Monday, October 29, 2007

Nanny / Babysitter murdered after answering Ad on Craigslist

For those of you who haven't heard the tragic news about 24 year old Katherine Olsen from Minneapolis, here is a link to a news article.

Katherine was murdered by a 19 year old man after answering an ad on Craigslist for a babysitter. (In case you have been living in a cave for the past 10 years, is a free classifieds service that is used by millions of people for everything from job postings to selling used cars.)

While the owner of Craigslist says that nothing like this has ever happened "to his knowledge" through Craigslist, this time it did. For years now we have offered Internet Safety Tips to the nannies who use I think it is important to once again post them as a reminder. Whether you are answering an ad on Craigslist, on a local newspaper website or through one of the big nanny recruiting sites like NannyClassifieds, you need to be cautious and smart. Just think of it this way, if you were answering a personal ad for a potential date, would your first meeting be at his house? never. The same should hold true for a first time meeting with an employer. Here are more common sense tips for safely using the internet to find a nanny or babysitting job.

Safe Job Searching on the Internet

1. Do not post your phone number for the world to see. Even if you have an unlisted phone number, it takes only seconds to access your name and address on the internet using a reverse phone directory. Be choosy about who you share your phone number with through email for the same reason.

2. Use a third party email provider such as hotmail or yahoo. If you are an AOL user and innocently filled in your profile with all kinds of personal information, get rid of it.

3. Stay away from services that are completely free to families. Online nanny databases that charge a subscription fee and monitor their subscribers will help weed out the less scrupulous.

4. Do your own investigating. Run a reverse phone directory search to see if the phone number they are using or have given you belongs to the name they have given you.

5. Be sure to exchange pictures via email or mail and make an effort to interview the family on several occasions. If the family is a two parent household and you have only dealt with Dad, ask to speak with Mom. If there are excuses for her absence, do not pursue the job any further.

6. Check family references. Yes, nannies can ask for references especially if you will be traveling a distance to accept the job. Even if you are not, it is a great way to find out what type of employer this family has been in the past. Ask for the names and numbers of the family's previous caregivers and call them. Ask them what their experience was like? Were they treated well by the family, respected? Were they paid on time?

7. Keep track of what the family has told you in previous conversations and make sure their answers are consistent.

8. If you will be traveling to a strange family's house for an interview, have the family send you a letter of intention to hire which would include their home address. Keep this with a family member. Bring a friend or family member with you. They can meet the family at the door and then wait in the car.

9. Try to stay with a friend in town if possible. If you have no friend to call on, ask that the family put you up in a hotel for at least the first night there and ask that a friend accompany you if you are within driving distance. Do not commit to staying in the house with them and ask that they supply the name and confirmation number for the hotel. Explain that this is for safety reasons. You should check into the hotel first and ask that the whole family including the kids meet you in the lobby for your first meeting.

10. Babysitters, meet in a public place for your first interview and ask that the kids accompany Mom or Dad.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Are you a full-time, preferably live-in, male nanny (a.k.a. Manny) for children of a wealthy and outgoing family? Do you think you have what it takes to be one?

Or maybe you’re a family that leads a fabulous, busy lifestyle with a fantastic Manny that cares for your children. If you already have a Manny, or you’re interested in hiring one, let us know.

We’re searching for Mannies, and their respective employer families, to star in a new reality series for a major cable network.

If you think you and your situation is captivating enough to be a TV show, then contact us with details, including photos, and/or a video showcasing your amazing lifestyle.

Or, call our Casting Department at: 212.542.3579

October Issue of Nanny News, Don't Miss It!

Don't miss the new issue of Nanny News. We're very excited about the new format and think you will really enjoy it as well. Not a subscriber? What are you waiting for? Its free. Sign up here.

We've been publishing Nanny News (previously called Nanny Net News) since 1999. To check out past issues, visit the archives.

Cooking Site is looking for Kid Friendly Recipes and Tips on Getting Kids to eat healthy., New Jersey's fastest growing cooking blog, is looking to start a section on Cooking with Kids and is reaching out to the experts for help. If you are a nanny who has some tricks up her sleeve in the cooking for kids department, Jersey Bites wants to hear from you. (Oh, and, NJ outsiders are always welcome)

Visit and submit your recipes, tips and tricks to getting kids to eat healthy. You may find your submission in an upcoming issue of Nanny News.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Overtime Pay Requirement for Nannies

Nanny vs. Family and Family vs. Annie’s Nannies Household Staffing.

The Mistake
A family paid their nanny on an hourly basis. The standard work week for the nanny was 50 hours. The family paid a standard rate for every hour worked each week.

The Law
Why is this a problem? Household employees must be compensated according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which provides the framework for federal and state wage and hour law. The FLSA classifies household employees as non-exempt workers, requiring that the household employment industry provide overtime pay.
Whether a household employee is paid by the hour or on a salary, they are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. Overtime time pay must be paid at 1.5 times the standard hourly rate. If an employee is paid on an hourly basis, overtime pay is easy to track. If an employee is paid a salary for a standard work week of more than 40 hours, overtime pay should be addressed as a component of the written contract to ensure protection under the law.

The Mess
· After three and a half years of employment, the relationship was deteriorating and both parties agreed to terminate employment. Unfortunately, both parties were disgruntled at time of termination.
· The disgruntled nanny learned of the overtime requirement and decided to sue her previous employer for overtime pay. Her standard rate of pay was $12 per hour. This produced an overtime rate of $18 per hour. The nanny was suing for an additional $6 per hour for 2000 hours of overtime, or $12,000.
· The family hired a lawyer and attempted to sue Annie’s Nannies Household Staffing for the $12,000. Their claim was that Annie’s Nannies had a legal responsibility to inform the family of overtime law during the placement process. They contended that they were not informed of the law and that they would have been in compliance had they been made aware of this legal requirement.
· Annie’s Nannies also hired a lawyer to fight the potential law suit.

The Outcome
· Annie’s Nannies was able to prove that they had informed the family of the overtime requirement during the placement process, as Annie’s Nannies provides a package of educational material from Breedlove & Associates addressing payroll and tax requirements. They referred the family and their attorney to the overtime segment of the Overview of Household Employment Taxes – one of the pieces included in their educational package.
· The family dropped their claim against Annie’s Nannies.
· The case was eventually settled out of court for the amount of overtime due.

How the Whole Thing Could Have Been Avoided
· Annie’s Nannies now discusses legal requirements with each client in addition to providing written information. This case if proof that our busy clients do not always read the information provided to them.
· Had the family incorporated overtime pay into the contract and payroll, they would have avoided a lawsuit from a disgruntled employee.

Breedlove & Associates • 888-273-3356 •

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Nanny Interviews, tell us about them

We're looking for your input.

Nanny Interviews: What’s the Hardest or Craziest Question You’ve Asked or Been Asked? Just click on the Comment link below to submit yours.