Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nanny/Family Employment Agreements

We once asked nannies on our Facebook page what advice they wish they had gotten as a new nanny. Their responses were overwhelmingly about pay, benefits, and the “rules of the game.” All of the challenges the nannies mentioned would have been prevented if both parties had written and followed an employment agreement.

An employment agreement lays out expectations, duties, schedules, pay, benefits, and other important issues. This is an especially important document for nannies and families because it’s usually the only written record of these things, and it formalizes the relationship. An employee in a large company would usually have an employee handbook to cover this information, but this isn’t the case for a household employee. The employment agreement ensures that everyone is clear about the terms of the job and knows what is expected.

We provide all of our client families with an employment agreement form for their use. It's required that they complete an employment agreement and provide us with a copy as a condition for our replacement guarantee. (It is not required that they use our format.) We then have a copy on file and so does each party. If a question or disagreement arises, there’s a written record of the terms of employment. If necessary, we can advise on or help mediate any issues.

The employment agreement can also be revisited as part of a nanny’s annual performance review. This is a great way to assess what went well, what didn’t, and what benefits can be increased in reward for a job well done.

Here are some of the topics that you may wish to cover in an employment agreement:
  • Duties: childcare, housekeeping, pet care, etc.
  • Schedule and hours: what happens if a parent returns home late? What happens if the nanny is late in arriving to work? Is there an expectation of occasional evening/weekend care? How is the nanny compensated for working more than her usual hours? 
  • Car use and mileage reimbursement
  • Pay: how is the nanny paid and when? Who is responsible for paying the income taxes? When is there opportunity for a raise?
  • Time off: how much paid time off is given and who determines how and when it is used? How much notice does a nanny need to give in order to take time off? 
  • Other benefits offered: health insurance, cell phone contribution, paid training, health club membership, etc. 
  • Timetable for performance reviews
A thorough employment agreement is essential to a successful relationship between a family and nanny. By agreeing on the terms of employment at the beginning of the relationship, everyone can meet each other’s expectations and feel that their contributions are recognized.

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