By: Greta Schraer
2011 INA Nanny of the YEAR!
Transportation is a key part of a nanny’s care for children. There are several options that a nanny and family may decide on as to how transportation is handled and is likely discussed during the interview/contract process. Some families may provide a car for the nanny to drive during work hours. Others may require a nanny to have their own reliable transportation that is suitable for the children.
Nannies should strive to provide a safe environment for children and take the necessary precautions for the possibility of an emergency.
When I first started my current job, it was decided that the family would provide a car for me to drive the triplets as they got older. The were 9 months when I started and it wasn’t practical and manageable for me to be taking big field trips, alone, as the winter was approaching. In Spring, talk began about the purchase of a new car, as my faithful Honda Accord was losing it’s battle for life. We began to discuss options of the purchase of a new car for me personally and how it could benefit us both. My employers offered me a stipend for a portion of the purchase price with certain requirements attached. I know that this is not the decision for everyone, but it was a great answer for us at the time. Many local nannies have asked how we have set up the system that has proven successful for us. I hope that sharing this may give ideas or open up discussions in the future for other situations.
Providing a Stipend
A stipend is simply a “source of funds provided to a particular individual to pursue a particular interest. Stipends do not usually cover all the expenses associated with the pursuit of interest”(business dictionary
). A family may decide to give a certain amount of money to the nanny toward a car. A nanny may be able to purchase a nicer car than she could afford without the families help. The family will be able to weigh in on the specifics of the car being purchased – such as safety ratings from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety
. The family may also ask to for the size of a nanny’s car be more accommodating to the needs of the children (for example: room for three car seats, strollers, bikes, etc.) than if she were to buy one just for herself, depending on the need.
This option would not be a great idea for a short term position, but can be beneficial if nanny and family have a come to a long-term agreement (for example: until the kids are in elementary school). This is an extra benefit for the nanny, increasing her feeling of appreciation and confidence in a long-term position. The following are some questions that may be beneficial to discuss and include in the agreement:
- How much will this stipend be?
- Is this a 1-time option?
- If nanny leaves position after so much time will all or part of the stipend be owed to the employer?
- What are the car requirements?
- Any other expectations attached?
Whether or not you decide to do a stipend, communication on paper is a good idea. This can be added to a section of your work agreement/contract. My employers put together a separate and lengthy car agreement detailing the expectations and requirements for the length of my position. Through this article I will outline what I feel are the key components of a car agreement, when the nanny drives her own car.
High5: Topics in a Car Agreement
If a nanny drives her own car, she could keep track of her mileage while working and be reimbursed at the federal rate
, currently $.50/mile. A nanny may be asked to record her data at the end of each month, and be reimbursed from her employer at that rate. It should be noted that the rate includes wear and tear on a car, not only gas, or as it says in the IRS site ” The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of fixed and variable rates for operating a vehicle”.
A family will require that a nanny have current insurance and may request the nanny to provide current proof of insurance. There should be a discussion about if the nanny has liability only or full coverage. The family may reimburse all or a portion of the nanny’s car insurance.
Because the nanny is responsible for more than her own safety, it is essential that she care for her car. If a family is reimbursing for mileage, the standard mileage rate includes maintenance. Though a majority of the maintenance expense will fall on the nanny as the owner of the car, every little bit helps. This could include:
- Tires: safe tread level, correct level of air, balanced & rotated regularly
- Oil: changed regularly
- Wiper blades & fluid
- Overall in good condition
2. Car Seats
In this section it may be discussed the parents preference for seat location, installation and etc. Forward and rear-facing plans and beliefs should be discussed between parents and nanny. Some families will have you be trained to learn to install seats, at the local fire department. A family may also require the nanny to have their car seat installation checked. Each car seat should be labeled with the child’s information.
1. Safety and Emergency Prep
Best always to be over-prepared for the worst situation. A family may communicate the expectations of items that a nanny have in their car at all times. The family may purchase the items needed or may ask the nanny to provide. Here are some examples of items to include:
- License & registration
- Proof of Insurance
- Authorization to treat a minor
- AAA Card
- First Aid Kit
- Cell phone
- Tire gauge
- Emergency blanket
- Jumper cables
- Spare tire, jack and misc.
- Bottled water
I hope that some of these ideas, give you a start for you car agreement section of your contract. Nannies that drive their own cars should think about the expenses that a family could share in. This option may provide practical and financial benefits for both parties.