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How Nanny Shares Really Work

Nanny shares are a great solution for working families that need childcare but need to keep childcare costs affordable. Nanny shares allow a nanny to care for children in more than one family and it can often be a great fit for parents that need reliable care for their kids while they’re at work.

How it works

Generally, a nanny share is when two families get together and hire a nanny. The nanny’s wage is typically 20-25% of a single family single child going rate in a specific area. For example, if the single child single family going rate is $15-16 an hour, then the share is $18 - $20 an hour. Keep in mind, however, that when split between the families, this is always significantly less per family than hiring their own individual nanny.

A family will serve as the host home, where the kids will be looked after during the day. The parents that are bringing their kids there will need to provide the nanny with supplies that they need throughout the day and many times if there is an item that all or many of the kids will use (like a tandem stroller), the families will go in together on the purchase to help pay for it. Marketplaces for lightly used items, like Facebook Marketplace or Craig's List are at great place to look.

One family is not in charge of being the official employer, but rather, both families involved are employers and they’re responsible for paying employment taxes and other mandated insurance on the wages.

To set up the nanny share, parents generally meet and decide together on which nanny to hire. It can be a great win-win situation!

If you’ve decided to go forward with a nanny share for your children, here are some things to plan ahead for.

#1: Sick kids.

Communication is very important when it comes to your nanny share set up, so be sure to have a solid plan in place if a kid gets sick. For example, if the host family’s kids get sick, will the other families bring their kids there as planned, or does the nanny go to the other home where the other kids are that are still healthy? It is best to define what types of sickness will define a child as "sick" and unable to participate in the share. The most common include:

  • Fever over 101F;

  • Vomiting or diarrhea;

  • Highly contagious disorders such as pink eye, hand-foot-mouth disease and lice;

  • A rash;

  • Strep throat, ear infections, and other conditions that require an antibiotic. General rule of thumb is minimum of 24 hours on antibiotic and minimum 24 hours fever free.

Having a clear guideline such as those posted by a daycare center is the best way to avoid friction between the families and the caregiver.

#2: Nanny’s vacation or sick days.

This is an important thing that should be set in stone when you initially hire the nanny. The best way to do this is to create a work agreement – a document between the families and the nanny that outlines information about sick days, paid days off, wages and payment schedule, etc. Outlining these things at the get go will save you time and will help reduce the risk of having a conflict or other confusion later down the road.

#3: Break-up.

What if one of the families must leave the nanny share group or what if the kids are not getting along? Thankfully, this is rare! Parents should be able to openly communicate with each other and figure out a solution. Communication is essential when it comes to giving “notice” of leaving. If there is a problem with the kids getting along, the key is to communicate clearly about what the discipline and expectations are of the parents as well as the nanny. If you’re comfortable writing in a break-up clause in your nanny work agreement, this could also serve as a solution in helping determine what will happen if a family needs to leave the share situation. Minimum notice should be 4 weeks, or pay to the nanny in lieu of the notice. No one wants their income cut in half without notice! Additionally the nanny and the remaining family deserve the courtesy of sufficient time to attract another family to the arrangement.

Unsure how payroll taxes fit into this arrangement? Read our helpful guide on nanny share payroll taxes!

Nanny shares can be a wonderful way to give your children the loving care that they need and deserve in your absence. But knowing how they work is essential to making sure that everything goes smoothly.

Reposted with permission from Home Work Solutions (

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