Family FAQs

Still have more questions? Say hello!

Long-term Care Questions & Resources

We service the greater Puget Sound area with a large volume of placements in Seattle (including North, South and West Seattle) and on the East side (Mercer Island, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Issaquah, Sammamish, and surrounding areas)

We begin by discussing your needs and setting up a consultation. The cost of this consultation is $350. The company representative who speaks with your family then returns to our team to devise two job descriptions for you; one more detailed which is circulated internally to our private job board, and a more brief description for casting a wide net to external job seekers who then must adhere to our rigorous screening process for consideration. Depending on the current market, we will have identified 1-3 screened candidates for your review within a few days of your consultation. We will continue to send them until you have made a hiring decision. 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 $18-25+ per hour for full time. We are currently seeing full-time salary ranges of $38,000-50k with benefits . The rate for part-time nannies is typically $20-25+ per hour. Our standard compensation packages for full time placements include paid federal holidays, minimum two weeks paid vacation, mileage reimbursement (for job related driving). We advise on the tax benefits of offering health insurance to those candidates who seek this benefit, and we make 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 consultation.

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

Essentials: One-time non-refundable placement fee of 13.5% of the candidate’s projected gross annualized compensation for the first year. $3500 minimum applies. This package includes a 60 day replacement guarantee.

Standard: One-time non-refundable placement fee of 14.5% of the candidate's projected gross annualized compensation for the first year. $4500 minimum applies. This package includes a 120 day replacement guarantee.

Plus: One-time non-refundable placement fee of 15.5% of the candidate's projected gross annualized compensation for the first year. $5500 minimum applies. This package includes a 160 day replacement guarantee.

Premium: 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 default to this package. (Personal Assistant, Household Manager, Housekeeper, Night Nurse, Chef, Driver, and Security)

100% of the placement fee is due upon hiring.

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

In the two decades of servicing local families we have found one thing to be most 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 gleaned from our time speaking with the members of your family. 

Long term care is typically a minimum of 12 months mutual commitment between the nanny and family. You will interview, hire, become the employer of the nanny, and pay a non-refundable placement fee to the agency. If you are requiring a consistent nanny to provide care for a shorter period of time, you may hire a short term nanny, however placement fees will still apply.

Short term care is typically for any amount of time less than a year and will typically fall under our Backup Care Program. This program serves as a resource for either interim care when your own childcare plan falls through or for short periods of time when care is needed. (Anywhere from one day to several months–i.e. school breaks, summer time care, date night, weekend support, etc.)

Short term assignments are non-contractual for the family or the nanny and may end when care is no longer required or the nanny is no longer available to provide care. Given the length of your assignment, more than one nanny may be referred to fulfill your family’s care requirements, however every effort is made to offer consistent care.

Full Time is typically classified as 40 to 50+ hours per week. Overtime (time and half) is expected for any hours worked over 40 hours per week.

Part Time is typically classified as anything under 40 hours per week with a minimum of 20 hours. Schedules vary from afternoons or mornings five days a week, or (commonly preferred) 2-3 long days.

For more information on understand overtime, click here.

Backup care is also known as on demand care, on-call sitters, and temporary care. Typically defined as needing 20 days of care or less in one month. If you are seeking more than 20 consecutive days, please review our Long Term Care information. This is a program that provides you with interim care when your own childcare plan falls through. Contact us for more info.

Corporate on call nanny care is a customized plan designed for the number of employees in your company. We work directly with your HR to design a company specific plan that can be subsidized on many levels. Ours is an in-house operation, not a franchise or 800 call number that networks multiple businesses under an umbrella system. We meet with and get to know our family clients to increase quality control and the customer experience. We offer a corporate membership inclusive of unlimited bookings and where the agency payrolls the caregiver - one less thing your employees don't need to worry about!

We offer you the cumulative 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 can not, 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. Theoretically, 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 pre-interview to post-placement agreements and third party moderation should it be necessary. We do all the work for you including but not limited to job description, offer letter, employment agreement, and confidentially agreement drafting, and conducting independent performance reviews. Finally, we offer a safety net in the form of a replacement package - as well as backup sitter coverage if your own nanny becomes sick or takes vacation.

No, and we never have. A recent court ruling determined that the questionable practices of online review sites are in fact legal, and “not extortion” as the class action suit by America’s small businesses claimed. This refers to the controversial practice of charging small businesses to manipulate their scores by online reviewers. It’s important to understand that review sites are a business like any other, and there is no profit for them in positive reviews. Negative, or hidden positive reviews allow them to approach the business with an offer to “manage” their ratings.

The most problematic piece of this equation is that reviews may be written anonymously and are fully unauthenticated. This works fairly well for products, but with destinations and services its far more subjective and less controlled. Furthermore, legitimate positive reviews may be “buried” or rejected at the discretion of the review site as explained in the court ruling.

We welcome feedback of both kinds, and pay special attention to any information that can help us improve our customer’s experience. However, we do not pay to increase the score of our business although we are often solicited to do so. We believe in publicizing the reviews of our customers and authenticating them by using the full name of the person and/or organization with permission.

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.

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, conduct 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 our office for a personal meeting. 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. 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).

A nanny is a professional whose employment history has consistently centered around work with children. Often a nanny will have started as a neighborhood sitter, gifted with a natural rapport and the patience and creativity required of those who choose this line of work. Typically a nanny will attend college and either major in education, or family and consumer sciences. He/she may have found work in a daycare, pre-school, or elementary school and acquired additional training which enhances their resumé. A nanny will have worked in the home either part or full time, and will have a strong sense of what is required in the line of duty.

The primary responsibility of the professional nanny is for the children and the needs of the children (such as meals, transportation, laundry 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, 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 downfalls of a nanny/family employer relationship and nothing will cause turbulence more than loading the nanny up with extra duties, when their primary responsibility should be for the children. That said, the nanny expects 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.

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 more hours than the average full time work week. If you are offering a 40 hour work week, 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.

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 as typically the job seeker will request an amount based on net, while the employer approaches the search with a gross number in mind. This can set the stage for misunderstandings if not clearly communicated prior to the offer stage.

For many reasons, it is in yours and your nanny’s best interest to pay taxes. 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 2017 reporting threshold is $2,000.00. Families that pay any individual employee $2,000 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. For a true number we calculate an annual salary by fifty two weeks in the year.

Over the years we have witnessed many successful long term employment relationships and some that end prematurely for misunderstandings that likely could have been avoided. Communication is the best way to ensure that both a family and nanny share realistic expectations. The agency takes responsibility for establishing expectations for both parties based on industry standards and our experience. The baseline criteria we recommend include but are not limited to: paying market rate wages and benefits, drawing up a formal work agreement, treating your employee with respect but maintaining professional boundaries, scheduling regular informal meetings and less frequent formal evaluations, and considering building in a longevity bonus.

No. The nanny is responsible for their own commute costs to and from work. The one exception may be toll bridge fees if the nanny is required to use the bridge to access work, and the employer is amenable to subsidizing this cost. For the current federal mileage rate (business) please review here. The current rate applies to on-the-job driving during employment hours.

Yes! This form of care falls under our Back Up Care program (or temporary care) and is billed through a membership and depending on the plan you choose - the agency even takes care of paying the caregiver directly! Contact us for more information and to share your individual needs.

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.

In most cases, this is not a problem and we pre-screen our applicants to gauge amenability. If you have an infant, or 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 parents are nearby, and of course their preference is to be with them over the caregiver. This can make the nanny’s job more tedious and many caregivers with this prior experience will decline to interview for this type of work arrangement. 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. Although some nannies have terrific experience working in a team environment, your options may be more limited than with a “sole charge” job description.

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 first sharing your concerns with your nanny, pre-employment. 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.

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 you pay a one time fee and during the “free replacement” period you receive a replacement nanny at no extra charge. After this point you still receive significant discounts on any additional fee. We offer replacement coverage from 60 days to 180 days click here for more details.

We have partnered with a licensed child and family therapist who has a highly specialized background unique to our industry. 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/Skype.

shutterstock_231276178

Guides

Hiring a Nanny 101