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In-Home Childcare Employment Issues

Be very clear on the procedure you wish the nanny to follow in case of an emergency-especially a medical emergency. Of course, if a serious injury, fire, or crime occurs, the nanny first should summon emergency personnel, most likely by calling 911. Otherwise, the nanny should get in touch with you immediately. Keep all work and cell phone numbers listed in a conspicuous place near the telephone, and be sure the nanny is aware of the list's location.

Consent/Authorization Forms
In the case of a medical emergency, especially if the nanny cannot reach the parents, it is crucial that the nanny has written authority to seek treatment for the children. The parents should complete and sign a consent form for each one of their children that specifically names the nanny and authorizes her to obtain emergency services, such as paramedic assistance or hospital care, as necessary.

Release of Children
There may be occasions when a member of your extended family will want to take your children out for a treat. Perhaps your child's friend will call wanting to invite your child for a playdate. You may wish to treat each of these requests on a case-by-case basis and have the nanny contact you at work to see if you approve of her releasing your child to the relative or neighbor. On the other hand, you may feel that anytime your mother wants to take your child to the park, it is perfectly fine with you, and the nanny should let your child go.

You should clarify whatever policy you are comfortable with, and if there is anyone you want the nanny to release the children to without having to contact you first, you should list them specifically in the agreement. You should be sure to introduce them to the nanny as soon as possible once her employment begins, so she is familiar with them. Anytime you allow your child to leave the house with a person the nanny does not know, such as the parent of your child's friend, you should require that the nanny verify the identity of the person by requesting identification. Of course, you will want to let the other parent know your nanny will be asking for identification, so the parent will not be caught off guard and possibly become offended.

Relocation Expenses
If you have a nanny who has relocated from out of town specifically for this position, you may wish to specify whether or not you are paying any of the costs of relocation. Be clear about expenses both for the move to your town and for her return home at the end of the caregiver relation­ship. Some families agree to pay some or all of these costs in order to recruit the best possible nanny. If you are not willing to contribute to these expenses, include a provision in the agreement that the nanny is responsible for her own moving costs. This is more likely to come up in a live-in nanny situation.

The contract should set out the proper method for ending the employment relationship by either party. Unless there are issues involving imminent harm to the children or to your household property, it is courteous and professional to give the other party notice of the intent to terminate the agreement. If you are the one ending the contract, you should give the nanny time—with pay—to find other employment. If the nanny decides to end the relationship, she should continue to work for a period of at least several weeks to allow you to make other childcare arrangements. Put your notice requirements in writing in the agreement.

Even if you have all the necessary provisions concerning the separation with your nanny in writing, signed by both parties, the actual process of terminating the employment of the nanny can trigger unforeseen reactions, including her refusal to vacate your home voluntarily. This is not to say your written employment agreement is meaningless, but that you should take care to address as many contingencies as possible in the agreement. A thorough contract will help to put you on firm legal ground, should it be necessary to take any action to conclude your association with the nanny or au pair. (Termination of the relationship between the parents and the childcare provider are discussed generally in Terminating the Childcare Relationship.)

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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