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Tips on a Live in Nanny

by Shailynn Krow

A live-in nanny is not like a babysitter. Rather than coming and going, she is in your home, caring for your children and living under your roof. Therefore, you must take special care to ensure that the nanny you hire not only suits the needs of your children, but of your household, as well. Since you’re interviewing a person for a job inside your home, you need to be prepared to treat it the same as if you were hiring an assistant in your office.

Schedule

Before hiring your nanny you should have a set schedule in place. This can include how many days per week she is expected to work and the total number of hours. Write this schedule down in your nanny contract. The Fair Labor Standards Act doesn’t require you to pay overtime if your nanny is scheduled for 40 hours, but it is customary to offer some form of overtime pay if your nanny is asked to work in addition to her regular schedule. You do, however, still have to pay for any hours worked. Set what days your nanny is expected to work. Typically, a nanny works five days per week with two days off. The two days do not have to be consecutive, but the days should be specified in the contract so that there is no confusion.

Living Quarters

Your nanny must have living quarters that are separate from your children. If your nanny shares living quarters with your children, then her sleep hours can be considered “working hours.” While it is not required, offering your nanny a private bathroom can be a welcome incentive.

Deducting Room and Board

You can deduct the cost of room and board for your live-in nanny from her wages as long as the room and board benefits the nanny – not yourself. You can only deduct the fair market value from wages if you opt to do so. Costs that can be deducted include food, laundry, the cost of renting the room, cost of asset depreciation and utilities. If, however, having a live-in nanny benefits you, such as enabling you to travel, then you are not eligible for such a deduction.

Job Responsibilities

During the interview process, you should have a clear list of responsibilities for your nanny. Specify what time your live-in nanny’s shift begins and ends. Common responsibilities for live-in nannies can include preparing children for school, driving children to school and appointments, feeding children meals, setting rules and disciplining children based on your household rules, arranging play dates and assisting children with homework.

Housework

While your nanny is there to perform light housekeeping duties, such as cleaning up after the children or folding laundry, she is there primarily to care for your children. Hire a housekeeper for any additional housework you want done.

Pay

You have the option to pay your nanny a salary or an hourly wage. You are required to pay your nanny the minimum wage or higher. If paying salary, your salary amount must still meet the minimum hourly wage requirements set by the U.S. Department of Labor. Consider offering her a raise at the end of the year or a bonus based on performance. Some households offer nannies retirement options, such as a 401(K) and health insurance as incentives to work for them.

About the Author

Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.

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