If you’ve recently started the process of searching for a new nanny, you know that finding the right nanny to nurture your kids is an incredibly big job. When it comes to looking for a live-in nanny, remember that you’re not just hiring a nanny to care for your kids, but you’re also looking for someone that can live well with you in a roommate style situation.
Just because your nanny lives with you, doesn’t always mean that she is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A live-in nanny typically has set hours per week, then two days off per week. She should be paid by the hour, not on a salary, and if she ends up working more than required each week, you are required to pay her overtime. In addition to duties and responsibilities, live-in nannies must also have a portion of their contract outlined for the house-sharing portion of the job. This should include topics such as meals, dining out, food storage, and what "board" actually covers. For example, are there items in the home that she will need to provide for herself such as toiletries, or can she use these as part of living in your home? Her primary job is taking care of the kids, but if you want to ask if she is open to preparing meals or cleaning, you can do so. Just be sure that is covered in the interview process before the nanny accepts the job. Those extra items should not be expected unless you have previously discussed this with her.
Providing adequate living space for your nanny is a must. This usually includes a private room with a private bath. Room and board is always included – it is never taxed or included in the income. Meals should also be provided for her, but if she has specific dietary needs, then you as the employer may want to offer her an area in the pantry or fridge for her items or go over details about how she would like to take care of the meal portion of living at the home. A television and connection to WiFi should be provided and if she doesn’t have a vehicle, you can negotiate that she can use the family vehicle on her free time.
A live-in nanny is typically responsible for all child related activities in the home. This includes not merely caring for the children, but also their meal preparation when on duty, their laundry and bedding, and cleaning and sanitizing bottles, toys, etc. A live-in nanny should keep your home in the condition that you left it. She is NOT a full charge housekeeper, although many live-in nannies will agree to perform some additional housekeeping duties for additional compensation. Just like cooking, this should be discussed and agreed to in the initial job interview and memorialized in your work agreement.
You may have heard of the "Nightmare Nanny" situation in California in 2014. The major factor that allowed the "nanny" to stay in the home even when the family severed the relationship was the family's failure to establish a proper employer | employee relationship and specify that room and board were a part of the relationship. Household employment experts all agree, a written work agreement between the family and the nanny or caregiver is a best practice. This memoralizes the employment agreement, including compensation, benefits (lodging and meals) and other factors that establish the relationship between the employer and the worker. A properly written work agreement (and legal pay) would have precluded the nanny from claiming tenant rights - it would have established the room and board as a condition of employment, which ends when employment ends. Tenancy laws vary by state - consult a legal expert in your state for help if you don't feel comfortable going it alone in this area. Some states require notice to the live-in nanny of termination, or obligate the employer to provide alternative housing if the proper notice period is not observed.
The live-in nanny is a household employee. As the employer, you have payroll tax and labor law responsibilities. These will include Social Security and Medicare taxes, Unemployment tax, and adherence to state and federal labor laws as they pertain to workers compensation insurance, minimum wage, overtime, payroll frequency and pay theft prevention measures.
The Bottom Line:
Keep lines of communication open at all time and be sure that if any questions or issues arise, that you discuss them with one another in order to keep an amicable working relationship going.