Live in Vs Live out nannies? making the decision…

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It is important that you are comfortable with the option you choose. The following are some of the more (or less) common pros and cons for each arrangement:

Advantages of Live-in care:

The live in nanny offers the family many advantages. A live in nanny will reside in your home, generally in a private bedroom, and will receive room and board in addition to her salary. The Live in nanny is never late for work due to car trouble, weather, or just plain traffic. Live in nannies adapt to the rhythm of the nanny-family more quickly than the come and go nanny as a result of increased familiarity.

Live-in caregivers often provide families with greater flexibility since the nanny lives with the family and the parents don’t, for example, need to rush home to get dinner for their family. The family will have a wonderful opportunity to get to know the nanny better and sooner than if the nanny arrives at the home each morning as parents are leaving and leaves the home each evening as parents are arriving. Through this increased interaction from the very beginning, the family will become more familiar and at ease with the nanny and this will translate to less anxiety for parents (and the children) when parents leave the house each day. A live-in caregiver is generally more available to address last minute scheduling issues, as they do not have their own family waiting for them at home in the evening or early mornings. (Remember, even if the live in nanny is available for overtime, the family must compensate her for the additional hours worked.) Parents who require 24/7 coverage at times due to work travel find that a live in nanny can better accomodate this occasional need. There is some anecdotal evidence that the retention rate of a live-in nanny is better than their live-out counterparts.

Disadvantages of Live-in care:

Families must be prepared to provide separate private sleeping quarters at a minimum and in most situations, access to a vehicle on a fairly regular basis. While the majority of live-in nannies do not have their own vehicle, live-out caregivers usually have their own transportation – public or their own vehicle. Also be prepared to address the logistics and dynamics (privacy being just one consideration) of adding an additional adult into the household.

The live in nanny will generally expect a private, furnished bedroom and would prefer a private bath. Some live in nannies will agree to share a bath with the small children, but rarely with the other adults in the household. A live in nanny will often eat with the family, and providing meals for the live in nanny is part of the overall employment package. Many families offer to allow the live in nanny to add certain items to the family grocery list – her favorite yogurt or soda pop for example.

Families hiring live-in caregivers are often surprised at how little ‘value’ is assigned to the living arrangements in the nanny’s compensation. A live in nanny salary is between 10 – 15% below that of a similarly qualified live out nanny. The majority of live-in nannies are younger, less experienced caregivers. As their earning potential increases, many of them aspire to live out. Why? Many live-in nannies prefer the privacy of their own accomodations, and fear being at the family’s beck-and-call 24/7. Living where you work, and living with the boss has some obvious down sides from the employee perspective.

Families hiring a live-in caregiver who is relocating to their area must be prepared to provide the nanny with contacts/ideas for making new friendships and social connections. These issues should be discussed as part of the interview process; home-sick nannies are unhappy nannies and the relationship inevitably degrades if this important issue cannot be overcome.

Advantages of Live Out (Come and Go) care

Obvious advantages include the fact that another adult is not added to the household; there is no need to allocate space to the nanny. The nanny – parent personality mesh is less important, and the employer – employee dynamics are more traditional (remembering that personalities and emotions will always have a role in nanny relationships because children are involved). The live out nanny will often already be familiar with and have ties within the community.

Some live out nannies commute via their private vehicle. Families will often ask the live out nanny to run errands or provide transportation to/from preschool and other activities using the nanny’s car. Don’t be surprised if nanny refuses! When the nanny agrees, be prepared to address the insurance issues (her rates will increase to get coverages to protect her and your children in the event of an accident during work hours) and provide adequate compensation for fuel, depreciation and maintenance. Most nannies who agree to use their vehicle will expect per mile compensation at the IRS’ prevailing rate ($0.505 for 2008).

Disadvantages of Live Out care:

There is less flexibility in hours and schedules with live out employees. The live out nanny often has a family of her own that she returns to each evening, often her own children who require help with homework, transportation to activities, etc. The live out nanny will expect to arrive for work at a set hour and be relieved according to schedule. There may be transportation issues, particularly during inclement weather. Punctuality may be an issue, often a factor of commuting distances and traffic/transit issues. Live-out caregivers are typically somewhat better

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