We often stress how important communication is in a nanny-family relationship. Good communication practices are established early on through the work agreement or nanny contract. Now consider a nanny share where you have two families and a nanny. With more “moving parts,” a nanny share contract that clearly states expectations and outlines the structure of the relationship is critically important. Here’s how to do that so everyone – parents, children, and nanny – are happy and the nanny share can flourish.
What is a nanny share contract?
In many ways, a nanny share contract is no different than a typical nanny contract between a caregiver and one family. You’ll detail all the basics to the job – pay, hours, schedule, benefits, paid time off, etc. You’ll also describe duties, goals, and expectations for both the nanny and families. It’ll help everyone stay on the same page and act as a reference guide if there are any issues or misunderstandings between the nanny and the families. The nanny share contact should be mutually agreed upon and signed by all parties.
Listen to your nanny
Your nanny should be part of the process when developing a nanny share contract. An experienced caregiver can provide insights into what works and what doesn’t that can be beneficial especially to families hiring their first nanny. By including your nanny, you’re also showing that you have respect for their viewpoints. Address their concerns. When nannies feel like they’re trusted and respected, their job satisfaction and engagement improve. And that’s good for you and your children.
Nuances to a nanny share contract
There are some nuances to a nanny share that need to be spelled out in the contract so there’s no confusion down the road.
One of the biggest differences between a nanny share and a traditional arrangement is the location of care. One of the families will be dropping off their children at the other family’s house. It may be the same house every day and every week. Or it could rotate. However it’s arranged, you need to determine where the nanny needs to arrive for work and when. As with a nanny contract, you’ll state the days and hours the nanny is expected to be on the job.
Typically, both families pay two-thirds to three-quarters of a nanny’s hourly rate. This is a win-win for the families and the nanny. The families may be able to afford a higher-quality caregiver and the nanny makes more money for their efforts in managing care for two families. Let’s say a nanny would typically make $24/hour. In a nanny share, each family would pay $16-18/hour so the caregiver earns $32-36/hour. Make sure the nanny is paid at least minimum wage by both families and receives time-and-a-half for overtime.
Some situations to consider in a nanny share. What if one family needs care for fewer hours? Or one family has two children and the other just one? Should the family with multiple children pay more?
Both families are considered employers and should obtain federal employer identification numbers as well as file new hire reports with the state. That also means you’re both withholding and remitting taxes, issuing W-2s at the end of the year, and filing Schedule H with your personal tax returns.
Paid time off
A family may offer their nanny two weeks of vacation time with the stipulation that the nanny takes one those weeks when the family goes on their own vacation. Will that work in your nanny share arrangement? Meaning both families go on vacation at the same time. What happens if one family is on vacation and the other is not? If you take more time off, just remember that your nanny should still be paid for their normal hours even if they’re not on the job. It’s your choice that they’re not working.
Back up care
If your nanny takes paid-time-off or calls in sick, what is your plan for back up care? Will a parent stay with the children? Will you use a temporary nanny from a placement agency? Or do you have some other arrangement for when your nanny is not available?
Will the nanny take the children on trips during the day? If so, how will they get around? Will the nanny drive their own car? Will the host family supply a car? Either way, set rules for seat belts, car seats, and distracted driving (texting and calling on a mobile phone). You’ll need to figure this out with your nanny share family and determine how to handle the maintenance of the car and paying for gas and, since the nanny will be added to one of the family’s auto policy, a possible insurance premium increase. It’s probably a better idea to provide a car so you can control the upkeep and safety of the vehicle. If your nanny will drive their own car, consider a mileage reimbursement. The 2019 optional standard mileage rate from IRS is 58 cents per mile.
Will the children in the nanny share be around the same age? Or will some kids be older? It’s easier to plan activities if the children are similar in age. If not, how should the nanny manage their interactions with your children? Babies and infants may need more attention than say a preschooler or kindergartener. Is it ok if the older kids are on their own for independent play or some screen time while the nanny tends to a baby? And when the baby naps, then the nanny can focus their attention on the other children. What TV shows, video games, and even toys are acceptable? Go over other house rules as well. How you want this to play out should be described in the nanny share contract.
How will you handle poor choices by your nanny? Or if the nanny is not meeting expectations? Will you provide written or verbal notice? How much time will you give your nanny to resolve the issues? Before you approach your nanny about their performance, talk with the other family first. Make sure you’re on the same page and then discuss your concerns with your nanny. Both families should be involved in this discussion even if it’s just one family who has an issue. Your nanny share contract should detail how concerns are communicated to your nanny and any disciplinary actions such as a probationary period or a number of warnings before your caregiver is terminated.
How will the nanny pay for activities like arts and crafts or going to a museum or any number of paid entertainment or educational opportunities? What if she wants to take them out to lunch or for ice cream? Do you have a budget in mind for these types of outings? A simple solution could be setting a weekly amount that each family contributes in cash. The money is put in an envelope on Monday morning and the nanny uses it for that week’s activities. They can also put receipts back in the envelope, so you know how and where the money is being spent. Your nanny could use their own money and submit receipts for reimbursement, or you can provide them with their own credit card that you and your nanny share family pay off.
Also, come to an agreement with your nanny share family on what activities are appropriate.
Ideally, you’ve found a nanny share family that shares a similar parenting approach when it comes to disciplining children. Your nanny should also be comfortable with your philosophy, which is something to explore when deciding on candidates for your position. This will make it easier for your nanny to discipline both family’s children in a consistent manner. Or, perhaps, you’ve decided that you don’t want your nanny to deal with misbehavior and wait for the parents to decide. Some behaviors, though, need immediate attention.
Can either family schedule a play date? Is this acceptable? How will the other family’s children be included? Again, something to consider with your nanny share family and detail in your contract.
Will you allow your nanny to post photos of your children on their social media accounts? Do you agree with your nanny share family on expectations of privacy? What happens when one family says it’s ok but the other feels it’s inappropriate for their children to appear on the nanny’s accounts? Discuss with your nanny share family, come to an agreement, and document your expectations in the contract.
Will the host family provide food for both family’s children? Will they be reimbursed? Or will the other family bring their own food? Typically, this would include lunch and snacks but, depending on the hours of care, could include breakfast and/or dinner. Do any of the children have food allergies that may impact what food is brought into the house? Do you have rules around what your children can eat (no sugary snacks, gluten- or lactose-free, etc.). Determine your course of action in regard to meals and snacks, add it to the nanny share contract, and discuss expectations with your nanny.
Daily or weekly updates
It’s a good idea for your nanny to keep a daily log of the day’s events and any concerns or questions that may arise. A quick five- to ten-minute recap at the end of the day will keep everyone on the same page and a longer weekly discussion is an opportunity to talk more in-depth about the nanny share. But not every family wants this level of detail. Some may prefer a written log that they can read during a quiet time in the evening.
Children who fall ill are an inevitability. So plan for it.
Host family’s children are sick
Does the other family still bring their children over? Does the nanny go to the other family’s house while the host family’s children stay home?
Non-host family’s children are sick
Can they still bring their children to the host family’s home?
Sometimes this can be determined by how contagious the child may be and the chances of infecting other children. You can also implement policies like daycare centers. If a child has a fever, they are excluded from the nanny share for 24 hours after the fever has ended.
If a family’s children are sick and not participating in the nanny share, the caregiver still is paid their full hourly rate even though they are only looking after one family’s kids.
Annual performance reviews are standard in traditional workplaces and have a positive effect in the household employment industry. It’s an opportunity to talk about job performance, development, and goals for the upcoming year. You can review and update your nanny share contract as needed. Often times, a raise and/or additional benefits are included when appropriate. In a nanny share, you’ll need to determine with the other family how your nanny will be assessed and communicate that criteria to your nanny.
How much notice will your nanny need to provide if they decide to quit? Two to four weeks is the industry standard. You may want a longer notice (maybe closer to four weeks) as it may take that long to find another nanny that both families will agree upon.
One contract or two?
As you have gone through the nuances to a nanny share contract, you may consider separate documents for each family to sign with the nanny. Especially if one family is paying more or providing the vehicle or supplying food, having different contracts that are specific to each family may make sense.
GTM can help
GTM Payroll Services has been assisting families with their household employment since 1991. We’ve answered many questions about nanny shares and how to make them work to benefit the families, children, and nannies. We’ll be happy to talk with you as well. Get a free, no-obligation consultation by calling (800) 929-9213.
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