I'm looking for a nanny to take care of my two-year-old daughter. Since my wife and I both work full-time, we need someone to be with our daughter from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm during the week. We've never had a nanny before, and we want to make sure that we're doing everything right. Do we need to get workers' compensation insurance for our nanny?
Yes, you will need to get workers' compensation insurance for your nanny. In California, anyone who employs one or more full-time or part-time employees must have workers' comp insurance. In almost all cases, a nanny is considered to be an employee (as opposed to an independent contractor) because of the amount of control the parents have over how the nanny performs the work (for example, by deciding what the child is fed, what activities the nanny does with the child, and so on).
California has special rules when it comes to domestic employees like nannies or other childcare workers. For purposes of workers' comp, household workers aren't considered employees if they worked less 52 hours or earned no more than $100 in the 90-day period before the injury. Because your nanny will be working full-time, she will be covered under workers' comp.
Fortunately, securing workers' comp insurance for your nanny should be relatively easy. In most cases, you can add workers' comp insurance to your homeowner's insurance policy (or possibly renter's insurance if you don't own a home). Check with your current insurance provider to see if you have the option of adding workers' comp to your homeowner's policy. If not, you'll have to purchase coverage though a workers' compensation insurance company.
As you move forward, keep in mind that you will also need to comply with other federal and California laws regarding paying wages, withholding taxes, and immigration compliance. For more information, read Nolo's article Hiring Workers in Your Home: Legal Requirements.