Your dreams have come true. You are satisfied with the background investigation of the nanny you wish to hire. Now is the time to extend the formal offer of employment and become an official employer.
Making the Offer
By this time, your leading candidate knows you want to hire her for the job. The verbal offer accompanied with the request for permission to conduct a background check sent the message that you wanted her to be your next nanny.
Since the background check is to your satisfaction, you can now in good conscience, extend the formal employment offer.
Draft a sample letter or email extending the offer of employment. In the correspondence, include the position, start date, salary and information on any employment benefits and retirement programs. Let the nanny know the first draft of a work agreement is included or will be forthcoming within the next day or two.
You may also wish to be notified of their acceptance or rejection of your offer within a certain time period.
Presenting a Written Work Agreement
Along with the job offer, or as soon as possible after, provide the nanny with a first draft of a written nanny and family work agreement. A written work agreement outlines the expectations, duties and responsibilities of each party and helps to minimize confusion, miscommunications and misunderstanding with regards to the working arrangement.
The International Nanny Association has a template available for sale at its website, www.nanny.org. Reputable online recruiting sites and agencies typically also include them when parents use their services. A free comprehensive sample agreement can also be found at www.nannyanswers.com.
At minimum, the work agreement should include both the family’s and nanny’s contact information, the start date, the date the agreement will be reviewed, the nanny’s weekly schedule, the nanny’s compensation, any benefits being offered and how the parties can terminate or renew the contract.
While you may think in salary, it’s important to include the offered wages in gross hourly terms. Nannies are protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act and are considered non-exempt employees. Live-out nannies are entitled to at least minimum wage for every hour worked and an overtime differential at 1.5 times the base hourly wage rate for all hours worked over 40 in a 7-day period. So if you’ve been thinking and talking in salary, it’s important to break that salary down into a base and overtime rate to be sure you are wage compliant.
While parents have no legal obligation to offer their nanny benefits, most parents realize that to attract and retain high quality household help, doing so is necessary. Within the nanny industry, full-time live-out nannies typically receive, at minimum, one to two weeks paid vacation, eight to 11 paid holidays, and a handful of days that can be used as sick or personal days. Many nanny employers also make full or partial contributions to their nanny’s health insurance premiums.
In addition, you may wish to include your expectations with regards to the role the nanny will play in the family, the standard of care she’ll provide and the discipline style she’ll implement.
If the nanny will be transporting the children, you’ll want to include whose vehicle she will be using and how much reimbursement she will receive if she is using her own. You’ll also want to be sure that she has the proper level of automobile insurance coverage if using her vehicle and if she will be using yours you’ll want to be sure to add her on as an additional driver.
It’s also a good idea to have a detailed job description outlining the nanny’s responsibilities and duties. Live-out nannies typically undertake all tasks related to providing care of the children. So in addition to providing nurturing, attentive care, they are also responsible for preparing the children’s meals and cleaning up afterwards, doing the children’s laundry and keeping the children’s areas neat, clean and tidy. In general, live-out nannies should leave the home at least as clean as it was when they arrived.
If the nanny has non-childcare household related tasks, such as feeding the family’s dog or doing the family’s laundry, the tasks and the frequency of which they must be completed should also be included.
While many parents simply include light housekeeping as part of the agreement, failure to outline what tasks that includes can result in disagreements over expectations.
Negotiating the Offer and Agreement
Too often parents make the mistake of assuming that once they’ve presented the offer letter and work agreement, the arrangement is a done deal. Most career nannies will carefully review the agreement and send it back with requested changes.
Remember, this is your first, second or maybe even third nanny hire. Most career nannies have been negotiating work agreements for years and while it is likely uncomfortable for them to do, they know what they can and cannot agree to and have a clear understanding of what additional information needs to be included in the agreement to prevent miscommunications and misunderstandings.
The goal of a written work agreement is to document the mutually agreed upon conditions of the working relationship and work arrangement. You can expect to go back and forth several times before having an agreement that both parties are truly happy with.
Executing the Agreement
Once you and your nanny have come to a mutually agreed upon written agreement, sign it and date it and be sure to give your nanny a copy. If you used an agency to secure your nanny you may also wish to send one to their office so that they have a copy on file.
As you adjust to your new agreement, take the opportunity to meet with your nanny once per week to discuss any concerns or issues and to ask and answer questions. If you need to amend your written work agreement, be sure to do so in writing and to have your nanny acknowledge the mutual acceptance of the change in writing.
It is customary to review the agreement after one year of employment. If you wish to continue the agreement, be sure to make any modifications in writing and to have your nanny acknowledge the changes in writing.