Frequently asked questions

Questions & Resources

We offer you the comparative advantage by swiftly and efficiently presenting you with qualified candidates who exceed market expectations. As a third-party referral source, we can screen in a way that you as the direct employer cannot, thereby providing you with extensive data upon which to inform your hiring decision. We understand with time, effort and some luck you may find one of these candidates on your own. Typically, we find them for you a lot faster – or we already have them within our network. We also generally represent candidates who are not on the open market, so the applicants you are meeting through our agency are not likely to be ones you will find elsewhere.

Every step of your search, we lend guidance to increase the value of our client’s selection process; from detailed guidance on what to expect from the hiring market to post-placement agreements, and even third-party moderation, should it be necessary. We do all the work for you including but not limited to: job descriptions; candidate sourcing; scheduling interviews; providing the offer letter, employment agreement and confidentially agreement templates; conducting independent performance reviews; tips for post placement success and employee retention.

We begin by discussing your needs and setting up a consultation. The cost of this consultation is $350 and is conducted virtually. The company representative who speaks with your family then returns to our team to source candidates with relevant experience to meet your needs, starting with our internal pool of vetted candidates. Depending on the current market, we will have identified 1-3 screened candidates for your review within a few days of your consultation. On average, our clients will interview between two and five candidates before making a hiring decision that they are happy with. We are very proud that most of our clients hire one of the first people we send them.

We begin by discussing your needs and setting up a consultation. The cost of this consultation is $350 and is conducted virtually. The company representative who speaks with your family then returns to our team to source candidates with relevant experience to meet your needs, starting with our internal pool of vetted candidates. Depending on the current market, we will have identified 1-3 screened candidates for your review within a few days of your consultation. On average, our clients will interview between two and five candidates before making a hiring decision that they are happy with. We are very proud that most of our clients hire one of the first people we send them.

In the Seattle market we typically place nannies in the range of $20-30+ per hour for full time. We are currently seeing full-time salary ranges of $41,600-62,400 with benefits . The rate for part-time nannies is typically $24-$30+ per hour. Our standard compensation recommendations for full time placements include paid federal holidays, minimum two weeks paid vacation, and mileage reimbursement (for job related driving). We advise on the benefits of offering health insurance stipends to those candidates who seek this benefit, as well as making referrals for tax and payroll, and health and retirement plans where applicable. Part time nannies do not typically earn benefits.

One-time non-refundable registration fee of $350 which includes a virtual consultation.

During the offer stage, you choose the package that best suits your family:

Essentials: One-time non-refundable placement fee of 14% of the candidate’s projected gross annualized compensation for the first year. $5000 minimum applies. This package includes a 60-day replacement guarantee.

Standard: One-time non-refundable placement fee of 16% of the candidate’s projected gross annualized compensation for the first year. $5000 minimum applies. This package includes a 120-day replacement guarantee.

Plus: One-time non-refundable placement fee of 18% of the candidate’s projected gross annualized compensation for the first year. $5000 minimum applies. This package includes a 160-day replacement guarantee.

Premium/Nanny Share: One-time non-refundable placement fee of 20% of the candidate’s projected gross annualized compensation for the first year. $6500 minimum applies. Specialized searches/Nanny shares default to this package. (Doula, Personal Assistant, Household Manager, Housekeeper, Night Nurse, Chef, Driver, and Security, nanny share)

100% of the placement fee is due upon hiring.

Unless otherwise informed by you, we will default to the most common package, the Standard (16%).

In over two decades of servicing local families, we have found one thing to be true: the subjectivity of family dynamics and unique parenting philosophies vary to an extreme degree. This can range from cultural and spiritual beliefs, dietary restrictions, ideas about child rearing, the safety and security of one’s children and the general environment in which the children spend their day. Our work is a collaborative effort in which we honor your needs and compliment them with our vast knowledge of the industry. Hands down, the most important piece of this puzzle is the information gained from our time speaking with the members of your family. 

Your time is valuable. Screening, interviewing, and navigating this ever-changing industry can be challenging, especially while trying to work and raise a family. Using our team of industry professionals, we offer a total of 200 hours a week in time spent dedicated to vetting and matching highly qualified candidates with your family. Our teams’ decades of experience in the childcare industry can help you avoid frustrating pitfalls and delays. Once you find a candidate that you connect with, we help you to negotiate your offer, providing guidance on competitive rates and payroll services to navigate taxes and logistics for your hire. We also help you to understand your role as an employer and prepare you with best practices for employee retention, making it more likely that your nanny will want to stay with your family long-term. Finally, we offer a safety net in the form of a replacement package – as well as the option for backup sitter coverage if your own nanny becomes sick or takes vacation.

Most if not all the criminal information one can obtain on the internet is from a database. These databases are only updated monthly, quarterly and some yearly. A lot of them contain incomplete and/or missing information due to the fact that some counties in the state will not provide information to them. Why? Because the online services who provide this data are not bound to FLCRA (Fair Labor Credit & Reporting Act) compliancy regulations and therefore are only providing you with the most basic data. Privacy protection laws strictly prohibit access to actual court records, unless done so by a company like ours; as we are bound by FLCRA regulations.

Additionally, as the direct employer you are unable to base a hiring decision on negative information that is found in a report, as it is discriminatory. With the agency acting as an intermediary, you are provided with a critical layer of protection upon which to inform your hiring decision.

As an Educational Support Association (ESA) and placement agency for nannies, we primarily hear from applicants via word of mouth, referred to us based on our reputation. Many of the applicants we represent are nannies who we have placed in previous years that remain within our network.

Nannies seek representation from our agency because they take seriously the career of a professional nanny and desire fair compensation and job structure. They also know that we are here to protect their rights as workers in an informal and often predatory industry, both through guidance for our clients and the work our staff does in local labor policy.

We begin screening nannies before we meet them. We require an online application and resume submission as a first step. From there we conduct a phone screen, then we do a deep dive online footprint analysis and check the court system for any infractions. We then invite select candidates to complete an eight-page application and a series of essay questions, which read as an “interview on paper”.

From there we invite the candidate to a virtual interview with our recruiting team. During this time, we conduct an in-depth oral interview, make copies of identification and auto insurance and have the candidate complete an I-9 work authorization form. We verify employment history and experience via reference reports and a verbal authentication process. We schedule the nanny for a CPR/First Aid update if necessary and create a bio for their profile, which includes photos, work history and references. As a final step, we screen the candidates background to the greatest extent allowable by the Fair Labor & Credit Reporting Act which includes:

Statewide Criminal Background Report in all states lived
Driving Record Report
Social Security Number Trace
National Sex Offender Registry Clearance
Education/Degree Verification 
Deep Dive Online Footprint Analysis 

Our exhaustive selection process eliminates a large number of applicants who apply to our agency. Our transparent screening process allows you the greatest amount of control you will ever have over the selection of who will be supervising your child(ren).

The primary responsibility of the professional nanny is to take care of the needs of the children (such as meals, developmentally appropriate activities, transportation, and general upkeep of main living areas where children spend the majority of their time). However, many nannies are also accustomed to providing assistance with additional household tasks such as light housekeeping (defined as loading and emptying the dishwasher, sweeping or vacuuming main traffic areas, child/family laundry, calendar scheduling, general errands and grocery shopping, or even walking the dog).

Please keep in mind that “scope creep” is one of the biggest pitfalls of a nanny/family employer relationship and nothing will cause turbulence more than loading the nanny up with extra duties without updating written agreements and, when appropriate, providing additional compensation. That said, many nannies expect to lend a hand with the home environment and can even be referred to as a “family assistant” or “household manager” in cases where time allows for these extra tasks without neglecting the children.

We have a large pool of nannies on hand, so it’s possible that we can have you interviewing immediately and on the way to selecting a nanny within a matter of days or weeks. Our standard search time ranges from two to eight weeks depending on a number of variables, including your location, schedule, start date, and duties.

Depending on current market conditions, our clients meet with between one and five candidates on average, before extending an offer. We are highly skilled at assessing client needs with speed and delivering potential candidates in record time; however, we understand making the right match without being under pressure to do so is of paramount importance. Part-time and short-term positions can take longer to fill.

In a two-parent household where both parents work a forty-hour week, the nanny will typically work 45 to 50 hours per week in order to allow the parents commute time. When a nanny seeks “full time” he/she generally is referring to 40 hours minimum per week. If you are offering a 40-hour work week or below, this is typically because you yourself do not work full time, or you have a dual parent household where schedules can overlap to support hiring a nanny for just 40 hours per week.

We place part time nannies in a broad variety of schedules such as one to three days per week, or exclusively mornings or afternoons, or both. We have a 25-hour minimum for our placements, as most childcare professionals find it difficult to make ends meet with fewer than 25 hours.

The gross amount refers to the wage before tax deductions. The net amount is what the employee “takes home.” This can be an area of confusion when deciding what pay rate to offer a candidate; however, we do not allow our nannies to be paid “under the table” and the majority of childcare professionals expect to be paid on the books and taxed for their wages, just like any other job.

For many reasons, it is in yours and your nanny’s best interest to pay taxes. Not least because we require it in order to offer a position to any of our nannies. You are required to pay social security and medicare and it is strongly recommended that you also pay federal income tax. In Washington, household employers are responsible for the following four taxes, to be added on top of the employee’s gross wage: Social Security Tax Rate of 6.2%, Medicare Tax Rate of 1.45%, Federal Unemployment Tax Rate of 0.6% and State Unemployment Tax Rate of 1.35%.

You may be able to take advantage of your flexible spending plan and deduct the nanny’s salary as a qualifying expense, or be eligible for the federal dependent care tax credit. Not paying taxes means that the nanny will not have contributions made toward their social security account as well as impedes their ability to establish credit should they need to apply for a credit loan or mortgage. Finally, if you were to fire your nanny, he/she may attempt to file for unemployment thereby naming you as the employer. Should this happen, you may be responsible for back taxes, interest and penalties to multiple parties. Avoiding this scenario in the first place is advisable. As our client you may receive a free consultation with our recommended payroll service. Keep in mind that should you wish to bring your current situation into compliancy, our referral can advise you on making the necessary corrections to do so.

Yes, the 2019 reporting threshold is $2,100.00. Families that pay any individual employee $2,100 or more during the calendar year will be required to follow the household employer wage reporting obligations as outlined in IRS Publication 926. For the latest threshold, please contact our tax & payroll experts at HomePay by Breedlove.

You are required to pay overtime if your weekly schedule exceeds 40+ hours. We assist in assuring you are within compliance by structuring your nanny agreement around your annual budget salary. For example – based on a gross hourly wage of $17.00 and a 45-hour work week the weekly hours worked in excess of 40 per week would be compensated at $25.50 gross per hour with a total annual gross salary of $41,531.00. For more information click here.

A nanny who is able to afford to work limited hours typically has unique personal circumstances such as they are financially secure and seek only discretionary income, or they are a graduate student and can only work a limited number of hours per week to accommodate their studies. Due to the high cost of commuting, the part time nanny typically commands a higher hourly rate so that he/she may be able to afford to work a part time schedule. Also, a substantial part time income will increase employee satisfaction and limit turnover, which is the biggest issue for employers who hire part time nannies.

Attempting to estimate the annual salary with a monthly numerical calculation (a common mistake) can be confusing as each month varies in number of days. We use the following formula:

Scheduled hours X Hourly Rate of Pay X 52 weeks (1 year)

Over the years we have witnessed many successful long-term employment relationships and some that end prematurely due to misunderstandings that likely could have been avoided. Open and honest communication during the nanny’s scheduled work hours is the best way to ensure that both a family and nanny share realistic expectations. Our agency takes responsibility for establishing expectations for both parties based on industry standards as well as our decades of experience.

The baseline criteria we recommend include but are not limited to: paying market rate wages and benefits, drawing up a formal work agreement and honoring it, treating your employee with respect but maintaining professional boundaries, scheduling regular informal check-in meetings and less frequent formal evaluations, and considering building in a longevity bonus/annual raises to your budget.

All of our permanent care clients are members of our backup care program, however we invite inquiries from non-members to join our service and promise to limit memberships based on candidate availability and our ability to serve. Our fill rate is nearly 100% and we find that families who join our program stay on board long term. We even work with families and companies who have alternate backup care programs, to diversify care options and increase coverage probability.

Our desire is to get to know your family’s needs well enough to provide a candidate option who most closely suits the profile your family and children are most familiar with, resulting in seamless coverage.

Fees for backup care are as follows:

  • $49/month (first 3 months due at enrollment)
  • $30/day booking fee
  • Rate of pay: $20/hour for up to 3 children, $4/hour per additional child

In most cases, this is not a problem and we pre-screen our applicants to gauge amenability. If you have an infant, or your child is young enough to not yet have developed separation anxiety, this is almost never an issue. It becomes more of a concern when the children are aware that their parents are nearby, and of course their preference is to be with them over the caregiver. The older the children are, the more they tend to question or challenge the presence of a caregiver in the home while parents are also present.

This can make the nanny’s job more difficult and many caregivers with prior experience with this will decline to interview for this type of work arrangement. Although, some nannies have terrific experience working in a team environment and they understand that, due to current circumstances, more of our clients are working from home than not.

One way to avoid issues is to set and maintain boundaries and rules for the children interacting with you during the nanny’s shift, and to respect the rules and limits the nanny sets for your child while they are caring for them. This dynamic is based on trust, and the more consistency the children have from their caregiving team, the smoother each day will go for everyone!

Our candidates are made aware of the legalities surrounding undisclosed cameras in the home, and many of them admit to having worked under surveillance and even being critiqued for their performance. If you have a concern about the nanny’s performance for any reason, you should not wait to see what a hidden camera reveals. We recommend openly and respectfully sharing your concerns with your nanny as issues arise, to prevent misunderstandings and continuation of performance issues.

We also suggest installing cameras that are “out in the open” and allow you as parents to observe the daily interactions of your children and caregiver, without running the risk of losing the nanny because he/she has found a hidden camera and is hurt by what will likely be considered a lack of trust. Frank and honest discussion about your expectations at the outset, and regularly throughout the relationship, will ensure that everyone is clear and no one will be surprised by long-held resentments or internal conflicts. This is also models respectful conflict solution for your family and encourages employee retention.

We offer a unique program with a range of replacement packages and a sliding scale of fees depending on the package you choose. This means that included in your one-time fee is a “free replacement” period, and if the nanny leaves during this time, you will receive a replacement nanny at no extra charge. Outside of this period, you still receive significant discounts on any additional fee. We offer replacement coverage from 60 days to 180 days.

We have partnered with a licensed child and family therapist who has a highly specialized background unique to our industry. Dr. Lindsay Heller is nationally known and recognized as The Nanny Doctor™ and she has many years of experience providing guidance and support to families in regards to their relationship with their nanny.

As an outside objective third party, Lindsay is able to assess the situation from all angles and provide a specific solution to the needs of the families seeking her help. As a former nanny of ten years, licensed clinical psychologist and now a mother that employs a nanny, Lindsay knows the ins and outs of the nanny world like no other. There isn’t anything she hasn’t seen!

Inclusive of our placement packages, Seattle Nanny Network clients receive one hour of free consultation with Dr. Heller as part of our commitment to assisting each family troubleshoot nanny issues and reduce employee turnover. Lindsay is based in Beverly Hills, California but her services are available worldwide. She works with families in her Beverly Hills office, in private homes, board rooms, on the set, or over the phone/Zoom.

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