We continue our discussion of Policy & Procedure with some additional thoughts you’ll want to consider when creating or revising a work agreement.
Many nannies face the day when they start their own families. The question then arises; will I be able to bring my own child to work with me? Some families are open to this idea; some need time to weigh the pros and cons while others will not consider the idea and choose alternate care. How you approach and plan this out could be the difference in maintaining your current work environment or seeking new employment. As soon as you know you are expecting, I would recommend a sit down with your employer/s. Explain to them your thoughts. You want to continue working for them, you would like to bring your child to work with you and have a plan of action in place. How long you expect to have for maternity leave, how much would be paid/unpaid, what the backup care options are, what your backup child care options are should your child be ill and you need to work, how you will handle your medical appointments, child’s appointments, etc., so there is as little interference in your job as possible. On the job considerations include food for your child; hygiene needs (diapers, etc.), toys. Having thought these issues out and having a game plan in place where you can then discuss and come to some compromises and agreements on both sides is beneficial to all parties. Prepare yourself for skepticism, uncertainty and possible ending of your job, despite your best laid plans.
Another issue to be prepared for is when the parents are divorced. I wrote a detailed article on Nannies Working with Divorced Parents that you can read and share with your employers.
If you are a live-in nanny, you ALWAYS need to remember … you are living in someone’s home and should respect that home, the rules and treat it with care. You are provided with a living space. Keep it clean. While employers respect your right to privacy, you never know in an emergency when they will need to access your area. Don’t leave anything out that you don’t want them to see, hear, touch or smell – I’m talking plates of food, overflowing trash, sneaking cigarettes in a non-smoking house, etc. Respect their rules. If they say no candles, that means no candles. If they say do your laundry during the day, not on weekends, do yours during the day or take to a Laundromat on the weekends. There may come an occasion when you would like an overnight guest. I’ve had friends come into town. I’ve always asked my employers in advance, told them of our plans and made sure there is no problem. If there is, for any reason, I get a hotel room and plan accordingly.
Also as a live-in, you might have access to the family computer. Again, don’t have anything on their computer that you don’t wish them to see. Use caution when downloading photos and attachments. Be careful to log off of accounts and emails. I’ve heard and seen where a nanny forgot to sign off of an email address, her boss accessed it, read the nannies emails – some of which were about her job, then proceeded to post on a message board under that nannies account.
When requesting holiday vacation, keep in mind that you may not celebrate the same holidays as your employers. They may recognize Hanukkah while you recognize Christmas. This may conflict with the amount of time you would like off, but they may not take off that much time during the Christmas time that you need.
We’ll be wrapping up this series in part six, but keep in mind there are so many items that may be needed for one work agreement and not for others. No two work agreements are the same.