What’s the Best Way to Pay a Nanny?

If you simply want your teenage neighbor to come over on a Friday night and watch your kid for a few hours while you go out to dinner with your spouse, there’s nothing wrong with giving her $25 to $30 in cash when you return. But if you decide that you need more help with taking care of your children, this informal arrangement isn’t going to fly. 

Hiring a part or full time nanny definitely takes more work than just setting up babysitting appointments every now and then. However, you have to keep in mind that once you get everything in line, a nanny can truly change the way you live on a daily basis. Since there’s so much that a great nanny can offer your family, it’s definitely worth investing the time to get everything set up. 

One of the main tasks you’ll need to tackle is how you plan to pay your nanny. Since this issue has a few different parts, let’s look at each one. 

Hourly vs. Salary 

Since your nanny is going to be logging quite a few hours working for you, it’s easy to assume that paying her a flat salary is the best way to go. But what many people don’t realize is that current US laws classify nannies as hourly employees. What this means is that when they log more than forty hours in a week, the law states they should be paid time and a half. 

Because of these regulations, it’s best to go with an hourly arrangement. Since you won’t have to worry about running afoul of any legal requirements, you won’t have any concerns hanging over your head. And what’s actually beneficial about this setup is since your nanny will see exactly how much she’s getting compensated for any extra hours she works, you’ll never have to worry about her feeling taken advantage of. 

Use a System 

One of the reasons many people are hesitant to use an hourly arrangement is because they assume it’s going to be a hassle to track. While manually logging and calculating hours can be a pain, you can make life much easier by using a computerized system. Whether you prefer to run a local program on your computer or use one that’s based in the cloud, there are plenty of options available that will take care of everything you need. 

Get Everything in Writing 

Once you and your nanny agree on an hourly rate and any other relevant payment details, make sure everything is put in a written contract that you both sign. While you don’t necessarily need an agreement that’s dozens of pages long, simply getting the basics in writing will help you cover all your bases. It will also prevent any misunderstandings, as well as give both of you a starting point if there’s ever something you need to renegotiate.

John Wisenheimer is a writer for www.nanny.net which is a website that helps young ladies learn how to become a nanny.