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In-Home Childcare Employment Issues

Depending on the number and ages of children in your household, there may be a variety of extracurricular activities that your nanny will have to drive to. In addition, you may want her to take your children on outings, such as a trip to the movies, to the ice cream parlor, or to the bowling alley. You can either provide the nanny with cash in advance, or you can simply reimburse her after she submits receipts for her expenses. In any event, you should require her to get your prior approval before taking the children on an excursion, so that you are not caught off guard with an unplanned bill for activities.

If the nanny is using the family car for transportation, you will not need to worry about mileage expenses. When the nanny uses her own car, however, you may wish to offer reimbursement on a per-mile basis. The amount, of course, is open to agreement. One guideline is the Internal Revenue Service standard mileage expense deduction, which is 40.5 cents per mile (in 2005).

House Rules
Providing a list of house rules gives the nanny a guide to the rules that she and the children are required to follow. Any policy that you expect to be enforced should be included in this section. The following are just a few possibilities for you to consider:

  • rules regarding the children's friends coming into the house;
  • rules limiting the amount of television the children may watch;
  • rules setting limits on computer or hand-held electronic games;
  • rules prohibiting unhealthy snacks;
  • requirements for chores to be performed by the children; and,
  • limits on telephone use by the nanny and the children.
Acceptable Methods of Discipline
Describe both acceptable and unacceptable approaches to discipline. You should already be familiar with your nanny's philosophy regarding discipline from your initial interview, but putting it in writing emphasizes your own philosophy further. Spanking or other forms of corporal (physical) punishment should not be allowed, according to the vast majority of experts. Time-outs and redirection are good forms of discipline for younger children; older ones may be responsive to grounding or taking away some other privilege or prized item. Obviously, your own preferred method of correction is the one you should require of your nanny.

Additional Duties/Housework
You want to be as thorough as possible with your list of additional duties you expect. List not only the tasks that you expect the nanny to perform, but also the jobs for which she is not responsible. Be very clear, so there are no misunderstandings. If you want the nanny to take on housekeeping duties, be sure to discuss this in advance, then outline the duties in the agreement. If possible, also state how often you expect the tasks to be done. Some housework must be performed on a daily basis, while other jobs need to be done only once a week.

At the same time, you should anticipate that there might be some duties that you will want the nanny to handle that you have not thought to set out in the agreement. For that reason, you may want to include a statement that other, nonspecific tasks may be required of the nanny from time to time.

Annual Review/Pay Raises
If you have found a good nanny, you will want to keep her by offering her pay increases on a regular—usually yearly—basis. You may put right in the contract that she will receive a certain percentage increase every year. However, it may be better not to commit yourself to a set amount, but rather to make the increase contingent on an annual review. At the review, give the nanny an evaluation of her job performance for the past year. Based on how happy you are with the childcare your nanny is providing, you can decide what kind of a raise to give her.

More on: Childcare

Copyright © 2005 by Linda H. Connell. Excerpted from The Childcare Answer Book with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon.com.


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