Ask The Nanny: What Should My Professional Contract Look Like?



Working as a nanny or in any childcare position, there are multiple reasons why having an employment contract is absolutely crucial. Prior to accepting any new job, you need to identify the things that are necessary for you to be fulfilled and compensated for the work that will be expected of you.


As you search for your nanny dream job you will come across job posts that sound tempting but may be lacking the specific requirements you have for a position. We’ve got lots of nanny resources on our blog for you to help improve your resume and professional work experience. In many cases, and typically in direct relation to your professional nannying experience, you can definitely negotiate the terms of a role for which you are otherwise an excellent candidate, and establishing those terms in an employment agreement is essential.


Having a contract allows both you and the hiring family to establish expectations, boundaries, and compensation right from the get-go, alleviating surprises or disappointment down the road for all involved parties. We suggest creating a list of the things that you value the most in a role, along with a list of things that are deal-breakers for you. If vacation pay is something you require in your new role, make sure you’re applying for jobs that offer that, if you’re looking for a set schedule, avoid jobs that mention the need for a lot of flexibility with the schedule like a traveling role, and so forth.


Once you’ve got your two lists of ‘required benefits’ and ‘deal-breakers’, you can narrow your job search to roles that fall somewhere in between. Once you’ve entered the interviewing stage of your application process you can discuss the details of the offered role, and work on negotiating the things you require. We recommend checking out a nanny contract ahead of time and familiarizing yourself with the industry standards for your area prior to entering the negotiating phase. It’s so important to know your rights where you’ll be working, so we strongly encourage you to check out the National Domestic Workers Alliance to learn the specifics so you can tailor your contract to include these rights. To start, there are many wonderful templates available and we’ve seen great success with the templates offered by A to Z Nanny Contract. Here are just some of the many things that can and should be covered by your employment agreement:






Will there be a set schedule or will the hours and days be rotating often, based on the needs of the family? Are there known trips or vacations that either you or the family need coverage for? What will the plan be for covering sick days that may come up for you — can you recruit other trusted nannies to fill your place temporarily?




Will the family be offering guaranteed hours? Does the family have experience processing nanny payments legally and on the books and are they committed to doing the same for you? Will the family be offering you vacation pay, and are there limitations on when you can take that time? Will the family require you to work during their vacations, either with the family or at the home to catch up on child-related tasks while the family is away? Will the family offer overtime pay based on a 40-hour work week?




Does the family observe holidays that they will or will not need your services? Which holidays will be paid and unpaid? Will you be offered paid vacation? How far in advance will you need to request vacation time for yourself?




Will this role include some light housework related to the care of the child? Make sure that those specific expectations are outlined in your contract. Will you be asked to drive the nanny kids and if so will a car/mileage be provided? In this portion of your contract, it is vital that you document to the best of your ability, the exact details of the role and what the hiring family is expecting. Be sure to address issues that may arise in the near future, for instance, what is the plan in terms of expectations and compensation if the family adds an additional child to the mix?




Benefits can include paid vacation, holidays, sick days, personal days, health insurance stipends, professional advancement days, educational reimbursement, retirement, health club membership and any other benefits that the family may be offering. Refer back to your two lists and identify which benefits are most desirable to you, and which benefits are deal-breakers for you.




Most modern families require anyone working in their home to agree to some sort of confidentiality agreement or non-disclosure agreement. Discuss the details of this agreement and make sure that you are able to wholeheartedly commit to every expectation.




When working as a nanny in someone else’s home it is important that you come into the situation with a clear understanding of how they operate. Do they have a home manual? What are the rules of the house, and how will you be required to uphold them? What are the rules around using electronics in the home? Movie watching or media for the kids? Having play dates? Is there an emergency plan in place – if so this plan should be included in the household manual and should be mentioned in your nanny contract.




What are you expected to do in the instance that one of the charges becomes ill or is injured on your watch? Do you have the authorization to take them to the hospital and if so, is there a specific hospital or pediatrician that needs to be on the top of the list? In order to act swiftly and methodically in the event of an injury or illness, this is where you should have a signed ‘authorization to treat a minor’ form included in your employment agreement.




What will your performance evaluation look like? Will it be quarterly, bi-annually, yearly? Will there be incremental pay increases in relation to positive reviews – if so, approximately how much can be expected for a job well done? Are annual or year-end bonuses an option?






These are just some of the many items that you may want to include in your nanny contract, but as you continue to research this topic you may identify additional topics that you wish to include. Remember that respectfully and candidly negotiating the details of your nanny employment contract will protect both you and the hiring family from disappointment and will allow you to do the best job possible while receiving excellent compensation.





What are the things that you’ll include in your next nanny contract? We’d love to hear about your best practices and personal experiences! Reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram, and check out the other posts on the blog!

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