How to Write Your Own Nanny Contract — Plus Extensive DIY Contract Samples
What is a Nanny Contract?
A nanny contract is a written copy of the expectations of you and your nanny family agreed upon during the interview. It covers any and all situations. Contracts signed and dated by both parties represent the clear understanding to fulfill their contractual obligations.
Why do I Need a Nanny Contract?
Having a verbal agreement is never enough. This physical document serves as a protection for both sides. We can all become forgetful or take advantage of a situation unknowingly. A nanny contract serves as a buffer for any disagreements about job responsibilities, expectations, or pay.
Whether you’re starting a new nanny job or having been working with a family for years, setting clear boundaries and expectations are essential for a positive working environment.
How Long Should My Nanny Contract be?
Whether you’re referring to the physical length (word count) of your contract or the length of time it should span (how long you should commit to a family), I’ve got you covered.
The physical length of your contract doesn’t matter at all. My contract is pretty long, just to make sure I covered everything. If your contract seems short, make sure you’re not missing any major headings. You should never be worried about it being too long though. There’s no such thing as a contract that’s too long.
How long should you stay with a family? I recommend making your contract cover ONE YEAR increments.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t stay with a family beyond a year, but you can add a clause about annual reviews. This gives you and the family the opportunity to reevaluate job responsibilities, pay, and anything else in your contract that you may want to change for the upcoming year.
There are a few other factors that can play into how long you want to stay committed. I have a whole article that covers those factors.
What Goes in a Nanny Contract?
Everything. There are 10 main sections that you should include in your contract (click the one you want to know about to jump to that section) :
- Job Responsibilities
- Child Development
- Baby’s Health
- Training and Health Requirements
- Family & Nanny Confidentiality
- Probation and Termination
Each of these sections include quite a bit of information. If you want to save yourself some time, you can get a copy of my pdf downloadable nanny contract. All you’ll have to do is fill in some of the information specific to your job.
To make sure you have everything in your contract, you might want to check out my more detailed articles on writing your nanny contract. Buttons to those articles are below.
Pay: Setting Your Hourly Rate
Your hourly rate and benefits should go here. That could include health insurance support, overtime rates, and your pay schedule.
When discussing rates, make sure to clarify who will be responsible for taxes. Most nannies are considered household employees and should be paid as such.
For information on taxes, check out “More Nanny Taxes”. I cover everything from the benefits of getting paid on the books, to who’s paying your social security taxes.
Agree on and add your work schedule in this section. This should include paid time off, the number of sick days you’re allotted, and what the protocol is for calling out.
This is especially important as a live-in nanny. Because the family (and the kids that may not fully understand what “off” means) will have easy access to you, these hours need to be crystal clear.
Nanny Job Responsibilities
There will be obvious ones, like “care for the children”, but you should be painfully detailed in this section. That way, if there’s ever a disagreement about expectations, you can point to this fully comprehensive list.
Nannies and parents should maintain a united front in every aspect of parenting. This requires all caregivers to be on the same page about what and how to educate the little ones. What are developmental goals? What values are the parents trying to teach their kids? What is the parents’ preferred teaching method? All of these questions should be answered in this section.
As the nanny, it’s your job to know what to do in the case of an emergency. Child safety should be your number one priority.
It’s your responsibility to handle medical emergencies. That doesn’t make it your responsibility to cover the financial costs of those emergencies. Because you won’t be paying for treatment, it’s important to find out the parents’ preferences before an emergency arises.
The medical consent form that comes in the Complete Nanny Binder has a section for cell phone numbers of the parents and contact information for other nearby family members in case the parents are unreachable. Make sure to fill that out and attach it to your contract.
While most of this information is already in the medical consent form, it doesn’t hurt to repeat it here.
- Does the baby have any allergies?
- Do they have any other health conditions?
- What should you do in an emergency?
- What if the baby gets sick?
- At what point should you contact one of the parents?
- Who should you contact first?
- Should you call for an ambulance or drive them to a local hospital if the need arises?
Go over these types of questions during your interview. It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared, when it comes to the safety of babies in our care.
Training and Health Requirements
You should list the training like CPR & First Aid, any swimming/boating licenses, or teaching certificates here. If you and your nanny family agree that you will maintain specific vaccines, you should list those in this section.
This is also the perfect opportunity to add a clause about financial support for continual education. Your nanny family might be willing to pay for training or certifications that you’ve been dying to take, since it will ultimately benefit their child. It never hurts to ask!
Clarify whether you will be allowed to use their car or yours for transporting the kids. Either way, you can include a copy of your insurance card here, so they can have it on file.
Family & Nanny Confidentiality
Most nannies work in the homes of their employers, giving them access to sensitive, personal information. This section should include a promise that will continue beyond the termination of this contract that no private information about the family will be disclosed to anyone for any reason.
Confidentiality goes both ways. As the nanny, you have the right to know if and where there are nanny cameras. You can mention that here, but there’s also a clause in the termination section just in case they fail to disclose that information.
Don’t forget to add any permissions to share pictures or videos of the children on social media.
Probation and Termination
This is, maybe aside from payment, the most important section in a nanny contract. This is where you add your reasons for leaving, being fired with and without severance, and a note about your trial period.
First of all, there should be an agreed amount of notice that both the nanny and family will give if one of them decides to end the relationship without justifiable cause. If that time isn’t given on either end, there should be “pay in lieu of” or severance that time period.
There are obvious (justifiable) reasons that a nanny can be fired without notice or compensation – child neglect, child abuse, substance abuse, theft, violation of the confidentiality clause.
If the family wants the nanny to leave for any other reason, they have to pay (to cover her expenses for the time before she finds another job) or allow her to continue working until the agreed upon notice period ends.
There are also reasons that a nanny might want to quit. Similar to the family, if her reason for leaving is justifiable, she should still be paid for the notice period without working. At the top of the list are finding an undisclosed nanny cam or physical, mental, emotional abuse from anyone in the family’s house including pets.
If the nanny wants to leave for any other reason before the end of the contract, she should have to work for the notice period or pay the parents what she would’ve made in that time (to compensate for the fact that the parents will have to stay home or find alternate care with short notice).
Presenting Your Nanny Contract to Your Employer
Oftentimes, when parents are looking to hire a nanny, they don’t think about preparing a contract. So, as the nanny, you can come prepared. Bring your contract with you to the interview. The accompanying questionnaire gives you a specific list of questions to fill out the contract together.
It’s never too late to write-up a contract. If you are already working with a nanny family, you can say:
“I love my job and have decided to become a professional nanny. Part of being a professional is making sure to have the right paperwork, that’s why I took the liberty to draft up a contract including all of my current job responsibilities and the agreements we made when I first started. I’ll leave this copy for you to read and sign.”
Your contract should be signed, ideally, on your first day of work. If you have already started, ask for it to be signed at the start of your next working day (from the day you presented it).
Easy DIY Sample Nanny Contract
Writing your first nanny contract can be overwhelming. Unlike most sample nanny contracts, I have a nanny contract that is ready for you to fill out and use. Plus, as mentioned earlier, my nanny contract comes with an accompanying questionnaire that you can take with you to the interview, so you don’t miss a thing.