The Nanny Contract

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:

Childcare Contract Sample Template

Contract Checklist:

  1. Commitment time ( are you needed for 6 months, 1 year?)
  2. 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)
  3. Hours and Dates (Approx hours + clause about overtime pay, must give 24 hours for extra time needed)
  4. 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)
  5. Job Responsibilities (list EVERYTHING from watching the kids brush their teeth to meal preparation to running errands SEE TEMPLATE FOR MORE EXAMPLES)
  6. 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)
  7. 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.)
  8. Grounds for immediate termination (see list on the CONTRACT TEMPLATE)
  9. 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. 
  10. 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!

 

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9 thoughts on “The Nanny Contract

  1. I have heard of babysitters/nannies making contracts with their employers. I would venture to add that this is probably more necessary for a regular nanny than for a more need-based babysitter (would you agree or do you still highly recommend them in any circumstance?) Also, I would LOVE to read a post about fun activities to do with toddler aged children. I babysit 16 month old twins, and I am running out of fun ideas for them. There are so many cool crafts and games I’d love to play, but they are just shy of being age appropriate. Any ideas or past experiences you’d share? Thanks!

  2. hi,
    I would agree that contracts, like the one I posted, are more for nannies and babysitters that are full time, however if you will be with the family for a long time on the need only basis, it doesn’t hurt to have a written agreement up front. Letting a babysitter know what is expected can only strengthen communication and trust in my opinion. It is also a good way for younger babysitters (13-18) to learn basic business etiquette. It can be less detailed and include a simple list like “While you are watching my children please (add list of duties). While you are watching my children please refrain from (texting, making personal calls, inviting people over etc) If you agree to these terms sign here”

    As far as toddler age activities, next week I am doing a mini series on toddlers, this week is infants. I will make sure to include lots of fun activities. For the mean time, toddlers love messes..if you are willing, look at my post on messy crafts. Homemade play dough is edible (since little ones love eating, teething, and sucking on everything), oobleck is simple to make and can entertain little ones for hours. The most important thing to remember when watching younger kids (under 4) is they are into sensory objects. You will keep their attention longer if you can keep them stimulated. Filling small containers (that wont open) with rice, glitter, sand, m&m’s and different sounding objects are a great way to stimulate hearing. They can shake, hit and throw the containers. The children I have watched under 2 are usually into coloring and painting. Party stores and most teaching stores like Lakeshore Store will have paint markers (see pic next week). Those are typically less messy than dealing with paint brushes. One little girl I watched loved dress up. Put on tutu’s and have a dance party. Have you taken the twins to the park, Chuck e Cheese or taken them on an adventure walk (where you ask them to point out basic objects like cars, balls, dogs etc)? All three let the children interact with other children and get them out of the house. I will have more suggestions next week. Hope this helps:)

  3. Pingback: How to Hire and Keep the Best Nanny on the Block | unnecessarywisdom

  4. Hi,

    Good post, and good advice. Nanny contracts can protect and be beneficial to both parents and nannies. A few follow-up thoughts:

    1. Commitment Time — It’s usually best to leave your contract open-ended rather than say it’s for 6 months or a 1 year, unless you absolutely know for sure the start and end date. Otherwise, the contract might expire and nothing will be in place (or there might be a disagreement over whether the old contract still applies).

    2. Hours and Dates — Definitely include a work schedule, and add that it may be changed “as mutually agreed by the parents and the nanny”, as changes are sure to be needed down the road.

    3. Job Responsibilities — Definitely include job responsibilities. But don’t forget that they will change over time as the children get older. For example, don’t say “put the baby down for naps at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.”, because once the child moves to one nap, that job responsibility will be incorrect.

    4. Driving — Don’t forget to include whether the nanny will have driving privileges and who will pay for auto insurance.

    5. Worker’s Comp. — Don’t forget worker’s comp, which will help pay wages and medical bills if the nanny is injured on the job.

    And don’t forget, seek professional help on your nanny contract if you need it. It can go a long ways!

  5. Savvy commentary ! I am thankful for the analysis , Does anyone know if my company might be able to acquire a blank Sample Nanny-Family Employment Agreement copy to complete ?

    • I found several templates online. However, because of the personalized services nannies provide, it is difficult to make a blank agreement that would be all encompassing for every nanny. Some have travel addendums or specific housekeeping tasks, others work for room and board etc. I would sit down with your Nanny Family and set out a list of expectations. Plan for the unexpected. My original contract did not include travel, But Dad Boss had the opportunity to take his family on a business trip. Prior to our trip to Denmark, I sat down with Mom Boss and made a specific contract for that trip. When we got back, I asked to have a section added to my contract that included travel accommodations, pay, time off during trip, etc.

      Let me think about this for a minute, I will try to make a sample contract or at least a list of things to talk about during a contract discussion.

      Thanks for the feedback!

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