Risk Management Tip
Take precautions to prevent a ‘nightmare nanny’ situation
Nurturing and loving live-in nannies are to be cherished. However, errors in the hiring process could result in a messy legal situation if the person you are hiring turns out to be untrustworthy. Follow these tips before inviting someone into your life and home:
- Conduct a thorough background check and ask for references. Ask for a candidate’s references and if you can contact their previous employers/families. Only hire nannies who will complete a background check. If someone is willing to simply accept room and board for the difficult job of rearing children, this could be the first tipoff that they are more concerned about a place to live than caring for your children.
- Stick to credible job board sources. It is best to find a credible website or newspaper when searching for a nanny. Websites like craigslist.com can be risky. If you find a candidate on a site not specifically designed for safe nanny hiring, be extra cautious with safety measures.
- Think about taxes. Before you start your search for a nanny, you should also think how to pay him or her legally. Finding a payroll service can take all the work and worry out of being a household employer by filing the nanny tax payroll for you.
- Create a nanny contract. Drafting a contract is essential for clarifying salary matters and dealing with conditions necessary to ensure a healthy and productive work relationship. The contract should include information on duties and responsibilities, compensation and benefits, transportation, confidentiality, and notice and severance. Consider adding clauses to the employment agreement that would impose financial penalties on a live-in employee that did not vacate the premises in a certain time frame upon termination.
- Familiarize yourself with the Fair Labor Standards Act, so you know which federal standards you’ll be obliged to comply with to ensure fair employment.
When everyone is clear on a nanny’s responsibilities and privileges, it reduces confusion and makes disputes easier to solve amicably when they do crop up. For more tips on hiring domestic staff, read this article by Laura Sherman featured in Worth Magazine.