Having clear policies and procedures around the things you do in your agency is something most of you already have in place. It is second nature to most business people if they have been around for any length of time, and often something recommended by business coaches before you even launch a business.
As you prepare to tackle newborn care placements in your agency and educate your staff, having clear policies and procedures in place that support those is going to set everyone up for success.
Addressing your cancellation policy, the contract between your agency and the newborn care specialist as well as with the client, and the contract between the NCS and the client are key. You also need to know how NCS are going to be paid, what requirements you will have of applicants, what your fee structure with the client will be and what your refund policies are going to look like. These and many other considerations need to be clearly defined before you jump into NCS placements.
Let’s look at one aspect of what needs to be in your policies and procedures because this question comes up all the time:
Is the NCS paid as an employee of the household or can they legitimately be a service provider since they have their own business?
The answer: it depends.
Most of the time, the reality is the NCS actually should be an employee of the household, just like a nanny is, but there are rare occasions, under very specific circumstances, where they can operate as a business and be paid as an employee of their own company. And you have to consider whether they should be an employee of your agency–there are sometimes circumstances that make that appropriate as well. And the single biggest determinant of who is the employer is who is in control of the work being done. If you as an agency are setting the hours and the rate of pay and negotiating the terms of the contract, then you are the employer. If the NCS is setting all of these terms, their business is the employer and if the client is setting these terms, they are the employer.
Each of these particular circumstances has many variables that have pluses and minuses for you as an agency, for the NCS, and for the family and you need to know them all, inside and out.
Honestly, this is probably the topic that generates more questions than any other with our agency clients. What should they do? What is safest tax wise and from a legal standpoint for everyone involved? Is it OK to have more than one option? At the end of the day, we always tell our agency clients to look at all the scenarios, discuss the specifics with their tax and legal advisors, look at what both their clients and NCS candidates are telling them and consider what is best for their agency structure. For many of you, having employees simply is not a prudent or viable option, so that needs to be ruled out. And, of course, then you must ensure that your placement staff know clearly what the policies of your agency are around this topic so that they can confidently address questions as they come in.
If you are well educated around this topic, just like you are when you place other household staff, clients and NCS will trust that you have sound advice and their best interests at heart.
For more information on this and other aspects of what policies and procedures you should have in place with your agency as you embark on newborn care specialist placements, check out our Complete System for NCS Placements.
Tonya Sakowicz is a college educated INA Credentialed Nanny, Newborn Care Specialist and Parent Educator with over 36 years’ experience. She is one of the preemptive educators in the childcare industry as the founder of Newborn Care Solutions®, offering highly renowned NCS training from beginner through Master® level programs. She also offers a variety of free trainings and webinars on topics encompassing the entire childcare industry. Tonya has become known as the expert in her field and she volunteers countless hours towards mentoring caregivers, agencies and parents.
As a proud mother of three young children, including a set of twins, Rachel Lawrence joined the HomeWork Solutions team in January of 2019 to become their Agency Partner Specialist. Rachel has a solid 15 year foundation in the in-home childcare industry. She has worked as a nanny, has operated her own boutique nanny placement agency, and as a working mom, she has also been a nanny employer.