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Family Resources Blog

The Affordable Care Act: Your Nanny’s Health Insurance

ACA_logoAs an update to our December 9th post, here is the final ruling and most current information from Breedlove & Associates regarding helping your nanny with her health insurance.

Affordable Care Act:

As a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), most individuals are required to have health insurance or face a monetary penalty. While household employers are not required to provide health insurance for their employee, families can provide or contribute to a policy to help meet this mandate. Additionally, Congress has two types of tax incentives to encourage household employers to contribute to their employee’s health insurance.

The first incentive is to allow employer contributions toward an employee’s health insurance premiums to be treated as non-taxable compensation — meaning neither employer nor employee has to pay taxes on that portion of the compensation. The second incentive is an employer tax credit on health insurance contributions. Combined, these incentives make it wise to consider health insurance contributions as part of the compensation package.

NON TAXABLE COMPENSATION

Household employers with 1 employee can contribute to their employee’s health insurance premiums and treat the entire amount as non-taxable compensation. (Employers with 2 or more employees must purchase health insurance through SHOP to gain this benefit). This creates a significant tax advantage in situations where the employee has obtained, or is planning to obtain, health insurance. For the employee, it has the effect of paying for the health insurance premiums with pre-tax dollars, which effectively reduces the cost by a percentage equal to the employee’s marginal tax rate. For most household employees, this will be somewhere in the 15-20% range. For the family that employs the worker, it reduces the taxable wages upon which their employer taxes are based, thereby saving them approximately 10% of the amount of the health insurance contributions. Using an average health insurance cost of $350 per month, the nanny saves about $600-$800 per year and the family saves about $400 per year — simply by strategically structuring the payroll.

To achieve these tax advantages, we recommend that families pay the insurance company directly. This will eliminate any possibility of the money being used for other purposes and will make life much easier in the event of an audit. If that’s not possible, we recommend getting copies of the monthly health insurance invoices.

HEALTH INSURANCE TAX CREDIT FOR SMALL EMPLOYERS

The Health Insurance Tax Credit for Small Employers enables employers who pay for at least half (50%) of their employee’s health insurance premiums to take a tax credit of up to 50% of the annual contribution amount. (Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Accounts are not eligible for this tax break). To qualify for this tax credit, the employer must have fewer than 25 employees, pay average annual wages (for all employees) of less than $50,000 and purchase the policy through SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program).
Note: Because SHOP is a relatively new program, frequent changes and updates may occur. Please visit the SHOP website for more information.
The tax credit percentage of 50% gradually decreases as the average annual salary increases. Using an average household employee salary of $30,000 and an average health insurance cost of $350 per month, a family would receive a tax credit of $1,680 on their federal income tax return.

FAQ’S: THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT:

What is the Affordable Care Act?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as the Affordable Care Act, is a federal statute which was signed into law in 2010. The statute is primarily aimed at reducing the overall cost of health care and decreasing the number of uninsured individuals living in the United States by enacting a number of different mandates, subsidies and tax credits.

Am I required to offer health insurance to my employee(s)?
No, employers are not required to offer health insurance if they employ fewer than 50 employees. However, you are required to provide your current employee(s) and, at the time of hire, any future employee(s) with notice of the new Health Insurance Marketplace.

Is my employee required to have health insurance?
Yes, beginning in 2014, your employee may be charged penalties if she does not have health insurance coverage. However, you are not responsible for making sure your employee has health insurance.

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
The Health Insurance Marketplace, or The Marketplace, is a “one-stop shop” where individuals can compare and purchase health insurance policies. Open enrollment for The Marketplace opens on November 15, 2014 for coverage beginning January 1, 2015. Your employee(s) will be able to purchase health insurance through The Marketplace until open enrollment ends on February 15, 2015. For more information on The Marketplace, or to complete an online application for health insurance coverage, please visit www.HealthCare.gov.

How much will health insurance cost?
The cost of health insurance will vary depending on your state and the amount of coverage your employee chooses. After completing an application through The Marketplace, your employee will be able to compare prices and coverage options for different health insurance policies. Depending on your employee’s income and family size, she may be eligible for the Advance Premium Tax Credit if she purchases insurance through The Marketplace. The credit can be applied directly to her monthly premiums which results in immediate cost savings. If she qualifies for the Advance Premium Tax Credit, her savings will be reflected in the prices displayed on The Marketplace.

If I contribute to my employee’s health insurance policy, will I be eligible for any tax breaks?
If you have 1 employee and contribute to their health insurance premium, the amount of your contribution is considered “non-taxable compensation” – so neither you nor your employee would have any taxes on that portion of the compensation. In addition to the non-taxable advantage, if you set up a health insurance policy for your employee through SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) on the Marketplace and pay at least 50% of your employee’s premiums, you may be able to take advantage of the Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance. To take this credit, you’ll attach Form 8941 to your personal income tax return. The credit is up to 50% of the contribution you pay. If you have 2 or more employees, you must purchase a policy through SHOP in order for your contributions to be considered non-taxable.

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Questions About Holiday Tips/Bonuses for Nannies

Around the holidays, we often receive questions about tips/bonuses for nannies.  We hope these answers will provide you with some good tips and insight. 

Is there a general practice for Christmas tips/bonuses for nannies in the Seattle area?”

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to giving your nanny a bonus at Christmas time, but in general most families will give anywhere from one to three weeks’ regular salary as a tip. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you are coming up with a figure:

  1. How long the nanny has been with your family
    If your nanny is a new addition to the household, you are not expected to give a large tip at the end of the year. Nevertheless, a smaller gift like a $50 – $100 gift card is a great way to let her know that you appreciate the time and dedication that she’s put into the position so far.A longer term nanny who has been with your family for years is generally given a bonus that is higher than average as you are rewarding her for both a job well done and appreciating her loyalty and dedication. This is especially important when you reach the point where you are unable to give your nanny regular raises due to budget constraints. The end of year bonus is a great way to show her that you continue to value her.
  2. Other Bonuses and Benefits
    A nanny who receives a major bonus with her annual review (or “Nannyversary”) will usually receive a smaller gift around Christmas. This also applies when a family gives generously towards healthcare, extra paid time off, regular professional development classes or other benefits. Nannies recognize the extra costs involved in offering those benefits and are happy with the trade-off. Show her you care with a small cash bonus or a great holiday gift that says thank you for the great care she gives to your child!
  3. Most importantly – Your Budget                                                                      For some families, even a bonus of one to two weeks’ salary is just not possible due to constraints with their budget. Paying your nanny a fair wage throughout the year is more important than an annual bonus, and your nanny appreciates this more in the long run. It’s the thought that counts!

 

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The Affordable Care Act: Potential changes to Nanny Health Insurance

ACA_logoThere is LOTS of conflicting information out there at the moment regarding the way that nanny health insurance can be handled with the changes brought by the Affordable Care Act.  We are keeping in close contact with Breedlove & Associates to figure out how to advise our clients and nannies.  Unfortunately, as of today we are in limbo on how the new Affordable Care Act will affect the way families have been handling helping their nanny with health insurance. Read more »

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Annie’s Nannies Holiday Open House and our Donation Drive for WestSide Baby!

happy_holidays_599ANNIE’S NANNIES HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE!

Come join ANI as we celebrate the holidays and spread some cheer.

WHEN: Wednesday, December 17th from 2:30-4:30pm

WHAT: Hot cocoa & cookies! Socializing & cheer!

WHO: Our nannies & their charges, our families & their children!

DONATE: Please bring an item(s) to donate to our WestSide Baby donation drive (see details below)


 

2014 westside baby holidayAnnie’s Nannies Hosts WestSide BabyHoliday Donation Drive!

 

 

Annie’s Nannies feels strongly about supporting the community we live in.  This December we will be collecting items for WestSide Baby.  WestSide Baby is a nonprofit organization that collects previously owned items for children and babies and distributes them free of charge to King County families in need.  The item most needed is diapers, but they collect everything children and babies may need.  If you would like to help us with our drive here are the details:

WHAT: (most needed) 

  • Strollers
  • Portable Cribs
  • Car Seats (Please review requirements here)
  • Pajamas (Especially larger sizes, up to age 12)
  • Pants (Especially larger sizes, up to age 12)
  • Winter Coats-all sizes
  • New Socks and Underwear
  • Diapers (Newborn, size 5 and size 6)
  • Hygiene Items (wipes, shampoo, wash, diaper cream)

WHERE: Please bring items to Annie’s Nannies’ office in West Seattle any time or during our Holiday Open House on 12/17  (6041 California AVE SW Suite 105, Seattle 98136)

OR   click here for a list of drop-off sites near you. Let us know if you take items directly to WestSide Baby!

WHEN: Please donate items by December 17th, for distribution by the holidays.

Thank you from the Annie’s Nannies Team!
-Annie, Suzanne, Teah, Jenny, Fleur, Stacey, and Autumn

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Annie’s Nannies is Moving to West Seattle!

By: Diane Duthweiler

(September, 2014) –– Seattle’s pioneering household-staffing agency Annie’s Nannies will open its new office on West Seattle’s California Avenue October 6th. The 30-year-old company needs room to grow. “We’ve been ‘space-challenged’ for a while now,” laughs COO Teah Achman. “West Seattle is a good fit for the business and our staff. We’re all excited about the new office and new neighborhood.”

“I started this business in my bedroom with $1,500 and a phone. Since then, we’ve found top jobs for thousands of people, but it’s been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs with the economy,” recalls founder Annie Davis who runs the company with daughter Suzanne Royer-McCone. Royer-McCone adds, “A business like ours must change constantly to keep up with the marketplace. We’re incredibly proud of our longevity―30 years of our wonderful staff making Seattle area families’ lives easier and finding the perfect jobs for our nannies!”

Annie’s Nannies is moving from its current office in Ballard where it has been for the past 14 years. But Davis’ ties to the community are deep, and she plans to remain active with the Ballard Chamber of Commerce where she is currently a board member and program chair.

New Location:
6041 California Ave. SW, Suite 105
Seattle, WA 98136
Ph:  206-784-8462

 Founded in 1984 and the Northwest’s longest-serving household staffing agency, Annie’s Nannies, Incorporated (ANI) provides child care/family assistants, elder companions and other personal employees. ANI is a 2009 Mayor’s Small Business Award winner and the first Seattle small business to pay a $15 minimum wage. Davis is past-president of the National Association of Premier Nanny Agencies, A Household Staffing Alliance (APNA) – a non-profit that helps set industry standards across the nation.

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So my Nanny is on Facebook…

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Social Media Series, Part 1:

The line between professional and private life has been blurred with the introduction (and mass-usage) of Social Media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sharing information has become the norm, but when the topic is your family and children, where should you draw the line?

A quick search of #nannying on Twitter brings up lots of photos of nannies with children. Worryingly, many have identifying information about the location and even the names and schools of the children.  Others state the family’s location, have photos of their house, the nanny’s wage, and descriptions of their brand new home theatre system! These details could be putting your children in danger, not to mention making your house a target for burglars!  Most nannies are not being malicious or doing anything intentionally, most of us frankly just don’t think about how social media can pose problems.

So what do you do about it? Setting the boundaries early prevents any miscommunication. Companies have Social Media agreements, and so can families! A blanket ban is the solution for many families, but there are other options. If you are okay with your nanny posting online, have them agree (at the minimum) to locking down their profile, turning off location services, refrain from posting where they are located and to avoid using the children’s full names.

For more information on this topic, see the following links:

 

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Back to School Blues

back-school-03-afWith school starting up again, there are a few simple yet significant tips to help ease children out of summer mode and into school mode.Whether they are starting school for the first time or returning, these suggestions will enable parents, teachers, and caregivers to have an easier transition. Read more »

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Annie’s Nannies 30th Anniversary Picnic!

Our first 30th anniversary celebration was last week! We held our annual summer picnic, but took it up a notch with catering from Chipolte, a performance by Goofy Gideon the Magician, personalized cupcakes from Cupcake Royal, and prize bags.  We had a wonderful time getting to chat with nannies, their charges, and some special guests(and the Seattle weather cooperated!)  Thank you to all who attended!
Photos by Denise Danzer-copyrighted 2014

 

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Banking Hours—Why it doesn’t pay off

We often hear complaints from nannies or families about banking hours.  Usually we hear from the nanny or family after the hours have been banked and the phone call is never a positive one.  Breedlove & Associates tackles this topic in their most recent Legal Review.

The Lawson family wanted to take an impromptu vacation after Mr. Lawson received a promotion. The family scrambled plans together and organized a five day reprieve from work and responsibility. The best part of the trip for Mr. and Mrs. Lawson would be the opportunity to take their first vacation with their two-year-old son who was usually supervised during the day by the family’s nanny. Read more »

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Your Face Really Can Freeze That Way…. guest post by Sarah Hornsby

P1000907 - CopyFor years I rolled my eyes when my grandmother said, “If you keep making that face it will freeze that way” after she caught me crossing my eyes, crinkling my nose, or saw me sticking out my tongue. My sister and I would giggle at the thought of a man with his face frozen in a puckered grimace that he made as a child, or some poor girl trying to speak with a tongue that was permanently protruded as the result of a silly face she once made.

While my grandmother’s theory of faces becoming “frozen” was laughable in my childhood years, I have recently come to the conclusion that at least part of this old wives tale may be accurate.

In my career as a myofunctional therapist, I work with children, and my focus is essentially on their faces. It is my job to help them learn to use the muscles of their mouth and face “correctly” in order to improve an array of troubles centering on speech, dental health, orthodontic treatment and facial growth and development.

Most of the children I see have experienced breathing problems. They have learned to breathe through their mouth, rather than their nose from an early age. This is usually caused by conditions such as enlarged tonsils, chronic nasal congestion, allergies, or even food sensitivities. The only option for these suffering children to get enough oxygen into their bodies is to breathe through the mouth.

Read more »

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Annie's Nannies, Inc. / 6041 California AVE SW Suite 105 / Seattle, WA 98136 / PHONE: (206) 784 - 8462 / FAX: (206) 789 - 1921