Oftentimes, parents and Nanny aren’t on the same page when it comes to the many issues associated with raising a child—not unlike how a mother and father may have differing opinions. It can often feel uncomfortable for a parent to tell the caretaker who looks after his or her child what to do—acting as her boss, when she really feels more like a member of the family. Here are four common miscommunications between parent and nanny, and how to resolve them:
1. The nanny is unclear of what her duties entail.
The best way to solve this issue is with a written Employer/Employee Contract. Neverland Nannies & Domestics can provide a template for a family and nanny that they can use to clearly outline duties and expectations. Although this may seem formal to some, the nanny/family dynamic is still an employer/employee relationship and should be treated as such. A contract is helpful because either party can refer back to it, and the nanny will feel comfortable knowing that her duties have been clearly outlined from the start. If the family would like to add chores to her list of duties, negotiations for additional pay can be discussed and the contract revised. It should be looked at as a living document that can and most likely will be altered as the nanny and family grow together in their relationship. Additionally, if possible, a parent should consider taking a couple of days off from work to train the nanny when she is first hired.
2. Miscommunication: small issues become big problems because they are not addressed immediately.
There are many variables that affect a family’s day-to-day life with their nanny. It can take a nanny several months to understand the ebbs and flows of the household and the specific characteristics of each family member, which can make these challenging times. Furthermore, it can feel uncomfortable for a parent to address an issue with someone who is so closely connected with his or her family. This is why it is important, right off the bat, to establish a weekly, or bimonthly meeting where the parents and nanny can address any issues he or she is having. These should just be casual conversations—just a chance to exchange thoughts and recommendations. This will allow everyone to “check-in” on a consistent basis and nobody will have to stress about the best time to bring up a sensitive issue. Nobody is a mind reader, so with this consistent communication, you are more likely to avoid resentment.
3. On-time arrivals
This section applies to both nanny and parent—and hey, we live in Southern California where traffic is as common as blue skies and 80-degree weather in February. So, to expect that a nanny will arrive exactly at 7:30am— every. single. day, will only lead to disappointment. However, that doesn’t mean that a nanny shouldn’t be held to the same standards as any other employee in the workforce. The nanny has a responsibility to be at her place of work at the expected time every day, even though it’s just at your home.
This standard also applies to the parent; coming home from work, a little later and later every evening can often lead to feelings of resentment by the nanny because she can feel as though you don’t value her time or she may begin to feel taken advantage of. Again, using the tips from #1 and creating a clear contract with expectations of start and end times will help in this situation, and so will #2. On the rare occasion a parent is going to be late coming home, it should be clearly communicated as early in the day as possible with the nanny. If it becomes the norm, the contract should be adjusted and the nanny should be fairly compensated for her extra time.
4. Payroll issues
This is a big one and is one of the most common questions we get from both parents and nannies at Neverland Nannies. Technically, a family cannot 1099 a full-time nanny who works in his or her home; the full-time nanny must be provided a W-2. These are employees who have the same rights to Social Security, Medicare and often need proof of employment in order to rent apartments, buy cars, and to establish credit. Many nannies feel uncomfortable asking their employer to put them on payroll, but it is an extremely important process and is the only legal way to compensate a full-time employee. At Neverland Nannies we always refer our clients to Breedlove and Associates for advice as well as to establish payroll with their domestic employees. Also, parents should always consult their CPAs regarding compensation for their nanny.