In the midst of hiring a nanny, skipping over the discussion of some practical details can occur. While every possible situation that the nanny and parents will encounter can’t be addressed in advance, there are some that can. Here are five practical topics that nannies and employers should discuss prior to the nanny’s start date. Discussing them will confirm that the parents and nanny have clear expectations of each other, which can reduce conflict down the road.
- Unscheduled Time Off – While nannies typically get paid for 52 weeks per year, some employers do not want to pay their nanny for days that she doesn’t work – even if the reason she’s not working is no fault of her own. For example, if the parents give the nanny an unexpected day off because mom doesn’t need to go to work or grandma is visiting and can watch the kids; some parents will not want to pay their nanny, even though the nanny is willing and able to work. The same is true if a family plans a vacation and doesn’t want the nanny to come along. While the employers may wonder why they should pay their nanny if she’s not there, the nanny may wonder why she is getting docked pay given she was planning on working. Determining how to handle unscheduled days off, including employer issued ones and the nanny’s sick and personal ones, will go a long way in reducing anxiety and uncertainly in both parents and nannies.
- Additional Duties – Sometimes a nanny’s job will grow and change over time and additional duties and responsibilities become required. Working out in advance how a nanny employer will request additional duties and compensate her nanny for them will prevent confusion and clarify expectations. Before sealing the deal, nannies and employers should discuss how the nanny’s duties, responsibilities, and compensation would change if the parents welcomed a new baby, what to do if job creep begins to occur, and what the specific duties are as it pertains to the nanny’s current role.
- Transportation – In addition to discussing if the nanny is allowed to take the children out and to where, it’s essential to discuss how the children will be transported. Some families provide their nanny with a “nanny mobile” and allow her to take children on whatever age-appropriate outings she sees fit. Others opt for the nanny to drive her own vehicle to and from outings and reimburse their nanny using the IRS business mileage reimbursement rate. Whether your nanny is driving the family’s vehicle or her own, it’s essential to confirm that the nanny is properly insured for transporting the children for work and that the proper safety seats are installed and used correctly. Some nannies will only accept posts where they can transport the children, others don’t really care. Discussing transportation up front allows nannies and parents to confirm that they are on the same page with regards to transporting the children.
- Reimbursements – Many parents provide their nanny with a credit card linked to their account, others leave a set amount of petty cash for the nanny each week, and still others ask the nanny to spend her own money and turn in her receipts with a written request for reimbursement. It’s important for nannies and parents to communicate about how money for the children’s activities and outings is handled. Discussing a budget with regards to purchasing craft supplies, outings, dining out, and the likes will help ensure that the nanny and the parents are on the same page.
- Termination – No one starts their first day on the job thinking about how their last day will end, but all nanny jobs eventually come to an end, and it’s important that nannies and parents include a termination clause in a written work agreement that outlines how the agreement can be broken. The termination clause should spell out how much notice the nanny must give if she wishes to resign, how much notice the parents must give the nanny if they are letting her go without cause, any severance pay that will be issued, and on what terms and how unused accrued paid time off will be handled. The termination clause may also include a confidentiality agreement and a clause with regards to the parents giving the nanny a letter of reference.
When parents and nannies have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations, only then are they truly able to strive to meet them. Communicating about practical items lays the foundation for communicating about other items as the relationship grows and develops.Taken From National Nannies