Your Kid Has Lice? Don’t Panic!

Lice - don't panicBy Deb Medina

If you are a parent with kids in school, you have probably gotten a letter in the backpack indicating “a reported case of lice in your child’s class.” As you start to panic a little while checking your child’s head, you might wonder if you really even know what you’re looking for.

If you’re just looking for bugs crawling around, that is not always the case! Yes, you may see actual lice crawling around if the eggs or “nits” have hatched. However, if the louse has laid eggs and moved on, you may just see a small white speck on the hair strand which you could easily mistake as a fuzz or dry scalp. The difference is when you try to flick it away, it hangs on to the hair shaft for dear life.

I never knew to look for nits. The first time this happened was last fall after we got the dreaded letter. I took my daughter to the doctor for something unrelated. I asked her to check her head, even though I told her I already did and didn’t find a thing. That’s when the doctor said, “See these little white specks? Those are nits.”

I immediately went to the store and bought the typical lice treatment remedy.  I spent $100 on a nasty chemical, then spent the next 2 hours with a crying 6-year-old sitting in front of me while I used a comb that continuously pulled at her long hair, and with each pull she screamed at me. She cried, I cried, and both of us were nearing a nervous breakdown. By the end, we were both physically and mentally exhausted. We vacuumed, bagged things and washed everything in hot water as instructed per the box. I never wanted to go through that again.

liceMonths later, I was in my car and heard an advertisement for the Miracles on Lice Treatment Center in Ballston Lake. After looking on their website, I really wish I knew about this place sooner so I wouldn’t have put my daughter through that ordeal.

But even though school is out for the summer, lice don’t take a vacation. I picked my daughter up from camp one day, and later while brushing her hair, I found nits!

This time I immediately called Miracles on Lice.  They were very nice and accommodating, and I was given an appointment for the next morning. I hoped that they would say she was clear because their treatment is expensive, but if they could indeed perform a “miracle,” it would be worth every penny.

The first thing they do is a head check which runs $25. So if you get the dreaded letter from school and you aren’t sure whether your child may have lice, the $25 is worth it. If they do have it, everyone in the family is given a head check at no charge, and then they will give you the options to treat it.  The treatment process is extremely time-consuming and done in more than one stage while you’re there. They don’t fool around – they wear headlamps and are certified in the “Shepherd Method,” which is strand-by-strand nit and lice removal, which is supposed to be the most effective method.

Unfortunately my daughter did have nits, so we spent the next 3 hours at their office (they checked me and thankfully I was clear). They had movies and other things to occupy my daughter, who went from being scared before we arrived to actually not wanting to leave! When her treatment was done, they gave her a braid of her choice and me a letter clearing her to go back to camp the next day.

Miracles on Lice is run by a local family of licensed hair stylists who saw the need to help families. The mom worked in a salon for children and when they had to turn away lice-infected kids, she realized they needed help, so they started this business.

While the cost is high, I was willing to pay more to let the experts treat it and treat it right.  Did you know you can get lice from going to the movies? Many other heads touch that seat before you sit down in it, so the risk is there. I would have never known that without visiting Miracles on Lice!

I also learned that to help prevent lice:

  1. Stop using sweet-smelling hair products. Most kids’ products smell fruity and sweet. Rosemary and mint aromas can actually repel lice. Miracles on Lice has their own brand which contains a special mix of scents that lice hate most (I bought a set of their shampoo and conditioner – I’m not playing around either).
  2. Always have long hair in braids or buns when around others (especially at school).
  3. Do not let kids share hats, combs and brushes, hair bands, and other items. If kids’ coats are hung next to each other, lice can walk right on over. Miracles on Lice also has a repellent spray that lasts 8 hours – spray on coats, backpacks, etc.

I hope sharing my story will help any families that might be dealing with lice, whether it’s just to get a head check or a full treatment – you can check out pictures of my daughter’s visit below. I am very grateful to the staff at Miracles on Lice!

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Social Media Tips for Getting that Nanny Job…and Keeping it!

social media tips for nanniesMost employers today – including household employers – use social media as a form of background checking and screening of job applicants and current employees. Nannies and other domestic workers who post things on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites may be exposing certain aspects of their personal lives to potential and current employers. Therefore, it’s important to be aware that anything you post online may not remain private. And while you may feel that you are keeping your personal and professional lives separate, many employers will not draw that distinction, especially when the applicant will be working in the family’s home with children.

Please see our guidelines below on social media tips for getting and keeping your job.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Getting the Job

  • Check your privacy settings on Facebook – you should only allow “Friends” to see what you post and anything in which you are “tagged.” Be aware that privacy settings change from time to time, so you should periodically check to make sure yours are set appropriately.
  • Anything you post on Twitter may be seen by the public, including prospective employers – even if they are not following you!
  • Potential employers may look at your grammar and use of language.
  • Most employers will check for posts containing vulgar language, nudity or sexual pictures, and slander (such as bashing a previous employer).
  • Social media sites allow employers to see a glimpse of you beyond what is on your resume or profile.
  • You might wish to take down anything that could be viewed as unprofessional or offensive.
  • Post photos that present you in a professional light – for example, a potential employer that sees photos of you consuming alcohol, drugs, or other objectionable behaviors may decide not to hire you.
  • An agency can only do so much in regards to assisting you in getting the nanny job you want. You have to also be diligent in your efforts to make sure you are presenting yourself professionally to employers.

You Got the Job – Now Keep it!

  • Do not post any photos of the children or other family members you work with, unless you have permission from the parents to do so.
  • Discuss with your employer about social media policies and what they expect of you as a nanny.
  • Do not discuss or divulge any information online or in person about the family you work for. Respect their privacy!
  • When you are with the children, do not “check-in” at any certain place. This will allow others to know your location.
  • Is it a good idea to “Friend” your employer? Unless you have a previous relationship with the family, the experts say no. Plus if your employer can see what time you’re posting things, they might wonder why you’re spending time online instead of watching the kids!

All aspects of social media and your employment should be discussed in detail between the family and the nanny, and then the rules agreed upon should be written down and have a signed approval. This will hopefully prevent any social media problems throughout the employment relationship.

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

Sexual Harassment Policy for Household Employers

sexual harassment policyA sexual harassment policy stipulates that no nanny or other employee should be subject to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that is sexual in nature or that shows hostility to the employee because of his or her gender. Sexual harassment can have devastating effects on the workplace. Therefore, household employers need to take every step necessary to prohibit sexual harassment from occurring. Many workplaces have a zero tolerance policy, which means an employer will not tolerate any sexual harassment whatsoever.

It is best for an employer to include an anti-harassment/anti-discrimination policy in his or her employee handbook, which specifically addresses sexual harassment. The policy should clearly state that:

  • a nanny or other employee and employer(s) within the household are expected to treat one another with respect;
  • the employer will act immediately upon learning of a sexual harassment complaint. An employee should promptly file a complaint if the employee is made to feel uncomfortable or finds behavior unwelcome, offensive, or inappropriate. A complaint may be made formally or informally. The law stipulates that the perception of misbehavior must be reasonable. Employers need to assure employees that all complaints of sexual harassment will be handled as confidentially as possible;
  • the employer mandates a workplace free from all forms of discrimination; and,
  • everyone within the household is expected to act respectfully in order to enjoy a positive working environment.

Employers must be prepared to respond to sexual harassment in the workplace—just as they are responsible for preventing any harassment or discrimination within the workplace. The employee handbook should include what is prohibited behavior in the workplace and what actions will be taken when a sexual harassment complaint is filed. In addition, the policy must state that, per federal law, no employee will experience retaliation for submitting a sexual harassment complaint.

Crossing the Line

The line between home and work, domestic and business, personal and professional, has been blurry for a long time. Unfortunately, sometimes it becomes more than a story of cheating and closed-door liaisons and becomes much more serious. As a result, domestic workers (especially undocumented illegal immigrants) are frequently exposed to verbal and physical abuse, do not know their legal rights or the recourse to any legal protections, and are afraid of losing their jobs if they complain about any harassment or seek legal action.

Many household employees are excluded from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bans sexual harassment in the workplace. But in New York, the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights stipulates that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for any domestic employer to engage in unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature to any domestic worker.

Review the federal guidelines on sexual harassment in the workplace, and contact us at (518) 348-0400 for more information.

When Do You Have to Report a Workers’ Comp Accident?

worker's comp accident reporting in new yorkWe have discussed the importance of having a workers’ compensation insurance policy in your home if you have a nanny or other domestic worker. And in New York, if you have an employee that works 40 hours or more in any one week of the calendar year, you are required by law to have both workers’ comp and disability insurance policies. But that doesn’t mean you have to file a claim for each and every injury sustained by your employee while on the job.

Whenever an injury exceeds any one of the following limitations, a Report of Accident Form (Form C-2) must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Board within 10 days of the occurrence if:

  1. the injury results in loss of time from work beyond one day following the day of injury; or
  2. treatment for the injury involves more than “ordinary first aid”; or
  3. more than two first-aid treatments are, or will be, required.

It is possible that the need for a third treatment of an injury may not be apparent until after the 10-day reporting period expires. The only reasonable interpretation of the law is that the reporting time limit in such a case does not apply until it becomes known by the employer that additional treatments are necessary.

Form C-2 should be completed and filed as soon as it is known that the injury falls within the reporting requirements. An explanation for late filing should be included on the report.

By not reporting minor injuries, where no report is required, your Workers’ Compensation Policy will have a more favorable experience modification factor, which may help reduce premium costs. Of course, you will then need to pay the medical expenses in lieu of the insurer.

However, a written record of all injuries sustained by employees, including those for which no Report of Accident Form must be filed, must be kept by the employer for 18 years and made available whenever directed by the Workers’ Compensation Board.

Our partners at GTM Payroll Services help household employers obtain workers’ comp coverage and provide expert advice on insurance law compliance. For more information, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Source: Professional Insurance Agents – New York

Social Media and Nannies

social media and nanniesAs people of all ages know, social media can be a fun and rewarding way to share your life and opinions with family and friends around the world. Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, and other sites have become increasingly popular over the years, particularly with the younger generation. However, use of social media also presents certain risks and carries with it certain responsibilities.

Safety is of utmost concern to parents, and unfortunately there are people with bad intentions out there who know how to exploit information found on social media sites. Many families choose to simply not permit their nanny to post anything work-related on social media, putting something very basic in their Employee Handbook or the Work Agreement like:

“Please respect our family’s privacy, and do not take any pictures of the children, our home, or anything related to our family and post on ANY social media site.”

For household employers who permit their nannies to include the family in social media interaction, it’s still advisable to have rules in place. One way to help protect a family’s personal information is to create a social media policy for nannies to ensure private information stays private. Please see the general guidelines below as a sample policy that household employers can implement to make sure you and your nanny are on the same page when it comes to social media use.

Guidelines
In the rapidly expanding world of electronic communication, social media can mean many things. Social media includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort on the internet, including to your own or someone else’s blog or online journal, personal web site, social networking site, web bulletin board or a chat room, as well as any other form of electronic communication.

Ultimately, you are solely responsible for what you post online. Before doing so, consider some of the risks and rewards that are involved. Keep in mind that any of your conduct that adversely affects your job performance or otherwise adversely affects family members or their friends, may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Be Aware of Privacy
Posting something seemingly harmless like “Not looking forward to another 7am-4pm shift with the 2-year-old again” tells anyone who can see it when the child’s parents aren’t home and the age of the child. Taking a photo of the kids and tagging your location, such as “Having fun at Central Park” lets people see what the kids look like, your location, and implies that there is no one at the family’s home. Keeping your privacy options activated will ensure only your direct followers will be able to see it. You should also not post the names of any family members. Nicknames or initials may be acceptable. Never post the address of the family’s home.

Be Respectful
Keep in mind that you are more likely to resolve work-related complaints by speaking directly with the family than by posting complaints to a social media outlet. Nevertheless, if you decide to post complaints or criticism, avoid using statements, photographs, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening or intimidating, that disparage family members, or that might constitute harassment or bullying. Remember that the internet archives almost everything; therefore, even deleted postings can be searched. Never post any information or rumors that you know to be false about the family or their friends.

All of the above issues should be discussed in detail between the family and the nanny, and then the rules agreed upon should be written down and have a signed approval. This will hopefully prevent any social media problems during the nanny’s tenure in your home.

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

Resume Fraud and Household Employment

resume fraud and household employmentIn a tight job market and in the age of internet-based diploma mills, resume fraud is an increasing concern among employers, including those families that employ nannies or other household employees. On the other hand, with today’s internet-enabled easy and cost-effective access to information, families can easily verify resume facts with a few clicks of the mouse. The following examples show how seriously resume fraud is taken.

David J. Edmondson, Radio Shack CEO, resigned under pressure after it was learned that nearly a decade before, he had claimed on his resume that he held two degrees from a Bible college. The company learned that the school had no record of Edmondson graduating.

Notre Dame football coach George O’Leary was forced to resign just five days after stepping into the coach position after it was revealed that he lied about his academic and athletic achievements.

Food Network chef Robert Irvine was fired from the network in 2008 after it was discovered that many of the culinary accomplishments he claimed to have achieved were fabricated.

Such has been the growing concern of resume fraud within employers’ ranks that the Washington State legislature passed a bill in 2006 that would create civil and criminal penalties for lying on resumes or failing to disclose that a degree is from an unaccredited institution. The international employment screening firm, HireRight, conducted a 2014 survey which revealed that 88 percent of employer respondents reported discovering a person who lied on a resume.

Relevance for Household Employers

Checking resumes is particularly important when it comes to caregivers in the home. If a nanny says she has a certificate in early education and it is important to the family that she has, then you need to check it out. Similarly, if a senior caregiver for an aging parent claims to be a certified home health aide or a Licensed Practical Nurse without the required qualifications, this could be extremely dangerous in certain circumstances.  Therefore, lying employees who are directly involved with patient care are aggressively pursued in the legal arena and typically reported to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services to bar them from future employment in that type of work.

To learn more about how A New England Nanny takes steps to combat resume fraud and our other procedures for ensuring your family’s peace of mind, contact us today at (518) 348-0400.

The Importance of Workers’ Compensation Insurance

workers' compensation insurance for nanniesThe International Nanny Association’s 30th Annual Conference is currently underway in Cancun, Mexico, and one of the workshops being held tackles the importance of workers’ compensation insurance for household employers. This is an issue that more and more employers are finding they need to address, either because their state requires they provide it for their nanny, or because they are worried about the consequences of not having a workers’ comp policy in place should their nanny get injured on the job.

Note: In New York, all household employers are required to provide both workers’ compensation and disability insurance for any nanny or other employee that works at least 40 hours in any week (so even if your nanny usually only works 30 hours a week, if she were to work 40 hours in one week at any time, you would need to have a policy in place).

To help illustrate the importance of having workers’ compensation insurance – even if you only have a part-time nanny – please see the following example of how not having insurance can impact a household employer and their employee.

The Smith family decided they needed to hire a full-time nanny, Jenny, to provide child care for their one-year-old son. Both parties agreed that the nanny would be paid “off the books” to avoid paying any taxes. Two weeks into her employment, Jenny was working in the Smith’s home and bent over to pick up the baby boy. Upon lifting him up, Jenny felt intense pain in her back, and after the family returned home, Jenny informed them she needed to go to the hospital as her back was causing her great suffering.

At the emergency room, the intake desk worker asked Jenny where the injury had occurred, and she informed them it was while she was at work in the Smith’s home. At this point, her injury is now considered a workers’ compensation case and she will fill out the appropriate paperwork. The doctor informs Jenny that she will need to be on bed rest for the next two weeks, and will then require three weeks of physical therapy to heal her injury.

The Smiths now face a problem – their employee will be out of work for at least 2-3 weeks, with possibly limited availability during her physical therapy treatments. This means they will have to hire a temporary replacement for Jenny. Jenny expects that the Smiths will compensate her for the hours she will miss while recovering and will cover her medical bills as she doesn’t have health insurance. The Smiths do not want the added expense of paying for Jenny’s bills and her lost wages on top of paying a replacement nanny. But the Smiths also fear Jenny will sue them if they do not compensate her.

The Smith family is now at risk of:

1) being exposed as paying their employee illegally (“off the books”) if there is a lawsuit

2) being exposed as paying their employee illegally if Jenny has her own health insurance

3) being sued for medical bill payments and compensation for lost wages

4) facing even further penalties because they live in New York, where workers’ compensation insurance is required

For more information and to learn how our affiliate company, GTM Payroll Services, helps families obtain workers’ comp coverage for families, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

National Nanny Training Day 2015

We had such a fun time on Saturday with a great group of nannies! We heard from the Red Cross about emergency preparedness, watched an important and impactful presentation on bullying, heard from an inspiring business woman, had a delicious lunch, and got CPR certifications done!

Here are some photos from the event (click them to see larger versions). Thanks to all our sponsors and to all the wonderful nannies that attended – see you next year!

national nanny training day 2015

The Red Cross presents tips on emergency preparedness.

national nanny training day 2015

The Red Cross “Pillowcase Project”

national nanny training day 2015

Group discussion.

national nanny training day 2015

Some of our lovely nannies!

national nanny training day 2015

Nikki Sementa does Heimlich maneuver training with our ladies!

 

national nanny training day 2015

Another successful National Nanny Training Day!

Nanny Injured on the Job – Now What?

nanny injured on the jobWas your nanny injured on the job? In New York State, you are required to have workers’ compensation insurance if you employ a nanny for at least 40 hours per week, or if you employ a live-in nanny. Workers’ compensation policies cover you and your employee in case he or she is injured while working in your home or traveling with you as part of the job. Your workers’ compensation policy contains a posting notice providing the insurance company name, policy number, and contact information.

Should an injury or illness occur, here are the steps to take:

  1. Contact your workers’ compensation carrier if there is an on the job injury or illness as a result of the employment.  The seriousness of the injury does not necessarily matter.  If the employee requires medical care or will be missing work due to the injury or work related illness, the employer should report the incident. Sometimes nothing further comes of the incident except a medical bill. However, there may be complications unknown at the time of the initial incident and reporting the claim can help to keep future bills in check.
  2. Be prepared to provide the claim adjuster with some pertinent information:
  • Date of incident
  • Name of employee
  • Brief description of the injury and how it happened
  • Your workers’ compensation policy number
  • Phone number or email address on how the adjuster can contact the employee
  1. The adjuster will contact the employee directly for further details.
  2. A form will be sent to the employee to complete.  There will be a section for the employer to fill in their information and employment information, a section for the employee, and a section for the doctor to complete.  The form is then returned to the insurance company.
  3. The adjuster will continue to correspond with the employee and possibly the medical provider until the claim is complete.

Our partner GTM Payroll Services can provide workers’ compensation policies for household employers. Contact us at (518) 348-0400 for more information.

National Nanny Training Day 2015

national nanny training day 2015

National Nanny Training Day 2014 – First Aid Training

National Nanny Training Day is an initiative to promote awareness of the important connection between nanny training and quality of care. On Saturday, April 18th, over 1,000 nannies in more than 30 cities across the country will gather in their local communities at training events designed to meet their unique needs. A New England Nanny is inviting nannies from across the Capital Region to attend our very special, FREE event!

The goals of NNTD are to:

  • Promote awareness of the importance of training for nannies. Training and education of caregivers is one of the most important factors associated with the quality of the child care they provide.
  • Encourage nanny-related businesses and organizations to become actively involved in providing and/or promoting quality nanny training in their local communities.
  • Provide accessible and affordable quality training opportunities to nannies throughout the country.
  • Raise the overall quality of nanny care through a well-trained nanny workforce.

Our event will feature:

  • Emergency preparedness training from the Red Cross
  • Information and discussion on bullying
  • CPR certification class

We will also provide lunch and hear from an inspiring speaker!

What: National Nanny Training Day 2015

When: Saturday, April 18th; 9am – 4pm

Where: Comfort Inn; 981 New Loudon Road, Latham

Who: Part-time and full-time nannies from the Capital Region

Cost: Free!

Space is limited, so please click the button below to reserve your spot for this fun and educational event! And did we mention it was FREE to attend? Please contact us at (518) 348-0400 for more information. Hope to see you there!

Eventbrite - National Nanny Training Day 2014