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.

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.

Do You Need to Pay Taxes for a Summer Nanny?

summer nanny taxesSchool will be out soon, and if you’re going to be hiring a nanny to care for the kids during the summer, you might think that since it’s only a temporary job, you don’t need to worry about payroll taxes or even insurance. But those requirements may apply even if you’re only hiring for the season.

Our friends at GTM Payroll Services have put together this list of what you need to know about paying taxes on a summer nanny:

Your Summer Nanny is an Employee

The IRS has consistently ruled that a nanny is an employee and not an independent contractor.

This distinction is important. With an employee, the worker and employer each pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. An independent contractor pays both their share and the employer portion of these taxes.

Why is a nanny considered an employee?

She is a worker who:

  • works under the direction and control of her employer
  • has her schedule set by her employer
  • uses the employer’s tools

Essentially, you are telling your nanny how to care for your children and when to show up to your to home to work. When she is working, she is using your tools, such as plates and utensils to serve lunch.

An independent contractor is told what is needed to be done and possibly when it needs to be done by. However, they determine how the work will get done, when they will perform the work, and will use their own tools to do the work.

Your Summer Nanny Makes $2,100

If your summer nanny passes the $2,100 cash wage threshold, then Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes need to be paid by both you and your employee. You each have a responsibility of 7.65 percent of cash wages for FICA for a total of 15.3 percent.

Your employee’s obligation can be handled through a paycheck withholding and you can remit both your and your employee’s taxes quarterly using Form 1040-ES.

A summer nanny can very easily reach this threshold. Let’s say she makes $10/hour for 25 hours of work per week for 10 weeks. That’s $2,500 in cash wages triggering the FICA withholding requirement.

There are some exceptions. Do not count wages you pay to your spouse, child under the age of 21, parent or any employee who was under the age of 18 at any time during the year.

You and your summer nanny may also agree to withhold income taxes from their pay. It’s not required that you withhold but it may be preferred so that your nanny won’t owe all of her tax obligation come tax time. You can remit income taxes quarterly.

Your Summer Nanny Makes $1,000 in a Calendar Quarter

Federal unemployment taxes are owed if your summer nanny makes $1,000 in any calendar quarter. We’ve already shown how easily this threshold can be reached. This tax is an employer-only tax (do not withhold from your employee’s pay) and is six percent on the first $7,000 in cash wages. You may also owe state unemployment taxes.

Again, there are some exceptions. Do not count wages you pay to your spouse, child under the age of 21 or parent.

You will need to pay unemployment taxes for employees under the age of 18 if they make $1,000 in a calendar quarter.

You May Need Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is usually required for household employers in New York. If your summer nanny works 40 hours in a week, even for just one week, you need workers’ compensation coverage for the entire time she works for you.

Follow Minimum Wage & Overtime Rules

Since your summer nanny is an employee, she is protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This means she must be paid at least New York’s state minimum wage, which is currently $10.40 per hour. Overtime also applies. Hours worked over 40 in a week need to be paid at no less than time and a half. There are some exceptions for live-in employees.

File Year-End Tax Forms

At the end of the year, you will need to provide your nanny Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement)while filing Copy A of this form and Form W-3 (Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements) with the Social Security Administration. You’ll also file Schedule H (Household Employment Taxes) with your personal tax return.

Please contact us at (518) 348-0400 for more information about hiring a summer nanny. For more info about paying nanny taxes, call GTM at (800) 929-9213 for a free, no-obligation consultation with a household employment expert.

Kid’s Camp Program During Your Conference or Event

kid's camp program during your conference or eventIf your organization is holding a conference or event in the Capital Region or other Upstate areas and employees will be bringing their families, we have the perfect way to keep the kids entertained while your employees fulfill their work obligations.

The mission of A New England Nanny’s Kid’s Camp program is to assist parents who need child care while they attend events and conferences. Kid’s Camp provides children with a unique, interactive and fun-filled event of their own to attend. As with all of our Conference & Event Services, parents will enjoy peace-of-mind knowing that their children are receiving the absolute best care when attending A New England Nanny’s Kid’s Camp. Parents can relax and focus on their ‘grown-up’ event without worrying if their children are well-cared for and entertained.

A New England Nanny’s Kid’s Camp is a service for groups attending conferences and special events in hotels or other venues. Every Kid’s Camp program is individually customized based on your group’s needs. Parents simply register children ahead of time and when the event arrives, they drop children off at the designated location at the scheduled time.

With a service like Kids Camp, Event Planners can increase attendance for meetings and events. Busy parents that would not otherwise be able to attend an event due to lack of child care, can now join in with the knowledge that their kids are safe and having fun, often at the same location as their event.  Our Kid‘s Camp has an Open Door Policy, so parents are welcome to drop in at any time to check-in on their children as desired. Additionally, your event organizers will have input on every aspect of your Kid’s Camp program, because we customize each program specifically for your group’s wishes.

Want to tie your Kid’s Camp theme into your adult event? We can do that! Interested in a specific type of project for your Kid’s Camp, like outdoor recreation or various art projects?
We can do that! Whatever the theme, we’ll provide the age-appropriate activities that keep children engaged and enjoying every minute of Kid’s Camp.

Kid’s Camp programs are open for all children, from 8 weeks of age to 14 years; as well as programs for children with disabilities. Our skilled and professional staff is available
to provide one-on-one care as needed.

Please contact us at (518) 348-0400 for a customized proposal for service.

 

Get Out of the House! Rainy Day Activities Around Town

rainy day activities around townLast week we provided a fun list of things to do on rainy summer days to keep the kids entertained at home. But we all know that sometimes, even in wet weather, you need to get out of the house and entertain them around town. Here is a list compiled from both our own family experiences and from some of our nannies who know where to go!

  • New York State Museum – Albany: with exhibits about the earliest life forms in the area, the bones of the Cohoes Mastadon, dioramas about the native peoples of the region, a real New York City subway car, part of Sesame Street’s set, and a 9/11 exhibit, there is literally something for everyone at this museum. “The kids in my family always love the NYS Museum,” says nanny Ginny. And it’s free! There is also a discovery center with hands-on activities for the little ones, and an historic carousel on the fourth floor ($1 per ride).
  • Children’s Museum of Science & Technology (CMOST): CMOST’s mission is to “instill a sense of wonder and discovery in young minds, inspiring a lifelong exploration of science and technology,” and they live up to it! A wide variety of hands-on exhibits, live reptiles and other animals, and craft areas offer fun and educational experiences for toddlers up to 8 or 9-year olds.
  • Children’s Museum at Saratoga: If you have little ones, you must visit this museum. Their imaginations will run wild as they can dress up in different uniforms and play inside detailed recreations of a grocery store, bank, classroom, post office, and a 50’s diner. They can try on real firefighter boots and jackets and slide down a fire pole, or put on a hard hat and build with construction toys. And that’s just the upstairs! Downstairs they can make human-sized bubbles, ride a trolley car, or put on a theatrical show with lots of costumes. Located just a few blocks off Broadway, it’s sure to bring a smile to the kids’ faces.
  • Museum of Innovation and Science: Located near downtown Schenectady, the thing we love best about this museum is the planetarium – the kids are always fascinated by the night sky in front of their faces! Plus they feature exhibits on things like the human body, weather, and building creation. They also have rotating exhibits from the famous San Francisco Exploratorium, and GE also provides a variety of exhibits to engage kids with technology.
  • Via Aquarium – Rotterdam: one of the Capital Region’s newest attractions, the Via Aquarium has become very popular. Fish, jellyfish, stingrays, and sharks are just some of the creatures you’ll see. Plan on going early, as you may have to wait a little while in line before getting into the aquarium.
  • Giggle Lounge – Clifton Park: our nanny Courtney says, “Giggle Lounge is a fun place for those looking for some indoor sensory play experiences.” Ideal for ages 8 and under, kids can play at cooking up their favorite meal, heading to the doctor, or going on an adventure in the camping center. Or they can grab a book and sit down for a little quiet time.
  • Billy Beez/TreePaad: not only do these places offer huge padded fortresses filled with climbing, fast slides, and soft balls to shoot at others, but grownups will have a lot of fun too (if not more)! They also feature video games and bouncy things to keep everyone occupied. Billy Beez is in Albany’s Crossgates Mall, and TreePaad is in Malta.

So now you have ideas for some great places around the area to take kids when you want to stay indoors, just not at home. Contact us for more information at (518) 348-0400.

 

Rainy Day Activities to Entertain the Kids at Home

rainy day activities to entertain the kidsOne of the things many people love about the Capital Region is the wide diversity of seasonal activities that can be found both locally and within short driving distances. There are lots of places for children of various ages to have fun during the summer months, but what about when the weather limits your options?

We’ve been in the child care business for over 25 years, so we have some experience with keeping kids entertained when schools are closed. The list of activities that follows was partially compiled from our experiences with our own children, but we also spoke with some of our caregivers about what they like to do with their “nanny kids” on those days where you just don’t want to make the effort to get everyone dressed and in the car, to keep the kids entertained without leaving the house.

Build a Fort

If your kids are anything like ours, they’ll relish any chance they get to rearrange furniture, cushions, pillows, etc. Have them build their own individual forts, or see how large you can make one as a group. This gives the kids a chance to be creative, learn a little about gravity and architecture, and do something they probably aren’t normally allowed to do. And if you’re so inclined, use those forts for an epic Nerf gun battle!

Indoor Picnic

Here’s another way the kids can get to do something they might not be permitted to do – eat in a normally non-eating area! Grab a tablecloth (or two) and spread them out on the floor. Have the kids help make lunch – if you have a picnic basket or cooler, pack the lunch in there and then take a “nature walk” to your newly-created picnic area, and enjoy the meal.

Bake Cookies

Not only does making cookies work as an incentive for good behavior, but the process helps kill some time and gets the kids involved in something fun. Use the opportunity to teach grade-school kids about the science of cooking – what does each ingredient contribute to the recipe? What exactly is “vanilla extract?” Come up with some creative ways to change your usual cookie recipe by letting the kids add other ingredients. Having a variety of food coloring bottles always helps. Then enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Scavenger Hunt

We’ve done a few of these for Christmas or birthday gifts, but they can be fun any time. Come up with creative hiding spots and clues, with some kind of “treasure” at the end (maybe one of those cookies you baked). Then watch them have fun figuring out the clues and eventually finding their reward. (And the more clues you make, the longer it will take them to find the treasure.) Afterward, have the kids make a scavenger hunt for you! They’ll spend a lot of time writing the clues and finding hiding spots, and it encourages them to be imaginative. Just try not to find their clues too quickly!

Make-Your-Own Board Game

We love board games, but sometimes we get “board” with the ones we have. Time to make a new one! Kids can use regular paper, but ideally some poster board or anything larger than 8.5”x11” would work well. The kids can make their own squares on the board, and come up with creative ideas for what happens when you land on each space. They can find random objects around the house to use as player tokens, or make their own. The time will pass quickly while they make the board and while you play. And the best part is that if they don’t like anything about the game, they can change it or come up with a new one!

So the next time you’re wondering what to do with the kids this summer on those days when the weather isn’t cooperating, you now have a few ideas for kids of any age.

Wondering what to do about child care? We can help with that too! Call us at (518) 348-0400 and see what we have to offer.

 

Planning for Summertime Child Care

planning for summertime child careSummer will be here before we know it! When schools begin to let out for the summer, many families find that they need to make changes to their child care arrangements. It’s not too early to seek advice on handling different issues that arise when planning for summer household employment, so let’s take a look at some of the most common concerns.

Compensating a Nanny on a Family Vacation

Before a family hires a nanny, the nanny’s compensation should be detailed fully, including the rate of pay for attending family vacations. It is important for families to remember 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. Before the vacation begins, outline exactly what the nanny’s job responsibilities will be during the trip, the hours she will work, and what personal time she will have.

A nanny needs to be paid for all travel time to and from the destination. All travel expenses should be covered by the employer. This includes flights, accommodations, meals, and any other travel related expenses. A nanny needs to be paid her normal wages for all hours she is responsible for the children, but not for rest time as long they have appropriate sleeping accommodations, receive 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep in a row, and receive a total of 8 hours rest time in a 24-hour period. A nanny also doesn’t need compensation for any hours where she is free to go off on her own and not be responsible for the children.

Lastly, any weekly hours over 40 need to be paid as overtime pay (one and a half times the regular hourly pay).

Wages for a Nanny’s Overnight Stay

Many families only use nannies for daytime child care, but as schedules loosen up during the summer, there may an occasion when the nanny is asked to stay over for a night or two. Regarding compensation for this circumstance, families pay a flat rate for temporary nannies when they stay overnight. However, if a child is up during the night for more than an hour, the hourly rate would apply on top of the flat rate for each hour the child is awake.

Families should discuss the payment options with their nanny and make sure they are in agreement before the overnight stay begins. The nanny should keep track of any hours she is up during the night caring for the child.

Nanny Taxes for Temporary Summer Nannies

Some families don’t have regular nannies during the school year, but just utilize one here and there as the need arises. Some of these families may then need more regular child care during the summer, whether it’s to drop off and pick up the kids from camp, or simply to provide care and supervision throughout the day. A question many families have is whether or not they have to pay taxes for a nanny that only works for them during the summer. “Summer nannies,” as they’re sometimes called, are subject to the same payroll and tax rules as any other household employee. If a family pays an employee more than $2,000 (2017) in a year, they must withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes. So even if the nanny is only employed for the summer, if she earns over $2,000 in that time, the family must pay her legally by paying employer Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurances.

While temperatures and extra expenses seem to escalate quickly during the summer months, the IRS has some good news for parents:  Those additional expenses may help you qualify for a tax credit for summer child care!

Tax Credit for Summer Child Care

Here are five facts the IRS wants you to know about a tax credit available for child care expenses. The Child and Dependent Care Credit is available for expenses incurred during the summer and throughout the rest of the year.

  1. The cost of day camp may count as an expense towards the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
  2. Expenses for overnight camps do not qualify.
  3. Whether your child care provider is a sitter at your home or a daycare facility outside the home, you’ll get some tax benefit if you qualify for the credit.
  4. The credit can be up to 35 percent of your qualifying expenses, depending on your income.
  5. You may use up to $3,000 of the non-reimbursed expenses paid in a year for one qualifying individual, or $6,000 for two or more qualifying individuals to figure the credit.

For more information, check out IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.

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

Back to School Transition for Families and Nannies

back to school transition for families and nanniesIt’s almost that time of year again when the relaxed schedules of summer end, and the rigid school day routines begin. With back to school season upon us, many families need to start preparing for trying to get their children back on a schedule. There will be homework and after school activities, and everyone has to be up earlier in the morning and in bed earlier at night. This is something the family prepares their nanny for as well.

Nannies should  know in advance what the criteria is for the school year in terms of the schedule and or any changes that will impact their jobs. Their job description may change with regard to the number of scheduled hours if she is caring for school-aged children, along with the demands of the job, such as getting the children up and ready for school, packing lunches, meeting the children at the bus stop, and helping with homework. If a family currently has a nanny who doesn’t usually perform functions like meal preparation, transportation, or homework help, they need to discuss these duties with their nanny and see if she is willing to take on these new tasks. If so, additional compensation may need to be negotiated. If not, it may be time to find a new nanny.

Another thing to consider is the age of the children. Often nannies who have been with a family for a while move on to another position once the children start going to school full-time. Sometimes that nanny will stay with the family and take on other responsibilities like housekeeping and running errands. But some nannies may only want to do full-time child care, and in that case, the nanny will move on to another family. This type of situation can be potentially difficult to deal with. The children she cared for during her employment will certainly have questions about why she’s no longer with them, and in the case of younger kids, they may have developed a real attachment that can be difficult to reconcile. The family should be involved in communicating an employee’s departure plans with the children. Families may ask the nanny to explain to children why they are leaving the home, what his or her plans are, and how the change may affect the family. Sometimes hearing the news from the nanny may allow the children to understand the situation better.

All in all, this time of year can be a little uneasy with regard to child care, but we are here to make the transition easier for both families and nannies.

Contact us at (518) 348-0400 and let us know how we can help.

Summer Conference and Event Child Care

We’re already having a great summer, having provided child care for two conferences in beautiful locations! Early in June, we were at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel, and last week we were at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid!

As you can see, we provide child care for company events and conferences all over New York, customizing the activities for kids of all ages. Let us know how we can help!

Here are a few photos (click to enlarge). See more of them on our Facebook page!

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Celebrate Our 25th Anniversary with 25% Off!

celebrating 25 years with 25% offIt’s hard to believe that we have been in business for 25 years, but here we are, still serving the Capital Region as the only fully licensed and insured household placement agency in town. And as our way of saying thanks to all the families we’ve worked with over the years, we have a special offer for you.

Are you looking to hire a part-time or full-time nanny for the summer or when school starts up in the fall? Need a babysitter for a date night? How about some help cleaning the house for a graduation party or other get-togethers? Sign up for temporary services and get 25% off your membership fee, a savings of over $30!

Looking to hire a long-term nanny? Sign up for long-term placement services and receive 25% off your application fee – that’s a savings of over $55!

Contact us now at (518) 348-0400 to take advantage of our 25th Anniversary savings.