By Guest Blogger Nathan Hammons, Esq.
Previously, we covered the key ingredients to a good nanny contract and mistakes that are commonly made.
Today, we delve into a few things that can turn your good nanny contract into a great one.
# 1: Trial Period of Employment
It’s stressful when a nanny begins a new job. The children meet and hopefully bond with their new caregiver. The parents pass on a great deal of information and hopefully come to trust their new employee. And the nanny enters a household, hoping to bond with the child as well as the parents.
Normally, the stress lessens after a few weeks, when trust forms and everyone gets used to their new roles. In some cases, however, it comes to light that the nanny is not a good fit.
For that reason, it’s wise to include a trial period of employment in your nanny contract. A trial period allows parents and the nanny to part ways quickly and without too much pain, if things aren’t working out. It also gives a nanny a vote of confidence, once he or she makes it to ‘full’ employment.
To include a trial period in your nanny contract, address two things. First, state the length of the trial period. One month is usually fine, but it can be shorter or longer if desired.
Second, state specifically what it takes to end the nanny contract during the trial period. For example:
During the trial period of employment, the parents may end the nanny’s employment for any reason by giving him or her at least one-day prior notice. The nanny may discontinue his or her employment for any reason by giving the parents at least two-days prior notice. The number of days required for prior notice can be changed, if desired.
# 2: Transportation
Your nanny contract needs to have a section about transportation, if you expect that that nanny will ever drive the children, even to a nearby park.
To address transportation, keep two things in mind. First, ensure that the nanny is properly reimbursed. If the family’s car is used, the nanny should be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses (e.g., gasoline). If the nanny’s car is used, the nanny should be reimbursed for gasoline, depreciation, insurance, and other costs. A complex calculation isn’t needed – simply multiply the IRS standard mileage rate (currently 55.5 cents a mile) by the number of miles the nanny has driven the children. (The 55.5 cents a mile includes gas, so don’t double pay.)
Second, ensure that motor vehicle insurance is properly in place. If the nanny’s car is used, the nanny should contact his or her insurance company and ask if an ‘endorsement’ or ‘rider’ is required because the nanny will use the vehicle during employment. If the family’s car is used, the parents should have the nanny added as an ‘occasional operator’ to their insurance policy. The parents should also ask if an endorsement or rider is needed because a household employee will be using the vehicle. In both cases, review insurance limits to make sure they are adequate.
# 3: Confidentiality
There’s a good chance a nanny will come across sensitive information while working. A nanny might hear about family finances or medical issues. Or perhaps an oddball relative that did something embarrassing.
Whatever the situation, it’s usually wise to address confidentiality in your nanny contract. For example, you could include the following:
The nanny acknowledges that information he or she obtains about the parents and the children, including but not limited to information about their health, finances, career, and household, is confidential. The nanny agrees not to disclose that information to anyone for any reason, unless legally required.
While most nannies keep sensitive information to themselves, the provision serves as a helpful reminder. It also allows parents to sue for breach of contract, in the unlikely event a nanny tells a family secret.
This post is the fourth article of a five-part series on nanny contracts. Nathan Hammons is an attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’s also a father and the creator of MyNannyContract.com, a website with information about the legal issues of nanny care and providing a professionally written nanny contract. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DISCLAIMER: This post provides information only and not legal counsel or advice. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney licensed in your state.