Why Your Live-in Nanny Shouldn't "Pay" for Room & Board

Employing a live-in nanny can oftentimes be a little confusing. Many parents think that because a live-in nanny is receiving "free" room and board, they can pay their nanny less by deducting room and board from their nanny's monthly income, or pay them a lower hourly rate, or simply have their nanny work in exchange for room and board. A nanny who doesn't have to pay any rent, electricity, water, internet, cable, food, etc. surely should make less money per hour! While I understand how at first glance this seems like a fair deal, the industry standard is to pay a live-in nanny their full hourly rate...not a reduced rate. Legally live-in nannies must be paid for all hours worked, including applicable overtime (live-in overtime laws vary state by state, so it's important to check your specific state laws). In fact in some markets, such as Chicago, live-in nannies actually make MORE per hour than live-out nannies. Why? Because being a live-in nanny is extremely hard work and a huge sacrifice.

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How Not to Respond When Your Nanny Calls in Sick

Let's just dive right in. Nannies get sick and will miss work from time to time. There, I said it. Sadly, all too often, parents seem to forget that nannies are still human. I can only assume that lots of parents think their nannies are superhuman (which we kind of are in some ways), based on the countless nannies I encounter who are told they HAVE to come in even when very sick or are simply made to feel guilty for calling out. One nanny says she has been made to feel so guilty for calling in sick, that she hasn't taken a sick day in 6 years. Many nannies have even reported being guilt tripped for needing surgery -- like it's something they can control.

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Why Nanny Interviews Should be Kid Free

Just like with almost everything else in the nanny field, nanny interviews are unlike any other type of job interview. Why? Because most of the time, a nanny interview involves the nanny having to articulately converse with the parents while simultaneously interacting with the children. It's like the ultimate test of one's ability to multitask. While nannying certainly requires a strong level of multitasking and kids should absolutely be a part of the interview process, the initial in-person interview (notice I did not say initial phone interview) should not involve any multitasking or any kids. I personally feel it's unreasonable to expect a nanny to enthusiastically engage the kids while also discussing important things like parenting style, job roles/expectations, pay, etc. As a nanny who has had to do this MANY times at job interviews, I'm here to say that it is a hard...VERY hard...thing to do. The few times I've interviewed with parents sans kids, I was able to think more clearly and express myself better.

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Traveling With Your Nanny: It's Your Vacation, Not Theirs

We've already covered the protocol for when a family goes on vacation and chooses NOT to take their nanny, but how should a family go about traveling with their nanny? This is a question many parents and nannies have. Just like with most everything else, because there is no set law regarding this, a lot of parents and nannies simply do not know the industry standards when it comes to this topic. That being said, while I genuinely believe some people simply don't know, I'm not sure how that often results in parents totally low balling and trying to take advantage of their nanny. If parents would simply put themselves in their nanny's shoes, I think they would see what they are offering in a totally different light.

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When Families Go on Vacation Without Their Nanny

All too often parents expect their nanny to make their family a priority, while not offering the same in return. Parents, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you expect your nanny to prioritize your family, you better plan to prioritize your nanny. If you expect your nanny to offer consistent availability, you better plan to offer your nanny consistent pay.

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