Why do I need a nanny contract?
When you employ a nanny, you are entering into an agreement, or a contract. If you commit the terms of the agreement to paper, and you both sign it, you have a record for all to see. Although this may seem overly formal, it is the best way of clarifying the arrangement, and helping to prevent any misunderstandings that could arise in the future.
For example, when you first employ a nanny, the hours, salary and conditions will be uppermost in both of your minds. But as time goes on, the original agreement can become a little hazy. Was it 8:00 a.m. or 7:45 a.m. that your nanny said she would start work? Or perhaps she is looking a little tight-lipped these days when you get home. Could it be that you are getting back later and later? And so on.
A contract professionalizes the relationship between you and your nanny and shows the value that you place on her skills. Employees are responsive to feeling valued and your nanny is more likely to take this job seriously if you show that you do, too.
My nanny and I have talked this over and we both know what we expect of each other. Isn’t that enough?
The trouble with verbal agreements is that they are subject to different interpretations. A comment like, “You probably won’t have to work many Fridays” could be understood by a prospective nanny to mean, “This job is generally from Monday to Thursday“, while the employer may actually mean, “I hope I can swing it at work to have Fridays off“.
While verbal contracts are legally binding, there are much harder to enforce because it is one person’s interpretation against that of another. Committing an agreement to paper is a great way of making the meaning crystal clear.
Aren’t we both protected by employment legislation in any case?
The answer is that yes, it does protect you, but your contract is personal to your circumstances. A written statement of employment is something that most employees are entitled to by law so really there is no excuse for not providing one.
What should I include in the contract?
Anything and everything related to your nanny’s job — no detail is too small. If you’re providing room and board, for example, you may want to pay for the nanny’s own phone line, but not for long-distance charges or Internet access.
You should also spell out any other benefits, such as vacation, statutory holidays, and personal and sick days. You are legally obligated to pay your nanny for statutory holidays and vacation time.
This is also a good time to decide how you’ll handle payment for your nanny if your family goes away on vacation and doesn’t need her services. If you are your nanny’s sole or primary employer, you may choose to pay her the regular rate while your family is away — after all, it’s not fair to expect her to go half a month without a paycheck when you take a two week trip.
Your contract should also have information about:
- Work hours (for example, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
- Benefits (amount of vacation time, statutory holidays, sick or personal days)
- Wages and pay schedule (for example, $750 on the 1st and 15th of every month)
- The amount of notice that you will give each other if one of you is interested in ending your contract before it’s final date. You should also include any penalties for failing to meet the agreed upon amount of notice.
- Duties (picking up your child from school, straightening his bedroom, folding his laundry, etc.)
- Special situations (For example, if you must stay late at work, you’ll pay $20 per hour above and beyond your nanny’s usual fee, or if she’s sick, she must call you by 7:30 a.m.)
- Agreement about evening work (Many employers assume their nanny will be available for occasional evening babysitting jobs, but it’s important to agree on this ahead of time. If your nanny has children of her own this may be difficult for her, and you’ll need to agree on a supplemental fee for evening jobs.)
- Additional costs (If, for example, you need your nanny to have a car to drive your child, you may agree to help pay for the insurance.)
- Emergency plans (For example, she should call Grandma and drop your child off with her.)
Who should keep the contract?
Both you and your nanny should sign two copies of the agreement and keep one copy each. Put it in a safe place – postnatal amnesia can strike when least expected!
When should we draw up the contract?
It’s a good idea to draw it up and sign it before your nanny starts work.
Can the contract be changed?
Yes, it can be changed at any time, provided that you both agree to the changes and sign the new copy. Then it will supersede the old one.
What happens if there is a dispute?
If you feel that there is a problem between you and your nanny, you should sit down and talk to them about it. Your contract should be a valuable reference document here.
Full Circle Home Care stands behind its Clients?
If the issue at hand results in deadlock, please reach out to Full Circle Home Care and we will do our best to help mitigate the issue at hand.
Will Full Circle help me with my Nanny Contract?
Absolutely. As part of our service fee, we will work with you and your nanny to help prepare an agreement / contract that ensures both parties enter in to this relationship feeling comfortable as too each others expectations.
Additional Information on Hiring an Employee:
When employing any nanny — you must adhere to the employment and labour standards set out by the Ministry of Labour for Ontario. These standards outline minimum wages, hours of work, vacation time, vacation pay, overtime hours, overtime pay, etc. Visit the enclosed website link that outlines the employment and labour standards for Ontario.