The work agreement is an essential document for both the household employer and nanny. A comprehensive work agreement goes a long way to establish a successful working relationship. Not only will it prevent problems from occurring, but it will also set the tone of the working relationship with open and clear communications. The most effective work agreement for nannies and other household employees is in writing and covers all aspects of working in your home—including the nanny’s work schedule, required daily duties, compensation, benefits, termination, and a confidentiality clause. Work agreements can be considered an important step in building a long-lasting relationship in which all parties clearly understand their responsibilities and expectations.
The work agreement also helps safeguard the cost of recruiting and obtaining a nanny. Turnover costs can run thousands of dollars, especially considering the cost of advertising; time spent to screen, interview, and reference check; placement agency fees; training costs; and, employer time lost from work or other activities.
Why create a work agreement?
- A written work agreement helps to ensure the employment of a highly skilled nanny. It protects your confidential information. If a candidate does not want to join you in developing a work agreement or does not wish to sign one that has been developed, red flags should appear immediately. Why does this nanny not want to enter into an agreement that details his or her job? The actual existence of a work agreement acts as a tool for you to target the best candidates—and discount those who are disagreeable.
- The work agreement is a cooperative endeavor, ideally to be developed (and revised) together with your nanny. It details the nanny’s job, including establishing a term of employment (e.g., the nanny job may be for a one-year term, with a date to review the nanny’s performance, the work agreement, and the possible extension of the employment to another year); your expectations (spell out the nanny’s duties—be specific and include important considerations to your household, such as protecting the personal and private information contained within the home); the employee’s expectations; your household procedures and instructions your nanny will use daily in the job; and the nanny’s compensation and benefits.
As a household employer, clear expectations are paramount. This is why the work agreement is so critical to the beginning of the employer-nanny relationship, even for a relationship on the best of terms. With it, both the employer and nanny are reducing the likelihood that problems will occur.
Download a free nanny contract template. GTM recommends your work agreement be reviewed by an employment attorney.