Do-it-yourself guides for hiring a nanny, paperwork, and the nanny tax

Do I have to pay Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) for my nanny in Seattle?

When you employ a nanny, you need to keep track of rules and regulations on the federal, state, county and city level. That is quite a bit of work! Recently, we were surprised to hear about the Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) ordinance passed in the city of Seattle. Because our family lives in the city, the first question for us was if the ordinance applies to us as a household employer with only one employee (our nanny).

Yes, it does! According to this ‘Questions and Answers’ document that is supplied by the city of Seattle:

Do I have to pay PSST for my nanny?

What does the Ordinance mean?

Now, that is interesting! Further research revealed that, as a ‘Tier 1 employer’, there are a couple of things you need to consider (see here and here for details):

  1. The nanny accrues 1 hour of paid sick and safe time for every 40 hours worked. So, for the year (52 weeks), this means a little bit more than 1 week of paid sick and safe time, assuming your nanny works 40 hours per week.
  2. The nanny can carry over up to 40 hours of PSST to the new year.
  3. You need to tell the nanny about the ordinance and her rights.
  4. You need to update the pay stub to include information about PSST. For us, this was actually the most hassle, but pretty quick. Here are the fields we added to the pay stub:
    • Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) available (hours)
    • PSST accrued since last notice (hours)
    • PSST reduced (hours)
    • PSST used this year (hours)

How we reacted

Overall, we think that the PSST ordinance in Seattle is reasonable. Everyone needs to find good rules about what to do when the nanny is sick and cannot work. Actually, we found the ordinance a good rule to agree on paid time off for our nanny. So, we did this:

  1. We talked to our nanny and provided the information for employees as required by the ordinance.
  2. We made it extra clear that we never want our nanny to work when she is sick. We can always talk about additional paid time off when she is not feeling well. There was one situation where we actually asked our nanny not to come to work, even though she felt she was fine. She recently had gone through some nasty, contagious sickness. We do believe that she has the interest of our children in mind, but it was just a situation we thought would warrant some additional time off. And we paid for the additional days we wanted her to stay home. We did not deduct the time from the PSST time.
  3. We adapted the spreadsheet we use for payroll to address the additional documentation requirements for the pay stub.
  4. We dealt with the carry-over at the beginning of this year.

That’s it. Overall, the Seattle PSST ordinance requires some additional paperwork, but allowed us to establish clear rules about sick time.

As always: good luck to all you fellow parents!