nanny laws

Do you know the Chicago nanny laws? If you are a nanny, you most definitely should. If you have a nanny or are seeking one in Chicago, it is your responsibility to know and understand the laws. We’ll break down the biggies for you!

Many parents seeking a nanny have never hired or employed anyone before. Often times, the nanny has been through the process many times over. It is important we work together to get it right and set things up for success.

The Hiring & Interview Process

During the interview process is where many mistakes are made. Parents often unknowingly violate laws as they interview nanny candidates. As discussed in Religion and Politics at Work, domestic employers are bound to uphold laws regulated by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, EEOC.

Topics Employers Should Avoid (Per The EEOC)

  • Rac
  • Sex
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Disability status
  • Color
  • Organizations, clubs, societies, and lodges an applicant may be a member of or indicate any of the above bulleted items

Background Checks

Employers cannot use background checks to determine the bulleted information above and discriminate against a potential hire.

It is crucial that background checks are performed keeping with the requirements imposed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Employers need to obtain proper permissions to run a background check on a candidate. A potential employee can decline to give permission and the employer may legally decline to hire said employee.

Your best bet is to go with a reputable FCRA compliant background check company. They will guide you through the process.

Do not use inexpensive or instant background checks. Background checks are not where you go bargain shopping. Not only will these type of checks give you a false sense of security but you could assume liability for yourself and your family.

Minimum Wage

The U.S. Department of Labor governs minimum wage laws. Domestic employers must adhere to Federal, State and County minimum wage laws. Anyone who lives in the city of Chicago must comply with Cook County’s minimum wage laws.

Cook County’s Minimum Wage Ordinance

July 1st, 2018

  • The minimum hourly Wage set by the Minimum Wage Law;
  • The minimum hourly Wage set by the Fair Labor Standards Act; or
  • Eleven dollars per hour

July 1st, 2019

  • The minimum hourly Wage set by the Minimum Wage Law;
  • The minimum hourly Wage set by the Fair Labor Standards Act; or
  • Twelve dollars per hour

July 1st, 2020

  • The minimum hourly Wage set by the Minimum Wage Law;
  • The minimum hourly Wage set by the Fair Labor Standards Act; or
  • Thirteen dollars per hour

July 1st, 2021… see ordinance.

Minimum Wage and Nanny Shares

Nannies who work for more than one family in a nanny share should be paid well above minimum wage. That is hands down, a given.

However, it is frequently asked if both families in a nanny share must pay minimum wage.

Example Question: When Chicago minimum wage gets up to $13/hour, should each family pay $13/hour, totaling a minimum of $26/hour to nanny?

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, two employers can unite to ensure the employee is paid above minimum wage.

Source: 791.2 – Joint Employment

“In discharging the joint obligation each employer may, of course, take credit toward minimum wage and overtime requirements for all payments made to the employee by the other joint employer or employers.”

So in the above example, each Chicago family could pay $11/hour during shared hours. They should revert to agreed upon single family rate during non-share hours to guarantee the nanny is always well above minimum wage.

Note: On April 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a proposed rule to revise and clarify the responsibilities of employers and joint employers to employees in joint employer arrangements. Comment period has been extended until June 25, 2019. Please keep current with your laws and your responsibilities.


Matters surrounding compensation are another common area where families and nannies can run into trouble.

Nanny Taxes

Per the IRS, domestic employers/employees must pay taxes if more than $1,000 per quarter or $2100 per year is paid out.

It can be tempting for both sides to skirt nanny taxes. Don’t!

Here’s why:

  • Nannies should insist on being paid legally. Not only to avoid penalty and back taxes, but so they have a legitimate work history. A legit work history is needed to receive social security and unemployment benefits. Not to mention, apply for car or home loan, rent an apartment, etc.
  • Families should insist on paying legally to protect themselves from lawsuits, penalties and back taxes. Uncle Sam will come for you if pay a nanny under the table. If he or she goes to file for unemployment in the future and lists you as a previous employer…busted. Don’t put your family at risk.

Our affiliate partner, HomeWork Solutions can help you do it right. Let them know Via The Village sent you and they will waive your enrollment fee! Call them anytime with your tax related questions: (571) 293-8800.

Workman’s Compensation

If you pay someone to work in your home, even just occasional babysitters, you should consider calling your insurance company. Many parents don’t realize that if this individual gets hurt on their property, they could be liable. Most insurance companies will not cover an individual that was paid to be on your property unless you have a workman’s compensation rider.

In many states you are legally required to carry workman’s compensation if you employ a domestic employee over a certain number of hours per week. Laws vary by state.

According to GMT, in Illinois you are required to carry workman’s compensation insurance for:

“Any worker or workers employed for a total of 40 or more hours per week for a period of 13 or more weeks during a calendar year by any household or residence.”

Rates for workman’s compensation will vary by region and insurance company but some plans start out at just a few dollars per year! Shop around. Get the coverage you need.

Nannies Must Be Paid Hourly and Overtime

By law, nannies must be paid hourly, not salary. In most states, hourly workers are entitled to an overtime pay rate. Some states base it on hours worked in a day. Some base it on hours worked in a week.

In Illinois, employees are entitled to overtime rate when the number of hours worked in seven consecutive work days exceeds 40 hours. They should be paid out at least 1.5 times the regular hourly wage for all overtime worked.

So there are the big ones when it comes to nanny laws in Chicago. Phew! We know it’s a lot. As a new parent, the process of choosing and hiring a nanny for the first time can be daunting. Via The Village is here for you!

For more information, utilize links shared in this article. This article should not be used to replace legal or tax advice. Please be responsible.

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