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Worker’s Compensation–An Often Overlooked Aspect of Household Employment

A frustrated, upset child, or child with learning difficulties.By: HomePay Provided by Breedlove

Workers’ compensation insurance is a unique part of the household employment hiring checklist. It’s not tied to the payroll and tax process, but can have a dramatic impact on a family’s finances. The following incident is a prime example of why families need to inquire about workers’ compensation before their household employee starts her first day of work.

The Situation

A family in Tennessee hired a nanny to take care of their 2 kids. The family lived near the park in their neighborhood, so it was part of the nanny’s daily routine to take the kids there and let them have some play time outdoors. Unfortunately, only 3 weeks into the job, the nanny hurt herself while playing with one of the kids and was unable to walk back to the family’s home. She was able to call the mother who quickly drove to the park, picked up the nanny and the kids and took the nanny to the emergency room.

The nanny’s doctor informed her that it would be unsafe for her to care for the family’s children for 3 weeks while she recovered. Between the emergency room visit, x-ray, MRI, arthroscopic surgery and 12 recommended rehabilitation sessions, the total cost of her care came to approximately $8,800. To make matters worse, the hospital informed the nanny that her insurance company refused to pay for her treatment because it was a work-related injury. The nanny and the family were both confused about what to do.

The Law

The majority of states require household employers to purchase a workers’ compensation policy to assist their employee with medical bills and lost wages if they are sick or injured on the job. Even if workers’ compensation isn’t required in a family’s state, they can still be held liable for the value of their employee’s lost wages and medical bills in a work-related incident. Many families mistakenly believe their homeowner’s insurance umbrella policy is sufficient for coverage. However, these policies are written for “guest workers” (i.e. a painter or plumber doing a short-term project) and do not cover an in-home employee.

Note: In California, a homeowner’s insurance policy will cover a household employee provided they work 20 hours or less. If the employee works more than this, a rider must be purchased to provide adequate coverage.

The Outcome

Since Tennessee is not a state that requires household employers to have workers’ compensation for a nanny, the family didn’t break any employment laws. However, since the nanny’s insurance company refused to pay for her medical bills, the family was stuck with the $8,800 bill – plus another $1,800 to pay their nanny for the 3 weeks of work she had to miss. In order to save a little money when their nanny was recovering, both parents used vacation time from their own job to watch their kids until their nanny returned to work. The family now has a workers’ compensation policy – which costs them a little under $500 a year to protect them in case another accident occurs.

This case illustrates why it’s a good idea for families to purchase workers’ compensation, even it’s not required by their state. This family unfortunately made a $9,000 mistake – largely because they weren’t informed about workers’ compensation during the hiring process. Had they received a thorough consultation from an expert like HomePay, we could have eliminated this risk. You can easily imagine a scenario where a household employee is injured on the job worse than this family’s nanny. The resulting medical bills could be 2 or 3 times more expensive, which could cripple a family’s finances.


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The #1 Most Requested Nanny Job Description

familyassistantDo you know the #1 most requested type of nanny we hear about day in and day out? It’s the Family Assistant. What is a Family Assistant you ask?  A Family Assistant is a nanny who is also an assistant to the parent/s or household manager.   She provides another pair of hands to assist busy parents with creating a safe and nurturing environment for their children and the management of the household.  Why is this so popular? The more both parents work, and the busier our lives get, the more help a family needs.  This job is typically with school age children (but can include younger children), and is usually about a 60/40 balance of household duties and childcare.  Theses jobs usually range between 30-40 hours/week.

Read more »

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Sign up now for our next First Aid/CPR Class on Saturday May 30th!

Our next highly-regarded First Aid, CPR, HIV and Blood-born Pathogens Class is scheduled for Saturday May 30th! 

Here’s what you need to know:

  • What: Nanny only First Aid, CPR, HIV and Blood-born Pathogens Class, with extra focus on Infant/Child CPR
  • When: Saturday, May 30th 9:00AM to Noon
  • Where: Phinney Neighborhood Center Room #6, Seattle
  • Cost: $35 per person
  • Details: 2 year certification in First Aid, CPR, HIV & Blood-born Pathogens
  • Register: Click the Sign Up Now button below!

This isn’t only for ANI Nannies, pass this on to any of your nanny friends!

We’re excited to see you there on Saturday May 30th!

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Discipline as a Parent-Nanny Team

stepsMisbehavior and boundary testing is part and parcel of raising children, and it can be tough to come up with an approach that fits with the parents’ philosophy and that works for the Nanny.

As we all know, what works for one child may not work for another – different approaches might be needed, as long as they are fair and equal in the case of siblings. It is also a good idea to make a plan together for the strategies that will come into play as the children grow.

The most important part of disciplining a child is consistency; what happens with the nanny during the day must continue with the parents after she leaves, and vice-versa. When a nanny sets a consequence during the day and it isn’t followed through with, the child is more likely to repeat the bad behavior and the nanny feels undermined and disrespected.

If this has become a problem in your home, deal with it sooner rather than later. Organize a time for you and your Nanny to sit down and have a clear and frank discussion about what is and isn’t working to get you both back on the same page. Clear communication is key.

See below for some strategies and ideas that might work for you and your family:

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February Nanny of the Month – Shoshana Matteson

IMG956428We first met Shoshana in September last year, though she had been working as a nanny in Seattle for over 10 years. Boy, were we excited when she walked through our door!

Growing up as the second eldest of ten children, working with kids has been part and parcel of Shoshana’s whole life. Part of what makes her so special is the dedication she shows to her charges and the way she treats them as if they were part of her own family.

This has not gone unnoticed by the family we placed Shoshana with in November 2014; they recently sent us an email out of the blue telling us how much they love her!

“When we found out that our twins were due to be delivered very early and would have some complex medical needs (home oxygen and feeding issues) we were very anxious about how we were going to find someone to care for them when I returned to work.  Shoshana and your agency have been an absolute blessing. 

Shoshana is one of the most remarkable people I have ever met.  Not only has she expertly managed our girls’ medical needs, which in my mind is above and beyond the standard nanny job description, she has been incredibly flexible and has stepped in on several scheduling emergencies.  On one occasion she stepped in and was at our house at 5:45am on only 10 hours’ notice.  This was on a day that she is not usually scheduled to work but I was called in for a shift in the ICU and my husband was out of town. 

When I returned from work 14 hours later, the girls were sleeping soundly, the house was immaculate, all of the cooking and laundry was completed and these were not even tasks that were in the job description that we had agreed upon!  She replied simply that she wanted me to be able to have a restful night before going to work the next day.  This is only one small example of how extraordinarily kind and hardworking Shoshana is.  Every week she finds some new way to make our lives easier in addition to caring for and loving our little girls.  I always feel a sense of pride when I am meeting with my friends and discussing work life balance/child care because we truly have found a gem.”

With this commendation, we couldn’t not make Shoshana our February Nanny of the Month! Congratulations!

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November Nanny of the Month – Lynne Sandilands!

Post 10K

Lynne after running the Vancouver 10K in October

ANI is pleased to announce our November Nanny of the Month…. Lynne Sandilands! Lynne is one of our permanent nannies and has been with an ANI family since February of this year. With over 11 years as a household manager and an additional 5 of nanny and au pair experience, there is not much that surprises Lynne! In her free time, you’ll find Lynne hiking, snowshoeing and spending time with her pets – or possibly a combination of all three!

Her regular family comments that Lynne is quirky, funny and fits in well with the family. They also note that it is the calmest it has been in a while with Lynne helping manage the household. They have very much enjoyed watching Lynne grow more and more confident in her role in the family.

One of the (many) things we love about Lynne at ANI is her unique Scottish accent. One of the funniest things she’s heard a child say to her is, “Do you speak any other languages apart from Scottish?”

Thank you Lynne. We appreciate you so much!

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


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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October Nanny of Month

CAM00116Congratulations to Jackie Ralston on being chosen as ANI’s October Nanny of the Month! Jackie joined our On-Call nanny team in August and has quickly impressed many of our families!

A recent On-Call family had this to say: “Just a note to tell you how much my boys absolutely enjoy Jackie!! They rarely go on about a sitter and not only did they latch on to her immediately last night, they’re excited about her coming again tomorrow night and already talking about the games they want to play with her! She’s truly a gem!!”

When asked what her favorite fall activity to do with children she responded: “To be outside as much as possible! If not, I really enjoy making free standing ghosts out of cheesecloth and starch.”  Check out this cute photo of one of Jackie’s ghosts. Love!


Congrats Jackie and thanks for all you do!

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Top 10 Do’s & Don’ts of Nanny Social Media

social-media-3-390x285Part 3 of our Social Media Series:

As a nanny your reputation is EXTREMELY important and online posts and images live forever. Annie’s Nannies (and our families) often turn down candidates for placement when a Google or Facebook search reveals behavior unbecoming to the nanny profession. It’s okay to have a personal life, but be VERY careful what you choose to show the world!

DO: Make sure you like and follow ANI on Facebook!

DO: Spiff up your profiles

DO: Take some time to check and clean up your online presence

DO: Be mindful of security settings

DO: Make sure location is turned off when working

DO: Always remember… there is no privacy on the internet

DON’T: Be overly political or religious online

DON’T: Post photos of kids without parent’s permission

DON’T: Post the names of the families you work with

DON’T: Friend request your boss

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August Nanny of the Month!

7-14-14 #1This month, the accolade goes to Amanda McNellis!

Amanda has been with Annie’s Nannies since 2012 and has fast become one of our families’ favourites! She is known for her sweet nature and her extensive knowledge of infant and newborn care.  Her full-time family ADORED her and were sad to see her go. A recent on call family said:

“Oh gosh, it could not have been easier, or gone any better! What a lifesaver! I was so relieved to get that day covered as (of course) it was a rare occasion where I could not call in sick, and with such short notice, wow! Amanda was warm, kind, prompt and very thoughtful. She sent us photos throughout the day and updated us on how Ben was doing. Both my husband and myself felt very comfortable with her and would certainly recommend her to any other family in need!”

We asked Amanda to tell us something funny that a child said to her recently, she said: “I remember a 3 year old little boy saying to me recently “you talk too much” when we were playing with his toys, it totally cracked me up! Something cute that a 5 year old little girl said to me was “I like your shiny headband, you look like a princess!” too cute!”

Thank-you Amanda for being a wonderful Nanny to the Annie’s Nannies community! We are so glad to have you!

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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