they can control the schedule and ask the nanny to provide updates throughout the day.

Live-in nannies can be hired to care for a child in the evening and during the night, if parents’ schedules don’t allow them to be home then. 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.

A nanny provides one-on-one attention, which may be preferable for some families. Based on both parental instructions and the child’s reaction to different things, a summer nanny can adjust their approach to caring for the child. A child may form a real bond with their nanny as there’s no competition for attention, and some families may value that component highly.

Summer nannies can handle the child-related busy work. Camp lunches and snacks don’t have to be packed before leaving the house. All parents know the struggle of getting a child dressed in the morning, which is something a nanny can handle instead. Plus parents can ask the nanny to do the kids’ laundry, light house cleaning, prepare dinner, or other easy but tedious jobs that a nanny can do to make coming from work less stressful for mom and dad.

Hiring a summer nanny through an agency benefits families by giving them 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.

Families may be eligible to claim the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) or Child and Dependent Care tax credit when they use a nanny for child care. Those can help offset some of the cost of the nanny’s wages and benefits.

The Cons

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 if their nanny calls out sick one day, or needs time off due to an unexpected emergency. It can be disruptive and inconvenient when a family has to scramble for backup child care, especially if the kids have started to bond with the nanny.

Many families use online job boards to find nannies; it’s important to know that these nannies are not required to have any specific education credentials or certifications (such as CPR or first aid). Searching for a nanny with all the qualifications parents require can be time-consuming, and performing background checks becomes the family’s responsibility. All the hiring decisions are made by the family, and while there are legal protections for nannies in New York and other states, anyone who wants to be a nanny can be one without going through any regulation process.

Employment taxes must be paid by any family that pays a nanny over $2,100 (2018) in a year (this threshold can easily be reached even for just a summer nanny). All applicable nanny tax forms, Social Security, Medicare, federal and state unemployment insurances, and income taxes must be filed. In New York, if a summer nanny works at least 40 hours in any week, the family must have a workers’ compensation policy in case the nanny is injured or becomes ill while on duty.

When a family hires a nanny, they become a household employer. Pay rate and benefits need to be negotiated; vacation and sick time, health insurance, and even retirement must be discussed with a summer nanny. A job description and work agreement should be created, and families must ensure they are complying with any applicable discrimination and harassment laws. It takes a lot of time and effort to figure out all the household employer obligations (but using a payroll service like our partners at GTM Payroll will make things much easier).

Day Camp

Pros

Day camps continue the socialization that children receive in school, which many families find integral to their child’s development. Sharing, playing with others, interactional behavior, and other social skills learned in school are ongoing in camp. New friends are made and kids develop relationships with their peers.

There are a lot of specialized day camps regarding subject matter. Some focus on arts and crafts, some on individual and team sports, others on water-related activities, and some are more education-focused, like science camps. Kids may be more engaged and learn more if the focus of the camp is something they are already interested in as they improve their skills or learn new ones.

Many day camp counselors have educational backgrounds in childhood education and/or psychology (teachers sometimes make camp their summer job), so they can tailor activities based on the children’s ages and maturity levels.

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

Reputable day camps will background-check and screen their employees. In New York, children’s camps are subject to numerous regulations regarding health, safety, and qualifications for camp staff, which may bring parents peace of mind.

Many day camps provide snacks or even lunch, which can reduce the amount of time it takes for families to get everything ready for camp in the morning. Children often encounter new foods at day camp and may try new things, something they may not be as eager to do at home.

The DCAP can help families offset the cost of day camp, allowing individuals to qualify up to $ 5,000 of their annual salary federal and state income tax-free.

Cons

While some families value a day camp’s set schedule, if a meeting is going late and a parent can’t get to the facility by closing time, it can be very inconvenient. Day camps usually charge extra for late pick-ups, so balancing work responsibilities and day camp hours may be a struggle.

The stimulation at day camp can be overwhelming for some kids; new faces, lots of new experiences, and perhaps more activity than they are used to. While socialization is a big part of camp, it may not be the right environment for certain children.

While illness tends to decline during the summer, kids can still get sick. Most camps will require a child who has a fever or vomits to stay home 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 camps will usually not give a refund for any days a child misses.

While the only holiday closure to worry about during the summer is Independence Day, some camps are not open every week, or some may close for religious holidays. When camp is closed and the parents still need to work, other child care arrangements will have to be made.

Day camp staff can change year-to-year, so if a child forms a bond with one or more of the counselors, they may be disappointed if those workers aren’t there the next summer.

The Costs

After considering all the pros and cons listed above, a family’s decision about summer child care may come down to the cost.

Nannies

According to the International Nanny Association’s (INA) 2017 Salary and Benefits Survey, the national average hourly wage for nannies was $19.14, with some wages over $25 per hour. 75% of nannies surveyed received paid vacation time, and 17% received either full or partial health insurance.

If a family hires a summer nanny for 40 hours per week and pays the average of $19.14 per hour, the cost to the family would be $765.60 per week. There are additional costs involved with the hiring process; agencies charge a membership or placement fee, and families that hire using an online site will need to pay for background checks. Additional expenses can include workers’ comp and health insurance, and families that use their accountant or a payroll service must also consider those costs.

Day Camp

The cost of day camps varies greatly, based on the number of hours the camp is open each day, and the cost of the activities. Many day camps are operated by non-profit organizations, and those camps can be as low as $100 per week. According to the American Camp Association (ACA), families can expect to pay an average of $304 per week for day camp.

Specialty and for-profit camps are certainly more expensive, as the campers receive more individual attention and the skills of the staff are more specialized. Those camps can range from $500-$1000 per week, according to the ACA.

When the camp is closed or if the child is sick and can’t attend, the cost of backup child care or the cost of a parent staying home from work must be considered.

A third option is to use both! Some day camps are only half-day (which cost far less than full-day camps), so a family could take the kids to camp in the morning, and then have a nanny pick them up and care for them in the afternoon. This could be the “best of both worlds” for some families, but others may prefer the consistency of either just a nanny or just day camp.

Ultimately what’s best for a family (both financially and emotionally), is determined by the parents.  The decision about using a nanny versus a day camp is not to be made lightly, but having all the information and understanding the pros and cons to each option will make that decision a little easier.

Questions? Please contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Should You Bring Your Nanny on a Family Vacation?

vacation nannyDo you ever take a vacation with the kids, only to feel like you need another vacation when you get home? Traveling with children can make for some unforgettable memories, but it can often be a drain on your energy and make you feel like you can’t fully enjoy your trip. That’s where a “vacation nanny” comes in.

For most families, bringing a nanny on vacation means an extra set of hands and eyes. If you’re traveling to a crowded city or theme park, having those extra eyes keeping watch on the kids can create peace of mind. Some parents may need to get some work done while on vacation, so a nanny would then help to entertain the little ones during that time. If the kids are still taking naps, the nanny can stay with them during nap time so the parents can have some genuine vacation time together.

Parents also might want a fancy dinner out during the trip, and having the kids’ usual nanny with them might be a better option than using a hotel’s babysitting service (if they have one).  Speaking of familiarity, some children may feel uncomfortable in new surroundings far from home. Having that familiar person with you who you trust and who knows your kids well can make them feel less apprehensive about being in a foreign environment.

As tempting as it sounds to have a nanny with you, it’s critical that parents realize that their vacation time is not the same as their nanny’s vacation time. A nanny who travels with a family and performs work responsibilities should be paid accordingly. Here are some quick tips on how to compensate your nanny for your family vacation:

  • Outline exactly what the nanny’s job responsibilities and hours will be prior to departing.
  • Your nanny needs to be paid for all travel time to and from the destination, as well as costs for flights, accommodations, meals, and any other travel-related expenses.
  • Your nanny should be paid the normal salary for all hours they are “on the clock.”
  • Nannies should have their own space for sleeping, either in a separate hotel room or their own bedroom within a hotel suite or time-share.
  • Any weekly hours over 40 need to be paid as overtime pay (one and a half times the regular hourly pay).

You do not need to compensate a nanny during any of her own free time on the trip when she is not doing anything work-related.

Make sure you discuss any travel plans with your nanny well in advance of booking a trip. Many nannies will gladly accompany you on a vacation, even if they are working, because it may provide opportunities to travel to places they otherwise could not visit. But some nannies may not want the responsibilities of child care when they’re in an exotic locale. In that case, you can ask an agency for a temporary nanny just for the vacation.

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

 

A Walk in the Park

a walk in the parkToday is National Take a Walk in the Park Day! The kids are off school, so scoop them up and get them outside. According to Nationaldaycalendar.com, taking a walk at a local park is an excellent way to clear one’s mind from the stresses of the day, re-energize and at the same time, improve health. Even if the weather is a little damp, you can still enjoy the beauty of our local parks.

So where to go? Check out this list of Capital Region parks, then get out and take a walk in one (or more) of them!

Albany Area

  • Albany Pine Bush Preserve
    • More of a nature center than a park, it offers interactive exhibits about local wildlife and plants. Then take one of the hiking trails and see the animals and flowers you read about in the nature center!
  • Jennings Landing (formerly known as Albany Riverfront Park)
    • A beautiful stretch of walking paths along the Hudson, you can watch boats on the river or stroll along the tree-lined walkway to a playground.
  • Crossings of Colonie
    • Enjoy the large playground, hedge maze, and winding paths through trees and around the big lake.
  • Washington Park
    • Tulip season is the best time to visit this park, but year-round the large fields, playground, and walking path around the lake make this park worth a visit.
  • Buckingham Lake Park
    • The brand new playground is great for kids, and a walk around the pond offers views of wildlife and various flowers and trees.

Schenectady

  • Central Park
    • Tons of trees, green lawns, woodland trails, a small pond & an outdoor public swimming pool are all here. The rose garden must not be missed!

Troy Area

  • Peebles Island State Park
    • Located where the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers meet, the park offers great river views along the miles of paths through the gently rolling and wooded landscape.
  • Frear Park
    • A beautiful part of Troy, it features nature trails, tennis courts, a golf course, and an ice rink.

Saratoga Springs

  • Saratoga Spa State Park
    •  Enjoy the picnic areas and shady stream side trails as you wander over the many acres. The park is also home to the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, and the Gideon Putnam Resort and Roosevelt Baths and Spa.
  • Congress Park
    • Right in the center of town, this park features beautifl landscaping, hot springs, the Canfield Casino, and an historic carousel.

Other Areas

  • Thacher State Park
    • Take a walk along the cliffs, enjoy woodland and open fields, and have a picnic at one of the many available sites. The Indian Ladder Trail is one of the most scenic you’ll find in the region, and there is a new nature center and playground.
  • Grafton Lakes State Park
    • Miles of nature trails for hiking and biking, plus horse riding trails. When it’s warm enough, the lakes offer swimming, fishing, and boating.

So whether it’s National Take a Walk in the Park Day or not, there are plenty of parks around to get out and enjoy nature with the kids!

How Nannies Benefit from Being Paid Legally

nannies benefit from being paid legallyFamilies benefit from legally paying their nannies or other domestic workers by staying compliant with the law and being able to take advantage of tax breaks. But a nanny benefits as well from being paid legally even though they may see a little less in their paychecks.

If you’re hiring or looking to transition a current employee to “on the books” and she doesn’t want taxes taken out of her pay, explain these nanny benefits and protections that they’ll enjoy.

Nanny Benefits of Legal Pay

1. Verifiable income

If your employee applies for a car loan, student loan, mortgage or even a credit card, they’ll need to show that they can pay monthly installments. Being paid legally provides a verifiable income to show the lending institution. If their pay is not documented, they have no way to show that they have a job that brings in a steady income.

2. Legal employment history

Having a work history is also important when applying for a loan, credit, or their next job. Being paid “on the books” creates a legal employment history that banks and lending institutions as well as future employers can verify.

3. Unemployment benefits

As an employer paying your workers legally, you are required to pay unemployment taxes. This is an employer-only tax yet it’s your employee who benefits. If your nanny loses her job, through no fault of her own, unemployment benefits will partially replace their lost wages for up to six weeks while they look for a new job. Amicable splits are common in household employment and this is a benefit your nanny will want if they find themselves without a job.

4. Social Security and Medicare benefits

Social Security and Medicare taxes will be taken out of your nanny’s pay. This money is set aside to help pay for their living and medical expenses when they retire. As an employer, you’ll also pay into their Social Security and Medicare. If your nanny is paid “under the table,” they won’t receive these benefits. As a result, they may need to continue working past retirement age.

5. Health care subsidy

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a health insurance marketplace has been created to help uninsured people find coverage. If your nanny wants to purchase a policy through the marketplace, they could qualify for a subsidy and cut the costs of their insurance. For example, a nanny who makes $40,000 and lives on her own in New York City would save 38 percent on their health insurance premiums. Of course, this is only available to them if they are paid legally.

6. Employment benefits

As an employer, you may want to provide benefits to your workers to help retain your best employees. A 401k retirement plan and health insurance plans that may be cheaper and provide better coverage than the ACA marketplace are a couple of perks that would set you apart from other employers. But your nanny will be need to paid legally in order to take advantage of these benefits.

The benefits and protections of being paid legally far outweigh the small amount of money that will be taken out of their pay each week.

Our Nanny of the Month!

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations Jelani!

Nanny Tax Compliance Infographic

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

nanny tax compliance