The Importance of a Contract When Hiring a Nanny

nanny jamboree

This article has been written by Adele Perry, of the Nanny Jamboree and Vancouver Nanny Network


Creating a contract can seem rather time-consuming for more tedious paperwork, but I can assure you that spending the time to set up a contract with your nanny, before work commences, will benefit you both in the long run.

Why is a Contract Important?

Keeping the lines of communication open is important, and having a solid contract with your Nanny is one step in the right direction to helping you both secure a happy and healthy relationship whilst keeping disputes and miscommunication as minimal as possible.
A Nanny usually spends around 40 hours per week with your children. She will become a part of the family while at the same time remain an employee and should, therefore, be compensated as such. I often hear way too many stories where nannies are taken advantage of because they are “part of the family” and are not compensated fairly for the extra work they do. I can assure you this is one of the fastest ways to lose your nanny to a family that will value and compensates her fairly. This is why a contract is so important.

Drawing up the Contract

The most important thing to remember when drawing up a contract is to ensure both parties have agreed and signed the contract BEFORE the nanny commences work.

When drawing up a contract, make sure that you are aware of all the legalities in your area. For example in British Columbia, nannies are legally entitled to Vacation Pay (4% or 2 weeks paid), Statutory Holidays and OT pay for any time over 8 hours in a single day and 40 hours in a week.

Extra Incentives are Good to Include

You can always throw extra incentives into the contract too. Keeping in mind that when you show extra care for your nanny, that usually pays forward into the quality child care you receive.

The Contract Checklist

Consider discussing and adding all these options into your nanny contract:

  • Hours and Days of work
  • Wage (discuss gross and net to avoid confusion)
  • How often will you pay your nanny (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly)? Tip: Consider nominating an exact day for pay such as 1st and 15th of the month and ALWAYS pay your nanny on time (she has bills too). You could try getting a company such as Tax4nanny to pay your Nanny on your behalf. Remember that a nanny is an employee and it’s the family’s responsibility to pay her taxes.
  • Vacation Pay – 4% or 2 weeks paid (weekdays)
  • Overtime (In BC after 8 hours a day and 40 hours in a week)
  • Statutory holidays (time and a half if working the holiday)
  • Monthly or Quarterly chats to keep the lines of communication open. Revise the contract if needed.
  • Annual review/yearly pay rise
  • Notice of termination on both sides (2 weeks is standard)
  • Sick pay – it is highly encouraged to give your nanny a few sick days. Working with children she is almost inevitably going to get sick or burnt out. Consider giving her 2-5 sick days so she can be at her best when looking after your children.
  • Duties – Try and stick to Children related and not house-related duties. (if you do require house related tasks, consider paying her more). Usual nanny tasks include; cleaning up after the children in their playroom/bedroom, teaching the kids to clean up after themselves, cleaning up after feeding children, children’s laundry, getting kids ready for the day, taking them on outings etc.
  • Nanny Cameras – If you have cameras in your house watching, it is required by law that you let your nanny know. She may or may not be comfortable with this. Consider having a separate written agreement about this.
  • Guaranteed hours – Your nanny will want weekly guaranteed hours. If your family choose to go away, or have family visiting and don’t need her for a few days that week, consider paying your Nanny for this time. You can also discuss giving at least a month’s notice if you do not need her services for these circumstances.This way she has time to find alternate work to continue paying her bills. If you want to keep your nanny around, I would consider paying her anyways, there is a chance she could find another position when you’re gone. Paying her for her guaranteed hours will show a level respect that you understand she still has bills to pay and will keep her around much longer than if you don’t pay her.
  • Criminal record check – If you require this, consider contributing towards obtaining it (if the nanny doesn’t already have one)
  • Courses – If you require first aid certification, and your nanny’s is about to expire consider helping towards the cost of first aid. Also, consider giving your nanny a set amount per year towards continuing her education (say $500). This benefits your child too, ensuring she is giving the best care.
  • Photo and social media policy – It’s natural that your nanny will want to take photos of your children to share them with the parents when they get home to show them their day. Talk about whether you will allow her to put them on social media or not.
  • Keeping in touch throughout the day – It’s understandable you want to keep in touch throughout the day. Find a method that works for you. A phone call at lunchtime. A text update here and there.
  • Meals – Will you allow your employee to eat from the home (usually what the kids eat) or is she required to bring in her own food.
  • Petty Cash/Passes – Consider talking about how much you want to spend on activities for the week and leave petty cash for your nanny for these outings. You could also consider a pass to science world, the aquarium or other passes for her to take your kids on fun and educational outings.
  • Travel – Consider how your nanny will get around. Public transit? Offer her a monthly pass to make it easier. If you have a car to leave your nanny to use, just make sure you keep up on the upkeep of that. If you require she use her own car, think about paying the mileage and insurance costs.
  • Backup Care if the nanny is sick: Who will look after the kids if my nanny cannot make it to work. A backup babysitter? Grandparents? Will you call in sick to work? It’s important to have backup care in place.

Overall, just be sure to sit down and talk with your nanny before drawing up the contract. Based on previous experiences on both parties, there may be additional things to be included if you see fit. It might seem like a long list, but just remember that this contract will ensure both parties are on the same page, keeps confusion at bay, and can help keep your nanny happy and on board long-term.

About the Author – Adele Perry of Nanny Jamboree & Vancouver Nanny Network

I have worked in various forms of childcare in four different countries over the past ten years. As well as having worked as a nanny, I have also worked as a childcare assistant at a daycare, a substitute teacher for ECE, a camp counsellor and an AuPair.  I have participated in many charities such as Exile Island for Childrens wish foundation twice. Working with children is something I have always enjoyed, they somehow always manage to make me smile. Watching children learn and grow is always amazing. I enjoy my career as a nanny. 
I created the Vancouver Nanny Network in April 2014 when a friend and I were discussing how crazy you can get being with children all day with no other adult in sight. If you are a parent or work with children all day, you know exactly what I am talking about. The Vancouver Nanny Network is a community where nannies are able to come together to organize play dates and social events. Nannies are also welcome to share their childcare advice, tips and stories. 

The group has grown a lot since it first started so now we have decided to take it in another direction. We want to help nannies to be their best when they are on the job so this is how Nanny Jamboree started. 

*This article was provided, as a sponsored post. All opinions and details of the article are that of Nanny Jamboree and Vancouver Nanny Network

**Images courtesy of Nanny Jamboree and Shutterstock

You May Also Like