Library & FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

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We need our nanny to drive our daughter to/from pre-school three days a week. How is this handled?

There are two basic ways this situation is handled. Ideally the family will provide the nanny a vehicle to use during working hours. This vehicle will be fully equipped with the requesite car safety seats, and is the financial responsibility of the family to maintain. The second scenario is the nanny who is willing to use her personal auto to transport the employer's child(ren). This scenario does exist, but is less desirable than the employer provided auto for BOTH the nanny and the family.

Nanny Using Family's Auto

The use of a family auto to transport the children is the ideal situation. The family is in a position to intimately know the mechanical condition of the vehicle, to know that brakes are good and tires are up to standards for example. The family vehicle should be large enough to transport the children in car safety seats that are age/size appropriate and properly installed by the parents.

Families must have a discussion with their automobile insurance company and disclose that the nanny will be driving the vehicle. The insurance company will generally add the nanny as an additional authorized user and will need her driver's license information to do so. Younger nannies or nannies with poor driving safety records may result in a slight increase in the auto insurance premium on that vehicle.

Families are responsible financially for the gas needed by the nanny for completion of her duties, tolls and parking fees if applicable, and the maintenance of the vehicle. Should there be an accident while the nanny is performing her duties, the family should cover all expenses.

Live In Nanny: Off Duty Use of Family Auto: Most live in nannies are provided the use of a family owned vehicle during off duty hours. Exceptions would be positions in urban areas such as Manhattan well served by public transportation where cars are unnecessary. The work agreement should address 'house rules' on non-work car use. The standards of the car rental industry typically apply - gas is to be replaced, nanny is responsible for all parking tickets, nanny is responsible for deductible should an accident occur, car should be returned in the condition it left the home, including all trash removed! Families own the vehicle and may set usage limits - for example they may restrict the nanny to a 50 mile radius of the family's home. Nanny may not be permitted to drive on a weekend 400 miles away for a beach weekend for example. The best practice is to document all auto use policies in the written work agreement.

Nanny Using Her Personal Auto

NOT RECOMMENDED!

Families often initially gravitate to this scenario when they have a live out nanny - it seems so simple. Nanny drives her car to work, it is already there. However, bear in mind that a family that requires the nanny to use her personal auto to transport the children will have a much smaller pool of candidates to choose from. Many nannies with autos will NOT consider using them to transport their employer's children - they don't want the employer's car safety seats installed in their vehicles, they don't want the inevitable wear and tear on the car's interior (from soiled shoes on their seats to impressions/scarring from the car seats), they don't want the additional mileage on their personal car, and they don't want the personal liability should an accident occur.

Families should think this through carefully. The safety of the children should be a primary concern. Is the vehicle properly maintained? Is the vehicle large enough to safely accomodate the children? Did the nanny postpone replacing the brakes for budgetary reasons? Will the car seats be installed properly each time? Who supplies the seats? Where are they stored when nanny is not working? What about liability insurance - what are the coverages for your children should they be injured in an accident? Does the nanny have the appropriate insurance rider to cover the business use of her personal auto? Did you reimburse her for this additional expense?

The nanny should be reimbursed for the work related use of her personal vehicle at the IRS standard mileage reimbursement level. This is intended to reimburse nanny for both mileage and wear and tear, depreciation and maintenance - it is not just the tank of gas.