There can be several different reasons for letting a nanny go. It may be simply a change in the employer’s circumstances, but, more often, it is due to dissatisfaction with the nanny. This may be a performance issue or it may simply be personality conflict with the parents. Whatever the reason, here are some tips for dealing with that situation.
- Communication. If the parents have concerns about any aspect of the nanny’s professional or personal behavior, they should first simply address the situation with the nanny. Often times a termination can be avoided by simply keeping the channels of communication open.
- Performance reviews. It is important to remember that the nanny is an employee and should be treated as such. Performance reviews should be scheduled to provide input into what the nanny is doing well at and what are the areas needing improvement. These reviews should be documented as to the date, time and matters discussed.
- Severance pay. In the event of a termination, severance pay may be appropriate, especially when the ending of a contract has nothing to do with the nanny’s performance of the job.
- Transportation costs. When terminating a nanny’s employment contract, payment for normal transportation costs to return home or to their next assignment, would often be considered appropriate. This is one item that should be spelled out in your contract terms.
- Timing. Give careful consideration to the timing in letting a nanny go and how it will affect the situation with your children and the ability to find a replacement nanny, if one is needed.
- Provide terms in your contract. A written legal contract should always be in place for the hiring of a nanny. Part of that contract should include the terms of termination of that contract. This makes both parties aware from the beginning of how situations will be handled.
- Abide but the contract terms. When you have a legal contract with anyone, including your nanny, it is very important that you abide by the terms laid out in the contract. If the contract says you must give written reviews and opportunity for improvement, do so. If the contract says you must give 2 weeks written notice of termination, then a verbal notification is not sufficient.
- Letter of termination. When the relationship is officially terminated, provide the nanny with a written letter that spells out the date and reason for the termination. This eliminates any need to defend any false claims about your reasoning. Provide a space for your nanny to sign the letter, acknowledging that she understands that she is being terminated for the reasons mentioned in the letter. Keep one copy for yourself and provide the nanny with a copy also.
- Letter of recommendation. If the reasons for termination are not performance related, it would be appropriate to provide the nanny with a letter of recommendation to use with her applications for a new position.
- Telling the kids. The children should not be informed of the end of the nanny arrangement until after the termination has been communicated to the nanny herself. Whether or not you discuss the reasons for the end of the contract with your children, should depend on the maturity level of the children and your best judgment in the situation.
Always remember that a nanny is an employee, and you are her employer. Keep your relationship professional on all levels and documented in the same way any employer would document their contractual obligations with their employees.