Monday Problem: How do I go from no contract to a nanny contract?

Disclaimer: all emails are abbreviated and edited for clarity. When you submit to The Nanny Time Bomb please note that there will be edits. All names and info kept confidential. 

Dear Nanny X,

I really like my current job but I want more structure. My hours change week to week, the stuff I’m asked to do changes. It’s hard for me to budget for bills in weeks when my hours are low or when the family goes away and I just don’t get paid. I want to have a contract so I can get basic hours and some paid vacation. I’m reliable and hard-working and an American citizen – but how do I ask for this protection?


Dear Samantha,

your employers have an obligation to observe the Domestic Workers law in your state. Legal domestic workers are afforded protection under the law governing issues like basic hours, over-time and vacation and sick pay. Look up the laws in your state.

Then request a conversation and say something like this:

“… I really love working with your family and I’d like to commit to this position for as long as you need me. For your convenience I printed out this standard employment agreement. Can you give it a look over and once you’re done I will sign it?”

Let the contract negotiate for you. Your employers will need to carefully look over the conditions in the contract and either agree or amend various sections. Once you have a contract you can all work with, get two copies signed by all the parties: then you keep a copy and they will keep a copy. Most contracts are renewed annually, so bear that in mind. 

Nanny X

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