Going on vacation? Visiting the family? If you are ready to hit the road with your child and you are taking you nanny with you, allow us to share these helpful tips to avoid any misunderstanding, uncomfortable situations and make your trip a complete success!
- If you are travelling internationally, please make sure your nanny has plenty of time to get/renew her passport and any needed documentation to make the trip with your family. If she needs any vaccinations to enter the country, you need to let her know … it is your job to do the research for your nanny.
- Plan your nanny’s travel duties ahead of time and most importantly – share them with her. Knowing her responsibilities in advance will make your nanny aware of your expectations of her performance during this temporary new routine and will avoid frustration between both parties when your expectations are not met.
- Nannies are hourly employees and your nanny typically doesn't work around the clock. Keeping track of on-duty work time is important. If you are travelling for a long time, make sure nanny gets some “down time." Your nanny will appreciate her down time and will be refreshed and enthusiastic when on duty! She should have at least one full day free in a 7 day work week. Also, if she is expected to be on duty during the flight, road trip or any kind of transportation let her know ahead of time, and don't forget to compensate for those hours.
- If she is expected to go out with the family for any special occasion, let her know your plans so she can pack accordingly.
- On a trip and always – make sure you communicate with your nanny. Nannies know your children pretty well, after all, they spend most of their days together. Nannies are the first “to go source” on any matter regarding your child. Nannies are often quick notice any behavioral or attitude change in the little ones.
- Inform yourself about nanny payroll and nanny taxes for these extra hours. Also remember that while she is traveling with the family, you are responsible for her meals, lodging and transportation expenses. If she is accompanying children to venues with entrance fee these too are your responsiblity.
After all these checks … you are ready to go and enjoy your tip with your nanny! Bon Voyage!
Families, nannies, what has been your biggest challenge when traveling together?
Today I woke up with the song “I believe I could fly” in my head. I could not associate this phrase with anything other than the feeling a child has for their dad, their first super hero. That person who makes the impossible … possible! When talking about dad, I don’t just refer to our biological dad; but to all male figures that influence and make a difference in a child’s life. Father figures can include fathers, step-fathers, fathers-in-law, grandfathers and great-grandfathers and even other male relatives. I am talking about that powerful man, able to solve and fix every broken thing around the house, and even, the entire world!
I remember, when I was a child, there was a small airplane accident near the city where I grew up. We drove by and the airplane was still stuck in the mountain, there was a rampage as they were waiting for the big truck and equipment to get it out of there. I looked at my mom and said: “Can you believe the airplane is still there? If they find it so hard to get it out, they should call Uncle Ron, I am sure he could take it out with no problem”. The unbelievable thing for me (now) is that at that point in time, I really truly believed Uncle Ron would get the airplane out of the mountain and solve the problem. Life through a child’s eyes is wonderful …
Today I want to take a moment and celebrate all those wonderful men seen as a super hero through a child’s eyes. Dads: be aware this special and wonderful job has not only super powers; it comes with a super responsibility as well. The way you raise a child, the way you react to a problem and the way you treat your children is the way they will go out into the world and interact with others. You, as a dad, have this amazing power in your hands - Use it wisely!
DAD, I would define you as: Do-Always-Desirable things … just because those small and innocent eyes are watching you!
Do you have a story about a wonderful man in your life, when you were a child, whom you thought could do the impossible?
Share it with us (add a link to our Facebook page); share your own superhero with the world…
Happy Father’s Day to all our super heroes out there!
Vanessa Vidal, FPC and the HomeWork Solutions Family
Did you know that household employers are not legally obligated to pay for ANY holidays or time off to their employees*? It is entirely up to the employer to decide if such a benefit will be offered or not. Clearly this is something that should be discussed when interviewing, and memorialized in a written work agreement. We know from experience this is a big concern for household employees. In some situations, applicants will even choose one job over another based on the holiday and paid time off in the job offer.
Full time household employees generally expect some baseline provision of paid holidays and vacation. Sadly, all too often both the family and the employee fail to discuss and agree to specific terms when interviewing, and may not have even put the agreement they made in writing. When holidays approach, such as the upcoming July 4th holiday which falls mid-week this year, these employees worry about whether they will be paid or not.
Our company receives many phone calls, especially around the major holidays, concerning paid time off. Common questions are: Will I receive pay on holidays? Will I be paid for those regular days when I am not needed due to holiday travel or entertainment? Will I even have the holiday off from work or will my employer require me to work?
Talking about vacation, paid holidays, and paid time off, right from the beginning, is critically important. Misunderstandings and miscommunication about these topics will affect your relationship with the nanny or any other household employee. Spelling out the policy for paid time off will help to avoid hurt feelings and uncomfortable situations. HomeWork Solutions recommends, as a best practice, to include this policy in your work agreement.
Families who do not plan to offer paid holidays should make this very clear at the time of hire.
Failing to plan for time off is never a good idea - yet it happens frequently. What are the norms?
Full time household workers typically receive a minimum of 7-8 paid Federal holidays per year. Additionally, most full time household workers expect to be paid for their regularly scheduled time every week, even if the family decides to take additional holiday time and the employee is not needed.
Permanent part time household workers are typically paid only when the Federal holiday (or its observance) falls on a regularly scheduled work day.
Federal holidays that fall on a Saturday are observed on the prior Friday, and those that fall on a Sunday are observed on the following Monday. Many families with different faith traditions sometimes 'move' the Christmas holiday, taking into account the faith tradition of their household employee. These arrangements ideally should be discussed and defined in the written work agreement.
Conclusion: All time off and compensation arrangements should be discussed and clearly documented in a written work agreement. Taking the time to be specific and have it in writing avoids misunderstandings later. Additionally, your nanny deserves to be able to plan for any reduction of her weekly income in advance. You would enjoy your vacations better, knowing there is no fussed nanny waiting for you at home!
*Federal law is referenced. A few localities and states mandate some paid time off.
We read with interest this wonderful article about when families with an aged elder family member in the household hit the crossroads - the elder needs more care and attention than the family caregivers can provide and keep their own sanity.
HomeWork Solutions staff chat with clients in this situation routinely. The family wants to keep their aging family member in their home, but are at a tipping point. Often these families elect to privately hire a full time or part time caregiver to help their loved one, and give the family a respite from the demands of care.
We publish a wonderful tip sheet linked above that helps families navigate the complexities of becoming a household employer. A privately employed senior caregiver is an economical alternative for families with some caregiving flexibility and the ability to backup the caregiver on sick and vacation days.
What is a Geriatric Care Manager?
14 Key Parts of the Senior Caregiver Work Agreement
A majority of American wage earners live paycheck to paycheck. We start dividing our take home pay between mortgage or rent, water, phone, electric, internet, XYZ bills, and those little cravings such as Starbucks, the movies or that new outfit at the mall as soon as we receive our pay. Before you know it, our salary is gone and we wait anxiously for the next pay day. While we know our current earnings are not guaranteed to keep coming in forever, neither in the frequency or amount, we fail to make provisions for that ‘rainy day.’ American’s on average save only 2.7 cents from every dollar we earn!
Household employees, including nannies, follow this familiar pattern all the time. Scary, right? Nanny and other caregiving jobs are temporary in most situations. The child will grow up and the nanny is no longer needed. This is the nature of the nanny’s business, with some exceptions, of course.
HomeWork Solutions is aware of this and willing to help … Did you know that we offer split direct deposits absolutely free? Is your payroll processed by our company? Let us help you help yourself! You simply need to call our office at 800.626.4829 and ask us for a Direct Deposit Form and update your direct deposit records. It is an easy step and the benefit is huge!
You can take a fixed amount of your payroll every pay day and deposit it into your savings account or your retirement account - even directly into your IRA! We want to help you to see your money grow and be prepared for a rainy day.
Watch your nest egg grow - and suddenly you have an emergency fund, a vacation fund, or retirement savings! Pick an amount you can live with - it can be as little as $10 a week. The important thing is to start right now!
I have just set up my split direct deposit. Will you? What do you want to save for?
California's Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, AB 241, was significantly amended on May 28. This is important for household employers, as the mandatory off duty meal break provision and mandatory paid vacation/time off provisions were stricken from the bill.
The bill moved to a vote in the General Assembly and passed on a 41-24 vote. The next step is the Senate vote.
In 2001 California instituted Wage Order 15 which covers domestic service employment. This 2001 legislation significantly expanded Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protections for California domestic service workers with the exception of Personal Attendants (similar to Companions in the Federal legislation).
AB 241 makes little modification to Wage Order 15, and significantly enhances specific protections against abuses such as sexual harrassment.
Should this legislation become law, California employers need to know the following:
1. If the employee (usually a nanny or senior caregiver) is to take meal and rest breaks "on duty" the employee MUST be paid for the time, and the family and the employee MUST have a written agreement. As always, HomeWork Solutions always recommends that families have a written work agreement in place with any domestic service employee (nanny, housekeeper, maid, senior caregiver, personal attendant).
2. If the employee is on duty 24 hours, and the family employers wish to exclude up to 8 hours of bona fide sleep time from compensable working hours, the family and the employee must have a written agreement in place also.
3. All California employees are required to receive a formal Pay Rate Notice at the time of hire that states the hourly and overtime rates of pay. HomeWork Solutions has a California Pay Rate Notice available for download from our website. Household employees are also entitled to a detailed pay stub that includes hours worked, pay rate, and all deductions each pay period.
California is not the only state considering Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights legislation. For the current summary of state proposals, we welcome you to download the DWBR comparison chart which includes Illinois, Hawaii and Oregon.
Curious about employer responsibilities and domestic service worker rights are in California today? Download our free tip sheet: 411: California Household Employment.
Protecting Employee Personally Identifiable Information
Household employers have legitimate needs to collect and maintain their household employee’s confidential data. All employers, and their agents, are legally responsible to protect this information and prevent its access by unauthorized individuals.
Identity theft is growing at an enormous rate, both in the US and abroad. The lives of victims of identity theft are impacted in a devastating way. By the time we realize our identity has been stolen, by a notification from a credit agency and/or law enforcement, some damage has been already done. This crime is often discovered too late, and correcting credit bureau records is a daunting task.
Homeland Security, the IRS, SSA, the United Postal Services and many other Federal Agencies are conducting public outreach programs to communicate to employers their legal obligations to protect their employee’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This applies to Household Employment as well.
Federal and State employment laws require employers to collect a large volume of personal information, such as First, Middle and Last Name, SSN, address, driver’s license, bank account numbers, date of birth, etc. in order to comply with legally required reporting. Pre-employment background screening, a best practice in household employment, also involves the collection of employee PII. Employers must absolutely ensure the security of PII and collect only information that is absolutely necessary for the employment on-boarding and tax reporting functions.
HomeWork Solutions has in place several security procedures to protect our clients’ and their employee’s information:
- HomeWork Solution’s servers are penetration tested by a trusted 3rd party, Security Metrics, every quarter.
- Our office is physically secured, and only authorized staff is permitted in areas where client and employee’s PII is stored.
- We background check all of our employees, and are bonded.
- We coach our staff in telephone and email procedures to maintain client and employee PII security.
- HWS’ premium service clients have many payroll and tax documents, including employee W-2 forms, delivered electronically to their personal e-Filing Cabinet.
- Clients who want to make their information available to a 3rd party such as their accountant/CPA must provide HWS written authorization.
- We offer a secure website and absolute confidentiality to our clients.
We encourage clients to take a moment to review how you maintain your employee’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in your home.
Efforts at the state level to write and pass legislation to increase the legal rights and protections of domestic service workers - nannies, elder caregivers, housekeepers and others - have increased dramatically in recent months.
California, Oregon, Illinois, and Hawaii all have bills pending today and supporters in Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Georgia have announced they will be putting bills forward in these states as well this year.
New York passed a Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights in 2010. [Free Download - NY Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights]
HomeWork Solutions has prepared a quick comparison of the various Domestic Workers' bills, along with the bill number and status.
As some or all of these proposals become law, it is clear that families will need the education and support of professionals - payroll professionals like HomeWork Solutions and agency professionals such as International Nanny Association agency members - to clearly navigate these rules with well written work agreements and compensation agreements.
Many families and nannies are surprised to know that household employees already enjoy many labor protections under current law. Curious about how things stand today? Download our free tip sheet Household Employees and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
What are your thoughts? What do you like? What worries you?
HomeWork Solutions is a leading national nanny/household employee payroll and tax company. We work with thousands of families, and hear and respond to the same questions/concerns over and over again. We want to take the opportunity to share this information with you through this easy to follow Q. and A.
Q. Are nannies considered employees or independent contractors? Does it matter how much she earns or how often she works for the family?
A. Nannies are employees. It does not matter if the employer wants to call her an independent contractor, or that she wants to called that. The distinction between employees and contractors is written in law, and hinges on control. The family has the right to control when she works, how the job is performed, and provides the place and tools for the job. It does not matter if the family grants the employee great latitude – they still have the right of control, and that is the central defining element of an employer-employee relationship.
How much the nanny earns only impacts the tax responsibilities of the family, and does not change the relationship.
Q. Why does it matter if you call a nanny an employee or independent contractor?
A. Misclassification of your employee has numerous risks and potential consequences.
- Taxes: When you have an employee, you contribute to Social Security and Medicare programs, as well as unemployment insurance funds. Independent contractors pay higher Social Security and Medicare tax than employees, and are not covered by or contribute to unemployment insurance. If caught, the employer must make back tax payments, including employee FICA taxes that they didn't collect, and pay penalties and interest assessments.
- Insurance: Employers can obtain workers' compensation insurance, important to cover liability in the event of a workplace injury. Independent contractors are not covered by workers' compensation. If there is a workplace injury, and the family is found to have misclassified their employee as an independent contractor, they can be held financially liable for the employee's injury.
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): Overtime, minimum wage, and time tracking protections apply to employees, not independent contractors.
- Enforcement: Catching misclassification of employees as independent contractors is a workplace enforcement priority. Federal and state governments are anxious to collect unpaid employment taxes, penalty payments, and insure that all employees are paying their income taxes.
Q. If the nanny has a full-time job during the week and babysits for a bunch of different families on weekends, is the nanny an employee or independent contractor for the weekend families?
A. The nanny’s relationship with the weekend families will determine this. If she retains control – sets the pay rate, can say yes or no to the schedule, and can arrange for others to perform the work for her, then that is likely an independent contractor relationship. However, if Family A says they need her every Saturday from 6 PM until midnight, and only she can provide the services then this indicates an employer-employee relationship. Again, control is the central determining factor. The Internal Revenue Service's Form SS-8 is used to get an official determination of worker status.
Q. If the nanny makes her living doing babysitting and temp jobs is she an employee or independent contractor?
A. Whether a job is full time, part time, or temporary does not matter at all when making the determination of employee vs. contractor. Control is the central matter. Frankly, it is very hard for a nanny or the parents to make the case that the family does not have the right of control – what and when to feed the children, approved and disapproved activities, schedule, etc. In the vast majority of circumstances an employee-employer relationship exists. Certain specialties – especially newborn care and doula services – are easier to define as a contractor relationship. After all these care specialists are engaged to interact with the family in a very different way than a temp nanny interacts with a family. The NCS or doula typically will set the rate of compensation, may engage other individuals to help provide the desired services, and exercises considerable control over the scope and nature of the provided services.
Remember, how much the employee earns only impacts the tax responsibilities of the employer, and does not change the relationship.
Q. If the nanny works for an agency temping while she looks for a full-time job, is she an employee or independent contractor?
A. If the agency pays her, she is an employee of the agency. If the family pays her directly and pays the agency a daily or hourly fee for arranging the schedule/booking of the nanny to provide the services, she is an employee of the family.
Q. What the difference between a W-2 and a 1099?
A. W-2 Wage and Tax Statement is provided to employees. It will summarize the wages paid and taxes withheld from the wage. A nanny who receives a W-2 knows that the family is paying their portion of the Social Security and Medicare taxes, as well as unemployment taxes and workers compensation insurance.
1099 MISC is used typically by a business or family to document fees paid to an independent contractor. This independent contractor is responsible for self employment tax – essentially the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes. When a nanny employer provides the nanny a 1099 form, they are pushing their tax obligations over to the nanny. Not only is this not proper, but the IRS is cracking down on all businesses or families who issue 1099 forms, looking closely at the relationship between the parties (family and nanny in this circumstance) and prosecuting businesses and families who should have been issuing a W-2 form to the worker. This is an enforcement priority of the Obama Administration, and 22 states are working hand-in-hand with the IRS to do these examinations. States are interested because unemployment funds are severely depleted, and families who issue a 1099 are not paying their fair share of unemployment taxes.
HomeWork Solutions hopes you find this helpful … stay tuned for more upcoming discussions of common questions household employers and employees have.
Today is the day we celebrate FAMILIES around the globe. What does the word family means? According to Wikipedia “In human context, a family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children.”
Think about “An institution for the socialization of children”. How important is this? Children are our future. As a company, we hear how families struggle with the care of their children and aging or disabled family members on a daily basis. Parents and adult children worry, struggling to locate a loving and caring person, and to insure their loved ones safety. They know the importance of finding a competent and caring person to take care of their loved ones while they have to go to work.
Nannies and Senior Caregivers are often the most ideal solution! These special people specialize in the care, protection and companionship of our loved ones in our family home. These caregiving professions are clearly important for our society and its development. These loving and caring individuals whom we trust our kids and elders are not only our employees; they become, with time, integrated members of our family.
Family is not only those whom we are related by consanguinity; family is also the people we care for and who care for us. We have received so many phone calls from clients letting their nanny or caregiver go because the family needs have changed and the service is no longer needed. There is so often genuine sadness on their part to be severing this relationship. Many families (those who can afford this option) will actually evolve their nanny’s job to that of a Household Manager just to keep her around.
HomeWork Solutions celebrates today (and everyday!) all of our client families and those considered as family. We want to say Thank You to all care providers for all you do and for the valuable support you add to our community and the success of our families around the US!
It is an important day at HomeWork Solutions; we celebrate today as the family we are ourselves!
The HomeWork Solutions Family