Hiring a Nanny – International Association of Nannies (2023)

Are you looking for guidance when hiring a nanny? We are here to help you.

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Hiring a Nanny – International Association of Nannies (1)

You can also find step-by-step support with ourBabysitter Employer Handbook.

How to find a nanny

Parents can look for a babysitter in many places, including advertisements seeking help in newspapers, Internet classifieds, bulletin boards in local coffee shops or libraries, and word of mouth. These approaches to finding a nanny can be time consuming and result in less-than-ideal experiences. Parents using these approaches must be willing to invest their time and energy in background research on the nannies they may be interested in hiring to ensure they are qualified caregivers who have a sincere desire to work with children.

For these reasons, the INA suggests that parents enlist the services of a babysitter placement agency or contact a babysitter training program about the availability of their graduates when looking for a babysitter.

A placement agency is a service company that matches the skills and qualifications of nannies with the needs of families looking for a family child care provider. For a fee, an agency will locate and select nannies for parents to consider for employment. An accredited agency will carefully consider the needs and preferences of the family and only present suitable candidates to work with the family. An agency's job is to gather information about viable candidates and disseminate that information to parents.

INA recommends that nanny agencies follow these best practices for verification:

  • Verify and authenticate a nanny candidate's identity to ensure that the candidate is using true and accurate information about their own identity.
  • Check professional and educational history and appropriate credentials and licenses.
  • Conduct state and county criminal history searches for each jurisdiction in which the candidate has worked and lived, using any and all names the candidate has used for at least the last seven years, in accordance with applicable state law.
  • Search the sex offender registry in all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam.
  • Review the candidate's driving history.
  • Comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and all other applicable federal, state and local laws.
  • Perform a regular background check update on all babysitters and babysitters providing temporary services.

In addition to these assessments, agencies may want to consider obtaining a credit report and conducting a civil records search to expose claims, liens, and judgments.

The nanny placement agency may also ask a family for references, and most agencies will help parents prepare a job description that outlines their expectations of the nanny, including the nanny's job duties and compensation package.

Nanny agencies charge placement fees ranging from $800 to $8,000 or more and must include a clause that addresses the process if the placement does not go well within a certain time period. A list of INA member nanny placement agencies that agree to adhere to the INA Commitment to Professional Excellence and Best Practices can be found at www.nanny.org.

Use of online services

For some parents, browsing Internet-based referral service sites from the comfort of their own home seems like the ideal way to find a nanny. Internet-based referral services can provide a viable method of finding a nanny if parents are willing to invest the time to screen, interview, and verify references for a nanny candidate.

For a small fee, parents can gain access to numerous candidates by listing "profiles" on the company's website. Many parents are surprised to learn, however, that applicants who apply do not go through a screening process before posting their profiles on the site. Parents should know that applicants' identities are never verified, their childcare references are never verified, and their employment history is never validated.

While many online services offer background check services for additional fees, parents should ask what the exams include. When looking for a nanny on their own or online, parents are encouraged to only use service providers who follow the INA's Recommended Practices for Background Screening of Nannies.

What kind of nanny is right for your family?

Finding the right nanny is critical to ensuring your family's needs are successfully met. When parents know the type of position they want to fill and the type of nanny they want to hire before looking for a nanny, they will be assured of job success. Agencies can help families determine what type of nanny they are looking for.

When looking for a nanny for your family, you should consider:

  • If you want to hire a full-time or part-time nanny
  • If you want to hire an in-house or an external nanny
  • The type of experience you want your nanny to have
  • The type of training you want your nanny to have
  • What household chores, if any, do you expect your nanny to perform?
  • Your family's lifestyle and how compatible a particular nanny candidate might be.
    Considerations include:
    • pets at home
    • parenting philosophies
    • personal or religious beliefs, etc.

Parents are also encouraged to carefully consider which nanny model is best for them when looking for a nanny. There are three main nanny models. These include custodial care, coordinated care and substitute care. All models make valuable contributions to the family and support parents in raising their children.

In the custodial care model, the nanny's role is limited to tending to the physical and emotional needs of children during the parents' absence. In this model, parents manage the children's day, giving specific guidelines to the nanny. A nanny providing custodial care will have no involvement in the child's schedule or activities and will have no say in parenting practices or parenting philosophies.

In the coordinated nanny model, the nanny's role is to be part of the parenting team. Nannies who participate in the coordinated care model are seen as true parental partners. The nannies in this model have a say when it comes to parenting practices and parenting philosophies. Parents not only seek your opinion, but value it very much. These nannies tend to be full-time nannies who are given the freedom to make the day-to-day decisions regarding the children's activities and outings.

In the nanny substitute model, the nanny's role is to be the primary caregiver for the children. In this model of nanny care, the nanny may have limited interaction with her employers and may be left to make many decisions for the children in her care. Nannies who adopt the surrogate care model can work for parents who travel a lot and need a tutor-type caregiver while away from home.

How about an Au Pair?

While hiring an au pair may seem like a cost-effective way to secure one-on-one childcare, parents should know that au pairs are not a substitute for qualified full-time childcare providers.

Au pairs are foreign nationals between the ages of 18 and 26 who come to the United States through the US Department of State's Au Pair Exchange Program, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to experience American life within the context of their host family.

Au pairs participate in host family life by providing limited childcare services (maximum 10 hours a day, 45 hours a week) and are compensated for their work in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. It should be noted that in addition to childcare, there are also educational and cultural components of the Au Pair Program.

Au pairs cannot be placed in homes with babies three months old or younger unless a parent or responsible adult is supervising the au pair in the home. They cannot be placed in the home with a child two years old or younger unless they have 200 hours or more of documented childcare experience. Au pairs in good standing can stay with families for up to 24 months.

A list of INA member au pair agencies that agree to adhere to the INA Commitment to Professional Excellence and Best Practices can be found at www.nanny.org.

Tips for interviewing a nanny

Regardless of the approach parents take to finding a nanny, the interview is an extremely important part of any nanny's parenting search, and many potential employer/employee relationship problems can be avoided if the interview is conducted correctly.

When interviewing a nanny, trust your intuition and observations when evaluating the nanny's responses, mannerisms, and appearance. Parents' impression of a nanny candidate can be a telltale sign of whether a nanny is a good fit for the family.

During the interview, parents should first ask about the nanny's background, experience, training, driving record, and other skills related to working with children. So, by asking open-ended questions about the nanny's interests, after-work activities, and childcare philosophies, parents can better gauge how well the nanny fits into their family.

When describing job expectations, parents should be specific about job duties, hours, salary, time off, and other practical aspects of the job. Seeing and hearing the candidate's reaction can provide valuable clues about how the nanny will feel about the position.

Parents should also observe the nanny with their children before offering the nanny the position. Observe how the nanny interacts with the children and how the children react to the nanny.

When deciding which nanny to hire, carefully weigh all the information gathered about each candidate. Check each nanny's references (even if they come from an agency) and interview the best candidates a second time before offering the position. Parents need to listen to their intuition and remember that the nanny will be a part of their family's life. They should ask themselves, "Does this candidate seem like a good fit for our family and does it work well with our kids?"

The importance of the family/nanny's employment contract

A working agreement ensures that the parents and nanny clearly understand each other's expectations. An employment agreement helps parents define the job description, role and responsibilities of the nanny position in their home and allows for good communication between the parties.

An employment contract must include:

  • Employee and employer information.
  • The term of the agreement
  • How changes can be made to the agreement
  • How can the contract be terminated?
  • babysitting tasks
  • Nanny Responsibilities
  • babysitting schedule
  • work duties
  • Driving rules and responsibilities, if any. The agreement should state whether the nanny may use the employer's car during work hours or whether the nanny will be reimbursed for work-related driving mileage if she uses her own car.
  • Employer's legally required tax obligations
  • exam period
  • Frequency of revision of the employment contract
  • Notice conditions, termination and grounds for dismissal
  • The compensation package, which includes:
    o Wage
    o health benefits
    o When and how payment will be made
    o Compensation for overtime hours worked
    o Extra benefits such as paid vacation, vacation, bonus and sick leave.

Some agreements will also include disclaimers or statements regarding the use of nannies, family relocation, vehicle use, household rules, and confidentiality agreements. Most nannies commit to at least a year of working with a family and sign an employment contract stating so.

INA has developed a detailed Nanny/Family Employment Contract which is available for purchase here.

pay your nanny

Nanny salaries and benefits vary and are based on job requirements, experience level, education, experience, etc. of the nanny care industry aware of current employment trends.

A 2009 INA salary and benefits survey revealed that a nanny works, on average, 40 to 60 hours a week, with two days off scheduled. Nannies (nannies who do not live with the family) who work part-time are paid, on average, an hourly rate of $7.25 to $20 or more per hour. Full-time nannies earn a weekly salary of $350 to $1,000 or more. Full-time nannies work more than 40 hours a week, usually paid at a rate of 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for all hours worked more than 40.

Live-in nannies (nannies who live with the family or in a residence provided by the family) earn between $300 and $1,000 or more per week. Resident Nannies enjoy the benefits of free room and board, which typically include a private bedroom and bathroom. Resident Nannies must earn at least minimum wage for every hour worked within a 7-day period and do not need to be paid overtime.

It is important to note that if a nanny earns a salary, the salary must be converted to an hourly rate to determine whether or not the nanny's salary complies with the Fair Labor Standards Act. To determine whether wages are compliant, divide the weekly wage by the number of hours worked to calculate the hourly base wage. If the employee works 40 hours or more in a 7-day period, overtime must be included in the rate of 1.5 times the base hourly wage. The base hourly wage must be equal to or greater than the state minimum wage. If the state minimum wage is less than the federal minimum wage, the wage must be equal to or greater than the federal minimum wage to be compliant.

Job benefits that most nannies receive, both internal and external, often include:

  • Two weeks of paid vacation per year.
  • 8 to 10 free paid vacations
  • Health insurance or a percentage of your health insurance premium paid as a non-taxable benefit
  • Employer car use during working hours
  • Paid sick days.

In addition to these standard benefits, some nannies also receive:

  • Contributions to retirement plans
  • annual bonus
  • Paid professional development days
  • Reimbursement of professional expenses such as participation in INA congresses.

Legal Responsibilities of Domestic Employers

Nannies are not independent contractors, but employees of the family they work for. For this reason, parents who employ a nanny must take steps to establish themselves as legitimate employers. These steps include obtaining a federal identification number from the IRS (by filling out Form SS-4) and obtaining an employer identification number from the state where the family resides (by contacting the state office that handles employment). Parents may also need to report a "new hire" to the office that handles employment in the state where the family resides.

Federal law also requires all employers of nannies to pay a portion of their employees' social security taxes, state unemployment taxes, and, in some states, workers' compensation.

Parents must also complete the appropriate year-end tax forms and provide the nanny with a W-2 form by January 31 of each year. Parents must also complete Form W-3 with the Social Security Administration by February 28 of each year.

You can find a list of INA members who provide payroll services and legal advice to employers of nannies and who agree to adhere to the INA Commitment to Professional Excellence and Best Practices in our membership directory.

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