Categories: Employment

Put it in Writing: The Value of Employment Agreements with Nannies and Other Household Employees

TASA ID: 2343

You've just hired your nanny or other household employee. You're thrilled, she's thrilled, and you're in the employer-employee version of a honeymoon. You can't imagine that anything will ever go wrong.

While in most cases, fortunately, that's true, in other cases things can get contentious if your understanding of the details of your arrangement is somehow different than your employee's understanding of them. This is where ugly disputes can begin, some of which may ultimately cause the end of the employment relationship. Shared expectations are critical and, as with most things in life, the devil is in the details.

Even though this employer-employee relationship will and should be more familiar than most - your nanny is an important figure in your child's life and is in your home, after all - you should not be too casual about your relationship. Remember that on a basic level it needs to be professional: right from the beginning, make sure that you're clear about your expectations. This includes performance, days off, and more. The more specific you can be, the more smoothly things are likely to go. This is where employment agreements can be invaluable, so that there are no unpleasant surprises on either side.

What is an Employment Agreement?

Sometimes referred to as a contract or a work agreement, an employment agreement outlines a nanny's terms of employment and specifies how the employer expects her to care for the children. Although not legally required, the agreement is enforceable and greatly reduces potential disputes.

Let's say, for example, that you are offering your employee five vacation days per year. You were planning for her to accrue them throughout the course of the year, but didn't articulate that to her; meanwhile, she wants to take all five paid vacation days during her second month on the job. Had you spelled it out completely in an employment agreement, a potential dispute could have been avoided.

An employment agreement should contain important provisions such as listing the nanny's job duties, work hours and compensation, detailing, for example, any vacation, sick days and holidays you are planning to offer your nanny.

Many household employers also utilize an employment agreement to emphasize their privacy and confidentiality expectations of their nannies, important points when you have someone working so closely within your home. The document should include anything you and your nanny have agreed to so that there is no ambiguity down the road. 

This article discusses issues of general interest and does not give any specific legal, medical, or business advice pertaining to any specific circumstances.  Before acting upon any of its information, you should obtain appropriate advice from a lawyer or other qualified professional.

This article may not be duplicated, altered, distributed, saved, incorporated into another document or website, or otherwise modified without the permission of the author, who will be contacted by TASA.

Previous Article Improving Profitability and Productivity Through Psychologically Healthy Workplace Practices
Next Article The Benefits of Paying Nannies and Other Household Employees Legally…and the Consequences of Paying “Under the Table”
Tasa ID2343

Theme picker


  • Let Us Find Your Expert

  • Note: This form is to be completed by legal and insurance professionals ONLY. If you are a party in a case that requires an expert witness, please have your attorney contact TASA at 800-523-2319.

Search Experts

TASA provides a variety of quality, independent experts who meet your case criteria. Search our extensive list of experts now.

Search Experts