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The Nanny Contract….good for the employer and employee

A nanny contract is a vitally important document. Imagine you have weathered and sifted through the storm of emails, discarding the creepiest responses to the nanny advertisements, and have met talented caregivers and frankly some much less than talented. Perhaps you even needed to cut some interviews short because of their awkwardness. You have finally found the perfect candidate! The objective now is to ensure that all arrangements between you and the nanny are agreed upon and clearly understood. A written contract will serve as a point of reference for any issue that could arise. This contract serves as a guide for both the caregiver and the family, summarizing all they have agreed upon. This guide can help the household resolve or even prevent conflict. A good contract will include much more than the caregiver’s job requirements and the degree of autonomy that caregiver will enjoy. A good contract will facilitate harmony and cohesion.

The contract should include the following:

Hours of work, pay, and duties: Everything related to compensation must be explicitly defined. How much pay will the nanny receive? Will that amount be paid weekly or bi-weekly? Will this remuneration take the form of cash, check, or direct deposit? Work hours must be clearly spelled out and include provisions for overtime, holiday and sick pay, weekend pay, and any other payment arrangement. For example, will the nanny receive additional pay when she travels with the family? After all, the caregiver herself will likely incur additional costs during this time (e.g., her own childcare expenses). The nanny and the family must also incorporate detailed information about vacations and vacation pay. Should the nanny’s vacation be taken when the family takes theirs? Or is the nanny able to take whatever vacation time works best for her and her family? How much vacation time will she have? “Sick pay”: What happens if the nanny is out sick for two weeks? The contract should include a clause on sick pay that both the family and the caregiver agree on. This is also a good time to determine the number of personal days the caregiver is entitled to apart from sick days.

Probationary period – A three-month probationary period can be useful, offering a set date where the family and the nanny can discuss the working environment and the caregiver’s progress, or lack thereof.

Procedures for terminating the contract – During the probationary period, you may mutually agree to one weeks’ notice of termination by either party. Then later, you may fall back on the standard two weeks’ notice. Cause for immediate termination (where the family need not give the caregiver notice) should be agreed upon and outlined in the contract.

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