Written by Brooke Strickland for Nannies Plus

Are you thinking of hiring a nanny or family assistant to work in your Sonoma County, San Francisco, East Bay, or Marin home?

Choosing the right person to work with your child and your family is a personal decision that will be based on a number of factors pertaining to your family’s unique set of needs and expectations.

Once you have met with a number of candidates and settled on the ideal person to fill the position, there are some important nuts and bolts to keep in mind in your working relationship with them.

Your nanny or family assistant is your household employee, not an independent contractor.

An independent contractor supplies their own work materials, has control over their own schedule, and is not bound to a manager’s or superior’s expectations about how job duties are completed. They also pay their own taxes. When hiring a nanny or family assistant, you determine their schedule based on your family’s needs, you supply them with the materials they need to do their job, and you are able to set expectations about which duties they are responsible for and how those duties should be completed. Therefore, it is important to remember that your nanny or family assistant is your employee. That means they get a W2 form each year for wage and tax reporting purposes and, as an employer, you must pay for Medicare and social security taxes, as well as federal unemployment tax. If you misclassify your employee and the IRS learns of it, you could be subject to hefty fines and penalties.

Your nanny or family assistant should be paid legally.

Paying your nanny or family assistant “under the table” or expecting them to file taxes as an independent contractor are not a legal options. Your employee is covered under worker’s compensation and unemployment laws and entitled to overtime pay. If you are caught not paying your portion of employer taxes and/or improperly withholding income taxes from your employee’s paychecks, you could be fined or subject to back taxes, which can be very costly. Paying legally (or “on the books”) ensures that your employee is receiving their full legally-mandated wages and benefits and helps to protect your family from IRS scrutiny.

When you hire a household employee, you become a household employer. The inner-workings of being an employer can be confusing – especially when it comes to paying taxes and payroll. If you need more information or have questions about setting up your employee’s benefits package, taxes, and payroll, we exclusively refer our clients to HomeWork Solutions.   Contact us today to start the search for your nanny or family assistant. We look forward to helping you find the perfect person to join your family team!