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12 Considerations for your Nanny, Governor or Governess Contract

Contracts can be overwhelming. They can be long, packed with information, and may include complex legal terminology or terms you may be unfamiliar with.

Sadly, they are a necessary evil. You don’t want to make any mistakes when you’re signing up a year or more of your life working for a family or private employer. A new governess job or an and overseas role as a governor, nanny or full-time tutor can be quite daunting, so it’s always a good thing to have a contractual agreement to revert back to in case any issues arise. You don’t want to make promises you can’t commit to, and equally you don’t want to sign up to an agreement that allows the employer to take advantage of you.

So read on to find out which terms in your contract you need to pay attention to! Here is a list of 12 points that we at Jobs in Childcare believe are essential - for your own safety, integrity and for mutual respect and understanding between the signing partners.

Bear in mind that if your contract is an international one, it may not be properly legally binding across the separate jurisdictions. Nevertheless, it is helpful to have terms properly defined with your employer just in case you ever need to be able to point back and say hey - this isn’t what we agreed. From that point, it’s your decision whether you choose to continue working for the employer or not.

So, without further ado:

 

1. Duties and kids.

OK, so these are the big ones. Who exactly are you supposed to be taking care of at work, and what roles do you have with them? Are cooking for the kids and cleaning the house involved? What about dressing the kids and personal hygiene? Are there other kids that aren’t your responsibility? And on top of this - are there any significant household rules that you need to be aware of? Be sure!

 

2. Your daily schedule.

This is another essential element. Make sure your work days and working hours are clearly defined in your contract. A standard full-time work-week for a nanny governor or governess is 40 hours up to around 50 hours. Bear in mind that over 50 hours per week is already a ‘heavy’ schedule - you don’t want to get burned out or be overtired. Make sure you can handle the schedule and be careful not to get drawn in by a fat salary offer for unrealistic working hours. This is for your employer’s benefit as well as your own; what’s the point in not resting and thus not being able to work to the best of your ability?

You should also define whether bank holidays and public holidays are working days or days off in your contract. For international roles bank holidays are generally working days, but this is worth checking.

 

3. The family holiday schedule.

Many families change from their regular schedule when they travel or have extended work periods (such as the school summer holidays). It is important for you to know if your working arrangements are expected to change here. Will you work extra days, and how will these be compensated? With extra money or days off ‘in lieu’? Will the working hours and living arrangements change during work travel? Will extra duties be added for these travel periods, and if so, which? Be sure to get all this defined before you agree to work all the hours under the sun (or moon!).

 

4. Your personal holiday time.

It is equally important to find out when your holidays can they be booked, as some families may have expectations about when a suitable holiday period is, and when is not. Will your holidays be mutually agreed in advance? Some families may expect you to travel home for Christmas, for example. Others may require extra help during festive periods. If you have any dates that you already know you will need off, it may be a good idea to ‘lock’ them in in the contract before you even start.

You should also check when your first holiday can be taken. Some employers may suggest that holiday weeks off can only be taken after 3 or even 6 months of work. If this is a factor, make sure you are comfortable with whatever you ultimately agree to.