Nannies - How to File For Unemployment

Whenever we interview our nannies and ask them what they are looking for in their next employer, the majority express a desire to “feel like a family.” Unfortunately, even the most close-knit families with perfectly matched nannies eventually have to go their own ways. Children go off to school while nannies need more full time, or either party end up moving house for new opportunities. Even the most experienced, caring and impressive nannies can have a difficult time finding new employment opportunities with an ideal family. Luckily, if you’re a nanny struggling to find a new job, there are unemployment options open to you. Here’s how to file for unemployment as a nanny:


First, you must make sure that you are eligible for federal or state unemployment. Nannies are eligible for unemployment when they are paid legally, or on the books with taxes withheld and paid. They are also eligible when they are not dismissed for a serious infraction, which could even include consistent tardiness. Nannies are not eligible to receive unemployment if they simply quit their job.

The Application Process

Start your process as soon as possible. Applying within the first week of termination ensures that you will not lose any benefits. Each state has different qualifications and requirements to receive unemployment. More details for state to state processes and how to begin them can be found here. 

“A nanny’s eligibility for benefits depends greatly on the reason for unemployment, and the state will be taking a careful look at the details. You can expect to be contacted by an Unemployment Officer to tell your side of the story, as will your former employer.”

Gather Information

Nationwide, you will be asked about your employment information. You will need the dates of your employment, your salary, and any documentation that describes your unemployment situation, like the nature of your termination. In California, employers must give a written letter explaining an employee’s termination. The reason for nannies will most likely be along the lines of the child outgrew the needs for a full time caregiver and will be attending school.

Give Details

A nanny’s eligibility for benefits depends greatly on the reason for unemployment, and the state will be taking a careful look at the details. You can expect to be contacted by an Unemployment Officer to tell your side of the story, as will your former employer. Nannies who were fired for serious infractions will have a much harder time receiving benefits than one who was let go because the family could no longer afford help.

If You’re Approved

If you’re approved, congrats! However, employers still have the right to appeal a decision, as one unemployment claim could potentially increase the likelihood of future claims. Should this happen, you will be notified of a hearing, which is done rarely in person and usually takes place over the phone.

If You’re Denied

If you are a nanny denied unemployment, you have the same rights to appeal as an employer does. Ask your representative for a second look, and a hearing, also via phone, will likely be called.

Still Look For Work

Unemployment is not a permanent paycheck. The government expects that you should be using your time to apply to jobs weekly. The government can offer you assistance via Unemployment Officers who can assist you in applying to new childcare jobs. It will help your case greatly in avoiding an audit to keep a written record of resumes sent, potential employers spoken to, jobs applied for and interviews conducted. Check out our current listings here. and SitterCity are also great, free resources for nannies to find work.

What Happens to Your Former Employer When You File?

For nannies who had the ideal relationship with their former employers, they may experience some hesitation in applying for unemployment, for fear of burdening their former family with fees or extra work. Upon filing for unemployment, families will receive a notice of an open claim, but they are under no obligation to act in any way. However, they do have the right to confirm or deny the details you laid out stating the facts of your termination with them and thereby refute your claim for unemployment, so be sure that you are truthful in your application.

For the Future

Nannies should always keep records of your job, especially because it is unlikely to have Human Resources in a domestic setting. It’s a great idea to log times worked, details of any negative incidents, copies of pay stubs and any positive reviews which can help you should you ever have to file for unemployment again.

If you are a nanny now seeking unemployment benefits and need any assistance in the process, please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. Please also check out Homework Solutions, who has fantastic resources available to you


Have you been through this situation with something to share? Let us know below.

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