Having a written statement of employment is a legal requirement. It is also extremely important to protect both parties. It is usually known as an employment contract. The purpose of a contract is to outline both parties' rights and responsibilities. BAPN produce various template contracts for members, available in the Docu-zone, along with an guidance about what each clause means in practice. This page offers general guidance on what you must include in a written statement of employment and what is typical for nanny contracts.
Your employer must give you a written statement or contract for any job which lasts more than one month. Even if your employer does not provide a written contract (or statement of employment) within the maximum two months of starting work you still have a form of contract in place. The terms of this contract may be legal minimums such as holiday entitlement or the right to be paid National Minimum Wage, verbally agreed e.g. as part of the interview, in an offer of employer e.g. an email or text messages, or implied. Implied terms are usually not clearly agreed but can be reasonably expected to be mutually understood. For example if your job includes doing school runs by car then an implied term would be that you have a valid driving license.
Any draft contract is the basis for negotiation as long as it covers the minimum legal requirements. Both you and your employer need to be satisfied with the terms of the contract and understand them clearly. If you need to make changes to your contract you can find information here.
Minimum requirements for a Written Statement
- the employer’s name - this must be your employer, and not their company if they run their own business
- the employee's name, job title or a description of work and start date - this must be an accurate job title. Do not sign a contract with states that you are a PA. Your employer may be intending to fraudulently offset your salary as a tax deductible expense.
- if a previous job counts towards a period of continuous employment, the date the period started - if you were previously a temporary nanny you must agree whether the period of temporary employment is continuous or not. This is very important for accruing rights such as maternity pay and redundancy.
- how much and how often you will get paid - nanny contracts should state a gross salary and either a specific day or date e.g. every Friday, the last Monday of the month, the 27th of the month.
- hours of work (and if you will have to work Sundays, nights or overtime) - usual hours of work should be defined in nanny contracts. Overtime is any work outside of those normal hours. It is usual for nannies to be required to work overtime as you cannot leave your charges unattended if your employer is not home at your stated finish time.
- holiday entitlement (and if that includes public holidays) - employees are entitled to 5.6 working weeks of holiday per year, which includes bank and public holidays. For full time work this equates to 4 weeks holiday plus the 8 usual bank and public holidays, and some nanny contracts will still use this formulation, but this disadvantages part time employees who are entitled 5.6 week pro rata. Your contract may state that you are required to take all bank and public holidays as holiday but it is not a legal entitlement to have these days as holiday. Nanny contracts may also dictate who chooses the dates for holiday entitlement. It is normal to have a 50/50 split with a full time nanny choosing 2 weeks holiday, the family choosing 2 weeks holiday and the bank and public holidays taken as holiday by mutual agreement. Your employer is entitled to dictate all of your holiday, and can deny any holiday request.
- where an employee will be working and whether they might have to relocate - usually you will work at the family's home i.e. the employer's address, but if you are part of a nanny share you may be based in the other family's house, in which case your contract should mention this address. If you are a live in nanny your employer may write into your contract that you must relocate with the family if they move.
- if an employee works in different places, where these will be and what the employer’s address is - your employer may occasionally require you to work at a secondary residence/holiday house, another family's house from time to time (in the case of a nanny share), at grandparents' houses or at different locations if they travel for work and you travel with them. It is usual for nanny contracts to contain the phrase 'and such other locations as may be reasonably required'.
As well as the principal statement, a written statement must also contain information about:
- how long a temporary job is expected to last - if you are covering another nanny's sick or maternity leave your contract may not have a fixed end date but may mention the event that will trigger the end of your temporary employer, such as the other nanny's return to work or the placement of a permanent nanny.
- the end date of a fixed-term contract
- notice periods - statutory minimum notice periods apply after one month of employment (1 week up to 2 years service, 2 weeks as of 2 years and an additional week for each complete year of service). It is usual for nannies to have a minimum of 1 week notice in the probationary period, rising to one month thereafter, but notice periods of 6, 8 or even 12 weeks are not uncommon, as families appreciate the time it will take to recruit a replacement. Employer and employee may have different notice period, with the notice an you must give an employer typically being longer than the notice the employer must give you.
- collective agreements - nannies are typically not covered by collective agreements
- pensions - nannies must be auto-enrolled onto a pension scheme from their employer's staging date (for many this is in 2017 but it depends when your employer first became an employer, not when you started working for them).
- who to go to with a grievance - this will typically be your employer
- how to complain about how a grievance is handled - this will typically be a complaint to your employer in writing
- how to complain about a disciplinary or dismissal decision - this will typically be a complaint to your employer in writing
In Northern Ireland written statements must also include full details of disciplinary rules and dismissal procedures. This is usual in nanny contracts but not obligatory in other parts of the UK.
If you travel overseas with your employer for more than 1 month your contract must include:
- how long you will be abroad
- what currency you will be paid in - your employer can pay you in GBP or in the local currency. You will remain employed in the UK and income tax and National Insurance are still due on your earnings.
- what additional pay or benefits you'll get - it is usual for a nanny's travel, accomodation and living expenses to be covered, even if they are not usually a live in nanny
- terms relating to your return to the UK
If you travel within the European Economic Area with your employer then the minimum rules relating to pay, rest and holiday of the country that you are in apply.
A nanny contract usually also includes mentions of:
- sick leave and pay (statutory or enhanced)
- maternity leave and pay (statutory or enhanced)
- disciplinary procedures
- dismissal procedure, including what constitutes gross misconduct
- anticipated changes to the role - many contracts will include 'and any subsequent children'
- arrangements if the nanny uses their own car - mileage should be reimbursed at the current rate (45p/mile for the first 10,000 miles in 2016) and you may want to negotiate a regular clean of your car's interior paid for by your employer as well as a professional clean in case your charge is sick or has an accident in your car
- accommodation for live-in nannies
- any house rules your employer has
- appraisal and salary review dates
- how expenses will be managed e.g. via a kitty
While the majority of nannies are employees and have a contract of employment with the parents of their charges, nannies who work on a self-employed basis have terms of business which the parents sign. This is a key marker of self-employment: self-employed nannies dictate the conditions under which they work.