We all hate paperwork. And a nanny contract might sound like yet one more thing to write and file. Plus, if you’ve got a good nanny-family relationship going, you’re understandably reluctant to rock the boat. Many families are afraid a formal contract will tarnish the relationship they are trying to build with their nanny. Utter the words nanny contract and it can make some as squeamish as a pre-nuptial agreement.
But a handshake and a smile won’t protect you when a disagreement inevitably arises. And taking the time to draft and sign a contract can protect both parties, whether you’re the family hiring housekeeper or a nanny. The contract is essential for clarifying salary matters and detailing all the conditions necessary to ensure a healthy and productive work relationship. When everyone is clear on a nanny’s responsibilities and privileges, it reduces confusion and makes disputes easier to solve amicably when they do crop up.
An added plus of having a babysitter contract is that it will help promote lasting, mutually respectful employment relationships. You may also notice an increase in the quality of care because nannies who feel recognized and respected will do their jobs better.
But are they legal? Absolutely! A written contract is enforceable in any court so if your nanny quits without giving the agreed-upon four weeks’ notice, or the family won’t honor your request to take your accrued vacation days, the legally binding contract will enable you to take them to court — and likely win.
What Should My Nanny Contract Cover?
Your best bet is to hire a lawyer specializing in such matters to write your contract for you (fees will vary). Just be sure to consider the following:
Duties and Responsibilities
- Work hours and schedule: Will your nanny live-in or out? Will she work full or part time hours, on weekends or weekdays? When can she take breaks during the workday?
- Responsibilities: What is the scope of your nanny’s childcare responsibilities? In addition to childcare, will your nanny handle any cooking, cleaning, laundry or transportation? Make sure this list notes all daily duties as well as any recurring, but less frequent, obligations and emergency plans (like what to do on snow days or when a child is ill).
- Nanny Privileges: When can she use her cell phone, the house phone, and any house computers/internet? Are guests allowed?
- Meals: Should your nanny bring her lunch from home or will you provide her meals? If she lives in, what is the grocery arrangement? (Who buys, who pays, where can she store her supplies?)
Compensation and Benefits
- Hourly rate of pay: and overtime pay for full-time nannies
- Frequency of pay: weekly, bi-weekly
- Benefits: vacation, sick days, personal days, paid holidays, plus any restrictions on when your nanny can take her time off.
- Family vacation requirements: Must your nanny travel with you?
- Health benefits
- Arrangement for taxes
- Annual reviews: employment review and reassessment of compensation
- No cell phone use while driving a car with kids in tow
- Seatbelt/ child car seat requirements
- Nanny’s car: Must have valid driver’s license, require regular maintenance of reliable car, require appropriate type and amount of insurance, plans for employer reimbursement for gas mileage and wear and tear on the car when it’s used for work-related purposes.
- Family’s car: valid driver’s license, add nanny to household insurance policy, outline acceptable use for work and personal use, agree to regular maintenance of car, agree car-related expenses
- Rules for the use of public transportation if relevant in your area
Discretion and Confidentiality
- Personal, medical, career, and financial information of family will not be discussed outside of the family
- Nanny will not disparage family in any media
What about Notice and Severance?
There is some debate about whether your contract needs to address notice and severance. Here are a couple of options to consider:
- An “at will” contract means that either party can end the work arrangement at any time. In a worst-case scenario where your nanny injures your child, this ensures you can fire her right away.
- Notice: Many families set a requirement that both parties give three weeks’ notice upon termination. This helps prevent you getting left in the lurch and gives your nanny time to find another job. (You can also provide three weeks’ pay in lieu of notice, which enables you to get a nanny out quickly in a worst-case scenario situation like theft or abuse.) But whatever you choose, avoid ambiguous phrases that may leave room for a difference in interpretation between nanny and family.
- Severance: Severance is not required, and situations may arise where you’ll wish you didn’t promise this. But many families provide one week’s salary as severance pay for every year the nanny has worked for them.
What Do I Need to Know About Labor Laws?
Read employment laws. Some provinces do have specific employment laws for domestic workers. Contact your province labour standard for more details. You may also want to find an employment lawyer licensed in your province to walk you through your province-specific employment laws and make sure they’re upheld in your contract.
Your Next Steps:
- Copy the text below and paste it into a Word document
- Look it over and figure out what details you should include for your family and situation
- Go over the contract with your nanny and let her ask questions
- Print out two copies of the contract, sign both and ask your nanny to do the same — then you each keep a copy
- Create a payroll account to make handling payment and nanny taxes easier
- Make sure your new nanny has everything she needs for her first day
Sample Nanny Contract
Welcome to our family! The following contract is to make sure we are all on the same page about vacation days, taxes, payments and schedules. The attached “Nanny Rules” and “Daily Schedule” are a little more about how our family works and how we are hoping to raise our child(ren), written down so it can be clear. While the below contract is very black and white, the addendum will be an agile document and we know things will change as our child(ren) grow and develop along the way. We hope we can re-write this with you through the years.
This contract, executed on ____DATE_____, between __________EMPLOYER_____________ and _____________EMPLOYEE_______________, has the following terms of employment:
Employee will start employment on ________DATE________ and continue until either party elects to terminate the relationship.
Work will be performed at ____________WORKSITE ADDRESS_________________.
The following represents a typical schedule. Employer will limit fluctuations as much as possible and provide as much notice as possible.
|Sat||Begin: ______ am/pm||End: ______ am/pm||Daily Hours ___|
|Sun||Begin: ______ am/pm||End: ______ am/pm||Daily Hours ___|
|Mon||Begin: ______ am/pm||End: ______ am/pm||Daily Hours ___|
|Tue||Begin: ______ am/pm||End: ______ am/pm||Daily Hours ___|
|Wed||Begin: ______ am/pm||End: ______ am/pm||Daily Hours ___|
|Thurs||Begin: ______ am/pm||End: ______ am/pm||Daily Hours ___|
|Fri||Begin: ______ am/pm||End: ______ am/pm||Daily Hours ___|
Total Weekly Hours _____
Dependent Care. The name and date of birth (DOB) of each dependent is listed below.
A specific list of tasks, timelines and instructions are attached in the Nanny Rules and Daily Schedule.
Regular rate of pay = $_______ per hour
+ Overtime rate of pay = $_______ per hour (for more than 40 hours in a week)
Total compensation = $_________ per week
|Wages will be paid:||Weekly (Every Friday)||Bi-Weekly (Every Other Friday or 26 times per year)|
MILEAGE AND GENERAL EXPENSES
Any miles driven while on the job using the employee’s car will be reimbursed at the Canadian Revenue Agency standard mileage rate, which covers the cost of gasoline as well as general wear and tear on the car. Employee will maintain a mileage log and submit to employer for reimbursement at the end of the pay period. The 2014 CRA mileage reimbursement rate is 54 cents per mile.
All other pre-approved, work-related expenses will be reimbursed at cost. Employee will keep all receipts and submit to employer for reimbursement at the end of the pay period.
In addition to the wages stated above, employer will contribute to the following employee expenses. These amounts are considered “non-taxable” compensation (up to the limits noted below), meaning neither employer nor employee will pay any taxes on this portion of the compensation (check any that apply):
Public transportation at $__________ per month (up to $245*/month)
Parking at $____________ per month (up to $245*/month)
College tuition at $___________ per month (up to $5,250* per year)
Mobile phone service at $__________ per month
Tax-Advantaged Benefits Notes: Families are generally not required by law to provide these benefits. They are additional perks that can be discussed between the family and nanny.
PAID TIME OFF
Employee will receive the following paid time off:
Family Sick Leave (_____ hours per year). ____ week(s) notice is requested for any appointments, etc. which may cause the employee to miss work.
Vacation (______ hours per year). Employee will provide vacation request at least ___ week(s) in advance. (See Nanny Rules for how this vacation will be determined)
Please reference your provincial law to ensure compliance.
Employer will provide the following PAID Holidays (check any that apply):
|Christmas Day||Boxing Day||New Year’s Day||Canada Day||Good Friday||Easter Monday||Thanksgiving Day||Labour Day||____________||____________|
Employer will also provide the following UNPAID holidays (check any that apply):
|Christmas Day||Boxing Day|
|New Year’s Day||Canada Day|
|Good Friday||Easter Monday|
|Thanksgiving Day||Labour Day|
Employee understands that any and all private information obtained about the employers or their dependents during the course of employment, including but not limited to medical, financial, legal, and career, are strictly confidential and may not be disclosed to any third party for any reason.
GROUNDS FOR TERMINATION
The following are grounds for immediate termination:
- Allowing the safety of the dependent(s) to be compromised
- Inconsistent or non-performance of agreed-upon job responsibilities
- Concerning issues in background checks
- Misuse of family automobile
- Breach of confidentiality clause
- Persistent absenteeism or tardiness
- Unapproved guests
- Smoking or consumption of alcohol while on duty
- Use of an illegal drug
- Overuse of cell phone while on duty or while driving
Social Media Policy
Employee understands that no information about his/her location, plans for the day, or pictures of the children should be shared on any social media network. Employee will also not tell strangers to the family (i.e. nanny’s friends) where she is spending the day, unless the family has authorized.
Raises and Reviews
Upon the first 90-days, the Employee will have an initial review with the family to check-in and gauge how relationship is going.
After ___ year(s), the Employee is eligible for a raise of $___or ___%. This will be based on
Raises and Reviews Notes: Families are not required to give nannies annual raises, but it is a common practice. Start with the rate of inflation (check the Bureau of Labor Statistics website for the Consumer Price Index, www.bls.gov/cpi/) and then add between two and five percentage points based on performance.
Employer hereby agrees to be fully bound by the terms of this contract.
Employer Signature: _____________________________________
Printed Name: __________________________________________
Employee hereby agrees to be fully bound by the terms of this contract.
Employee Signature: _____________________________________
Printed Name: __________________________________________