Money and Contracts

Because baby-sitting is a common job among teenagers, many people forget that there is a highly professional side to the childcare industry. If you’re a first-time baby-sitter looking to pick up some extra cash, you probably won’t need to worry about benefits, taxes and contracts. But if you’re a career nanny or an adult baby-sitter, it’s important to know how to manage the professional side of your job. Here are some things you must take into consideration.

Taxes

Childcare providers must pay taxes and, in most cases, are not independent contractors. This means that your employers must withhold taxes from your check. Check the laws in your area to ensure you’re handling taxes correctly.

Contracts

Part-time and teenage baby-sitters don’t need contracts, but if this is your career, you absolutely must have your job information in writing. Some items that should be included in your contract include:

  • Annual performance evaluation and raise information
  • Your hourly compensation, overtime information and any bonuses or incentives you receive
  • Your specific duties
  • Information about taxes
  • Information about how much notice you must give if you are leaving and how much notice the family must give if they no longer need you
  • Vacation time and procedure for sick days and time off

Reimbursement

Gas, museum admissions and children’s activities all cost money. Discuss with your employer how these expenses will be handled. Will they leave you petty cash, a credit card, or reimburse you for your expenses at the end of this week? Make sure to keep careful track of your expenses, including mileage from driving the kids around. Mileage getting to and from work is not typically covered.

Negotiations

Many people new to the childcare industry are surprised at how many financial and professional factors they must consider. Educate yourself on the benefits and salaries of local nannies before meeting a potential employer, and be prepared to negotiate fair wages. Some things to address with the family include:

  • If the family takes a vacation, will you be paid for the time you would otherwise be working? If you are a full-time care provider, the answer should be yes.
  • Note that it’s important that you shouldn’t have to pay to do your job; your expenses should always be reimbursed, and permissible expenses should be made clear.
  • Emphasize your training and qualifications to receive a higher salary.
  • If you are a professional, make sure that the family understands that this is your career. Some parents want only a part-time baby-sitter and will not pay higher wages for a professional. Others treasure highly-trained professional nannies.
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