What’s a Nanny Share?
A nanny share is when two (sometimes more) families work together to hire a nanny that will take care of all of their children at the same time.
The Benefits of a Nanny Share
The affordability of quality in-home child care is typically the most popular reason for parents who are considering a nanny share. When compared to hiring a nanny by yourself, a nanny share could reduce how much you’re paying by one-third. If you’re looking for child care coverage for a lot of hours each week, that savings adds up quickly.
The benefit of a nanny is that your child has a professional caregiver giving their dedicated attention to them. A nanny gets to know the kids in their care personally and tailors their time spent with them to what that child needs and wants. With a nanny share there is more than just your kid, but that same personalized attention is only divided by a few kids instead of an entire classroom size.
Don’t get us wrong—individual time spent with a nanny can be lots of fun. However, the benefit of a nanny share is that there are other kids for your child to interact with. Socializing with other kids is an important part of childhood development. It helps them learn how to share, compromise, and to consider the needs and wants of their peers.
How Does A Nanny Share Work?
The fundamental requirement of making any nanny share work is that the families involved can agree on when they need child care coverage. In order to gain the affordability benefit, schedules have to overlap.
It’s possible that one family could need more coverage than the other—that’s ok. The benefit for that family is that some of the hours they need have a reduced cost, while the rest of the hours are still covered by the nanny but at their full rate.
Location is a discussion between the families involved. All care could take place at one of their homes, or it could be split between both as they see fit. If both homes are being used, make sure you have a clear system for everyone to know where care is happening and when. The last thing you want is for wires to get crossed and neither home is available for care.
Additionally, for each sitting the visiting kid(s) will need transportation to the home in which care is taking place. This could be solved by including this task as a part of the nanny’s duties, but know that this will be a task that they’re on the clock for.
Each family typically pays two-thirds of a nanny’s hourly rate based on what you would pay on your own. Just make sure you are paying at least minimum wage, which is the highest of the federal, state, or local rate.
In a nanny share, both families are considered employers by the IRS. That means both families must pay the nanny legally and pay the related taxes. However, it also means that they can take advantage of the Child and Dependent Care Credit and/or their employer’s Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to offset the cost of their nanny’s wages.
For more details on how to manage nanny taxes and payroll, our partner GTM Payroll Services offers free, no-obligation consultations for families entering a nanny share. You’ll be able to speak with a household employment expert and get answers to all your nanny share questions.
The Challenges of a Nanny Share
A nanny share has a lot of moving parts. There’s at least two families with their own schedules and needs as well as the availability of the nanny. All families involved are paying the nanny—potentially different amounts based on the hours worked and with which kids. All of this coordination could require one of the parents to take the lead on being the master manager.
Not only is it already important for families to have clear communication about expectations and needs with the nanny, but with a nanny share, all families involved have to be on the same page. This means that you’ll need to have an understanding with each other about schedules, adding or eliminating hours last-minute, discipline and behavioral approaches, activities, and more.
With a nanny share your kids are interacting with other kids on a regular basis and potentially in someone else’s home. There has to be a certain amount of trust that is built up between you and the nanny as well as between you and the other families involved. Additionally, schedules have a way of shifting at the last minute. Is there enough trust and understanding that everyone involved will handle these situations with care and flexibility?
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Is A Nanny Share Right For Your Family?
No one can answer that question but you and your family. Take into consideration everything that you need when it comes to child care and everything that’s involved with a nanny share. If there’s harmony in those two lists, then maybe a nanny share is an option for you.