Peter Straszynski discusses nannies and employment law in Ontario including what rules apply to hiring a nanny as part of the Torkin Manes LegalPoint Video Series.

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What Rules Apply to Hiring a Nanny?

In Ontario, nannies are “employees” for all legal purposes, and the person hiring the nanny has the legal responsibilities of an employer.

It makes no difference if the nanny works part-time or full-time .... or whether they live in or out of their employer’s home.

If you employ a nanny, you are legally required to provide him or her with written details of their employment terms, including regular hours of work (specifying starting and finishing times), and their hourly rate of pay.

Nannies are entitled to all of the following minimum standards under our Employment Standards Act:

  • minimum wage
  • hours of work protections
  • overtime pay
  • vacations with pay
  • public holidays
  • pregnancy and parental leave
  • family medical and other emergency leaves
  • termination notice and or pay in lieu of notice
  • severance pay; and
  • equal pay for equal work

Minimum Wage

Nannies are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage. Nannies who are also students... under the age of 18 and who work under 28 hours a week during school or during a school holiday, are entitled to the (lower) “student” minimum wage.

Termination

Nannies whose employment is terminated without cause are entitled to notice of termination or pay instead. Each case must be determined on its own facts. Factors important in the assessment of a nanny’s entitlements on termination include:.... the minimum notice or pay required by the Act ..... whether there is an enforceable written contract that determines termination entitlements; and.... in the absence of a written termination clause, the “common law” entitlement to “reasonable notice” or pay instead.

Written Contracts

As an employer, you can benefit from using a written contract when hiring a nanny, specifying the terms and conditions of the employment relationship and limiting entitlements on termination. You have to be very careful, however, not to create terms that fail to meet minimum standards under the ESA. Failure to meet minimum standards may render the entire contract unenforceable.

Taxes

Employers are required to withhold taxes as well as Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums from a nanny’s pay... and to match those contributions. To do so, you’ll have to apply to Service Canada for a Business Number and provide information about the nanny, including his or her Social Insurance Number, full name, and address. The Revenue Canada Payroll Calculator can assist you in calculating how much to remit monthly.

Workplace Safety & Insurance

Employers of nannies who work more than 24 hours a week are required to register with and pay insurance premiums to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”). Failure to register and remit premiums can result in significant penalties and costs, particularly in the event of a workplace accident.