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How to Pay Your Nanny for an Overnight Shift

Provided by GTM Payroll Services, Inc.

Often parents will turn to their nannies for overnight or weekend care of their children. Maybe work trips take them out of town or they plan a getaway to have some time together without their little ones.

How do you pay your nanny for these extra shifts? It may seem easy to pay a flat fee but that could violate wage laws if it does not cover all hours worked at a legal pay rate. Doing it the right way depends on a few factors like when the shift happens and state laws.

Here’s what you need to know when paying your nanny for an overnight shift or other extra hours.

Overnight shift during the week

You will be out of town for a work meeting during the week and need your nanny to stay with your children overnight while you are away. Your caregiver works their normal shift during the day, remains at your home through the evening and overnight, and then works, as usual, the next day.

All hours that your nanny is at your home must be paid. Since the overnight care is adjoining with a scheduled workday, federal law says eight hours of uninterrupted sleep time can be unpaid. If your caregiver needs to get up to feed or change a baby or tend to a sick child, then that sleep time must be paid.

Your nanny must also be given adequate sleeping arrangements like a guest room.

Outside of sleep time, all hours when your employee is not free to leave your premises and when not completely relieved of their duties must be paid.

In California, there is no deduction for sleep time. All hours must be paid.

Overtime rules may come into play if any extra hours during a workweek – like an overnight shift – push your nanny’s work hours to more than 40 for that week. All hours that exceed 40 in a workweek must be paid at an overtime rate of time-and-a-half.

As an example, a nanny works Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are paid $15/hour for the first 40 hours of work ($600) and $22.50 for the five hours of overtime ($112.50) for a typical weekly pay of $712.50. One week they work an overnight shift, which adds 15 hours to their workweek (5 p.m. – 8 a.m.). Eight hours are excluded since the nanny got uninterrupted sleep. Since overtime is already in effect, those overnight hours are paid at time and a half (7 hrs x $22.50 = $157.50).

Families may also add a stipend to their nanny’s pay if they work an overnight shift.

Overnight shift on the weekend

You and your partner have planned a quick weekend overnight getaway to celebrate your anniversary. Your nanny will be with your children while you are away. Typically, they work Monday through Friday but are now coming in on a Saturday.

According to federal law, there is no sleep time exemption for shifts less than 24 hours So if your nanny is coming in on a Saturday at 4 p.m. and will work until Sunday at noon, the entire 20 hours must be paid. If they are already at or over 40 hours in their work week, then this extra shift must be paid at their overtime rate.

Let’s use the same example as above with a nanny working a 45-hour work week with a base pay of $15/hour. For this 20-hour weekend overnight shift, they will receive $450 (20 hrs x $22.50 OT rate).

Work shifts of less than 24 hours
A household employee must be paid for the entire time they are working for any shift that is less than 24 hours. This includes time they need to be on the premises even if they are allowed to sleep or engage in other personal activities.

Work shifts of more than 24 hours
When an employee is working a shift of 24 hours or more, sleep time can be excluded if:

  • adequate sleeping facilities are furnished by the employer
  • the employee’s time spent sleeping is usually uninterrupted
  • there is an expressed or implied agreement to exclude sleep time

An “expressed or implied agreement” regarding the exclusion of sleep time means either a written or verbal agreement that your employee will not be paid for sleep time or an agreement to exclude sleep time that is implied by your and your employee’s conduct. If your nanny objects to the exclusion of sleep time from their hours worked, no such agreement exists and all hours spent on duty, including time spent sleeping, must be counted as work time.

For “adequate sleeping facilities,” in general, you must ensure that your employee has:

  • access to basic sleeping amenities
  • reasonable standards of comfort
  • basic bathroom and kitchen facilities
  • The sleeping area and other facilities can be shared or private.

Interruptions during which your nanny performs tasks on behalf of you – as the employer – must always be paid as work time. If the interruptions are so frequent that your employee cannot get reasonable periods of sleep totaling at least five hours during the scheduled sleeping period, the entire period must be counted as time spent working and paid accordingly.

More information can be found on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Domestic Service Final Rule Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Include overnights in your nanny contract

If you know you will need your nanny for the occasional overnight or weekend shift, add it to your work agreement at the start of employment. That way everyone is clear on expectations and pay. If it is something that comes up after employment is underway, you can always go back and amend your nanny contract to include additional sections on overnights and 24-hour shifts. Negotiating overnight compensation in advance will help avoid any misunderstandings with your nanny.

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Driving Children Around? Car Seat Safety Tips you Must Know!

Most nanny positions require you to transport children. This could be to a playdate, school, activities, the grocery store, or on other outings or errands. This means that most likely, you will need some sort of car safety seat for each child in your care. For this reason, it is good to know the current recommendations for how to safely transport the children in your, or your employers’ car.

First, you want to make sure you have the correct seat for each child. This means that seat is the appropriate choice for the height, weight, and age of the child and that the seat is not damaged or expired.

Next, if you are driving the children around in your car, you should discuss with your employers about having them get car safety seats for your car. Shuffling the seats back and forth each day or each week will just increase the likelihood of errors while installing.

Lastly, you’ll want to be sure you are following current recommendations. Current recommendations include rear-facing until the child reaches the maximum height OR weight limits of a rear-facing convertible, then moving to forward facing seat while harnessed, next to high back and backless boosters, and then eventually meeting all required steps to be able to graduate from a car safety seat. It is so important to read the full car safety seat manual, as well as the child safety seat sections in the manual of the car you are installing the seat in to be sure they are compatible. Once children outgrow car safety seats, you’ll want to be sure they continue to ride in the back seat of vehicle while properly fastened.

Getting the help of a local Child Passenger Safety Technician, or CPST, can be valuable. They can help you and your employers make sure you have the correct seats for each child, that they install well in each car and that you know how to install them, and you know how to properly harness each child. You can also become a CPST yourself. Not only will you have better knowledge on car seat safety, but it will be a great addition to your resume and you will be doing your part to keep the children in your care safe while you drive them around. You can find a local CPST or get information on becoming one yourself at safekids.org.

And remember, whether you are using your or your employers’ vehicle, you want to be sure you are properly insured, so be sure to check with your agent, or have your employer check their theirs, to ensure you are fully protected as a driver.

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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was not explicitly extended by the new stimulus package so household employers are no longer required to provide federal paid leave for qualified reasons related to the pandemic as of December 31, 2020. There is, however, a provision in the law that allows employers who voluntarily choose to provide their employees leave for qualified reasons to continue to receive federal tax credits for that leave through March 31, 2021.

The new law does not change the FFCRA’s original limits on the number of leave days and amount of wages eligible for tax credits. Only unused FFCRA paid leave from 2020 can be taken in 2021.

Household employees can take up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for their own COVID-19-related health needs or for the care of others. They can also receive an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child whose school or place of care was closed, or child care provider was closed or unavailable, due to COVID-19. If an employee used up their allotment of paid leave in 2020, they do not receive additional leave in 2021. A worker can carry over unused leave into the new year if allowed by their employer.

As with the original FFCRA, household employees would be eligible for this voluntary paid sick leave benefit and families will be able to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit to cover the cost of their employee’s paid leave.

Keep in mind that some states and local jurisdictions have passed their own paid sick leave laws related to the pandemic that could extend benefits for household employees into 2021.

This information has been reprinted from GTM. To read more on this topic, click here.

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What is Childcare Work Experience?

What is considered recent childcare work experience?

Many individuals believe that caring for their own child or providing informal care for family in friends is considered experience enough to be qualified to work as a nanny.

While the experience gained from providing care for family and friends or on a volunteer basis contributes to your experience as a child care provider, we require our applicants to have experience working in formal child care positions.

When working in a formal childcare position, caregivers:

  • Work under the guidance of their employers with regards to standards and practice of care
  • Demonstrate consistency over a period of time with regards to the quality of care provided
  • Communicate regularly with parents and/or employers information about the children in their care
  • Have a track record of being punctual, responsible, and reliable for the duration of employment
  • Are familiar with the responsibilities and practices of being an employee in a childcare setting
  • Demonstrate they are able to care for children for long periods of time (and still love doing so!)
  • Have a work history that can be verified
  • Have references from individuals whose relationship is not a personal one.

Formal child care positions include working as a daycare provider, teacher, nanny, camp counselor, tutor, coach, or other position where you have held a job working with children. Positions like babysitting and Sunday church nursery volunteer are supplemental to the positions listed above. We consider recent child care experience to have occurred within the last 2-3 years, though this is determined at the discretion of the nanny coordinator. We also must be able to verify your work experience through reference checking or employment verification.

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How to Prevent Discrimination as a Household Employer

Provided by GTM Payroll Services

As someone who has hired an employee to work in your home, you’re considered an employer and your home is a workplace. That means you are subject to applicable labor laws. Some of these regulations are designed to prevent discrimination in the workplace. While federal laws require at least five, 15, or even 20 employees to take effect, it’s a best practice to set fair hiring and employment procedures as they are applied to any workplace. You’ll create a professional hiring attitude, an unbiased work environment, and a stronger relationship with your employee.

Laws to Prevent Discrimination

Federal Laws

Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of:

  • race, color, religion, sex, and national origin (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act)
  • age (Age Discrimination in Employment Act)
  • pregnancy (Pregnancy Discrimination Act)
  • citizenship (Immigration Reform and Control Act)
  • gender (Equal Pay Act)
  • disability (Americans with Disabilities Act)
  • bankruptcy (Bankruptcy Code)
  • genetic information (Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act)

Even if you are not subject to anti-discrimination laws, you should use them as guidelines to prevent discrimination and ensure equal opportunity employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, promotion, recruitment, testing, job advertisements, benefits, retirement plans, disability leaves, and other terms and conditions of employment.

Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights

A number of states have passed a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in an effort to help prevent discrimination in domestic employment. Household employees are often excluded from basic state and federal labor rights. They may be vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment and are isolated from the traditional workforce. Lacking typical workforce protections against unsafe conditions, domestic workers are open to discrimination and harassment and susceptible to exploitation by their employers.

In New York, the first state to pass a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, household employees can file a complaint against their employer if they are harassed due to gender, race, sex, religion or national origin. Employers are not allowed to retaliate if their employee files a complaint.

Local Laws

In addition to federal and state laws, household employers must also comply with local laws, which often supersede federal and state laws. For example, in Washington, D.C., the DC Human Rights Act applies to all employers, even those with just one employee. It prohibits discrimination based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, genetic information, disability, matriculation, or political affiliation.

Sexual Harassment

No employee should be subject to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that is sexual in nature or that shows hostility to the employee because of their gender. Sexual harassment can have devastating effects on the workplace. Household employers should take every step necessary to prohibit sexual harassment from occurring.

A best practice is to include anti-harassment and/or anti-discrimination policy in your employee handbook, which specifically addresses sexual harassment. The policy should clearly state that:

  • all employees and employers within the household are expected to treat one another with respect to maintain a positive work environment
  • the employer will act immediately upon learning of a sexual harassment complaint
  • an employee should promptly file a formal complaint if the employee experiences behavior that is unwelcome, offensive, or inappropriate
  • employers need to assure employees that all complaints of sexual harassment will be handled in confidence
  • the employer mandates a workplace free from all forms of discrimination, as per the law

The Society for Human Resource Management provides a sample anti-harassment policy document.

You should be prepared to respond to sexual harassment in the workplace. Your employee handbook should cover what actions will be taken when a sexual harassment complaint is filed. The policy must also state that no employee will experience retaliation for submitting a sexual harassment complaint.

Common Sense Practices to Prevent Discrimination

These practices can help you prevent discrimination in the workplace:

  • treat all employees equally
  • hire, promote, and fire without bias
  • review employment policies for unfair and negative impact on a protected class (e.g., race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, or pregnancy)
  • eliminate any unfair or negative policies or practices
  • take immediate action to eliminate discriminatory conduct including inappropriate comments or behavior
  • encourage diversity
  • never retaliate against an employee for filing a discrimination complaint

Household employers can struggle with their home being a personal residence, and at the same time, a workplace for others. Be aware of any discrimination laws in your state and city and how they may apply to you. Then implement employment practices to prevent discrimination and possible arguments or lawsuits.

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5 Reasons Your Friend’s Nanny May Not Be the Right Nanny for You

There is nothing better than a personal referral when hiring your next nanny, right?

While a personal referral may feel like the gold standard in the nanny hiring process, ignoring other important screening measures simply because a personal referral was made can be a barrier to determining if a nanny is the right nanny for your family.

Here’s 5 reasons your friend, neighbor’s or colleague’s nanny may not be the right nanny for you.

1. The “it” factor may be missing. When it comes to hiring a nanny, parents and nannies typically know in their gut when they have found the right match. Of course, families should do their due diligence and ensure that their nanny gas a clean background and meets all their hiring criteria, but if the “it” factor is not there, none of that really matters. Just because the “it” factor was there for your neighbor, friend, or colleague, does not mean it is going to be there for you.

2. The job may be different. A personal referral is not just enticing for a family, it is enticing for a nanny, too! When a family gives a nanny a personal recommendation to a friend, neighbor, or colleague, it typically positions the nanny in the front of the line for the position. For nannies, it makes the job search easy—if her boss is great to work for, her friends, neighbors, and colleagues must be too! But this is not always the case. Different families treat their domestic workers differently, have different ideas about the role their nanny will play, and have different views on compliance, pay, and the human resources side of nannying.

3. The model of care may be different. There are three models of nanny care; the coordinated care, where nannies and families work as a team, the surrogate care model, where the nanny serves as the primary caregiver, and the custodial care model, where the parents provide daily guidance and the nanny executes the family’s plan. Perhaps your neighbor is a dual professional couple working in the medical field and needs a nanny who thrives in the surrogate care model, but your family is more hands on and wants to be involved in the every day details like in the custodial care model. A nanny who has the freedom to operate independently and make day to day decisions may not enjoy working in a position that has a much greater level of daily management.

4. The expectations may not be the same. Every nanny and family relationship has their own set of expectations surrounding punctuality, communication, interactions, and caregiving style. The expectations surrounding the relationship may also be different. Some families keep their relationships strictly professional, and some prefer to have their nanny be an extended member of the family. Starting over in any new position is an adjustment and when the position and family is being compared to that of a friend, colleague, or neighbor, it can bring an added level of stress.

5. The assessment may not be current. While it is best practice to run background checks regularly, renew CPR and First Aid every two years, and formally monitor the quality of childcare the children are receiving, in practice, the longer a nanny has been with the a family, the less likely these things are to occur. Overtime as nannies and families build relationship, they may be more likely to ignore or justify concerns that would be suspect at the start of the employment relationship.

While personal referrals are great, regardless of how you learn about a potential nanny, gathering as much information as possible so that you can make an educated and informed hiring decision is essential.

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Happy National Nanny Recognition Week

September 26-30, 2020

Since 1998, National Nanny Recognition Week has been observed the last week of September to recognize and celebrate nannies across the United States.

NNRW was created by a group of dedicated industry leaders and nannies, and over 20 years later, it continues to live strong in the hearts and minds of nannies across the country, and internationally.

During this week, families and the community take time to honor nannies and the important work they and role they play in the lives of families.

Nanny Magazine, our sister company and the trade publication of the in-home childcare industry, is offering $5 off a one year digital subscription, bringing the cost to $16.00.

Happy National Nanny Recognition Week!

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Educator and Educator Support Roles

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Dear Nannies…

Dear Nannies,

We have heard from so many of you over the past few weeks and we’re so proud of the work you are doing and the way you are managing through this storm.

We often see the meme circling around that says, “Behind every sane family is a spectacular nanny.” In the midst of this pandemic, that couldn’t be more true.

While many doctors, nurses, essential employees, and frontline workers head into the eye of the storm, their nannies are on the frontlines behind them, caring for their children and their homes. From reassuring children who are confused about the events of the world, to kissing boo-boos and playing school, it’s the nannies who are meeting the needs of the children so that the parents can meet the needs of everyone else.

These past weeks have brought job changes, tough conversations, and hard decisions. They’ve brought information overload, conflicting advice, and a host of emotions that you’ve had to sort through in real time. We applaud you for navigating these challenges times and showing up when you are needed most.

For some nannies these times have brought unexpected time off, furlough, and unemployment. For you, we encourage you to use this time to build your resume, increase your knowledge by enrolling in training (there are many free classes available), and prepare yourself to come out on top when this pandemic passes.

For other nannies, the times have brought an unexpected transition to a live-in role, more hours, and additional duties. For you, we encourage you to keep the lines of communication open with your employers and to take care of yourself so that you too, can take care of others.

While we have some trying times ahead, we are grateful for the service you provide. It’s your strength, encouragement, and presence that brings some of our youngest citizens peace while their parents are in the eye of the storm.

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Can Nannies Work During COVID-19

We’ve been reaching out to Judge Hidalgo’s office regarding the stay at home order and the impact on Texas nannies. On 3/30/20 we received the following guidance:

Nannies are allowed under the order to work. In regards to the documentation questions, at this time, the Order does not require proof that you are allowed to be outside your residence because the Order presumes that citizens will adhere to their civic duty and follow the Order for the greater good of the community. However, some organizations — such as the Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston — are encouraging employers to provide a letter to their essential employees reflecting that they are being asked to work. If your employer is an essential business and you have an identification badge for your job, you can elect to show that badge to law enforcement should you be stopped. Law enforcement is focused primarily on educating the public, but they have and will continue to stop people who they believe may be in violation of the Order.

Sincerely,
The Office of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

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