After reading the title to this blog post, you may be thinking, "Okay, Hasti has lost her mind... typical lawyer... why do I need a Nanny Contract when I can just pay my nanny cash and avoid any formal relationship, taxes, or liability?" But that fact is that if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck. Ultimately, hiring a nanny creates an employer-employee relationship despite what you would like to think. Although not legally required, it would be prudent for parents to provide their nannies with a Nanny Contract to set out all the ground rules beforehand to reduce the chances of any disagreements down the line. Your contract can and should contain almost anything that you desire (so long as the clauses are legal of course). But it can cover anything from how your nanny is paid, to what her schedule will be, to what things you will be providing her in your home. Your contract may include clauses pertaining to the following: •Work hours(for example, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)It should also include her days off, the days she is expected to work, the hours she is expected to work and if she will be given overtime for any extra days or hours worked. •Benefits (such as health insurance, paid holidays, vacation, etc.) You may also want to include whether she is to travel out of state or the country with the family on trips. •Wages and pay schedule (for example, $1,000 on the 1st and 15th of every month) Your Nanny Contract must have her salary in it; along with the dates she will be receiving her paychecks. It should also have any health benefits and tax information that is deemed necessary. •Duties (such as taking your child to and from soccer on Tuesdays and Thursdays, straightening his bedroom, folding his laundry, etc.)The Nanny Contract must have all of the responsibilities that she will be held accountable for. This includes taking care of the children, specific household chores, and any educational or social activities you will be in charge of. •House Rules These rules may include visitors, smoking, alcohol use, dietary restrictions, and security (locking the door, setting the alarm). This will be more detailed for the live in nanny. May the nanny have guests during working hours? After hours if she is a live in? Do you need to meet and pre-approve the guests? Remember, this is your private home and your children. What about play dates? If the play date is at another's home, does the nanny need to stay? What about trips to the local park, pool, library, or mall? •Special situations (For example, if you must stay late at work, you'll pay $5 per hour above and beyond your nanny's usual fee, or if she's sick, she must call you by 6:30 a.m.) •Agreement about evening work (Do not assume that your nanny will be available for occasional evening babysitting jobs, but agree on this ahead of time. Keep in mind that your nanny has a life of her own. •Transportation You may include your nanny's means of transportation. Will she be driving her car or your car? If so, you may agree to help pay for the insurance. Also, who will pay for gas? •Emergency plans (For example, she should call Grandma and drop your child off with her.) •Confidentiality Clause Often, Nanny Contracts will have a confidentiality clause that she must sign stating that she will not repeat anything heard or seen within the home (with the exception of abuse of course). A confidentiality clause protects your family from having your nanny repeat private information to others. At the end of the day, however, you can only hope that your nanny is professional and discrete as Confidentiality Clauses can prove difficul to enforce. But signing a confidentiality clause does help put your Nanny on notice as to your expectations and can serve as a reminder that your family takes their privacy seriously. Also, a confidentiality clause can require more than your Nanny being required to not discuss your family matters with others. It can require that your Nanny not discuss her salary with others. Of course, all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. That's why it's advisable to hire an attorney to draft a contract for you. That way you can make sure all of your concerns, and even your nanny's are covered. Not to mention, a labor and employment attorney can explain all the nuances of how and when to pay your nanny, etc. At The Law Offices of Hasti Daneshvar, we have provided our clients with Nanny Contracts on numerous occassions. I believe that a Nanny Contract is a must these days. Although it may seem tedious at first, it really provides for a more stable household and can also help prevent any future lawsuits (ie. Meg Whitman or Kobe's nannies).