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You'd Like To Employ A Nanny...Next, what?

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

As a professional nanny for 15+ years, I decided to take the time to write out what employers need to know when hiring a nanny. I’m happy to answer questions but if you try to argue with the law, I can’t help you.

I often have people reach out to me about hiring a nanny and I want to do some education. Nannies are household employees which means that you are their employer. Nannies are not independent contractors unless they have a special circumstance (ie: temporary nanny). Nannies must be w-2 non-exempt hourly employees, it is federal law. This means that nannies are to be paid for all hours worked and time and a half over 40 hours. In the event that you pay under the table and you are caught, both you and your nanny could face a felony charge and fines of up to $250,000 plus loss of your professional credentials for tax evasion. Nannies must be paid the IRS mileage reimbursement rate for any use of their personal vehicle.

The family must provide a safe, unexpired car seat for their child if they nanny if expected to drive.

The family is to pay for all activities and funds spent for the family or children while nanny is working.


Guaranteed hours- this means that nannies are to be paid for all hours worked plus time and a half but they are also paid those hours 52 weeks a year. Regardless of your parents visiting, you come home from work early, etc, you still pay the nanny for the time they are able and available to work for you. You are reserving their time. Any hours in which they are able and available to work, they are paid.

PTO- it is standard to give at least 2 weeks of vacation/personal time and 1-2 weeks of sick time.

Paid holidays- 10 paid holidays. They are your employee, give them the paid day off or pay double time to have them there.

Nanny parents- nanny parents do not need to make less, their credentials don’t change because their child is with them. Nanny parents don’t count as a nanny share.

Nanny share- two or more families that share a nanny. Each family pays 2/3-3/4 of the nanny’s rate, each family must pay at least minimum wage. Each family has a contract. Each family pays the nanny separately through a payroll company.

Payroll- use a payroll service, it’s easier. It costs money but takes all of the guess work out of everything. Some good payroll companies are: HomePay and HomeWork Solutions.

Massachusetts Domestic Worker’s Bill of Righta- become familiar. It’s the labor laws for any household employee.

Worker’s Compensation- employing anyone in your home requires that you have Worker’s Compensation insurance or it is on your homeowners policy.

Contract- Make sure that you have a rock solid contract. It protects you and it protects the Nanny. You can put anything you need in there and there are great ones online.

Rate- in the Boston area the average professional nanny starts at between $25 an hour and $35 an hour. You are paying for their experience, credentials and education. You get what you pay for.

Bonuses- around the holidays, consider what you get as a bonus. It is standard to give at least one week of salary (gross) as a holiday bonus to show your appreciation.

Raises- it is standard to give at least 3-5% every year but remember to think about inflation!

New baby raise- it is standard to give $2-$4 per hour for a new baby joining your family. You are paying for the nanny to care for another child. Even if they don’t have the baby all of the time, it shows you appreciate them.

After posting this on social media, I recieved so many positive responses from parents and nannies alike. I also got responses from people that don't believe nannies are entitled to all of this, that not everyone needs a "Mary Poppins Reincarnate". These aren't unrealistic expectations, these are baseline offerings for professional nannies.

This not a comprehensive list of everything that you need to hire a nanny. It’s a good start but do your research. 


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