In-home care is provided by an individual that you employ to work in your home. Caregivers are available to either "live-in" in your home or "live out" and come to your home each day. Individuals working in this capacity are referred to as nanny, housekeeper, in-home care provider, or babysitter.
Full time nannies in NYC are paid weekly. Rates for nannies vary depending upon the community in which care is provided. In the Washington Square Village area full-time nannies earn $500/week on average. Part time nannies usually earn $10 - $15/hour. Families who hire a full time in-home provider must also consider the expense of paying taxes and some decide to cover the cost of health insurance for the care provider. Meals, money for transportation and bonuses may also contribute to the cost of hiring an in-home care provider.
Defining Your Needs
When looking for a nanny, you will want to think about several key aspects of care.
- What hours do you expect your nanny to work?
- Will the schedule remain fairly consistent or do you need a nanny whose time is very flexible?
- Are you looking for a nanny who will live in your home?
- What household responsibilities do you want the nanny to perform?
- What kind of experience or background would you like your nanny to have?
Most nannies are asked to actively engage children throughout the day with activities and local outings. Some families expect their nanny to perform some housekeeping duties such as meal preparation and laundry. While helpful a nanny's time spent completing these task will have less time to spend directly interacting with the children. Clarifying your expectations before you hire a nanny will help you find someone who is a good fit.
Hiring a Nanny
Once you have a clear idea of what your nanny's duties will be, start looking around. You can locate a nanny through an agency, through friends and colleagues, or placing and looking at ads online, in newspapers, or at local stores and schools. NYU's Employee Assistance Program, Carebridge Life Resources, (800-437-0911) can help you with referrals to local placement agencies. When you identify a potential nanny, start with a phone conversation. If the conversation goes well, set up an interview so you can get to know her better.
The interview is your chance to ask about the candidate's experience with children and to find out if her expectations for the job are in line with your expectations. Some families include their children in the interview process to observe how the nanny interacts with them and seek their opinions when making a hiring decision.
No matter where you find your nanny, and no matter how well the interview goes, always ask for and check references. Unlike child care centers and family child care homes, in-home care givers are not regulated or monitored by any government agency. If you are using a nanny agency, they may perform background and reference checks for you however it is commonly advised that you should complete your own reference checks.
Establish an Agreement
If you are happy with the results of the reference check, it is time to make an offer, and sign an employment contract or agreement. By signing a contract, you make certain that you and your nanny are clear about the terms of employment, including pay, hours, time off (i.e. holidays, vacation, and sick days), and responsibilities. A nanny agency may have its own contracts for you to use. Or, you may choose from among the print and online sample contracts. Be sure to go back and revisit the contract or agreement from time to time as the needs of your family and your nanny may change.
When you and your nanny agree to a start date, be sure to plan to spend some time in the home with her and your child. This time will provide a good opportunity for all of you. It will enable you to get to know your nanny better and to help her know your family's and child's routines and establish a strong relationship that is so important to a successful situation.