Ask the Expert: Back-Up Childcare

Jennifer asked: How do people go about having a back-up nanny? How is the stand-by time compensated? How does it work in practice in terms of availability of the back-up nanny?

Dear Jennifer,

The cost to have one person on stand by as your back up nanny can be prohibitive. Here’s why:

Any time you require a person to be on stand by, she is “engaged to wait.” This means she is on the clock and should be compensated accordingly. For more information, please visit:

Department of Labor – Waiting Time Laws

In my experience, this arrangement can be helpful if you require the nanny to be the primary contact for your child during school hours. If your child were to become ill, the nanny would be responsible for his/her care, and therefore should be compensated as being “engaged to wait”.

You may consider using a reputable on-call service to provide back up childcare. While they cannot guarantee the same person for each assignment, their candidates have been pre-screened and are ready to be sent out for back-up care situations!

Good luck!

Daryl Camarillo
February 21, 2018
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