“I quit.” Those two simple words from a nanny can cause panic to many families. Dozens of questions may race through your mind. What will I do now for child care? Why is my nanny quitting? What should I do next? Even if your nanny gives plenty of notice, transitioning to a new caregiver can be a hassle and bring about some anxious moments.
We’ll lay out the steps to help make a nanny’s resignation go as smoothly as possible.
Take a deep breath
A sudden resignation – and even one with appropriate notice – can catch you off guard and cause anger and panic. Expressing these emotions will do no one any good and just adds tension to the situation. Take a step back and determine your next steps, many of which are laid out here.
Transitions can be hard and stressful. But, remember, they can also teach resiliency and flexibility as valuable life lessons for you and your children.
Review your resignation policy
One of the first things you should do if your nanny says she’s quitting is to refer to the resignation policy in your work agreement. Don’t have one? You may want to add it to help reduce any problems or difficulties during the transition period. Here are three key elements to include in any resignation policy.
1. Length of notice
It’s typical in the business world for employees to provide a two-week notice upon offering their resignation. In household employment, notice is usually 30 days. A company can rely on other staff members to pick up the duties of the employee leaving. A family doesn’t have that luxury. A longer period for notice gives the family more time to find and hire a replacement nanny or determine their child care needs going forward.
2. Notice of resignation
State if you will accept a verbal resignation or require a written letter of resignation. Having this in writing and dated is preferred so you have a record of the event. Keep the letter with your employee’s personnel file.
3. Benefits and final pay
Determine whether your employee will receive pay for unused time off and when they should expect their final paycheck. State law may dictate if your employee is required to be paid for unused PTO and when their last paycheck needs to be issued. Check with your state’s labor department to understand the regulations you need to follow when your employee resigns.
Your employee should be paid for all work performed even if their resignation is immediate. Never withhold pay for hours worked as that can get you into legal trouble.
Determine if you can save the relationship
There are a number of reasons why a nanny will quit their job. Some of them are out of your control. They may be going back to school, moving, transitioning careers, or starting a family of their own. However, in our recent survey of nannies, they told us that change of schedule/hours, bad pay, poor benefits, and lack of communication with their employer were top reasons they would leave their current job.
Talk with your nanny about why they are quitting. You may be able to work through some issues especially if it’s over miscommunications or a lack of understanding. In an upcoming blog post, we’ll discuss what may make your nanny unsatisfied with their job. In the meantime, check out 7 Tips for Household Employers to Be Great Bosses and 7 Tips for Communicating with Your Nanny. These posts offer helpful advice on creating a healthy work environment for your nanny.
Have a backup plan
Even before your nanny resigns their position, you may find yourself in need of back-up care. What will you do if your nanny calls in sick or takes planned time off? Do you have a neighbor or family member who can fill-in? Can you contact your placement agency for a temporary caregiver? Are you able to take time off from work? Some of these options may also work in case your nanny quits abruptly or you haven’t found a suitable replacement after their notice of resignation.
Contact your placement agency
If you hired your nanny through an agency, let them know as soon as possible. They can start lining up potential candidates so you can easily transition to a new nanny. You may even be able to have your new caregiver train for a few days before your current employee leaves.
An agency can also help with temporary care. If your nanny resigns without notice, contact your agency and see if they provide temp services. This can help you during the time needed to find a permanent replacement.
Notify your payroll service or accountant
If you use a payroll service or an accountant to manage your nanny payroll, notify them of your employee’s last date of employment and final paycheck date. With a service like GTM Payroll Services, you can do this through your online employer portal or simply call or email us with the details.
Provide a letter of reference
If your nanny provided exceptional service to your family, consider writing a letter of recommendation that they can use when applying for a new job. You could also let them know you will be a reference for any future employer. Obviously, if you had issues with your nanny, you don’t have to write a recommendation.
Take precautions after a resignation
After your employee has left their job, there are a few precautionary steps to take. You’ll want to change your home security codes as well as notify neighbors, school personnel, daycare staff, doctor’s office, and others that your nanny may have interacted with that they no longer work for you.
Confirm all family property is returned
Your nanny likely has keys to your house, car seats for their car, and maybe even a credit or debit card for family-related errands and outings with the children. You may want to make a list of these items and provide it to your nanny. On their last day, go through the list and confirm that all your property has been returned. This may not work with a sudden resignation. In that case, you may want to set a date for your nanny to return this property and provide their final paycheck. Again, check with your state’s labor agency to understand how soon your nanny should receive their last paycheck after quitting. Also, it’s illegal to withhold their final pay whether family property has been returned or not.
Obtain a forwarding address
You’ll need to send your employee their W-2 at the end of the year. Make sure you receive a forwarding address if they’re resigning because of a move or confirm the address you have on file.
We’ll discuss your children’s possible “separation sadness” in an upcoming post. If appropriate, you should celebrate your nanny’s departure especially if they’re leaving on good terms. You could have a party at your home or a celebration dinner at your nanny’s favorite restaurant. This will show your children that goodbyes are natural and that there can be a positive ending when someone as cherished as a nanny leaves the home. While nannies who resign typically don’t receive severance pay, you may consider a departing gift and/or a homemade craft from your children.
Continue the relationship
While your relationship with an employee should be professional, it’s easy for your nanny to become “part of the family” simply through the nature of their work. Leaving their role as a nanny doesn’t need to be the end of the relationship. If agreeable and appropriate, perhaps your nanny “transitions” to a different role as an occasional visitor, guest, and friend of the family.
Respond to notifications from your state
If your nanny files for unemployment, your state will ask you about the terms of dismissal. Employees are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits if they resigned from their position. Let them know your nanny quit and provide any documentation, like a resignation letter, if requested. Make sure you respond to their communications. Without your input, they will rule on your nanny’s behalf. If they are awarded benefits, you’ll see your unemployment tax rate increase.
This is the second in a four-part series on termination and resignation. Read Firing Your Nanny the Right Way. Coming soon … what to do about your children’s “separation sadness” and understanding why your nanny quit.
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