A lot of our Care.com family have not only used Care.com to find care – but have been caregivers themselves. Samantha from our Member Marketing team babysat for 7 years. Here are the things she knows your nanny wants to tell you.
I babysat my way through high school. Later, I had a family I nannied for part-time to help pay for college. I had great relationships with all of the families I worked with, but I can tell you that there is a lot of miscommunication between families and caregivers. Things I assumed, but they did not. And the other way around.
If you are looking for a new nanny or sitter -- or have one already -- it might be time for a talk. From my experience, and tales from my friends, there’s at least one thing on this list she’s dying to tell you (and might be too scared to!). But here is what you can do about it.
1. I thought you’d pay for holidays. Nannies and sitters work schedules are bound to include some holidays, and they often assume they’ll get paid time off. And while it’s not legally required, it’s a very nice thing for families to offer (so we can pay our bills on time!). It’s even best to spell out which holidays your nanny will have off in a nanny contract (see this sample contract) so no one is surprised on say, Columbus Day.
2. I don’t like folding your underwear. To be honest, do you like strangers folding your undies? If laundry is part of the job, be clear about whose laundry it will be or just have her stick to the kids’ hampers. Your stuff is too personal.
3. You came home late and didn’t pay extra. Babysitters and nannies don’t work as a flat-fee service. You need to pay hourly, and often you need to pay overtime (if she’s worked more than 40 hours a week).
4. I need mileage reimbursement. Sometimes caregivers ask for gas money to get to your house – that’s not necessary. But if she’s driving your kids to all of their activities, you should reimburse at the suggested IRS amount of 56 cents a mile.
5. I’m not an independent contractor. The IRS considers caregivers household employees. That means if you pay your nanny or sitter more than $1,900 in a calendar year, you’re her household employer and are responsible for paying taxes. Learn more here >>
6. I’m having a health crisis. No one wants to get too personal with their employer, but caregivers are human too! Sometimes nannies and beloved sitters are just like family. If you treat her this way, she might be more apt to tell you when something is going on. This way you can create a backup care strategy if she can’t come in one day.
7. Your neighbor tried to hire me away from you. Nanny poaching is alive and well. If you have a good nanny, she is bound to get job offers from friends. If it’s just to babysit, good friends will contact you for permission. But a traitor might offer her more money to be her nanny. Let your nanny know to come to you first.
8. Your child called me a %@#%!$. Everyone wants to know how their kids behaved while they were gone, but it’s not always easy to tell a parent when a child is misbehaving. As a sitter, you don’t want to seem like you don’t have things under control or get a child in trouble. If you’ve witnessed your child name calling or being aggressive towards a sibling, ask the sitter if she’s noticed something similar. It can ease the stress of being a tattletale.
9. I need a raise. Are you paying your sitter or nanny enough? Make sure you use our calculator to know the going rate in your area. But also make sure you’re not being stingy. Caregivers should get a raise each year and with each additional child. You need to make sure you take care of the person who takes such good care of you.
10. I don’t clean bathrooms. Most sitters and nannies don’t consider themselves housecleaners. If this is a job requirement, make sure to spell that out and agree upon it before hiring. Or, hire a housekeeper!
How would you feel if your sitter or nanny raised one of these topics? How would you handle it?