Basic Guides

Basic Guides

Basic Considerations

Being thoughtful on the front-end can prevent issues down the road and set you up for a successful working relationship with an excellent nanny for your family. 

Social Media Use

In today’s world, social media is a significant aspect of many people’s lives, and it’s common for nannies to be active on various platforms. Mayflower strongly advises that you discuss social media usage with your nanny at the onset of their employment. This conversation should cover their social media habits and your preferences regarding their posts in public forums. It’s wise to include a clause about acceptable social media use in the employment contract to ensure both you and the nanny are clear about the boundaries. Mayflower’s standard contract includes a section on social media.

Consider the potential long-term impact on your children of having a nanny who might post their photos and information online, particularly if this nanny may not remain a part of their lives indefinitely.

Mayflower acknowledges the uncertain impact of social media on children growing up in this digital age. Hence, we incorporate this topic in our Code of Professional Responsibilities, which all our affiliates must follow. However, you should establish specific boundaries tailored to your family’s preferences and needs with your nanny.

Driving Responsibilities

If your nanny will be driving your children, ensure they have a valid driver’s license and check for any infractions. It’s your responsibility to ensure the vehicle used is safe, properly registered, and insured, including the nanny on the insurance policy.

Should your nanny need to use their own car for work purposes, it’s appropriate to reimburse them for expenses like gas, vehicle wear and tear, and additional insurance costs. Note that newly qualified nannies should not use their personal vehicles for work; a vehicle should be provided for them.

Accommodation for Live-in Nannies

For live-in nanny positions, it’s expected that the nanny is provided with a private bedroom and ideally a private bathroom. Self-contained accommodations, whether connected to the main residence or separate, are generally most desirable.

Background Checks

Before placement, Mayflower requires that all nannies have an up-to-date background check, typically renewed every three years. If you request a new background check for a prospective nanny, Mayflower can arrange this, with the cost being your responsibility. We encourage our nannies to maintain current background checks and offer online verification options for employers.

Employment Status of Nannies

Many parents wonder if nannies can be considered self-employed. Unlike maternity nurses, who often work as independent contractors, nannies in the U.S. are generally not viewed as self-employed. Mayflower can provide information on the employment status of each candidate.

Salary Negotiation

While it was once common to negotiate nanny salaries on a net basis, it’s now crucial to agree upon a gross salary. This ensures that the nanny’s salary remains consistent regardless of tax rate changes and allows them to benefit from any adjustments in tax allowances without extra cost to you.

Regular Meetings and Duties

We recommend holding regular one-on-one meetings with your nanny to discuss progress and mutual expectations. These meetings can be weekly, monthly, or quarterly, depending on what suits you best. Open communication helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures that both parties are clear about their roles and responsibilities.

Setting Up Employment Right

In the United States, when you hire a nanny, there are several legal responsibilities you must adhere to as an employer. There are several online payroll services which can make this a simple process, but you should still be aware of the following: 

  1. Employer Identification Number (EIN): Obtain an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. This is necessary for tax purposes.
  2. Payroll and Taxes: Set up a system to withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from your nanny’s salary. You are also responsible for paying your portion of these taxes.
  3. Federal Income Tax Withholding: You may need to withhold federal income tax from your nanny’s earnings, depending on their tax situation and W-4 form.
  4. Unemployment Taxes: Pay federal and state unemployment taxes. These taxes fund the unemployment compensation your nanny would be eligible to receive if they lose their job through no fault of their own.
  5. Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Depending on your state, you may be required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance to cover your nanny in case they are injured while working.
  6. Wage and Hour Laws: Comply with federal and state wage and hour laws, including paying at least the minimum wage and overtime.
  7. Pay Stubs: Provide your nanny with regular pay stubs detailing their earnings and withholdings.
  8. Employment Agreement: It’s advisable to provide your nanny with a written employment agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of their employment, including duties, hours, salary, benefits, and termination procedures.
  9. Annual Tax Reporting: File Schedule H with your federal tax return if you pay your nanny more than the IRS threshold for household employees.
  10. New Hire Reporting: Report your nanny as a new hire to your state’s New Hire Reporting Program.
  11. Verify Work Eligibility: Complete Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) to verify your nanny’s legal right to work in the United States.
  12. Retirement Plans: While not a legal requirement, you can offer retirement plans like a SIMPLE IRA as an additional benefit to your nanny.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with both federal and state employment laws to ensure compliance. Consulting with a tax professional or an attorney specializing in employment law is advisable to navigate these responsibilities effectively.