The written agreement between a nanny and her employers is one of the most important documents in the employee-employer relationship. The responsibilities, rights, and reasonable expectations of both parties are detailed in a nanny contract, protecting everyone involved from any misconceptions or confusion regarding certain aspects of the working relationship that can often lead to disputes or even the loss of a post. However, during the drafting period there are things that even the most diligent contract creator might forget. Also, the needs of a family, as well as the responsibilities of a nanny, can change and evolve over time. Keeping up with these changes in writing is important; it’s not enough to create a nanny contract that’s promptly forgotten. In order for it to be effective and serve its purpose, it must be up-to-date and accurate. If you’re faced with the need to amend your nanny contract, these pointers can help you make the process easier.
- Include a Section Covering Future Amendments in the Original Agreement – When you create the first contract that governs your relationship with a new nanny, you should include a section detailing the proper process for amending the contract in the future. The need for at least one amendment over the term of the contract is nearly inevitable, so it’s wise to plan ahead. Let your nanny know that she’s also able to submit any amendments that she’d like, as the relationship between you and the scope of her responsibilities evolves.
- Get Your Nanny’s Permission – Any changes or amendments to your written work agreement must be agreed upon by all involved parties. This means that you absolutely cannot amend your nanny agreement without the knowledge and permission of your nanny. Before documenting any changes to the contract, you should meet with your nanny to discuss the issue. Such meetings will also give her the opportunity to address any concerns she may have, and to suggest amendments of her own.
- Create a Document Detailing the Nature of the Amendment – To get amendments to your written work agreement in writing, you’ll need to create a separate document just for the amendment. The document should clearly state that all affected parties are in agreement regarding the changes to the existing contract and the names of all involved parties.
- Address Each Change in the Current Contract Separately – Rather than lumping several changes into one paragraph, an effective contract amendment will address each concern separately and thoroughly. All changes should be individually addressed under subheadings that clearly denote the nature of the amendment, noting the date that amendments will go into effect and why the changes are being made. Should you need to refer back to your written employment agreement later, perhaps in the event of a dispute arising or a disagreement regarding compensation, job duties, or hours, a well-organized and concise document will make the process less stressful.
- Obtain the Appropriate Signatures – For a contract amendment to be legally binding everyone who signed the original agreement must sign the amendment. For instance, an amendment to a contract signed by the nanny and both of her employers will not be valid if you and your nanny sign the amendment, but your spouse does not. Make sure that you have all of the required signatures in place before filing your contract away.
It’s not strictly necessary to involve an attorney in the amendment process, though you certainly can if it makes you feel more comfortable to do so. After the amendment document has been created, reviewed, and signed by everyone involved, you should also make sure that everyone who signed the document has a copy of the amended contract for their own personal files. Provided that everyone agrees upon the terms of the amendment and the changes going into effect, there is absolutely no need to create an entirely new written agreement. A properly worded and carefully written amendment to that agreement will serve the same purpose, and will also leave the original document intact for future review. Before signing your amendments or the new agreement, be sure that all provisions are in accordance with state and federal employment laws to prevent accusations of illegal hiring practices or violation of labor laws in the future.
This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not replace the advice of a qualified attorney.