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Nannies: Temporary Nanny Employment and Unemployment Benefits

Kathleen Webb, HomeWork Solutions Inc.

nanny unemployment benefits

Nannies will often lose their full time employment through no fault of their own. When a new full time position is not available, the nanny applies for and qualifies for unemployment insurance.

Nanny agencies report that qualified nannies often turn down temporary work that they have available because they fear permanently losing their unemployment benefits.

Temporary work may be the odd day here or there - often providing emergency back up care when the primary caregiver is unexpectedly unavailable or event child care (weddings for example). Temporary work may also be longer term - an 8 week assignment to cover another nanny's maternity leave for example.

Many individuals receiving unemployment benefits don't realize that all states have a formula to determine Partial Unemployment Benefits, specifically designed to incentivize benefits recipients to accept temporary employment. In the eyes of the government, temporary work creates the opportunity for full time employment and helps workers keep skills current or learn new skills - all positive outcomes.

How does temporary work impact your unemployment benefits? Let's look at two scenarios below.

Weekly earnings less than Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA)

Nanny Mary lives in Maryland and receives a $500 weekly unemployment benefit. This is her WBA. She is offered a temporary job by the nanny agency she is actively seeking full time work with for an event. She would work 8 hours and earn $125. What does this do to her WBA? Is it worth her while to take the job?

The formula is usually WBA - (Temporary Earnings - Disregard Amount) = Partial Benefit Amount. In Nanny Mary's case, this would be $500 - ($125 - $100*) = $475. Nanny Mary's unemployment benefit for that week only would be $475, and when she adds her $125 earnings her weekly income for that week is $600. Clearly taking this temporary assignment is a win-win situation.

* The disregard amount and specific formula varies by state - this is an example only.

Weekly earnings more than Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA)

Nanny Patty has been receiving unemployment benefits of $500 per week for 16 weeks. The agency she is working with advises her of a 6 week position, covering a full time caregiver who is having surgery, that pays $700 per week. Nanny Patty wonders what happens after 6 weeks when the job ends.

Unemployment claims are generally for a one year period. A benefit recipient who accepts other work that then ends through no fault of their own (the situation here with Nanny Patty) whose claim has not expired would simply reopen the claim and again begin receiving benefits.

The procedures and calculations are state specific. Most states have automated reporting systems - via touch tone phone or the internet - to report earnings (if any) during each WBA. Exact circumstances DO matter - it is important to educate yourself about the specific regulations and procedures in YOUR state. Google is your friend here - look it up, double and triple check if advice is from ANY source other than a government website.

Many nannies find that by managing their temporary work wisely they can improve their weekly earnings and still remain available for interviewing and other job seeking activities.

Other Resources

State Unemployment Insurance Agencies Listing of State Unemployment Insurance Agencies