Your Responsibilities as a Live-in Nanny Employer

responsibilityHaving a live-in nanny is a very unique experience. Your nanny is your employee, yet she lives and works in your home too. The line between the personal and professional relationship is easily blurred and it’s hard to find and keep a comfortable balance in the employment relationship. One of the biggest obstacles many employers face is that they don’t fully understand what having a live-in nanny means in practical terms. Here’s an outline of the responsibilities parents take on when they hire a live-in.

You must provide clean, comfortable, furnished living quarters. There are no legal requirements for the living quarters of your live-in nanny. However, the industry standard is that you provide a separate, private bedroom and generally a private bathroom. Occasionally, you’ll find a nanny who is willing to share a bathroom with the children, but that is rare and the arrangement usually doesn’t last long. The furnishings don’t need to be lavish; functional and comfortable is fine. It’s a nice gesture to provide your new nanny with a gift card so she can buy some things to personalize her space. A fun rug or new comforter set will go a long way to making her feel at home when starting a new job. View the nanny’s living quarters with an objective eye before beginning your search. Is the space something she’ll be comfortable in? Does it provide her with reasonable privacy? When hiring a live-in nanny, the type of living quarters you offer is a huge factor in attracting top candidates.

You should provide all meals. Since your nanny will be living and working in your home, it’s your responsibility to provide all meals on and off duty. This doesn’t mean you have to cook for your nanny or invite her to your family meals. It does mean you should make sure she has enough food available so she can easily prepare her own meals. Remember, your nanny may have very different food preferences than you do, so she should be given the opportunity to add items to the grocery list, do her own shopping using the household account or be provided a weekly food stipend. While it’s important to make sure your nanny has food she enjoys, you don’t have to break the bank to do it. Your nanny’s food list should be reasonable and affordable. Because this issue is so unique and different and people have different ideas of “reasonable,” it’s a good idea to talk about this aspect of the job before the nanny starts. This will avoid any confusion later on.

Your nanny should be welcome 24/7. Unless you hire your nanny to be a live-in only during the work week, you should welcome your nanny in your home 24/7. Live-in nannies think of their living quarters as their home, not simply as where they stay for their job. This welcoming attitude goes a long way with caregivers and helps make the nanny/parent relationship work.

It’s essential to have appropriate boundaries. It can be hard to establish and keep appropriate boundaries for both the nanny and the family in a live-in situation. However boundaries are essential to a long term, successful employment relationship. Make sure that you respect your nanny’s off time. When she’s not on the clock, you should be fully responsible for the kids. It’s easy to ask your nanny to listen for the baby during nap time so you can take a quick run or distract your toddler for 15 minutes so you can return an important work call. However, that’s unfair to the nanny. Imagine if your employer was able to pop his head in at your home during your off time and ask you to quickly look over a brief or handle a client’s problem. Your nanny needs to know that you respect her need for privacy and down time.

Treat your nanny as an adult, not an older child. Even though she’s living in your home, she’s still an adult and should be treated that way. Imposing curfews, not allowing guests and monitoring her activities are not appropriate things for an employer to do. Of course you have the right to set reasonable limits around the use of your home, but work with your nanny to find limits that work for both of you. Remember, this is the person you trust to care for the health and safety of your child. Surely you can trust in her good judgment to be a responsible and respectful part of your household.

Having a live-in nanny can be a great solution to your childcare needs. By embracing the responsibilities as well as the advantages of live-in help, you can have a successful working relationship.

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