The idea of having to create a contract or agreement for your nanny may seem like a hassle and much too formal for a nanny gig, but it is beneficial. Anything can happen and it is extremely important to protect yourself as an employer, and even as an employee. The contract is a reference tool used to avoid any conflict and confusion about the job. If written thoughtfully and effectively, the contract will leave no room for miscommunication. It holds the employer and employee accountable for their actions or lack thereof. Nanny contracts were not a big deal when I first started working in this field ten years ago, but they have gradually become a necessity. Unfortunately, not every nanny has had the privilege of finding his/her “unicorn family” – a term in the nanny world that means a family that is “too good to be true” or “the perfect match” – and not every family has had the opportunity to find its “Mary Poppins”, so having this contract intact is a must. Keep reading as I lay out what to include in your nanny contract.
NAMES + DATES of AGREEMENT
As self explanatory as this is, it’s important to include the names of all parties and how long this agreement will last. Sometimes the dates of the agreement can be specific. For example, “This contract states that Jane Doe will be working for Tom and Sue Johnson starting June 1, 2019 and ending June 1, 2020.” Other times, the dates of agreement can be a little more vague.
SALARY, HOURS, SCHEDULE
Here is where the employer lays out the exact hours that the nanny will be working: Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm or M, W, F 7am-7pm. If you need your nanny to be on time with no exceptions, include that as well. Write down the exact pay that your nanny will be making per hour and when he/she shall receive payment (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, etc.). Employers can also add date nights to this section. If you expect your nanny to stay for date nights once a week or twice a month, include that and how you will compensate your nanny for this extra time.
Whatever benefits that are being offered or that have been agreed upon with your nanny must be mapped out here. Are you giving your nanny vacation days? Is so, how many? Are they paid/unpaid days? Will the family dictate when the nanny can take vacation? Other benefits that are often addressed here are sick days, PTO, paid federal holidays, health insurance (if providing), and pay raise. If your nanny is entitled to personal days and vacation, how long in advance does he/she need to request time off? Believe it or not, I don’t have enough fingers to count how many times I have heard of problems arising between nannies and their families over benefits. If this section is explained in detail, then both parties have a reference to look at and will be held accountable according to the contract.
DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES
Be specific about the role that your nanny should play. In complete detail, list everything that you need and expect out of your nanny. What are your nanny’s daily duties? How would you like your nanny to educate your child? Do you want your nanny to go on a certain number of play dates and classes a week? Do you need your nanny to do laundry? Whose laundry? The child? The family? Is your nanny responsible for meal prep for the child and the family? Do you need your nanny to do household work that pertains only to the child or to the family as well? What are those chores that you expect to be completed daily? Weekly? This is one of the most common reasons and nanny and employer may terminate their working relationship!
Also, if you ask nannies what their biggest pet peeves are when working with a family (I have asked across every nanny group that I am apart of and from nanny friends that I have acquired over the years), being expected to do extra tasks that were not listed in their contracts is the most common answer that you will receive. As for the family, if you label your expectations and your tasks in specifics, they are now in black and white and there are no grey areas. If your nanny is not fulfilling your needs, this document is the ultimate “receipt” and you now have the ability to deal accordingly.
It is no secret that people have certain rules and guidelines for their household and those who enter should these rules accordingly. Will you be providing meals for your nanny? Is your nanny allowed to watch television on his/her downtime? Are there certain rooms in the home that are off limits? Will you have cameras in your home and plan to be using them while your nanny is working? Include that in the contract, but also let them know prior (sometimes cameras are deal breakers for some nannies). The rules may be endless but listing them can maintain order and protect your house and your family.
TERMS OF TERMINATION
This section is vital, as it should lie out the grounds for termination. What would cause you to end your working relationship with your nanny? Stealing, lying, endangering the child, incompletion of tasks, always coming to work late, etc. In the event that the family decides to terminate its nanny, what would be the next steps?
Every family has its circumstances and although these are the most common components that are included in an agreement, other topics can be added just the same. Some families may ask for a live-in nanny, and those responsibilities and expectations are similar to those of a live-out nanny, but another level has been added. What are the nanny’s sleeping accommodations (private bed and bath)? Is there a curfew? What are the working hours? When those working hours are done, does nanny still have obligation to help around the house? Another component that may be added is a privacy and phone clause. To insure that phone time is being limited and that the employer’s personal information is not being disclosed to the public, this clause is beneficial. This is most common amongst high profile families. A final component, although there are many others that can be included based on individual needs, is transportation. This isn’t too popular in Jersey City as most nannies can just walk or take the Light Rail, but sometimes families may provide a car for the nanny to drive their kids to activities and appointments especially in bad weather. If this is the case, think about adding that nanny to your car insurance. If the nanny is allowed to use his/her own car, will your provide care seats and boosters? How will you handle mileage and gas reimbursement? These are all things to think about.
Remember to sit down with your nanny and discuss your contract in full. This is the chance to lay everything out on the line. Create an agreement that not only works for you, but for your nanny as well. This process should be somewhat collaborative. Most importantly for my nannies, please read the contract in its entirety. If you have any questions or do not understand something, speak up before signing on that dotted line!
Until next time!