Submitted by Jessica Jackson
Today’s unstable economy almost demands that all families be two-working-parent households, which creates an enormous need for quality, capable childcare. New parents on the verge of returning to work, as well as those that are considering a shift from daycare to in-home childcare, are faced with the often daunting task of finding and hiring a nanny to care for their children in their home. Regardless of how appealing the idea of having a nanny may be, there are still plenty of concerns that the majority of parents have.
1. Nanny Tax Compliance – CNN reported in 2004 that the compliance rate for families and nannies regarding tax laws was less than 13%, meaning that roughly 87% of families that employ domestic workers do so illegally. The penalties for being discovered are quite steep, with interest rates and back taxes adding up to a significant chunk of change. More nannies are beginning to understand the importance of being paid legally, and are unlikely to accept posts that require them to evade taxes. The laws that govern nanny taxes are very complex, which is a deterrent for many families that would otherwise be compliant; fortunately, there are services and specially-designed software available to help parents pay their childcare providers legally.
2. Qualifications – Every parent in search of a nanny dreams that they’ll find one with an advanced degree in child development and years of experience, but the truth is that those nannies can be difficult to come by. It’s not uncommon for parents to become disillusioned soon after beginning their nanny search when they discover how many individuals without education or nanny experience apply for nanny positions, leaving them concerned about the level of care a more accessible candidate may provide.
3. Lack of Regulation – Daycare centers have their drawbacks, but properly licensed ones are almost always regulated by impartial state agencies that ensure the environment is as safe as possible, and that workers are reasonably competent. As yet, the nanny industry has no such set of regulations, making it easy for almost anyone to apply for a post.
4. Disciplinary Styles – Disciplinary tactics can be a contentious, hot-button issue between couples; worries about the stance of a stranger can be enough to make a parent worry themselves to distraction. Concerns that a nanny might be too harsh, or even physically punish their child, has contributed to the rise in nanny cam usage.
5. Criminal Background – The advent of the Internet has simplified the process of running a background check on a prospective employee dramatically; before the web made ordering searches possible, parents were often forced to rely on the word of a nanny and her references alone. Still, parents worry about a nanny’s potential criminal history until those reports come in.
6. Questionable Driving Record – Parents that don’t expect their nanny to transport the children and aren’t planning to require her to run any errands outside the home may choose to save their time and money from being spent on a check for moving violations. Those that do have these expectations, however, may find themselves in a sea of worry regarding their new nanny’s ability to transport their children safely.
7. Eligibility For Employment – In areas with a large immigrant population, employers must confirm that any nanny candidate is legally allowed to accept work in the United States, which may be a challenge if the bulk of the domestic worker hiring pool is made up of those seeking to work illegally.
8. Insurance Requirements – In addition to any contributions to health insurance premiums that an employer may choose to make, many states require that nannies be covered under a worker’s compensation and disability policy.
9. The Children Might Love Her More – Despite the unlikelihood of a child coming to love his nanny more than his parents, it’s a very real concern for some. Terms like “mommy guilt” and “nanny jealousy” are so common that they’ve become part of the childcare provider lexicon, and can be difficult to combat.
10. Negotiating a Salary Package – Hiring a nanny requires parents to undertake the sometimes harrowing process of negotiating a compensation package that meets the needs and expectations of both parties; additionally, drafting a written nanny contract can also be quite tedious.
Despite the concerns and occasional problems finding and securing a competent and qualified nanny, most families that employ a private childcare provider are loath to consider any other options due to the exceptional level of one-one-one care and personalized attention that their children can receive from in-home care.