As we continue along in our series, we’re going to be discussing Policy & Procedures in the workplace.
One area you want to detail and be in agreement is your work vehicle. If you use your own vehicle for work or one is provided for your use, there are issues you need to agree upon and make sure you have in place.
If using your vehicle, make sure to meet with your insurance agent and explain that you will be using your vehicle for work related trips and what increase you will incur in your policy. Discuss this increase with your employers to determine who is responsible for the increase and how payments will be paid. You will also need to agree upon a mileage reimbursement rate, which the federal government sets a rate and you can find that at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=216048,00.html . The IRS has been known to change the rate at any point during the year, so a wording in work agreements I prefer is “mileage will be reimbursed at the current IRS rate”. You will also want to keep a notebook in the car to track your mileage day-to-day. One trick I use is every morning set the trip odometer to 0 and record mileage at the end of the day.
If employers are providing a vehicle for your use, agree upon work vs. personal use of car. How often should the car be washed/detailed, and how is maintenance handled. Do you take care of it/schedule the maintenance or do you inform the parents that maintenance is due. I did hear a story of a nanny who told the family the vehicle was due for an oil change; however the family never took care of it, the nanny continued to drive the vehicle which resulted in major engine trouble and a very costly repair bill.
Will you be permitted to use the vehicle on your off time? Who pays for gasoline? How are accidents / deductibles handled?
Many of us live and work in areas of the country with snow or bad weather days. You will want a clause in your work agreement defining how these days are handled. For live in, you are already in the home so it may not be an issue, but if the parent/parents are also home, it needs to be defined as to what your work environment will be. As a live-in nanny, and having an employer home for a week due to snow days, I was required to work. My employer is an attorney, and while she is snowed in DC, her clients across the country or in some cases in another country are working so she worked as well via phone and computer. Because it’s snowing in one part of country doesn’t mean the work stops for everyone.
If you are a live-out nanny, make sure your agreement clearly defines if you can or cannot get to work. If you have to spend the night what accommodations will be provided and compensation adjustments if you cannot make it to work / are not required to work. Will you have to make up the time; will it be unpaid or paid?
The same can be said of sick days. How many will be provided during your employment / length of contract? How soon is the family to be notified if you are unable to work? Do they want to be called at 3 am if you have been throwing up all night and can’t work, or do you wait until you know they are awake in the morning? Help them determine a backup plan. Is there a neighbor, class parent that can help get child to school? Can a relative come and help? Is there an agency you can contact for emergency backup care (usually fee based / on call need). Taking the extra step to ensure there is a plan in place should you be ill or have an unexpected emergency, helps keep the stress down for all.
Many of us work in homes that our employers are privy to confidential materials. We are also exposed to the personal information of our work families. This information should never be shared with others, and can be grounds for dismissal if information got out to others about your work family. A confidentially clause should be in place to protect both of you.
There are many more aspects to the job that we’ll continue to cover in this series. No two jobs are alike; no two work agreements are the same. I hope you’re keeping track of your daily tasks and habits which will help you create or revise your work agreement.