Nanny Contracts – Formalise your ways of working together
Nanny contract: two words that do not seem like they should be put together. Your nanny is like a member of your family; he or she is the person you trust to look after your children.
Contracts on the other hand are things that tough lawyers in grey suits pour over in the board rooms of big buildings for big companies. Those two things – nannies and contracts – seem to be worlds apart!
Not true! First of all, you need to know that contracts do not need to be overly complex and full of legalese (slang for the language of the legal profession). And more importantly, remember that a contract is simply a binding agreement that two parties (i.e. you and your nanny) voluntarily enter into. In this context, a contract is simply a way for you and your nanny to set out the way you will work together, what you expect from your nanny and how he or she will be compensated.
The importance of a nanny contract
Hopefully, we have removed the “fear factor” that the word ‘contract’ introduces. But if you are still on the fence about whether you should use a contract, think carefully.
A nanny contract is a great reference document; it should easily answer questions that arise, removing stress and strain. You discussed things at the outset, you wrote it down, you both signed… and there it is in black and white.
The nanny contract is even more important if there are issues in the working relationship. If you agreed something would be done, you wrote it in the contract and it is not being done… the contract can make it easier to have that tough conversation. The nanny contract removes any ‘you said/ I said’ factor by providing written proof of what both parties signed-up to deliver.
What should be included in a nanny Contract
There is no set requirement for what should be included in a nanny contract; rather it should include all the things that you think are important about nanny’s job.
The basics of a nanny contract
- What a day means (i.e. how many hours are expected)
- Salary and any circumstances that would introduce overtime pay
- How expenses for the kids will be handled (i.e. petty cash provided up front or a reimbursement system)
- Any benefits being offered such as medical
- Expectations about driving your children – car provided or nanny expected to have one, coverage of gas costs
- How emergency situations should be handled
- Any special care requirements for your kids
- Notice required for holidays/ vacations and days off
- Treatment of sick days
- How performance will be reviewed
- Causes for dismissal
When to create a nanny contract
The nanny contract should ideally be developed at the start of the working relationship and then referenced during annual reviews and performance evaluations. If you have an ongoing relationship and do not yet have a nanny contract, there is still time! Simply raise the topic or share this blog even – and then go about writing up the contract. It is reasonable for either nanny or the family to start this conversation.
When should the nanny contract come out
First, both nanny and the family hiring nanny should have a copy of the contract. Next… the nanny contract should not be something that is put on the shelf and never referred to again. Not only is it good for answering questions as they arise and in times of disagreement or discord, it is also great for structuring your annual reviews.
If you have agreed to new terms for nanny’s employment during the annual review – new responsibilities, a change to remuneration or benefits – update the contract in a timely fashion and provide nanny with the revised version.
Sources of help for creating a nanny Contract
Whilst nanny contracts are legally binding, consulting a lawyer is not required. The important thing is to just capture all the points that are important to both of you. If you need further help, there are many templates online; just google nanny contract.