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.

 

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.

Should You Offer Vacation Time or PTO?

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 Tips to Retain the Best Nannies

retain the best nanniesWhile there are many quality nannies out there, once you find one you really like, you want to do what you can to make sure she/he wants to keep working for you. Usually this doesn’t mean heaping extravagant gifts on your nanny or giving in to anything your employee asks. Open communication and treating your nanny like the professional she/he is goes a long way to maintaining a strong working relationship. To retain the best nannies, we recommend following the seven tips that follow.

Top 7 Tips to Retain the Best Nannies

  1. Provide a clear and consistent job description. Update the job description when changes in the job occur.
  2. Be sure to orientate your nanny to your neighbors, friends, family, and the general area. Include a list of emergency names and numbers, and any other pertinent family information.
  3. Have a daily meeting in which you and your nanny can discuss the day’s activities. This can also be a time to discuss any concerns or questions regarding the job, children, etc.
  4. To get and keep the most talented employees, employers must treat employees like professionals. Therefore, offering employee benefits is an important consideration for all household employers. Consider benefits such as medical or dental insurance, paid time for vacation or sick leave, a retirement plan, annual pay increases, and flexible hours.
  5. Treat your nanny as a member of the family.  Make sure that she/he can approach you at any time with any concerns.
  6. Ensuring that your nanny is fairly compensated is one of the keys to retaining a quality employee. Employers must make sure that their nanny is paid for all hours worked, including overtime.
  7. Invite your nanny to lunch/coffee at least once a month, away from the home, to discuss the job, the children, and any suggestions for the future. Remember this relationship requires team effort!

For more information and to learn how we help support household employers with their relationships with their nannies, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Vacation Time for Nannies

vacation time for nanniesTo get and keep the most talented employees, employers must treat nannies and other household employees like professionals. Therefore, offering employee benefits is an important consideration for all household employers. By providing an attractive employee benefits package, the employer is helping to maintain a satisfied workforce. Satisfied employees equal a happy workplace, which in turn equals a happy family and life for the employer.

One of the most popular household employment benefits is paid vacation time for nannies. There are no legal requirements for offering paid vacation time, but as we all know, being a nanny can be an exhausting job, and nannies need time to relax and recharge just as any other employee. According to the International Nanny Association’s (INA) 2014 Salary and Benefits Survey, 62% of the nannies surveyed receive paid vacation time as an employee benefit. In general, nannies receive about 2 weeks of paid vacation time per year, but it’s up to the employer’s discretion as to how many days will be provided.

It’s important to include the amount of vacation time offered in the work agreement at the time of hiring, along with any accrual requirements – many businesses do not allow an employee to use any paid time off until they have worked for 60 or 90 days, though they may start accumulating time off at the start of employment. The agreement should also include any rules pertaining to the use of vacation time – how much notice is required of the nanny when asking for time off, how the request should be submitted (email, text, in-person, phone call), and how many days the nanny can use at one time (can she take two weeks all at once, or does it need to be split up). Again, these rules are completely up to the employer’s discretion – you need to decide what will work best for your family and your employee.

If your family will be taking a vacation and you won’t be bringing the nanny along, it may be wise to encourage the nanny to take some vacation time during your family’s vacation. If you will be bringing your nanny with you on a trip, read about our guidelines for compensation.

Over the past decade, many employers that offer both vacation time and sick days have moved to a more flexible Paid Time Off or “PTO” benefit that incorporates both into one all-inclusive plan. If you wish to offer both vacation and sick pay to your nanny, here are a few advantages and disadvantages of combining separate paid time off benefits into a single PTO plan.

Advantages:

  • Nannies don’t feel they need to lie about being sick or having a doctor’s appointment in order to use all of their annual sick days, resulting in more transparency in the employee/employer relationship.
  • Research has illustrated that incorporating a PTO policy will result in nannies taking more vacation time and less sick days. This benefits household employers by typically receiving more notice about scheduled vacations, rather than unexpected absences due to illness.
  • Employees tend to value the flexibility that PTO provides.

Disadvantages:

  • Nannies are more likely to use all of their PTO, whereas they may not have used all of their sick or vacation days in the past.
  • Nannies tend to save all of their PTO for vacations and therefore might come to work when they are sick, which may cause illness to you or your family members.

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

Hotel Child Care Services

hotel child care servicesFamily vacations can be a lot of fun, but sometimes the parents need a little break from the kids to make it truly feel like a “vacation.” That’s where we come in! If you or anyone you know will be staying at a hotel in or near the Capital Region and could use child care services during their stay, we have the solution!

Our trusted, reliable sitters can simply stay in the hotel room with the kids, or at the family’s request, they can chaperone children to local museums and attractions, take them swimming in the hotel pool, see a movie, or grab a bite to eat.

Got pets? We didn’t forget that your pets are family too! Our animal-loving staff can feed, play with, and walk your pet so you can enjoy the local attractions or attend an event without the worry that your companion is in need of some attention.

All of our caregivers undergo a rigorous background screening including:

  • Criminal Background Check
  • Driving History Verification and Check
  • Work & Education/ Certification References
  • Drug Screening

Requesting care is as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Contact our agency with the dates and times you will need care.
  2. Provide a credit card to cover the nominal agency fee.
  3. We will secure your sitter for you!

Sitters are paid directly by the family at the end of their shift (4 hour minimum required).

For rates or to book services, please contact us at (518) 348-0400, M-F 8:30am-5pm!

Spring Break is Next Week!

spring break child care

Conference & Event Child Care and Planning

conference and event child careDo you know someone coming to town for a conference or event and needs child care services? As you know, A New England Nanny has been providing screened, caring, professional caregivers to families across the region since 1991. Our families and partners can enjoy peace of mind knowing they have a trusted, reliable child care resource.

Our experienced sitters will provide an exciting and memorable experience for the children at conferences and events. We can keep it simple and send our staff into an already kid-friendly event just to provide child care, or we can have our sitters arrive at the location with lots of games and activities at the ready.

Need help planning an event? We can do that too! A New England Nanny’s event planners have years of experience working with private families, corporations, and wedding planners. Need someone to put together a party for you? We can take your vision and make it happen! We can assist with:

  • Weddings/receptions, rehearsals/dinners
  • Party planning
  • Conference and event child care
  • Kids’ camps – designed to be fun and educational during multi-day conferences where child care is needed.
  • Corporate functions

Please contact us at (518) 348-0400 to discuss your needs and request a quote. We look forward to hearing from you!

Traveling With Your Nanny

traveling with your nannyHow to Compensate Your 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 and any mileage or expense reimbursement that may occur. 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. Here are some quick tips on how to compensate your nanny for your family vacation:

  • Before the vacation begins, outline exactly what the nanny’s job responsibilities will be during the trip and the hours she will work.
  • Your nanny needs to be paid for all travel time to and from the destination.
  • All travel expenses are to be covered by the employer. This includes flights, accommodations, meals, and any other travel related expenses.
  • Your nanny needs to be paid her normal salary for all hours they are responsible for the children.
  • You do not need to pay the nanny 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.

For example, if the children and the nanny go to bed at 9 pm, and the children need assistance at 1:30 am for 15 minutes and awake at 7 am, you will need to pay her for the 8 hours she was supposed to be resting. If the children and the nanny go to bed at 9 pm and wake up at 3 am, she tends to them for 15 minutes and then goes back to bed until 6 am, you are able to deduct the 8 hours because she received 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

  • You do not need to pay the nanny for any hours where she is free to go off on her own, and not be responsible for the children.
  • In accordance with the FLSA, any weekly hours over 40 need to be paid as overtime pay (one and a half times the regular hourly pay).

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

 

Tax Credit for Summer Child Care

tax credit for summer child careAre you hiring a summer nanny to care for your children? Or will you be taking advantage of the many day camp options available during the summertime school break?

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!

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 childcare 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.

For specific questions, contact us at (518) 348-0400.