If you’re like many people, legal jargon makes your brain hurt. Unless you’re an attorney, talking about contracts, taxes, and employment laws may leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed. However, when it comes to putting your relationship with your sitter on paper, things don’t have to be so complicated. While its importance cannot be understated, creating a child care contract takes a little time. So, here are some things you need to know (in a way you can understand) to make sure you and your sitter are protected under the law.
Expert Advice and Resources
A child care contract is important because it outlines the specifics of your relationship with your sitter. When you have an agreement to refer back to, there is less confusion for both of you. It gives you the opportunity to clarify expectations and your sitter a chance to have concrete answers to her questions.
We’re here to provide you with a few resources to get your babysitting contract in place. However, if you’re more comfortable working with a legal professional, there are all kinds of reputable websites to help you get started. One topic that often comes up when discussing long-term babysitting agreements is taxes. Both you and your sitter should fully understand if and how you’re affected by taxes.
How to Approach the Child Care Contract Subject
Now that you’re on board with creating a babysitting agreement, the next question is: how do you bring it up to your sitter?
If you have an existing sitter that you work with, it’s time for a conversation. Approach the subject in a positive way. Let your sitter know that you want to put an agreement in place for her and your family’s protection. You never know when an accident could happen, and being prepared will help tremendously.
Most of the information you’ll want to include in the babysitter agreement form are things you already have worked out, such as hourly rate, daily schedule, contact information, etc. But have you written out an actual job description? Having this on hand resets expectations for your sitter (and will likely help her down the road when she’s looking for other jobs). Make your sitter feel comfortable by going over each part of the contract with her and ensuring she understands and agrees with each. This is the perfect opportunity to review how things are going and any changes that need to be made. For example, are you compensating your sitter fairly?
If you’re on the search to hire a new sitter, you’ll want to be upfront about agreeing on a contract once you’ve sealed the deal. Make sure the babysitter or nanny you’re interviewing is okay with you having a child care agreement in place. Be prepared by having a template or sample contract for them to review. Filling it out with as much of the information below as possible will help the potential sitter understand your expectations and details of the job. Include a job description to make sure you’re both on the same page.
What to Include in Your Child Care Contract
While this isn’t an all-inclusive list, and each contract may differ depending on the circumstances, here are a few things that should exist in every child care contract:
|What to Include:||Why Include It:||Example:|
|Start Date and Time||You’ll want to be clear about when your sitter should show up so she can plan and you can be sure you have coverage when you need it.||Monday, May 27th at 8:00am|
|Commitment||Determining whether the job is part-time or full-time is important, but noting if the job will be temporary or permanent is also critical in setting expectations.||Full-time (from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday) and ongoing until discussed otherwise|
|Hourly Rate||Putting exactly what your sitter will be paid in writing will make sure you’re both on the same page.||$17/hour|
|Termination Procedures||Identifying grounds for termination will ensure there is no question when protocol is broken.||Showing up more than 10 minutes late 3 times in a month will result in termination.|
|Contact Information||In case of questions or an emergency, you’ll want to have your contact information written down, along with any other family members or friends that could help if necessary.||Jane:
-Cell: 333-333-3333Susan (neighbor):
|Daily Schedule||Knowing important times of the day (meal times, nap times, pick-up and drop-off) will keep your kids on schedule.||James:
-School pick-up: 2:30pm
|Food and Medication Allergies||Your sitter will want to know if there are any foods or medicines (in case of an emergency) that are off-limits so she can protect your child.||James:
-Food: peanut butter
DOWNLOAD: Sittercity Babysitting Contract Template
Work with your sitter to determine if there are any other key pieces of information (relevant to your situation) that need to be highlighted in your agreement.
Once both of you are comfortable, go ahead and sign the agreement. Each of you should have a signed copy on hand. Also, place an easily-accessible copy of your babysitting contract in your home (maybe on your refrigerator) for you and your sitter can grab it when needed.
Sample Child Care Contract
If you’re ready to create your own babysitting contract, here’s a template that might help. Again, if questions come up as you’re going through this process, be sure to consult with a legal professional. But if you feel comfortable going at it alone, feel free to download a printable version of our example agreement and use it as a guide.
Protecting your family, and those who work for you, with a babysitting contract makes life easier. You can leave the house knowing your children are in good hands and everyone involved in caring for them is on the same page.