I first became a nanny in 2005 at the age of 19. At that point in my life, I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I stumbled on a nanny job site and found my first nanny position within a week of being on the site. Although that first position did not work out how I had planned, I fell in love with the work and continued to pursue nanny positions. I have made a lot of mistake along the way and learned much of what I know about the nanny industry though trial and error. The more I become involved in the nanny industry, the more I see that there is a divide in the perceived nanny standards between nannies who find positions through agencies and nannies like myself who primarily find positions on their own. I call these nannies DIY nannies.

Agency placed nannies and DIY nannies have differing views on nanny industry standards and what those standards entail. What truly matters is that both the nanny and the family are happy with their agreement. The standards that I post below are how I see industry standards based on my personal experiences and the experiences of other DIY nannies.

Nanny Titles I have used and what they mean to me:

  1. Nanny-Care of Children, clean up spaces and dishes used while working, drive kids to school and/or activities, homework help.
  2. Nanny Assistant-Nanny plus additional duties related to the care of children such as, scheduling and management of calendars, children’s laundry, periodically sanitizing toys, rotating clothes and toys, shopping for kids, help with children’s parties or similar tasks.
  3. Nanny Manager- Nanny Assistant plus take care of home, family laundry, scheduling home maintenance, family laundry, general house keeping, grocery shopping for family, meal planning and prep, help with pets.

These definitions tend to vary from nanny to nanny. My friend, Cate Matijevich wrote a great article called Is That in My Job Description for Nanny Magazine where she polled a bunch of nannies to get average job descriptions for the nanny industry. Please check out her article as it is very insightful about the varying duties of nannies in the industry.

The standards I personally use for my career are as follows:

  1. Paid hourly and taxed properly in adherence to local and federal laws. This is a non negotiable. I am in the US where federal law states that household employees are to be paid hourly. You read more about this on Homework Solutions website. They are a leader in the nanny industry and have been in support of both nannies and families for over 25 years.
  2. CPR/First aid with infant child endorsement. This is a standard in all childcare and something every nanny should stay current with. In my personal opinion, every adult should also take this as individuals are often on the scene before first responders and that training can save lives.
  3. A clear contract that lays out all duties, pay scale, PTO, sick days etc. The International Nanny Association provides a great one in their member portal.
  4. Mileage Reimbursement based on the current federal mileage rates. Even if the family provides a car for use during working hours, you may come upon a situation where you need to use your personal car for work. Having this laid out ahead of time will help prevent confusion for all parties.
  5. Two weeks minimum paid vacation all at nannies choice. It has recently come to my attention that there are many nannies who agree to one week at nannies choice and one week at the families choice. Personally, I only accept positions that provide a minimum of two week PTO of my choice.
  6. Five days minimum of sick leave. Some places may have certain sick leave laws that have additional requirements, be sure you are following local laws.
  7. Paid Federal holidays. If Holiday lands on the weekend, a paid day off during the week will be required.
  8. Guaranteed Hours. This is a retainer so that the nanny remains available to do her/his job during their normally scheduled hours if the family ends up needing care. A nanny should not be required to do anything above their written schedule as this often leads to ‘job creep.’ Some nannies do choose to be flexible with responsibilities during their guaranteed hours but you should not expect that all nannies are willing or able to be flexible with extra duties durring that time.
  9. Paid travel time, weather a nannies travels with the family or meets the family at a location other than their home, the nanny should be paid for that travel time.
  10. Overtime pay for hours worked after forty hours a week at a rate of 1.5 times the nannies normal hourly rate.

Bonus benefits that some nanny employers can provide:

  1. Health care stipend. Many nannies pay out of pocket for their personal health care. A health care striped can make this cost more affordable for nannies to maintain their personal health.
  2. Professional Development reimbursement. As nannies, we take it upon ourselves to keep up with the ever changing trends and standards in childcare. Conferences and classes are expensive so reimbursing your nanny for some of these costs will help her/him stay current in the childcare field.
  3. Membership fees. I am a member of the International Nanny Association  and am a better nanny because of it. This cost can be a burden for some nannies. There are other industry based organizations that also carry a fee like National Association for The Education of Young Children and DONA International (Doula specific) are some other great organizations that some nannies are also member of.

As a self proclaimed nonstandard DIY nanny this is how I see industry standards. There are many other great nannies and industry leaders who see standards a bit differently than myself; but what matters most is that the nanny and family are in agreement and feel satisfied with their contact and work agreement.

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