Before you hire a nanny or take a job as a nanny, MAKE A CONTRACT! So many times I have seen nannies get into jobs without a contract and “stuff” goes wrong. Now, some families will have a lawyer binding contract, but I have never needed it. Both parties are under the agreement that they will honor the commitments seen in the contract and it has never been a problem for any of my families.
Contracts are important for the employer for many reasons. One, it explains what is specifically expected from the nanny. This includes certifications that must be met, car insurance policies, sick days, vacation days, overtime agreements. Two, it holds the nanny responsible for what she says she can do. Breech of contract gives the employer reason for firing. Three, it gives the employer and nanny a chance to discuss everything prior to starting a job. The first time I didn’t make a contract, I got stuck doing laundry. I hate laundry..especially other people’s laundry. Had we sat down and discussed what the employer wanted, I would have suggested an alternative service to laundry. I was also with a family who didn’t pay overtime. I have racked up over 30 hours of overtime with no overtime pay. Unfortunately that was my fault, I didn’t bring it up or add it to the contract.
Nannies need contracts! I probably sound repetitive but contracts help the employer and employee settle on hours, payment, duties, number of kids, pay raises, gas allowance etc. Nannies driving kids need to add a clause about not being held liable for injury should their be a car accident. It is always my biggest fear that I will get in an accident while the kids are in the car, then get sued for it. Nannies are responsible for the well being for their kids but should not be held liable for accidental broken arms.
So, what should be in this contract? The more detailed the better. Take a look at this sample nanny contract template:
- Commitment time ( are you needed for 6 months, 1 year?)
- Probation period optional (1 month to feel out if this job is doable for one year. If not, employer and employee can terminate contract without penalty)
- Hours and Dates (Approx hours + clause about overtime pay, must give 24 hours for extra time needed)
- Compensation (how often, weekly, monthly and yearly income. DONT forget about taxes, again I didn’t realize if you make money, Social Security and IRS come looking for you… Most families will pay 1/2 of Social Security and Medicare tax)
- Job Responsibilities (list EVERYTHING from watching the kids brush their teeth to meal preparation to running errands SEE TEMPLATE FOR MORE EXAMPLES)
- Vacation and Sick Days (Since I work for a teacher, I get Christmas and Spring Break + two weeks off in the summer..we didn’t need to add any more. I asked for 5 paid sick days as long as I gave 24 hours notice. I luckily haven’t used any in the last 7 months)
- Confidentiality (As a nanny, you will hear and see personal family information. It is VERY important to keep it confidential. I write about situations that I have been in with kids on this blog, but I always use alias’ and keep where I am vague.)
- Grounds for immediate termination (see list on the CONTRACT TEMPLATE)
- Grounds for immediate leaving on the nanny’s part ( I like to include this because it protects the nanny from being in an abusive or unsafe job. This list can include witnessing child abuse-you don’t want to get involved with that, it will mostlikely escalate– if a parent “comes on to you” romantically, if you are hit, cussed at or otherwise threatened by a parent, if the child does any of the above.
- Signed and Dated
Nannies PLEASE protect yourself and your job by initiating a contract. Parents, you are the employer, every other job I have been at requires a contract, yours should be no different.
If you know of a contract horror story or think something is missing from my sample contract, feel free to comment. I love getting feedback on my blogs!