Do the Paperwork
Even after you find the nanny just right for your family, there is still more work to be done:
- Check references. No matter if your nanny will be live-in or live-out, full-time or part-time, do a thorough reference check. If at all possible, speak to three employers and one or two personal references. Consider doing a criminal background check (done routinely now by nanny agencies), which in some states includes a child abuse clearance.
- Create a written contract, signed by both you and the nanny.The contract should include a detailed job description, as well as such basics as rate of pay, hours per day, and general expectations about the nanny's performance and duties. If you are writing the contract yourself, the sites linked here have sample contracts that will help you get started. If you go through an agency, they will provide the contract.
- Clarify all legalities. Will you pay your nanny a gross wage, which means she will receive a check from which no taxes have been deducted? Her eyes may light up at the thought of a larger paycheck, but make sure she understands how much of that paycheck must be set aside each week for taxes. It is then her responsibility to pay her income taxes each year. It is your responsibility, however, to pay your nanny's Social Security and Medicare taxes.
- Make sure your nanny is healthy! Many states require licensed daycare workers to be tested for tuberculosis. You will achieve real peace of mind when your nanny has a clean bill of health.