Have You Ever Worked a Trial Period?
I have often heard that nannies and families should have a trial period before signing a work agreement. I actually never had a trial period at any of my nanny jobs. Here are some possible pros and cons of the arrangement.
Many agencies encourage trial periods because within a few days the parents and nanny may be able to determine if the arrangement is the right fit or not without either party being penalized. The parents won't have to pay the agency a placement fee until after the trial period which helps reassure the parents that the nanny is a good match for their family. The parents also won't be required to provide severance pay if they decide to hire another nanny and the caregiver can also choose not to accept the job gracefully without having to give the parents a lengthy termination notice. The nanny will be paid for the days worked during the trial period, but both the parents and nanny can save the time and energy of filling the work agreement, (and perhaps W-2 forms), until after the brief trial period.
However, Breedlove and Associates explains, "...please know that the law does not absolve families of their tax and legal responsibilities during the trial period. Families are legally considered to be employers the first day the employee shows up for work – whether it has been labeled a “trial period” or not. Therefore, in order to prevent potentially-expensive tax and legal mistakes, it is important to understand the law and the compliance process from the outset of the employment relationship."
After the trial period the parents and nanny will need to sign a work agreement with the details of the job, benefits, and submit the required tax paperwork.
As a nanny looking for a job my concern would be if I had a choice between more than one job I might want to accept the job position that was a "sure thing" in which the parents were willing to have me start immediately.
Lora Brawley of nannybizreviews.com says another problem with trail periods is when parents or caregivers misuse them as a temporary fix. She explains, "Some parents and nannies use trial periods as a ruse to fill an immediate need with no intention of committing to a long-term employment relationship. In these cases, a parent needs childcare while she searches for the right nanny or a nanny needs a regular paycheck while she searches for the right job. Instead of being honest about the temporary nature of the working relationship, these parents and caregivers find a quick match and operate under the guise of a trial period while they continue their search. This deceitful maneuver is devastating to the unsuspecting party who’s left with nothing when the parent or nanny moves on."
So, have you ever had a trial period?