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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

NEWS & NOTES FOR 2013

Here’s what you need to know for the new year:

  • The Payroll Tax Holiday Has Expired. The social security tax has reverted to its traditional 6.2% (it was temporarily reduced to 4.2% in 2011 and 2012 in an attempt to stimulate consumer spending).  The change will decrease take-home pay for all U.S. workers.  Your full-time nannies will see a change of about $10-$15 per week, depending on their income level.
  • The FICA Reporting Threshold Did Not Change. The $1,800 threshold has been extended through 2013.  Families who pay a worker less than that amount are absolved of the FICA reporting responsibilities under the “casual babysitting exemption.”
  • The Federal Mileage Reimbursement Rate Has Increased.  The rate for mileage reimbursement increased by one penny per mile.  It’s now 56.5 cents for each mile an employee drives on the job.

ANNOUNCING A NEW SIMPLE SOLUTION TO WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE

We are very pleased to announce a major breakthrough in our long-time quest to provide families with simple, affordable  access to workers’ compensation insurance.

We’ve always educated families on workers’ comp and guided them to the best solution for their situation/state.  However, in recent years, the solution options have dwindled.  More and more families have complained that finding an affordable, stand-alone policy is difficult.  In some states, it’s next to impossible.

So, we decided to take control of the situation.  After more than a year of research and meetings and due diligence, we have teamed with PMC Insurance Group and an A-rated underwriter to help them create HomeStaffPROTECT — the first and only workers’ compensation insurance product custom-built to meet the unique needs of nanny employers.

Since we worked closely with PMC Insurance Group to develop HomeStaffPROTECT, Breedlove clients will have exclusive access to this stand-alone workers’ comp product.

It will be extremely convenient.  With instant online quotes and a pre-filled online application (pre-filled from their Breedlove payroll data),  obtaining a workers’ compensation policy will take families less than 5 minutes.

If you’re wondering about cost, you’ll be pleased to know that HomeStaffPROTECT will be a low-cost leader.  PMC is a wholesale provider and Breedlove does not take any commissions or mark-ups or charge any administrative fees.  So, our mutual clients can rest assured that they’re getting the best price possible.

Finally, we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that customer service and claim support are handled with the same level of expertise and responsiveness we deliver on our payroll service.

HomeStaffPROTECT is licensed in 24 states (which includes all of the “problem” states) with more states coming soon.  In all of the other states, we’ll continue to educate and guide as part of our setup process.  The bottom line is we can now ensure — one way or another — that families in every state have a convenient, cost-effective solution to workers’ comp.

We’re excited to bring the combination of high quality, high convenience and low cost to the workers’ compensation insurance market as a way to help families and nannies receive this important protection.

If you or your families have any questions about workers’ compensation insurance, just let us know.  We’re here to help.

Guest Blogger, Tom Breedlove

QUICK TAX FACTS

$1,800: Annual wage threshold for Social Security & Medicare (“FICA”) reporting

$1,000: Quarterly wage threshold for Unemployment reporting (some state thresholds are lower)

$2,500: Total childcare tax breaks available for families

1.5: Overtime rate of pay when work week exceeds 40 hours

$0.565: Federal mileage reimbursement rate

$7.25: Federal minimum wage (some state rates are higher)

$2: Approximate daily cost to have Breedlove & Associates handle all payroll and tax compliance duties with no work and no worry.

HELPFUL LINKS

Employee Paycheck Calculator

Employer Budget Calculator

Nanny Tax Overview

Helpful Videos

88-BREEDLOVE (888-273-3356)

www.myBreedlove.com

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Okay, so you’re the Dad. That means you want to be Mr. Generous, and you want to make sure your children have everything. Good for you.

But the best we can do for our children has very little to do with passing over the keys to a new car, hooking Jr. up with that fly pair of $200 sneakers, or making sure your offspring attend the finest schools. What loving fathers “do” is to provide a framework in which kids can grow up to be the very best young people they can possibly be.

Our opportunity, as loving All Pro Dads, is to craft the kind of environment where such growth is possible. There’s a lot we can do – and the following “10 Things loving fathers do for their children” are a great place to start:

  • Loving fathers… love their children’s mother: This is huge – possibly the most beneficial intervention dads can do on behalf of their children. Love your wife without reservation – you can’t do much more for your kids than that.
  • Love them unconditionally: Make sure that your children know you love them “no matter what.” Don’t confuse this with permissiveness – unconditional love does nothing to encourage the wrong kind of behavior. In fact, kids who are secure in their father’s love tend to act out less, not more.
  • Grow up: We’re talking about the dads here, not the kids! Children don’t want another buddy – they want a dad. They want someone who thinks things through, makes tough decisions and engages life with responsibility – someone they can count on.
  • Be there: “Quality time” is all well and good… but it has nothing on quantity time. Make the time. Everyone has the same 24 hours available. Make yours count.
  • Provide: Just do it.
    – A stable home
    – Love and affection
    – Material needs
    – Presence
  • Discipline: Children appreciate an even hand, balance, accountability and love-drenched discipline. It’s called consistency, and without clearly defined boundaries, it is very difficult to grow up.
  • Value education: Don’t just read to them – read with them. Don’t just fuss about grades – get involved with their homework. Don’t just talk about learning – be a hands-on advocate
  • Raise them to leave: The simple goal of being a family, of parenting our children, doesn’t look any more complicated than this: raise them well equipped to leave home and to establish faithful lives.
  • Teach them to take responsibility: Kids who learn how to duck responsibility and avoid cost will – sooner or later – fall flat on their faces. Loving fathers make sure their children know how to own up, clean up, and move forward.
  • Teach them to love this life: The best predictor of happiness in children is happiness in their parents. If we learn how to love this life, and then give that blessing to our kids, then they will be well prepared for satisfaction.
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When my babies were newborn, I imagined them coming down the hall all grown up. I knew it would go fast, and it did. I wanted to make every day count, and although I wanted them all to stay home until they were married, most of them left by age 18.

Parenting is a lot of day in and out drudgery. We get tired, run out of ideas, and sometimes we just want to take it easy. But we were designed to live as creative beings and we desperately want our kids to keep thinking we’re awesome, like the Dad who gave his son’s Stanley Train a ride into space. But even if you’re not as techie as he is, here are 10 really fun things to do with your kids. Lots of us have extra time off work and school time right now…

  1. Invite friends over for a serious paper plane competition. Do a little research, do some experimenting, and have a contest for the best tricks, distance and time aloft.
  2. Get your family lost in a snow globe
  3. Camp out under the Christmas tree- Have the whole family sleep under the Christmas tree or Hanukkah lights. It’s one of our favorite family memories.
  4. Go guerilla. Commit random, anonymous acts of kindness with your child, or go to a local food ministry and serve meals together for the homeless.
  5. Take apart a toaster that’s no longer working, or a radio or CD player. Cut off the electrical cord and get out a screwdriver.
  6. Make glitter playdoh or use the bright fluorescent food colors now at every drug store.
  7. Send holiday cards to our troops
  8. Take a map, a GPS, and go geocaching
  9. Winter stargazing is nice for children who go to bed early. Learn a few of the stories about the stars, take sleeping bags, binoculars, and snacks and go stargazing.
  10. Make your own bucket list of all the things you want to do with your kids before they leave home. Ask them to help.
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The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in CT was (ANOTHER) horrible and extremely heart breaking event for our country. When horrific and tragic events such as these occur they evoke a variety of overwhelming emotions including disbelief, anger, heartbreak, and intense grief.

These events also create an outpouring of incredible love, compassion, a sense of community and a very strong connectedness. It is my dream that instead of only coming together when horrible horrific events happen this would be felt every day!

What if…… we hold the memory of the innocent and beautiful children and these heroic adults in our hearts every day…. and have their lives serve as a reminder to use the feelings of togetherness we feel today to continue an ongoing connection with one another?

What if….. we value and cherish every moment of the lives of every child?

What if….. we recognize the dedicated, caring educators and the other numerous committed professionals who are doing heroic acts to make a positive difference for children every day?

What if…. we use all of the research we have that demonstrates the consistent love, safety, nurturing, play, nutrition, predictability and attention children need to help develop healthy brains right from birth?

What if…. we better recognize and support those who are suffering as an open-minded and caring community?

What if…. we felt this wonderful sense of connection with each other
…..EVERY DAY?

What if…. we just continuously and warmly hold in our hearts the feelings of coming together… rather then only when a tragedy occurs?

With heartfelt thanks to everyone that is making a positive differencein meaningful ways every day!
Sincerely,
Deborah McNelis
guest bloggger

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You always remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when disaster strikes. Last Friday morning, I was volunteering in my son’s kindergarten classroom. The news shocked me to the core.The contrast of that evil intruder devastating the lives of children, families and a community clear across the nation, while I stood in this classroom full of happy smiles, laughter and innocence left me in disbelief and denial.We send our children to school every day trusting they are safe. Since Friday I have been dealing with my own fears, since my greatest fear is losing a child. How do I react? What do I say to my kids? I don’t want them to pick up on my fears. What do I say if they ask me about it?
I don’t want them to be afraid to go to school, but I do want them to know that life can be painful and hard to deal with. War, hurricanes, flooding, death, divorce are a part of life.

This is an opportunity, because a big part of our job as parents is teaching our children right thinking and right reactions. Learning how to deal with thoughts, feelings, concerns and the confusion that comes is a part of maturity.
So how can we help our kids?

  1. First, it’s essential to validate their feelings and be sensitive to them. Every child will react and process these events in different ways so respect that. Ask questions. So far, my boys ages five and eight don’t know about the disaster, and I’m glad, but friends at school may start talking about it. Last night Carter, age 8, told me that something really sad and bad happened at a school in Conneticut and his class is mailing a care package with cards.
  2. Keep daily routines as normal as possible. Routine gives security.
  3. Turn off the media.
  4. These are teachable moments and the way we react during tough times and the things that we say build character in our children and teach them resiliency, hope and courage.  Look at the heroes of Sandy Hook. Reflect on the dad who lost a child but said: “My heart goes out to the family of the killer.”
    “Kids (and adults) don’t just need the truth in their heads — they need it in their bones. They need to know what courage looks like and tastes like and smells like before they ever have to show it themselves. They need to do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly — heroes and villains can show them why. They need to loathe the darkness and love the Light.” N.D. Wilson
  5. Model positive thinking. As tough as it may be, deal with your own feelings of revenge, worry, and panic. Our kids pick up on emotions around them and are looking at us for strength and assurance. Train your mind to focus on the good that comes out of evil. Know that good wins out. Disaster brings people together, strengthens relationships and comunities.
  6. Be part of the solution to the tragedy. Get children involved in helping the community by collecting donation, food, supplies, or care packages. Even giving to local needs ‘pays it forward.’ Volunteering is considered the best way to build character.

I ache for the families of those sweet innocent children whose lives were forever changed in an instant.
I picked my boys up from school on Friday and squeezed them tight. My hugs are harder and longer now. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected in Newtown, CT.

Jenny Riojas

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What should be a season of love and harmony has been devastated by the news of a school shooting in a small Connecticut neighborhood. As a mother of five children, and nine grandchildren, my heart goes out to the parents of these precious children whose lives were snuffed out senselessly, and to the families of the teachers who were killed. Our hearts are breaking for these shattered families and we all feel so fearful of sending our children out into the world today. We are praying, not only for this anguished community and those directly touched by this catastrophe but for our nation — where meaningless acts of bloodshed like this have become all too commonplace.
Beth Weise

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Share the true spirit of Christmas and be a part of helping children in 3rd world countries.
A Goat and Two Chickens for $100

We’re giving our nannies and families the opportunity to help children in third world countries get a goat and two chickens. Our goal is to raise $100, but if we go over, we’ll buy more for a second or third family. Click HERE to see more about the huge impact this makes for a family (i.e. the manure goes into the vegetable garden) and to donate directly to World Vision.
Please tell us how you give back to the community, and we’ll add $4.00 more to the goat fund!

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The murder of 2 children in NYC by their babysitter/nanny has  everyone  horrified and distraught—especially  parents who have hired childcare for their family. It has every nanny agency owner –almost all of whom are parents—grappling to understand what could have gone so wrong. How did a seemingly capable caregiver go from loving nanny to murderer? Believe me, I have been reading  every shred of news I can find to try and understand how this tragedy could have ever happened.
Those of us owners who belong to an organization called APNA (the  Association of Premier Nanny Agencies) subscribe to the highest level of screening practices. I know we are all wondering, if this woman had come to us, would we have picked up something about her which would have eliminated her from placement. The truth is without all the facts of the case, we don’t know.
Here’s what we do know. Careful screening of caregivers by professionals does help weed out people who should not be taking care of children. Real background  checks—not the cheap ones provided by online sites—are part of the process. But in this case, the woman probably had no prior record. It does appear, however, that her life was unraveling and she was becoming  psychologically untethered.
This case is a statistical anomaly. There are thousands upon thousands of wonderful nannies providing excellent care for children and allowing parents to go to work knowing that their children are in loving hands. But just one case like this is one too many.  No one wants to be that anomaly.  When the facts emerge about this woman, I hope we have some take away that will make us  better at what we try to do best– protect the  safety and welfare of children.
 

One Response to Traged

Judi Merlin says:

  1.  

    Thank you for speaking to eloquently for all of us in the nanny agency business. We are all grieving for this family.
    These heartfelt comments were posted by Barbara Kline, owner of White House Nannies and one of our affiliate APNA Nanny Agencies in Washington DC, who we were just with at the 2102 APNA convention two weeks ago. Her thoughts resonate with our hearts, as we grieve with this family that has suffered such an unimaginable loss.
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Beth and Jenny were excited to attend the inagural convention of DEMA The Domestic Estate Manager’s Association in LA the last weekend of September.

It was a testimony to the Estate Manager’s and Home Manager’s expertise in pulling off a perfectly coordinated, relevant event with exquisite attention to detail. We were able to network with vendors such as ADT, TROV, Miele, Pall Mall Art Advisors, Lugano Diamonds, Limolink and Pioneer Linens.

After a tantalizing lunch sponsored by TROV, Chicago Chapter President David Barrie and principal Chris Stephenson presented “Setting Service Level Expectations in Business and the Estate”. David Barrie then accepted the DEMA 2012 “Humanitarian of the Year Award”which was awarded to The Stephenson Family of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. CTCA has worked tirelessly to uphold the widely acclaimed “Mother Standard” of care in an effort to provide the very highest caliber of treatment and compassion to patients battling cancer.

An instructive woprkshop on “Acquiring and Caring for Fine Jewels” presented by Moti Ferder and his office manager Stuart Winston whose presentation underlined the importance of having the right company maintain and transport jewelry.

We were able to hear speakers like Charles MacPherson of Charles MacPherson Academy for Butlers and Household Managers discussing ‘Boundaries’, presentations by Chuck Horst & Doug Greenberg “Caring for Couture Wardrobes”, Avi Ben David’s “High Security Locks- eCylinders and Access Control, Alexander Dahlgren’s “How to Choose the Best Vendors & Contractors”.

Anita Heriot of Pall Mall Art Advisors presented “Art as an Asset: Protecting Your Client”. Bonnie Low Kramen provided insight into her experiences with her presentation, “For the Love of It: Game Changing Secrets from a Celebrity Assistant”. “Mastering the Arrangement of a Private Jet Flight”, was presented by Ngaire Duncan and Steve Feldman introduced members to “Recycling Luxury Kitchens”.

Session two included presenters Katie Vaughn and Mimi Brady of Westside Nannies who presented “Happy Wife, Happy Life: The Most Important Hire You Will Ever make” while Jim Henderson tackled “Why Downsizing is so BIG Today” with “Productivity Tips & Tricks”. Vickie Evans simultaneously provided members with instruction on utilizing Word and Excel in “Covering Excel & Word”.
Beth and Jenny with the representative from ADT

The last session of the day was kicked off by Teresa Leigh, of Teresa Leigh of Household Risk Management on “Conflict with the Family”.  In addition to Ms. Leigh, Shelley Whizin presented “What about You? The Balance Between Management & Personal Life”.
Click to view featured Highlights

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