Do you need a nanny contract?


When you hire a nanny, you’re primarily focused on making sure they’re a good fit for your children. But even though we all hate paperwork, you also need to prioritize writing up a solid nanny contract. And while you might be hesitant to rock the boat by introducing a formal document into the working relationship, taking the time to draft and a sign a nanny contract can protect both your family and your nanny.


Find out more about why you need a contract and what to include by watching the video and reading the advice below.


Why do I need a nanny contract?

When you and your nanny are clear on the responsibilities of the job, it reduces confusion and makes disputes easier to solve amicably when they do crop up. For example, how much notice do you expect your nanny to give you if they are using a vacation day so you can find back-up care? Or, how should expenses be handled? If anything, a nanny contract forces you to talk through expectations up front — it’s much more difficult to resolve these issues on the fly.


What should I include in my nanny contract?

There are employment attorneys you can hire to write up a nanny contract, but you can also write out your own. The level of detail you use is up to you, but the more specifics you add, the better. We generally recommend including the following items:


  • Your nanny's start date.

  • The expected weekly work schedule.

  • A general overview of your nanny's job responsibilities.

  • Your nanny's compensation, including expenses, overtime and other benefits.

  • Paid time off your nanny will receive.

  • A list of paid and unpaid holidays your nanny will have off.

  • How your nanny's taxes will be handled.

  • Your family's social media policy.

  • Reasons why your nanny can be terminated and termination process by either party.

  • The process for giving reviews and raises to your nanny.


For more specifics on these items, check out our Sample Nanny Contract.


Are nanny contracts legal?

"Yes, it's a legally binding document that a court will accept if there is ever a dispute," notes Kerri Swope, Vice President of HomePay. "The only exception is if there is language in your contract that directly contradicts federal, state or local laws."


So for example, if you do not honor your nanny’s request to take their accrued vacation days, your nanny contract could be used in court if a dispute is filed.


Do I need to hire a lawyer to write or review my nanny contract?

A contract doesn't have to be drawn up by a lawyer to be binding, but hiring a professional who specializes in employment issues and nanny contracts will ensure that nothing is inadvertently included or omitted. If you have a complex situation, it may make sense for you to hire one.


What labor laws do I need to know for my nanny's contract?

You should familiarize yourself with the wage and hour laws that apply to your nanny so you know which federal, state and local standards you'll be obliged to comply with to ensure fair employment. Things like overtime, paid time off and working overnight shifts may apply to your nanny's job and are important to understand.


When you and your nanny agree on the terms of the contract, your should both sign a copy and keep it for your records. Contracts aren't just for families, so your nanny should feel comfortable talking with you about the important details in your contract. And during your nanny’s annual review, you can always change certain things in your contract as the job evolves.


Your Next Steps:

* The information contained in this article should not be used for any actual nanny relationship without the advice and guidance of a professional advisor who is familiar with all the relevant facts. The information contained herein is general in nature and is not intended as legal, tax or investment advice. Furthermore, the information contained herein may not be applicable to or suitable for your specific circumstances and may require consideration of other matters.



Join the conversation

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Dana V.

What time does the clock start? When the parents ask you to come @ 7pm or when they finally leave for the evening out 9pm? Also, the pay difference when the kids are awake. 7pm - 9pm vs. When they're asleep. 9pm - 3am, when the parents finally get home.? My daughter was paid $20. For 3 kids from 7pm - 3am. Plus we drove her both ways, 25 miles round trip twice.
March 13, 2016 at 7:19 PM
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Biby B.

I enjoyed reading this article! So much information on here that many aren't aware about, this is very helpful.
February 12, 2016 at 5:01 PM
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Camila F.

Frances R. I agree with you 100%. Austin TX to rent an apt you cannot make $10 an hr, Guess what? Shelters a full of people with job not because of abuse, because they cannot afford home. Cost of living is way higher here in Austin Texas. Probably that is different state by state. Here is affecting people's lives. You have to proof you can pay your rent making a certain amount of income. $10/11 an hrs is basic. Still not approved to rent a place. It is shocking, even if you have a roommate, it can be more complicated. People lie to nannies a lot. We need to be more leaders of our jobs and make this as a professional job just like any job. If everyone do that, people will feel entitled to see as profession, and things might change, certainly will take some time.
February 07, 2016 at 4:46 PM
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Bich Lien L.

I strongly suggest that everyone should sign the contract with your employer before you start to work. There is always sound good to be true in order to impress you. Unfortunately, it often a happening to you that causes by others. Even though, a major or a serious problem, you should always give yourself a precaution if you see someone or something suspicious. I believe everyone of us have learned a lot about these safety from many of our sharing with the Good luck to all. Thank you
June 12, 2015 at 5:09 PM
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Denise B.

Hello I am currently a nanny in New York and have worked with the family full time for three years. Over the course of three years I have not only had to do childcare but also became the housekeeper which was never in my original contract. I was just told the other day they only want to keep me two days a week and are dropping my health insurance. I will not be able to survive due to this drastic change. I asked for a raise to help lessen the blow and she declined. I have been on the books the entire time, can I collect unemployment due to the breech of contract and lack of insurance and even pay to be able to afford my insurance?
April 28, 2015 at 3:16 PM

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