Employment contracts for nannies: Many nanny employers tend to view a written work agreement as a document that offers benefits and protection primarily to the nanny when in fact; the document offers legal protection to the parents, as the employer and should offer a clear guideline of expectations and requirements when looking after your children.
It’s important to note though that all employment contracts for nannies need to be in line with the National Employment Standards and conditions set out by Fair Work Australia. It won’t be a justifiable argument that your nanny agreed to the terms of contract, to the Workplace Ombudsman if they are in breach of legislation.
The main advantages for having an employment contract are as follows:
1. Protection on unfair dismissal claims – it’s important to enter disciplinary actions within your contract and to have a listing over what behaviour constitutes gross misconduct and what type of behaviour constitutes disciplinary action. If you decide to let your nanny go due to general misconduct, if they have been employed for more than a year you must clearly document your disciplinary procedure. Basically your nanny must be warned verbally or preferably in writing, that they risk being dismissed if there is no improvement in their behaviour, with clear time period in which you expect the behaviour to improve.
2. Protection against conflict over the nanny taking leave – an employment contract for your nanny should have a clear outline on, leave entitlements, how much notice needs to be given to apply for leave, any shut down periods such as the Christmas holiday period and the process required if your nanny is too sick to come to work.
3. Include a job description – your nanny can’t be expected to memorise all of the rules and guidelines that you’ve set forth immediately upon acceptance. By getting all of the major rules and expectations in writing and included as part of the employment contract, you can help cement those rules by having a really clear job description.
4. Preventing the release of confidential information – By signing a nanny agreement that includes a confidentiality clause, your nanny is agreeing to keep any and all potentially damaging or private information under wraps, protecting you from any scandals or embarrassment should you part ways later under less than amicable circumstances. Please note: if you have clear ideas on what information can be included in social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, this should be written into the contract as well.