By Stephanie Breedlove, Breedlove & Associates
If you’re like me, the holiday season is always the busiest time of the year. From mid-November through the New Year, the days are a blur of phone calls and emails to schedule time to see family, planning get-togethers, shopping for gifts for loved ones, and other random things that seem to come up out of nowhere. And this doesn’t even cover my kids’ schedule or my work schedule.
So as we enter into the end of 2013, take a moment to think about how the rest of the year looks for you personally and understand the family you work for probably has a similar schedule. To help both of you navigate through the holiday season, now is a great opportunity to have a discussion with the family about their needs and your needs over the next few weeks. Here are 3 subjects worth talking about so everyone is on the same page:
1. Will your work schedule change? You may find yourself working longer or shorter hours than usual, depending on the kids’ or family’s needs. If the hours will be shorter, you’ll need to know so you can budget accordingly. On the other hand, when things get busy, the family may not realize you have worked more than 40 hours during the week and are due overtime – especially if overtime isn’t a part of your normal working schedule.
2. Will you be required to drive on the job? During the holiday season, you may also find yourself having to drive your own car while on the clock running errands for the family or taking the kids to places they don’t usually go. If this is typical of how your work schedule normally is, the family is probably used to reimbursing you for these miles. Just make sure you are keeping accurate mileage records so they can reimburse you correctly each pay period. If you do not regularly drive your car while on the job, the federal mileage reimbursement rate is 56.5 cents per mile and covers your gas and general wear and tear on your vehicle.
3. What are the family’s travel plans? This one seems obvious, but you will need to know when they plan to be out of town, and more importantly, whether you will be accompanying them. Many nannies travel with the family they work for and can get confused on when they are supposed to be paid. The simple rule is, if you are watching the kids, you are on the clock – and when you have free time completely on your own, you are off the clock.
If you are not traveling with the family, you’ll need to know if the days they are gone are considered unpaid days off or paid vacation days. These details should be in your nanny contract, but if you don’t have one, you will need to ask how the family plans to handle your time off. And moving forward for 2014, a nanny contract will be crucial to have so you and the family will be on the same page for when Spring Break and Summer Vacation planning begins.
When you have an idea for what the family needs this holiday season, you’ll be able to plan your personal holiday schedule as well. If you run into any questions along the way, please feel free to visit www.breedlove.com or give us a call. We’re here to help!