FAQ by Nannies

Perhaps you are thinking of becoming a nanny or are new to nanny work. Below you will find some of the most common questions nannies ask, along with answers that will guide you in the right direction as you gain experience working as a nanny.

1. How much do nannies get paid?

Nanny salaries vary based on geographical location, hours worked, duties, responsibilities, educational background, experience, special skills sets and more. According to the 2012 International Nanny Association’s salary and benefits survey, on average, full-time nannies make roughly $700 gross per week. 

2. What is “light housekeeping” and is it a normal nanny responsibility?

Light housekeeping means different things to different people. That’s why it is essential to list specific duties and tasks, rather than use vague language, when referring to nanny responsibilities. Generally speaking, light housekeeping means keeping the areas that the children use most (bedroom, playroom, general areas) tidy and taking care of the children’s laundry. 

3. I don’t agree with the way my mom boss is handling something. What do I do?

Honesty is always the best policy. The nanny and employer relationships that succeed are based of off mutual respect and open communication. Gently and in a nonjudgmental way, bring up the topic. “I noticed that it is really important to you that Sam eats all of his food at lunch. In my experience, some toddlers are grazers and do better when presented with small portions of nutritious foods throughout the day. Are you interested in trying a different approach? I am concerned that he’s going to develop a bad relationship with food if his mealtimes continue to be so stressful.” Some parents will gladly welcome such feedback, others may get defensive. Ultimately, it’s up to you to implement the parents’ wishes. If doing so is something you can’t do, you need to be upfront about that and explain why. If the situation can’t be resolved, you may need to consider terminating your employment.  

4. Should I be paying a nanny agency to find me a job?

While nanny agencies do help nannies secure employment, their real clients are the parents. The parents pay a placement fee to the agency to screen and present qualified nanny candidates to them for consideration. Nannies are not typically charged fees from the agencies with whom they work.

5. Do I need some type of liability insurance?

It only seems natural to want to protect yourself when working in such a unique environment, but the reality is that securing professional liability insurance for nannies is very difficult. There aren’t many, if any, underwriters who will prepare policies for nannies because nannies typically work in private homes unsupervised. The reality is that insurance will not protect you from a lawsuit, although it may help with legal fees. Nanny employers, however, may wish to obtain (and in some states are required to obtain) workman’s compensation insurance, should their nanny be injured on the job.

6. Why should I get paid legally when I bring home more when I am paid in cash?

While bringing home more money each week may make sense in the short-term, bring paid legally has many long-term benefits. Having proof of employment is essential for establishing credit and securing loans for cars, homes and more. If you want to be able to utilize Social Security, Medicare, and even in some cases unemployment or disability insurance, you must be paid on the books.

7. What is the difference between a babysitter, au pair and nanny?

Babysitters provide supervisory care on a limited basis.

Au pairs are foreign nationals who enter the country through the cultural exchange program, which is governed by the United States Department of State. The Au Pair program is a foreign exchange program with a child care component. While often marketed as an inexpensive form of childcare, due to the limited hours Au Pairs can work and lack of extensive childcare experience they may have, an Au Pair is not a suitable replacement for a nanny.

Nannies are childcare specialists whose workplace is in the private home of their employers. Nannies provide customized and personalized care and are hired to undertake all the tasks related to the children. Nannies may live-in or live-out of the employers home. Generally nannies have extensive experience working with children, a working knowledge of child development and a deep and genuine love for children.

9. Do I get paid when my employer doesn’t need me to work?

While each nanny and family should create a work agreement that governs their employment relationship, generally speaking, nannies are paid 52 weeks per year and are paid even if their employer doesn’t need them to work. For example, if the family is taking a vacation and does not wish for the nanny to accompany them, the nanny should be paid. The parents however may ask that the nanny do household related tasks while they are gone, like water the plants, take in the mail or walk the dog.

10. Why do I need a written work agreement?

A work agreement brings clarification to the working relationship and serves as a reference to what was agreed upon by both the nanny and the parents. A work agreement should include the length of employment, employment schedule, salary and benefits, specific duties and responsibilities, tax responsibilities, cause for termination and any other pertinent employment related information. 


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