Archive for July 2011

How long will my nanny stay!?

One question I hear from families when hiring a nanny is, “How long is she going to stay?”   I tell families there are reasons why a nanny might leave that are out of your hands.

However, there are things a family can do to help a nanny feel comfortable in her position and happy with her job.

Thank you to Kathy Webb of HomeWork Solutions for sharing this with our St. Louis families.

The Top Ten Reasons Why Nannies Quit

10. ISOLATION: Occasionally a family outright forbids the nanny to leave the home with the child. Nannies look forward to taking a walk with the baby on a nice day, perhaps walking with another neighborhood nanny or at-home mom, chatting, enjoying the interaction. Toddlers look forward to spending an hour exploring the local playground. Webb observes, “Criminals get sentenced to house arrest – please don’t do this to your child’s caregiver!”

A live-in nanny, especially one who has relocated for the job, must have the opportunity and means (transportation) to establish a social life outside the home. Generally a live-in nanny who does not have reliable access to a vehicle in the evenings and weekends will not stay long.

9. LACK OF RECOGNITION: Nanny spends long hours with your children, with little interaction with other adults. Parents who are so preoccupied with the demands of their own careers and lives that they forget to express appreciation for the nanny often find themselves without a nanny unexpectedly. Words really do matter.

8. FAMILY DYSFUNCTION: Substance abuse, physical abuse, marital wars, emotional instability… any and all of these in a household can cause a nanny to quit.

7. MICRO MANAGEMENT: (SAHM and WAHM) When one or both parents spend a considerable amount of time at home while nanny is on duty problems often develop unless steps are taken up front to establish boundaries.

6. EXPENSES: Nannies who are asked to run family errands – whether groceries, dry cleaning, or party gifts – should be left adequate funds in advance. When nanny is required to provide transportation in her personal vehicle, adequate mileage reimbursement should occur.

5. TAXES: Employers, take the time to discuss wage and tax issues SPECIFICALLY at the very beginning and memorialize this in your Work Agreement. Consider giving the nanny a breakdown of the tax deductions from her paycheck with her first payment, and any time there is a change to her compensation. Consult a nanny tax specialist for assistance when needed.

4. POOR COMMUNICATION: The employer must make the time to establish regular communication with the nanny. Find 15 minutes once a week to just sit down and talk over the relationship and how things are going. Consider requiring a Nanny Log and actually look at it every 24 hours, jotting a note to nanny every few days with recognition, suggestions, or just the information that you might be a few minutes late on Thursday.

3. NON-COMPETITIVE COMPENSATION: New nannies especially are often eager to accept the nanny job and do not investigate local wages or costs. When nannies find out that $250 per week for a 50 hour week is NOT the norm, they will leave for a better paying job, often without notice.

2. DUTIES ADDED ONE BY ONE: Sometimes referred to as job creep, the family adds duties (housekeeping, cooking, shopping, watching your neighbor’s son after school) with out appropriate compensation.

1. SCHEDULES THAT GROW, GROW, GROW: Careful! Abusing the nanny’s schedule with unplanned overtime can cost you your nanny! Just as an employer will fire a chronically late employee, a nanny will quit on a chronically late parent. And remember, always compensate for overtime. You don’t want a disgruntled employee filing a wage and hour grievance against you!

If you are looking for a nanny in St. Louis or it’s surrounding area.
We have both live in and live out nannies looking for work right now.

Sign up today for TLC, our screening process and placement service is both safe and affordable!
Have a great week!

Jessica Friedman

Made In America

The magnitude of outsourcing everything from manufacturing jobs to customer service has been visible in this country for the last fifteen years, but for the in-home childcare industry, outsourcing has been prevalent since the Kennedy Administration.
Hiring an AuPair is truly the original form of outsourcing in America. An American family can easily hire an AuPair, pay her about half of what they would pay a local nanny and never pay a cent of taxes on her wages.
Wow! Sounds like a great deal…but at what cost?
Farmers who employ migrant workers argue that our U. S. citizens don’t want to do this type of work, but that is not the case with American nannies.
As we watch budget cuts continue to ravage the American public education system, each time costing educators positions and new graduates future positions, many still choose to remain in a field involving educating and caring for young children. They are American nannies and they have BAs and MAs in Education and Early Childhood Education — they have a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer children, yet they are not getting hired!
While the AuPair program is a legal cultural exchange program, it has been misused by American families as cheap childcare. The program was designed to bring European girls over to learn in America and receive room and board in exchange for some childcare.
I know several women with young children who got together and brought over a group of Mexican 20 year olds to be their “AuPairs” and work for dirt. I was at a child’s birthday party recently and heard a father, who happens to be one of the highest paid defense lawyers in St. Louis, bragging that he only paid his “Au Pair” five dollars an hour. I looked at him in disbelief and said, “Really? Your clients pay you millions and you can’t afford to hire an educated, qualified U.S., tax-paying citizen to care for your children? If you can’t be bothered to do that, you could at least pay your illegal nanny a fair wage and not one below the poverty level. Give her an opportunity to earn some benefits that we can all take advantage of!”
At that moment, he remembered that I owned TLC for Kids and excused himself.
I’m tired of hearing the dialogue that America doesn’t produce anything anymore! We do produce! We produce an educated, capable and committed workforce. I see women everyday who seek positions as nannies and they are experienced and passionate about it. The problem is that they are being passed over for a low-cost, less skilled and often illegal alternative. All in the name of saving a few bucks. I say it’s time to start valuing the American worker again. We can start by hiring them. So, with the big push for everyone to buy American, you can start by hiring American, and hiring legally.

Stephanie Graff
President
TLC for Kids, Inc.
tlcforkids.com