Categories
For Nannies

What should I buy my nanny employers as a gift?

The holiday season is in full swing and many nannies are curious as to what others do for their nanny families. Buying a separate gift for each member of the family can quickly add up.  Instead, consider buying for the kids only, or another idea is to buy one gift to give to the entire family.  Here are a few suggestions if you are looking for ideas.

  • A nice ornament
  • A family board game
  • Baking
  • A calendar with pictures of the children
  • A craft you made with the children
  • A free night of babysitting
  • A book of photos of your adventures with the kids
  • Experience gifts
  • A gift you made
  • Mugs with the children’s picture
  • Movie night basket
  • Donation to a charity in their name
  • Photo blanket
  • Movie tickets
  • Bowling gift certificate for family bowling night
  • Starbucks gift basket
  • A bottle of wine
  • A poinsettia
  • Chocolate

Also, don’t feel that you have to give a gift at all!  A nice card with a heartfelt note can mean so much.  It doesn’t have to be extravagant or cost a lot of money.  Remember, it’s the thought that counts! 

 

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For Parents

What should I give my nanny for Christmas?

We are flooded with calls around this time of the year, as parents wonder what the best gift is to give their Nanny. We understand that with inflation and the continued uncertainty of what the world has in store, many families are not in the same financial situation they were pre-pandemic. With this in mind, we have put together some suggestions for how to show your Nanny your appreciation this holiday season.

Remember, Nannies often see their holiday bonus as an evaluation of their worth and level of performance. Even if you can’t afford a lavish gift or substantial bonus this year, it’s important to show your Nanny how much you value them, especially during these challenging times. After all, they play an integral role in helping shape our children’s hearts and minds. 

If you can afford to give your Nanny a standard bonus, we typically suggest:

  • 1-2 weeks’ pay on top of a regular pay cheque, plus paid time off
  • Bonus pay and a personalised gift

If you are unable to give your Nanny a monetary bonus this year, here are some other suggestions:

  • Additional paid time off or an extra week of paid vacation
  • A gift card to retail, coffee, a restaurant, an event etc.  
  • Spa treatment package
  • A thoughtfully wrapped gift, or fill a stocking with several smaller gifts
  • Treat them to a nice dinner out 
  • Offer medical and dental benefits starting in January
  • Have your entire family film a ‘thank you’ video
  • Write a thoughtful holiday card
  • DIY gifts like arts and crafts made by the children
  • Wine and flowers

No matter what you decide, the important thing is to acknowledge and communicate how much you appreciate them, and to thank them for a job well done. 

Looking to hire a nanny? Contact us today!

Categories
For Nannies

8 Important Steps to Becoming a Professional Nanny

First impressions are a BIG deal, especially when it comes to your job or career. Whether you are sending a simple email or showing up on a client’s doorstep for the first time, it is extremely important to be aware of how you are presenting yourself. At The Nanny Solution we have some great tips for our nannies on how to make sure you are representing yourself and the agency in a professional and positive manner.

  • Make sure that your email address is professional! This is something a lot of people don’t put much thought into, but when you are sending a professional email and your email address is something like “fluffybutterflies01@….” do you really think that you will be taken seriously? A good rule of thumb to stick to is to use your full name as your email address.
  • Clean up your social media pages. In today’s digital world, people will Google search you! You don’t want an employer or professional contact being able to see directly into your personal life, so make sure your privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Are set strictly so that you can maintain your own personal privacy.
  • When sending a work related email, always make sure you have a greeting, use correct spelling and grammar and speak professionally. It makes a big difference to start your emails with a “Hello, I hope you are having a nice day so far” and using the person’s name you are contacting. Never use slang in a work related email and always remember to proof read your email before sending it. Sending an email with misspellings and grammar mistakes comes across as careless and unprofessional. Unsure? Read your email aloud before sending, make sure that is sounds professional.
  • Be on Time! At The Nanny Solution we always stress: Punctuality is key! Arriving late and frantic will make the wrong impression, being prepared and on time is a huge component of being taken seriously in the professional world. We cannot stress this enough!
  • Be Positive! Nobody likes a “Negative Nelly”, so be conscious of the things that you say. If you want to be treated with consideration and respect, it starts with you. Treat others with respect and you will be respected. Don’t bad mouth co-workers or bosses; it just ends up making you look bad. Remember the saying, “If you can’t say something nice, choose not to say anything at all.”
  • Honesty and Communication. Be honest, even if you made a mistake, it’s ok to admit it. People are much more likely to forgive and respect you for being honest than being deceitful. It shows character to admit when you were wrong and it helps to build trust. Figure out what your communication style is and practice! Are you shy and get nervous talking face to face? Acknowledge that about yourself and practice. Try talking in front of the mirror to get better at your speaking skills. And remember, it is ok to be honest and say “I am just a bit nervous.” Being honest and proactive is definitely professional.
  • Dress professionally. In the line of nanny work, it is important to be presentable and also comfortable. Your appearance is truly the first impression you make! When going for any interview, it’s usually a standard rule of thumb not to wear jeans or flip-flops. Dress in a way that says, “I’m here to impress you and show you that I am professional and take myself seriously”, people will respond and treat you in the same way that you view and present yourself. Want to be treated professionally? Dressing like a professional is a good place to start.
  • Keep conversations work appropriate. This is definitely an important area when it comes to being a nanny. Working in someone’s home is extremely personal! Maintaining a boundary of professionalism is key. Though you may form friendships with parents and bonds with the children, remember to always remain aware that this is your job and you are in fact in a place of business, so keep you conversations appropriate for the work place.

Looking for a nanny job? Apply Today!

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For Parents

Nanny Driving Your Kids? Steps to Help Ensure Safety

Nannies who have their own cars are high in demand!  When a Nanny uses his/her own car for work purposes, here are a few items to keep in mind:

  • The Nanny should keep a detailed log of the kilometres used for work and submit that log regularly (once a week, or once a month) to the employer.  This would include trips such as school runs, driving kids to activities, running errands for the family etc.
  • This log should include the date, the destination and how many kilometres were driven.  (Google Maps is a handy tool!) A simple notebook in the car is all that is needed, or there are also quite a few apps that can help track it.

The Parents should reimburse the Nanny for these kilometres at the rate set by Revenue Canada.  The current rate for reimbursement is $0.61 per km.

  • This reimbursement should not go on to the Nanny’s pay cheque as he/she should not have to pay tax on this amount.
  • The cost of getting to and from work is the Nanny’s own expense.

It is wise for the parents to provide an extra set of car seats that will remain permanently in the Nanny’s car so that the car seats are not being reinstalled each day.  This can be time consuming, but it is also a safety issue if they are not installed properly.

  • Be sure to alert the Nanny’s insurance provider that her car will be used for work as a nanny. They might advise for the Liability Insurance to be increased.

Alternatively, when the Nanny uses the family’s car to drive the children, the employers will pay for all gas and appropriate insurance.  Drive safely!

Interested in hiring a Driving Nanny? Contact us today.

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For Parents

How guaranteed hours work and why they are important to nannies

 

In the Nanny industry it is standard practice to guarantee a certain number of hours to your nanny per week (or month). This guarantee of hours is a standard term used in the nanny industry which states the number of hours per week (or month) that the nanny will be available for work and is usually equal to their typical weekly schedule (for example: if the nanny works 45hrs per week, the will receive a guarantee of 45hrs per week). Depending on what province you live in, there are different provincial overtime rules set in place. In BC for example, anything over 8hrs per day or 40hrs per week (whichever comes first) is considered overtime hours and the employee is entitled to time and a half.

Banking Hours: Some families will request that their nanny ‘bank’ time to make up unworked hours that they were paid under their guarantee. This should be agreed upon in advance so that there are no misunderstandings around vacation or sick time. As the ‘middleman’ between nanny and parents, we do not suggest this type of set up in a contract as it can get messy. Not only be confusing for both parties but it can cause strain on a relationship.

An example of banking is: The Williams family employ their nanny to work Mon – Friday 8am – 4pm with a guarantee of 40hrs a week. They decide that they will take a long weekend trip and will not need their nanny for Monday & Tuesday of next week. They will still pay their nanny as per their guarantee but the nanny will ‘owe’ them 16 hrs for future babysitting hours. They request their nanny to work her regular shifts Wed – Fri, but also work the following 2 Saturdays (8-4) without any further compensation, to make up the hours.

Again, deciding in advance whether your nanny will be asked to bank hours is extremely important when negotiating your contract. The details around the banking must be laid out also. How much notice will be given to your nanny for time when they are not needed? What is the maximum amount of time that he/she can have in their ‘bank’ at one time? Who is tracking these hours? Not setting this up correctly, can have a very negative impact on your nanny/family relationship if not handled correctly.

Nanny Perspective: They are ready, willing and able to work their normal schedule from Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm. The family choses not to use the nanny, and they have a guarantee clause in their contract which states that she will be paid. This is the choice of the family if they chose not to use the nanny during their regular working hours and nannies generally feel that they shouldn’t be penalized for the decision of their employer. This can cause hostility if the nanny feels that they are always the ones bending on what was agreed upon regarding guarantees.

Banking time is a money saving for the parents but asking your nanny to complete overhaul their availability and not being mindful of the fact that they have a life outside their nanny role, may mean she walks!

Our advice; if you value your employee and are conscious of their work-life balance, you will soon find out that banking time is not the key to a successful relationship with your nanny. Keeping a record or logging who ‘owes’ what will only flaw the relationship if the nanny feels undervalued for not being paid for work outside their regular hours. Stick to the guarantees in the contract and be as detailed as possible from the get go. There is always room for give and take in any relationship, but be sure to be openly communicate any changes and don’t expect them to make up time.

If you do wish to bank hours, we strongly suggest having a cap of hours in a bank (this should never exceed a full week’s guarantee of hours) as well as a common schedule that is used to track what is worked and what is owed. You should give your nanny at least 2 weeks advance notice and the ‘option’ of when they can make up the time. Remember that they have a life outside the job!

Categories
For Parents

Should you bring your nanny on vacation?

Your vacation is supposed to be a stress-free experience. Bringing a nanny along can be the key to not only a stress-free vacation, but also one where the children are tended to while you and your spouse are able to enjoy some alone time, too. However, to ensure that your vacation is as wonderful as it should be, you will need to sit down with your spouse and your nanny prior to leaving and work out all of the minor details so that everyone is on the same page.

THE DILEMMA – TRAVEL EXPENSES

Payment Terms

You will be responsible for paying for the nanny’s room and travel expenses. In addition, meals should be considered, too. If you are staying in a hotel without a kitchen, meals will cost more than regular cook-at-home meals that the nanny is used to purchasing and making. These are certainly all topics of conversation that should be discussed prior to leaving for the vacation. You can elect to bring the nanny along while you eat out or you could provide her with a daily stipend for meals, but make sure that the stipend is fair and will feed her enough food for the area that you are staying in.

THE DILEMMA – THE NANNY’S SCHEDULE

Quite often, parents will feel that a nanny should be thankful for the opportunity to take a trip to a beautiful, luxurious place and will work as many hours as the parents demand. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding causes unhappy nannies, children and parents and may ruin vacations. Discussing the schedule and making plans ahead of time with the nanny will dispel any miscommunications and ensure a much happier and enjoyable vacation.

Schedule/Routine

You need to make sure that the nanny completely understands that although she is coming along with you on vacation, she is still on the clock, working. You also need to understand that she cannot be expected to be on the clock for the entire vacation. A routine or schedule must be made prior to the vacation and then you should come up with a way to ensure that this routine or schedule is adhered to.

For example, if your vacation is a week long and your nanny’s regular scheduled hours are from 7am to 4 pm, but you and your spouse would like to go out to dinner two nights during your vacation, you will need to come up with a compromise. Maybe you could give her a few hours off during the afternoon of those particular days so that she gets a break and then you and your spouse could enjoy two nice evenings alone without children.

If you expect her to work a few extra hours while you are enjoying your vacation, you could offer her a spa treatment, a surfing lesson, a min-gym membership or a special luncheon as a “bonus” for the extra hours worked. However, if you expect her to work more than just a few extra hours, you will want to discuss the schedule and overtime pay prior to going on vacation.

THE DILEMMA – ACCOMMODATION

To share a room or to get separate rooms? Some nannies will have no problem sharing a room with the children; however there are others who want to have the evenings “off” unless they are being reimbursed for overtime.

Sleeping Arrangements

Prior to the vacation, you will need to discuss the sleeping arrangements that you are planning to provide for the nanny. You will also need to discuss whether or not you plan to pay overtime if the nanny is expected to stay in the same room as the children. You will also want to take into consideration whether the children are sleeping through the night or not. If you have younger children who frequently wake during the night, they may want mom or dad, but if you have older children who sleep through the night and you participate in the bedtime routine, the nanny may not have a problem at all sharing a room with the children.

Discussing the schedule and the arrangements that you plan for your vacation will ensure that your family and your nanny are able to enjoy your vacation completely. Be sure to ask your nanny if she has any questions or concerns in order to clear up any miscommunications prior to travel.

Enjoy your trip!

The Nanny Solution can help find a travel nanny for your next vacation. Contact us now!

Categories
For Parents

Why nannies are NOT independent contractors

After searching for the perfect nanny, how are you going to pay them?

In determining the nanny’s status as an employee or as an independent contractor, Canada Revenue Agency does the following tests:

  1. Control: Are you specifying the work to be done? Are you specifying the working hours and are you reviewing the work that was done?
  2. Tools & Equipment: Are you retaining the right of use over the tools and equipment that the nanny uses for the work? Are you supplying the necessary equipment for the nanny to use to care of the children (e.g. high chair, crib, stroller) when the nanny is at work?
  3. Financial Risk: Are you reimbursing the nanny for costs of children activities (e.g. entrance fee for zoo, Science World or a play group)? Are you reimbursing the nanny for the costs of transportation during work time?
  4. Integration: Do you have a continuous relationship with the nanny?

If you answered “NO” to all of the above questions, your nanny is an Independent Contractor. They must supply you with an invoice and you pay them the amount that is on the invoice.

If you answered “YES” to any of the above questions, your nanny is deemed as your Employee and you are the Employer.  This is regardless of whether your nanny is full time, part time, live in or live out.

As an Employer you are responsible for providing a contract of employment for your employee. You have the right to choose the nanny/worker, and set the terms and conditions of employment. You are also responsible for making sure those terms and conditions meet the conditions required under the province’s Employment Standards Act.

Payroll requirements as an employer:

 

  • You must register for a business number with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
  • You must provide your nanny with a wage statement (also known as a pay stub) detailing the number of working hours, salary rate and other requirements
  • You must remit payroll withholding taxes to CRA. This includes the nanny’s income tax, CPP (Canada Pension Plan), EI (Employment Insurance) and the employer’s portion of CPP and EI
  • You must provide a T4 to your nanny at the end of each fiscal year and file your T4 summary to the CRA by the deadline. Should you file late, you will be penalized a late fee starting at $100 and then $10 per day after that, up to $1000
  • You must provide a Record of Employment to the nanny when employment is concluded
  • Employers must keep payroll records including the Nanny’s name and date of birth, date the employee started work, wage rate, hours worked each day, amount and type of benefits, gross and net wages, amount and purpose of each deduction, dates statutory holidays were taken, the amount of pay earned, dates of annual vacation, and the amount of vacation pay earned. These records must be kept at the employer’s residence or a payroll company, for six years after the worker’s employment ends.
  • You may have to register for Workers’ Compensation coverage for the nanny
Categories
For Nannies

How to be the best nanny for a family during divorce

Divorce has become such a widespread issue that it affects many families nowadays. As a nanny, this means that you may encounter families and children who are facing challenges that come about due to the impact of divorce.  As each family is different, each situation that is impacted by divorce will also present different obstacles and challenges.

For example, you might be employed by a family that is currently working through a divorce or you might be employed by a family that has already been a single-parent family for many years. Both situations are affected by divorce, but they will each present their own set of challenges. You may find that the parents work well together and that you will work with both parents, even though they have been separated for many years. The father and the mother may want the best for their children, which, to them, means keeping the same person for child care.

You may, however, find that the parents do not get along well and are pursuing a very nasty divorce. You were hired before they decided to separate and they both might want to continue to use your services, but that might put you in an uncomfortable situation, right in the middle of a nasty divorce.

Regardless of the possibly volatile and emotional situation at hand, it is vital that you keep in mind your first, and foremost, responsibility: to be a constant source of support and comfort in the children’s lives. You will also need to stay impartial and professional while dealing with the parents (your employers).

Amidst the confusion, anger and emotions, these three helpful tips will provide you a way to help handle your part of the equation and keep things as constant and stable as you can for the children.

1)     Establish a clear Employment Agreement –  If the divorce occurred prior to your start of work, but you realize that there are issues that need to be addressed, be sure that these issues are part of the Employment Agreement. If, for instance, the divorce occurs in the middle of your employment with the family, you may want to discuss which parent is the actual employer and how the expectations for you will change. You need to know if it is okay to contact the other parent in an emergency situation and if there is a problem with you working for both parents. Your nanny agency can help you with these negotiations if you are uncomfortable with talking to the parents about them.

2)     Maintain consistency –  You might be the only constant thing in the life of the children right now, so it is up to you to keep a consistent schedule for them and continue to keep clear expectations for them. While they are going through this time of turmoil and confusion, you may find that the children will resort to testing their limits and acting out, even a while after a divorce has been finalized, but they want expectations and they want you to set clear boundaries for them. They want their lives to be as consistent as possible and you will be doing them a big favor by standing your ground and being unswerving. Keep your time with them as stable, normal and secure as you can.

3)     Compassion – You can help the children by providing a listening ear for them, without passing judgment or taking sides. A little bit of compassion can go a long way with children; you can provide a safe place where they can talk about their feelings – something that they may not have anywhere else at this point in time. Let them know that they can come to you to talk anytime they want and you will not judge them or tell anyone else how they feel.

Divorce definitely presents many complicated situations and causes a plethora of emotions for the parents and the children. As the nanny, you can make a difference by being a neutral part of the equation and handling the children with compassion, love and understanding while they work through the confusion that they are facing. Of course, if you encounter any of these situations and want some advice, we are here to help.

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Job Opportunities

Virtual Assistant Needed

 

Nannies on Call/The Nanny Solution has an opening for a friendly virtual assistant with strong organisational skills and attention to detail.

This is a remote (work from home), administrative position with the opportunity for both mentorship and growth.  The working from home arrangement will be permanent- there will be no requirement to go into an office in the future.  

Who We Are:

We are Nannies on Call/The Nanny Solution, a Canadian nanny agency with over 20 years in the industry. We cater to busy families who require professional, child-loving, education-driven, and reliable nannies.⁠

We help place extraordinary nannies in temporary and permanent, live-out childcare positions with wonderful families in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa. We exceed families’ expectations while helping nannies find the perfect family to work with.⁠

Who You Are:

  • You have at least 1 year of prior professional experience doing administrative work and are naturally comfortable with organisation, multi-tasking, and solving problems calmly and creatively.
  • You are tech-savvy and able to keep up with the latest software and schedulers that help make our lives easier.
  • You have a way with the written word and have excellent writing skills.
  • You have an impeccable phone manner, are naturally at ease speaking on the phone and are able to connect with clients.
  • You have a creative, outgoing, positive, “can do” nature (we are a casual office with a professional image)
  • You have a concierge-type attitude towards service (client & detail oriented).
  • You have a quiet, dedicated workspace in your home that looks professional.
  • You have a home office with lightning fast internet speed.

 

Your job duties will include:

  • Creating job descriptions
  • Creating profiles for the candidates
  • Assistance with screening nanny candidates’ resumes and job applications.
  • Attend virtual meetings
  • Reference verifications
  • Setting up interviews with the candidates and the clients
  • Respond to client and nanny requests by phone and email, providing relatable, efficient service
  • Resolve problems at the first point of contact, able to diffuse minor conflicts 
  • Uploading documents
  • Supporting all departments in a variety of roles
  •  

Job Details:

This is a full-time position, Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm PST (11am-7pm EST) and the salary is negotiable based on experience. This is a work-at-home position.   

How to Apply:

In a world where you can send an email in a blink of an eye, we are looking for someone who stands out in the sea of applicants. Show us you care as much as we do.

Please send a cover letter and resume detailing relevant experience and your wage expectations to Lisa Bruce lisa@thenannysolution.ca

Thank you to all who apply, however only successful applicants will be contacted for an interview.

Categories
For Nannies For Parents

The Nanny Annual Review: What It Is & Why It’s Important

If your nanny has worked with you for more than a year, it’s time to seriously consider scheduling an annual review with them. Over the course of the year, your nanny has had time to settle into her role and develop a routine to accomplish her responsibilities and meld into the daily schedule of the family. Although they may feel like a part of the family at this point in time, they are still a professional who deserves to hear input on how they are handling their job from their employer.

Scheduling the Review

While some families choose to hold the annual review on their nanny’s anniversary, other families decide that the beginning of the year is a good time to schedule the discussion. After the holidays, the excitement has worn down, and there’s a fresh new feeling that people get about the New Year. Resolutions are made, and people seem more open to new ideas, so it seems like a good time to many families for reviewing the past year and thinking about how to approach the New Year with their nanny.

Talk to Your Nanny Before the Meeting

Tell your nanny that you would like to reflect on the past year with them, and try not to make them feel like they are in trouble. Tell them that they can bring a list of their own thoughts of the past year, including what has worked and what hasn’t. They can also write down things they have struggled with and their possible ideas for solutions. Also, be sure to let them know that if they have any ideas about moving forward in the future that could be useful, to write them down, too. Explain briefly that you feel like they deserve, as an employee, to have an annual review; this will help them understand that they are not being reviewed as a family member or friend.

Write Down Your Ideas

Before the meeting, you are going to want to write similar lists, too. This is a wonderful opportunity for you and your nanny to discuss her performance, starting with praise for their accomplishments and effort throughout the past year. You can highlight some of the moments when their helping hand really made a positive impact on the family. This is also a great time for you to let your nanny know where you think they could make improvement or restructure their position.

The Review

Be sure to set aside enough time to discuss ideas at length and iron out any issues that you talk about with your nanny – at least an hour should be marked on your schedule. The review should be held at a time when the children are at school or not at liberty to be a distraction. You should start with saying something positive at the beginning of the review, and give your nanny the complements that she deserves.

Then, progress to constructive criticism for the areas where you think they need to improve. Allow your nanny to provide her feedback about your concerns and discuss her concerns as well at this point in time. Air out all of the issues, even the little bitty issues, and iron the details out so that you can both approach the future with common goals. This is also a good time to ask your nanny if they have any concerns or suggestions for the year ahead. How can things run more smoothly? Nannies can be super-creative – you may be surprised at their ideas.

Compensation for a Good Year?

There are mixed feelings on attaching raises or changes to compensation packages to the annual review. Some families feel like their nanny shouldn’t expect to receive a raise at the annual review, while others feel like their nanny deserves one due to the rise in the cost of living. Only you can decide which is right for you and your nanny; you are not obligated to raise their salary.

Of course, if you feel like your nanny goes above and beyond for you and your family, and they would be irreplaceable, giving them a raise would be a great way to say “thank you”. If you want to thank your nanny in the form of compensation, but cannot squeeze another penny out of the budget at the time, you can add more vacation time to their package or offer a stipend for health care.

Establishing an annual review will set the stage for future reviews and your nanny will keep in the back of her mind that they are performing a job and want to look forward to positive and promising reviews in the future.