seattle nanny jobs

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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Summertime in Seattle

Greenlake-Seattle-Q: Can you provide me with a list of fun and educational places that families (and nannies) can take their children to around the Seattle area? Now that the weather is starting to cooperate, I would love to get out and about more.

A: Yes! Field trips aren’t just for school groups with a teacher and 20-30 children. Many places around Seattle offer learning experiences for individual families and/or smaller groups as well. Parent Map has put together a great list of 10 “Do-It-Yourself” field trip locations including The Burke Museum, the Museum of History & Industry, and even Theo Chocolate Factory in Fremont. Descriptions include helpful pricing information as well!

Another great resource I found for families and nannies is the YMCA of Greater Seattle’s blog. It offers 15 fantastic (almost ALL outdoor!) locations around (but not limited to) Seattle. Five of the recommendations were just added to the list last year, ensuring us that the information is current and relevant. Some are old favorites- but places you might not have thought about for a while- and others are tucked away in places with names you may not recognize.

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April’s Nanny of the Month is…

FB_IMG_1430406175947….Jasmine Giles! We’ve worked with Jasmine since 2012 placing her in long-term, short-term, and on-call positions. She is an all around sweetheart and we are happy to have her on our team.  Her newest long-term family says she’s already part of the family!

When asked something funny a child recently said to her, Jasmine had this to say:

“We are teaching  the 2.5 year old I nanny to blow on her food to cool it down  if it’s hot. The meal came out and she said “Jazzy make sure you blow first” After I did to cool down her food she said, “Good job Jazzy!” I love how she is learning and told me good job like I always tell her!”

Congratulations Jasmine and Thank you!

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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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Annie’s Nannies 2014 Nanny of the Year- Jackie Ralston!

Jackie NOY2014

Autumn, Suzanne, Jackie, Teah, Jenny

We want to congratulate Jackie Ralston on being voted Annie’s Nannies 2014 Nanny of the Year!

Jackie joined ANI last summer, and quickly became one of our most requested temp nannies. She was awarded Nanny of the Month in October.  In addition to being a fabulous nanny, Jackie also has a parent-coaching business where she teaches new parents all kinds of skills. The family that ANI placed her with had this to say:

“Jackie joined our family in November of 2014.  She has jumped in with both feet, integrating herself seamlessly with our family which includes two pre-teen boys.  Jackie has a firm, unflappable demeanor and a marvelous way of moving things along that need to get done without you even realizing she’s the force behind the movement.  She jumps from rhythmic writing, to Nerf gun battles, and then off to after school events.  She is truly dedicated and tireless.  We have one child involved in a number of therapies and she has learned all of the techniques involved, and her follow through and guidance has been instrumental in making the therapies effective for him.  Teachers, coaches and therapists have all commented on how wonderful our nanny is.  We entirely agree.  I feel very fortunate to have Jackie as a part of our household, and am so proud that she was awarded Nanny of the Year.”

Congratulations Jackie!  Thank you for all you do everyday!

 

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