The relationship you have with your nanny feels more personal than business, especially as your nanny often feels like a member of your family. But you do enter into a ‘contract’ with your nanny in which he or she is paid for providing a service within parameters that you set. Instead of setting the wrong tone in the relationship, a written contract is a professional approach that not only gets the relationship off to the right start but can keep it on track in the future. The ‘why, what and when’ of written nanny contracts follows:
The written nanny contract takes ambiguity out of the relationship by acting as a reference source for when there are questions. It is even more helpful when there are areas of concerns – including if your nanny thinks you are asking more than originally agreed or alternatively if you think your nanny is not completing all the tasks you originally set out. And contracts are designed to help in the worst case scenario if there is a total break-down in the relationship. The contract takes removes the ‘he said/ she said’ factor by providing written proof of what both parties signed-up to deliver.
The nanny contract should contain anything you think is important to ensuring your kids are looked after in the way you wish. Some areas to consider include: terms of employment; salary and overtime pay; daily money management via petty cash or reimbursement; benefits including the treatment of sick and vacation days; mutual expectations; emergency situation plans; performance evaluations and reasons for dismissal.
A written contract with your nanny should be done at the start of the relationship to be effective. It can be brought out during scheduled performance a review which is also a good time to consider whether the agreement needs to be updated.
The written contract with your nanny is a legally binding document. Whilst you can consult a lawyer in finalising the document, it is not required. The key is to capture all the major points that you want clear. And there are always resources online to help you if you are having trouble getting started.