We have recently been discussing the increased popularity of nanny sharing - two families hiring one nanny to care for both children. Today we will explore the top three Sticky wickets in a nanny share arrangement.
Sick Child Policy
A direct hire nanny for an individual family is typically expected to care for sick children. In fact, this is considered a huge benefit to the hiring family over group child care arrangements. In a nanny share, however, you have children from different families being cared for together. How do you balance the interests of the family with the healthy child with the needs of the family with the sick child?
Generally speaking, families are agreeable that fever, vomiting, and the first 24 hours of a bacterial infection are indications that the sick child should not participate in the share that day. The family with the sick child in these circumstances is responsible to provide alternate child care while these symptoms are in play.
The best share partners have a candid three way conversation (both sets of parents and the nanny) well before a sick child situation to reach a mutually agreeable "sick child policy." What is the plan when the sick child is a member of the host family's household for example? Is everyone agreeable that run of the mill viral infections just come with the territory and the child with a cough and runny nose is still welcome? Babycenter.com has an excellent article, Is My Child Too Sick for Daycare?
Pay for Days Not Used
In a day care, families pay by the week or the month to hold their child's slot within specified hours. Nannies, however, are hourly employees. Does a share family still have to pay when they are gone for a week's vacation or take a long weekend? What about the two days your child had the stomach flu and you kept him home? Don't wait until this happens - agree on how to handle this in advance. Most shares agree that the families pay for their regular schedule whether they use the nanny every day or not. This provides the nanny with a dependable income stream and is consistent with the philosophy that a nanny share spreads the nanny's wages between the families.
Ending the Share
It will happen - the share will end at some point when one family's needs change. Some situations, such as the birth of a second child, naturally have plenty of lead time for all parties to discuss and agree to an amicable and orderly separation. This is not, however, always the case. Often families are on one or more wait lists for openings in a child care center. When their name finally reaches the top, they typically have to commit almost immediately to take the slot (and begin paying for it) or to pass. What about the other family and the nanny?
A best practice is to incorporate a notice provision in the 3-way agreement between the families and the nanny. Each family agrees to provide either x weeks notice of their intent to leave the share (usually no less than 2 weeks and rarely more than 6), or agrees to pay the nanny through the notice period, even if they leave prematurely.