Family vacations are fun and relaxing. Whether it’s a trip to the country or a week at the beach, vacations give the family time to get away and forget the responsibilities of everyday living. If you have young children, you may want to take the nanny along. She can keep the kids entertained during long car rides, help with getting them through a busy airport, and look after them in the hotel room when you want to go out in the evening for a little adult time.
If you travel with your nanny, you can have the perfect vacation — if you plan properly and understand the responsibilities involved. Here are some tips to help ensure your family vacation is one you’ll remember for years to come.
1. Plan Ahead
The key to a successful vacation is planning. Plan your nanny’s working schedule in advance. When you plan a night out with your partner and the nanny will be staying in with the kids, make sure she knows she’ll be working during these times. Defining work hours will allow your nanny to understand your expectations and help avoid problems.
2. Working Hours
When you’re on vacation with your nanny, you’re on vacation, and your nanny is working. She must be paid her normal salary for the hours she worked during the trip. Working hours are defined as any time the nanny isn’t free to come and go as she pleases, including travel time. Before the trip, spend time with the nanny and explain how she will be compensated.
3. Keep Track of Her Time
Keep records of all time worked when your nanny was on duty and have her sign it. Your nanny is paid by the hour, so if she works more than her normal hours, she must be paid accordingly. If your nanny works less than her usual hours, it’s standard practice to pay her regular weekly pay. You don’t have to pay for rest time, provided your nanny receives five consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep and a total of eight hours rest time. Live-in nannies don’t get paid overtime, but they must receive their regular rate for the hours worked.
Federal law requires that if your live-out nanny works more than 40 hours a week, including travel time, you must provide overtime pay at one and a half times the regular hourly rate.
5. Schedule Down Time
To avoid burnout, your nanny should get down time. Schedule at least one day off per week. If possible, provide a means for her to get around during her time off. This could include the use of your car or rental car (make sure she’s listed as a driver with the rental agency), cab fare, or train fare for a day trip. If necessary, consider paying for a rental car for a day.
6. Look for Enjoyable Opportunities
Talk to your nanny and find out if there’s a special place she’d like to visit during the trip, or a special activity she’d like to try. This can be a trip to a museum, doing a little sightseeing, or an activity like taking surfing lessons. Plan a schedule to incorporate these activities, which should be outside of her weekly scheduled down time mentioned above.
Before the trip, speak with your nanny about your expectations and detail exactly what you will require her to do during the vacation. During the trip, keep the lines of communication open so she’s up-to-date on any changes in plans and so she can keep you abreast of any problems with your children.
Your Nanny should have her own hotel room or living space to sleep or stay in when she’s off work.
You are responsible for covering all travel expenses, including airfare, accommodations, food, and other costs related to travel. If you live in a warm climate and you’re planning a vacation in a cold climate, you should cover the cost if your nanny doesn’t have suitable clothing, or lend her something appropriate. Similarly, if you’ll be attending a formal event and your nanny doesn’t have the appropriate attire, you should cover this cost as well.
If you plan an international trip, find out with plenty of time in advance if your nanny has a passport. If she doesn’t, or she needs to renew it, you should cover the cost. This also applies to any visas or required vaccinations.
11. Don’t Crowd Your Nanny
Working while on vacation shouldn’t be any different; Let your Nanny do her job without backseat driving. Crowding your nanny will confuse your children as to who’s in charge, and your nanny probably won’t appreciate it. While there are certain activities you’ll all be enjoying together, if you’re out sunning by the pool, let your nanny look after the kids by herself.
12. Dress Code
You probably know your nanny well enough to determine whether this is an issue needing discussion. If it’s something you feel you need to discuss, explain what the appropriate attire will be for the family and explain to the nanny that she should dress accordingly. Is it acceptable for her to wear a bikini on the beach, or would you be more comfortable with less-revealing swimwear? If it’s an issue, spell it out.
13. Show Your Appreciation
Traveling with someone else’s family for a week or two while being away from home is demanding. Let your nanny know you appreciate her work by giving her a small gift, such as a gift card to the resort’s spa, or a bonus at the end of the vacation. Remember to tell her what a great job she’s doing!
These tips will help ensure your vacation is less stressful and will help you avoid any problems or misunderstandings between you and your nanny. Preparation is key. Defining your expectations and understanding your responsibilities will make everything easier. Now that you’re prepared for a great vacation, it’s time to start packing!
Our Guest Blogger:
Kathleen Webb co-founded HomeWork Solutions in 1993 to provide payroll and tax services to families employing household workers.
Kathy has extensive experience preparing ‘nanny tax’ payroll taxes.
She is the author of numerous articles on this topic and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and the Congressional Quarterly.
She also consulted with Senate staffers in the drafting of the 1994 Nanny Tax Law.