10 Reasons You Should Always Make the Nanny Sign a Contract

It can be easy to side-step the creation of a signed contract in employment relationships, such as with your nanny, especially when you feel that you have a strong, trusting relationship. This can be a mistake that may be costly to either you or your nanny or both. Here are ten reasons why you should always have a signed contract in place with your nanny.

  1. Mutual protection – Contracts, when written appropriately, should provide protection for both parties entering into the agreement. A signed contract offers protection to your nanny, as well as to you, her employer.
  2. Misunderstandings – With verbal agreements, it is easy for one or both parties to make assumptions about what has been agreed to. By having all your terms written out in a signed contract, these types of misunderstandings are less likely to happen.
  3. Memory lapses – Without the benefit of the terms of employment in writing, it can be easy to forget specifics of the agreement. With a signed contract, both parties always have a written document to refer to when an item is in question.
  4. Covering the bases – Creating a signed contract is a good exercise, in itself, to assure the parties that all areas of the agreement have been discussed and agreed upon, such as work hours, paid time off, pay periods, benefits and duties to be performed.
  5. Legal issues – A signed contract provides a level of legal protection for both parties. It defines the working relationship can be used in a court of law, if the necessity should arise.
  6. Tax issues – A signed contract with your nanny can be extremely important if you should be selected for a tax audit. The contract will provide the basis for determining the nanny’s employment status.
  7. Employment security – Providing a signed employment contract for your nanny will provide your nanny with a sense of employment security. With a signed contract in hand that states the terms of employment, she can be assured that she has a trustworthy employer that is willing to back up their commitments with a legal document.
  8. Termination issues – There is always the potential that an employer may need to terminate a nanny relationship at some point. Having the terms for termination spelled out for both parties will make the steps required clearly defined and easy to follow.
  9. Duties defined – A signed contract with your nanny should always include a scope of duties, delineating what is and is not expected from your nanny, while she is on duty.
  10. The unexpected – Contracts are about clarifying what you do expect and also setting some ground rules for the unexpected. Things like a prolonged illness or an injury sustained by the nanny or changes needed due to changes in your employment situation can be dealt with in an employment contract.

As stated in item number one, a signed contract is beneficial to both parties and the reasons are numerous.