Writing a Nanny Contract: Things You Need to Know

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So you’ve found the perfect nanny

Your kids love her, she’s a great fit for your family and everything seems to be falling into place. Is there a better feeling? Maybe not, but before you seal the deal, consider drawing up a nanny contract. What is a nanny contract? It’s a written document between you and the nanny you’re hiring that serves as a basic agreement of the expectations for the role.

Your nanny contract doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t even have to be drawn up by a legal professional. As long as it’s signed by both parties, your nanny contract will be a legally binding document. Of course, if it would make you feel more comfortable, you can choose to have a lawyer involved or to have your nanny contract notarized, but these things aren’t necessarily required.

What should be included in a nanny contract?

That’s up to you! You can make it as stripped down or as comprehensive as you want. However, most nanny contracts include the following topics:

Hours worked

Include your nanny’s basic weekly schedule (this is especially helpful if it’s variable!) and any overtime, travel time, and holiday expectations you may have. This way, you’re not left in the lurch when your nanny thinks she has the day off on President’s Day.

Parties involved

One way to ensure your document is legally binding? Include full names of both parties involved and include a line at the bottom for a signature. It’s a small step that can easily be overlooked.

Money matters

No nanny contract is complete without including the nanny’s pay rate along with a bonus structure (if you’re open to giving a yearly bonus), yearly raise, and overtime pay. It’s important to set these expectations early on so your nanny knows exactly what’s expected in order to receive a raise or bonus. This is also a great place to include how your nanny will be paid (cash, check or otherwise), along with any relevant tax information. For more details on how to pay taxes for your nanny, check here.

Benefits

Will you be offering benefits to your nanny? According to enannysource.com, “Benefits may include paid vacation, holidays, sick days, personal days, health insurance contributions, professional days, educational reimbursement, retirement, and health club membership.” Of course, you’re not required to offer any of these benefits to your nanny, but remember, a happy nanny is a good nanny!

House rules/responsibilities

Every household works differently, so it’s critical to include some basic household rules in your nanny contract. This single step can reduce or even eliminate so many conflicts between you and your nanny. It’s great when a nanny is good with your kids, but a nanny that conscientiously follows your house rules is worth her weight in gold.

Does it feel awkward and too formal to have a nanny contract in place?

Do you feel like you’re springing it on her when things are going so well? Are you afraid how she’ll react when you ask her to sign a contract? We totally get it! The best way to handle any of these situations is to be clear right from the start that you are a household that will have a nanny contract in place. That way, before you even forge that perfectly comfortable nanny/employer relationship, your potential nanny will know that she’ll be expected to sign a nanny contract.

And don’t feel bad about it—any nanny, no matter how perfect she seems—should be not only willing, but eager to sign a nanny contract, since they’re meant to protect the nanny as well. It’s not a great idea to hire a nanny who refuses to sign a nanny contract—if you do, be sure you have a great backup plan!

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Christin Perry is a freelance writer and editor living in the DC area. She specializes in the lifestyle genre and her writing has been published by The Knot, The Bump, and LittleThings.com.

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