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3 Legal Tips for Hiring a Nanny

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on September 22, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Of all the jobs that you can hire for, the job of nanny tops the list in terms of importance. You don't want to leave the care of your children up to someone incompetent or potentially negligent.

There are the obvious hiring factors such as experience and personality to consider when hiring a nanny or babysitter, but there are some legal considerations you'll want to take into account as well. Here are three of them:

1. Check the Background: Even if you're using a nanny service, you may still want to perform your own background check on the applicant. But be careful -- there are better and worse ways to perform background checks. Be sure to get the applicant's consent, and don't misuse the information you gather. The Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates the information consumer reporting agencies can provide, and the documentation needed to acquire it. You may also have to provide the applicant with a copy of any criminal or credit check you perform.

2. Ensure Eligibility: Even though you're not a company, you are an employer, and therefore you are still subject to laws regarding hiring undocumented workers. You need to confirm that any nanny you hire is eligible to work in the United States, and there are a couple ways to do this. For example, E-Verify is an online government system for employment eligibility verification, and you can have the nanny fill out an I-9 form, verifying that he or she can legally work in the U.S.

3. Keep It on the Books: You may be tempted to skirt normal employment and tax laws by paying your nanny under the table. This is a bad idea, legally speaking. If either you or your nanny is audited, you could be charged with tax fraud or evasion. You should be aware of the minimum wage laws, as well as the applicable tax, unemployment, and social security deductions in your state.

Finding the right nanny or babysitter for your child is about finding a loving person to care for your children. It's also about doing it legally. If you have further questions about hiring a nanny, you can consult with an experienced employment attorney near you.

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