hire a nanny

by Melissa Buonanno

After years are doing everything in our power to avoid hiring help, we have finally conceded – a full-time nanny is necessary.

It has always been very important to my husband and I to be very hands on in the day to day lives of our children. We are fortunate because we both work from home, at the same time our schedules are very demanding. Up until now we have been able to use an on-call domestic service to provide help as needed but we have found ourselves in need of help more days then not recently.

In the end the question became one of what’s best for our children.  When we’re busy working we are not able to fully devote the time and attention to the kids that they need. By hiring help we can focus on work during work-time and family during family-time, giving our children the quality time they deserve.

I wish I could be there all of the time and be super mom but it’s just not possible, I am only one person.  It’s a hard choice but in the end this is what’s best for our children. There is nothing worse than having to shush your preschooler because you’re on a conference call when all they want to do is have tea and dance.

It was not an easy choice; there are a lot of things to consider when choosing a nanny.  This is someone who will be in your home and with your children 40 plus hours per week. She is someone who you will trust to care for and love your children in your absence.  In our case it’s someone who will travel with us and be privileged to a lot of personal and industry information; not a simple decision.

Choosing live-in or live-out was actually simple however; because of our erratic schedules and travel expectations, a live-in nanny gives us the flexibility we need. It is a little daunting since this will be our first live-in staff member but I think it will work out well.

Deciding on the type of nanny was actually a bit trickier; there are domestic nannies and au pairs. An au pair is very well qualified and typically comes from outside of the US; the catch is they can only stay for a year in many cases although a 12 month extension is now possible.

We want our children to be comfortable and happy with their nanny and stability is a must so this was a concern for us. In the end the deciding factor was simply the ability to stay with our family long term so we have decided on a domestic nanny.

When actually hiring the nanny, open communication is extremely important. All expectations should be set forth before hiring takes place. The parents and nanny should all be on the same page as far as responsibilities, style and discipline.

It is very important to us that our children are the nanny’s only focus; so the nanny does not need to clean and do laundry her only focus should always be our children. Likewise, we are very child-centric so someone who has rigid expectations wouldn’t be a good fit for us either. If your nanny will travel, be expected to sign a non-disclosure agreement or any other special requirement this should also be relayed in advance.

Our nanny starts on Monday. I am terrified. I have mom guilt and I question my choice but in the end I think it’s best for my children and my sanity.


Melissa Buonanno is a wife, mom and business owner trying to navigate mommy-hood in Hollywood, busy with three kids in the entertainment industry and loving every minute of it. Melissa is well known in the Beverly Hills social circles and active in the community. She enjoys shopping, cooking and traveling and is a self confessed coffee enthusiast. To find out more about life if Beverly Hills visit me on Twitter.




Nanny Sharing: Tips
Nanny Sharing: The Contract


by Marianne Georgiou-Galberg

Thinking about a Nanny-Share?  Then you’ll want to pay attention to the details of a contract.  (Read Part One on Tips and Advice here)

Ensure you capture everything on paper by writing up a simple contract agreed to between the nanny and both families. Get it signed by all parties. You may be tempted to have a contract specific to the nanny only however it’s important to set parameters for what each family agrees to do or not do in the same contract or in a separate contract. This may seem like an awkward thing especially if you fear insulting the other family or feel the family is ‘nice enough’ – however it’s important you protect your rights for when the honeymoon period passes. You never know when a situation will go south, so following the adage ‘better safe than sorry’ is critical.

If you are entering an existing nanny share, the other family may already have a contract in place with the nanny. Make sure you ask for a copy of this contract and draft your own based on it.  Having a copy of this contract will prevent any miscommunication and ensure that you’re aware of what the other family is promising to the nanny. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where the family is expecting you to do x, but is doing y, and you don’t have a contract to confirm that they are in fact doing   what they are asking you to do. If the family doesn’t offer, or isn’t willing to share this contract, consider their lack of transparency a red flag and look for another family.

Here are some other considerations when negotiating the contract:

Notice Period:

Stick to a reasonable notice period of time. Most daycares/home cares usually offer and expect a maximum of four weeks notice. Don’t get caught up in the panic of ‘what will I do if the other family backs out’ by agreeing to an extra long notice period. If you follow the tip above by always ensuring you’re on top of daycare lists and home daycare agency lists, you’ll always have a back up should things go sour.

If you feel safer with a longer notice period, say two months, you may then want to consider putting a caveat in place that allows either of you to back out of the partnership sooner if an element outlined in the contract is breached by either party. For example, if you find evidence the other family has exploited an important aspect of their part of the agreement with the nanny or with you.


Outline in black and white what each family agrees to pay and is responsible for re taxes, CPP, EI, vacation and sick leave. If you’re entering into an existing nanny share, you want to ensure that the family will honour the amount you agree to pay and not back out last minute or ask for more money once you’ve already settled into the nanny share.

Consider that if the care takes place in one family’s home all the time, one of you may   want to negotiate paying a little less given that one family will have the convenience of never having to leave their house to drop off their child. Additionally one family may also benefit from some household chores being done. You may additionally want to negotiate sharing in the costs for obtaining an extra high chair or crib/playpen.

Consider whether the nanny will be paid her full salary irrespective of whether she watches one child or both should one child be absent (in the case of illness or vacation).   Both families should honour this if agreed to – irrespective of whether one takes more   vacation than the other. The nanny is relying on a combined income from both families so it’s important she be fairly treated.

When calculating the nanny’s CPP and EI, you must enter the FULL amount of her salary. Not just the part that you will pay as the nanny will be taxed on the FULL amount of income. You don’t want to put your nanny in a position to pay taxes at the end of the year because you’ve neglected to submit what you legally should. However I’m not an accountant so if you’re not sure how to work this out, it’s worth consulting with your accountant to ensure you’re submitting what you’re legally responsible for.

Vacation & Sick Leave:

Some nannies are better at negotiating for vacation and sick leave than others, however you want to make sure you both feel what you’re offering is fair – and obviously the nanny feels it’s fair as well. Usually 3-4 days sick leave is average along with two weeks vacation, although some families are more generous regarding vacation time.

If entering into a nanny share you will want to confirm what’s already been negotiated. You will also want to ensure you are approving/being privy to any future vacation time the nanny is requesting. You may also want to negotiate a time period before you begin to share in ‘vacation’ costs. Like in any work situation, there’s usually a probation period. If you join in the nanny share week 1 and the nanny is scheduled to take vacation in week three – you may not feel you should share 100% in that vacation time if, for example, the nanny had been employed for a significant time period by the other family prior to you joining.

Also remember just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you’re not on the hook for paying the nanny’s salary, unless both families come to some sort of agreement regarding this.

Business Number

It is worth each family obtaining their own business number. This is free and ensures that on paper you’re both equal employers. It keeps things simple during tax time and also in the management of the accounting especially if you’re not both paying the same amount.

Additional Perks your nanny may negotiate:

A common perk is payment for a monthly TTC pass.  Additionally some families may agree to stock their house/houses with lunch/food for the nanny.


Good luck everyone. With proper planning and open dialogue and a keen ear to your gut instinct (often the most important factor when finding a family and a nanny) this can be a cost effective and beneficial arrangement for both you and your child.

Marianne GalbergMarianne Georgiou-Galberg is the mother of one girl. She’s also a business manager for a Marketing Communications Agency by day and in her spare time volunteers as an assistant organizer for the West Toronto Families Meetup Group.