Full-Time Nanny Contract

The Importance of Having a Nanny Contract

A nanny contract, also commonly called a nanny/family agreement, governs the employment relationship between a nanny and her employers. Nanny contracts set the tone for a professional working relationship, spell out the expectations of both the nanny and the parents and provide written documentation of what both parties have agreed to.

While not every situation a full-time nanny and her employers may encounter can be addressed in a written work agreement, many common situations that cause tension and conflict in the working relationship can be sorted out prior to the commencement of a nanny’s first day.

Some nannies and employers settle on a verbal agreement rather than on one that is written down. This can be problematic as both parties are forced to rely only on their memories to determine what they agreed to. When the memories don’t align, disagreements will occur. Having a written contract allows nannies and parents to refer back to their mutually agreed upon agreement when questions surrounding employment rights, responsibilities or benefits arise.

Written agreements can also help prevent miscommunications. When a detailed written work agreement is drafted and executed, there is no confusion as to what both the nanny and parents agreed to. Since the agreement is signed, neither the nanny nor parents can claim ignorance about mutually agreed upon terms.

While nanny employers are not required to have a nanny contract with their employee under federal law, having one is industry best practice. Since contracts and work agreement are legally binding and enforceable in court, it is advised both parents and nannies consult with an attorney that specializes in domestic labor law, like Bob King of Legally Nanny, prior to signing the agreement.

10 Things To Include in a Nanny Contract

In addition to who the agreement is between, the dates that it starts and ends and the signature of both the parents and the nanny, there are 10 essential things that should be included in a nanny contract.

  1. Specific Duties. Specifically spell out your nanny’s duties. Avoid vague terms like “light housekeeping” that lend themselves to interpretation. Instead make a bulleted list of duties you expect your nanny to take on.
  2. Responsibilities. Outline exactly what your nanny is responsible for. This should include, if applicable, making and serving nutritious meals and snacks, transporting the children to and from work and complete care of the children’s wardrobe.
  3. Schedule. Be sure to include how many hours per week your nanny is expected to work and outline her weekly schedule. If flexibility is required, be sure to note how much and how often.
  4. Salary. Nannies are non-exempt employees and as such must be paid in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. All nannies are required to be paid at least minimum wage for each hour worked and live-out nannies, and live-in nannies in some states, are entitled to an overtime rate of 1.5 times their base hourly rate for any hours worked over 40 in a 7-day-period. Be sure to indicate how often your nanny will be paid and if the salary is gross or net.
  5. Benefits. Outline what benefits you are providing to your nanny. Typical benefits include 2 weeks paid vacation, paid sick days and personal days and partial or full contribution towards health insurance. Some nanny employers also offer retirement plans. How much notice is required for vacation and how and when a nanny should notify her employers should she have to stay home from work sick should be included in this section of the agreement.
  6. Tax Responsibilities. Be sure to outline withholding and payment responsibilities. Nanny employers must pay FICA, which includes Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes and total about 7.65% of the nanny’s wages. They must also pay FUTA, the federal unemployment tax. State unemployment taxes may also apply and vary state to state. The Nanny must also pay their share of FICA taxes and their own income tax payments, however many employers as a courtesy, agree to withhold and manage the payments for her. Nanny employers who paid their nannies legally are eligible for tax breaks that can offset the cost of compliance.
  7. House Rules. The house rules summarize the nonnegotiable code of conduct a nanny employer has in her home. The rules may include reference to off-limit areas of the home, visitors, electronics usage and safety.
  8. Car Use and Transportation. If the nanny will be transporting the children in her car, she must be reimbursed according to the IRS business mileage reimbursement rate. She must also have proper insurance that includes coverage for transporting children as part of her work. If an employer opts to provide a car, the nanny should be added to the policy and an agreement regarding deductibles, should an accident occur, be discussed.
  9. Room and Board. For nannies who live-in, the contract should outline their accommodations. At minimum, live-in nannies should have a private bed and bath. The contract should also include what meals and snacks will be provided to the nanny and if the live-out nanny is responsible for bringing her own.
  10. Termination Agreement. Contracts can be at will, provide for a mutually agreeable period of notice or include severance. At will contracts allow the contract to be terminated at any time for any reason (that isn’t illegal). While some contacts specify a period of notice, employers may wish to provide a statement that allows for payment in lieu of notice.

7 Clauses Nanny Contracts May Have

In addition to the common essentials that most nanny agreements will have, some employers will include special clauses in the nanny contract.

Confidentiality Clause. A confidentiality clause prevents a nanny from discussing the terms of her employment or disclosing information about the family or her charges, as enforceable by law. A confidentiality agreement would not prevent a nanny from reporting suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities, for example.

Privacy Clause. Nanny employers may demand that their privacy is respected and that no photographs of the family, home or children are taken or published, printed or shared with social media. A privacy clause may also outline any restrictions on the use of the home when the nanny is on or off duty.

Relocation Clause. Some nanny contracts will include a relocation clause. The clause may address who will pay for the nanny to relocate to the employer’s area and who will pay for her to return to her home area when the relationship ends. It could also address the nanny and parents responsibilities should the family relocate during the term of the agreement.

CPR/First Aid Certification Clause. Parents should require their nannies to maintain current CPR and first aid certification for the duration of their agreement. A clause in the contract should address this requirement.

Electronics Clause. Some parents wish to limit their nanny’s cell phone, computer and personal mobile electronics usage during working hours. The limitations should be clearly outlined in a nanny work agreement clause.

Evacuation Clause. Instructions should be clearly laid out should there ever be a need to evacuate the family’s home. An end destination and an in-state and out of state contact should be appointed as a messenger, should the local phone system or cell towers go down.

Authorization To Treat Clause. Should an emergency arise and the parents cannot be reached, a formal authorization to provide medical treatment can ensure the appropriate medical attention is provided. The clause should make note of an addendum that includes an authorization to treat form. The nanny should be required to always have it with her when caring for the children and a copy should be kept on file at the pediatrician’s office.


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