How Should You Fire Your Nanny?

fire a nanny

There are plenty of awkward conversations you might need to have with your children’s’ caregiver. For example, disclosing a nanny cam to your babysitter, but perhaps none are quite so challenging as firing a nanny or caregiver.

In many ways, nannies and babysitters become part of your family, so while there are valid reasons to fire them in some cases, that doesn’t necessarily make the conversation any easier.

There is also a right way to fire a family caregiver, and perhaps a wrong way as well.

What Are Reasons to Fire a Nanny?

You may be on the fence about whether or not firing your nanny is the right choice. It’s a difficult and often emotional decision, and you may worry that you’re overreacting about something that maybe isn’t warranted. That can be the case sometimes, but in other instances firing your nanny might be your only option.

Some of the reasons to fire a nanny can include:

  • Potential abuse: This one goes without saying. If there is even a suspicion of abuse, you should absolutely fire your nanny and perhaps contact law enforcement as well.
  • Theft: This is another one of those definitive scenarios when you should fire your nanny.
  • Lack of attention: This is a reason to fire your nanny, but it gets into a bit more of a gray area. In the smartphone era, sometimes it can be easy for a nanny to let her attention drift. It may be possible that you can speak to your nanny before firing her and see if you can get a solution to the issue. However, if there’s full-on neglect happening, again, it’s a fireable offense.
  • Substance abuse: This can include drinking on the job. If there were an emergency and your nanny had been drinking, she might not be able to handle the situation appropriately.
  • Unreliable: One of the reasons you hire a nanny is to have a reliable childcare provider and if she’s regularly late or doesn’t show up that affects your job. You’re risking your career if you keep an unreliable nanny onboard with your family.

Of course, these are hardly the only reasons you might fire a childcare provider, but they do give you an example of some situations where it could be your only choice.

On the other hand, if there are these black and white kinds of situations you might want to ask yourself if you could play a role in the issues at hand. For example, maybe your expectations aren’t realistic or you want to micromanage your nanny.

Sometimes parents can come resentful of their nanny because they feel like their children prefer their caretaker over them, and again, that’s not a good reason to fire someone you trust to take care of your children.

Nanny Contracts

If you don’t already have one, you might want to consider creating a nanny contract, although it can make firing a bit more challenging. You want to detail everything that you expect of your nanny and also what you’ll provide.

If you have a contract from the start of the relationship with a caregiver, you can then refer to it when you fire her.

The work agreement should outline how resignations and terminations will be handled, including how much notice you’ll both give to one another.

If you have an agreement in place, then as with any other job, you have a baseline from which to perform performance evaluations. This will give you a chance to address possible issues with your nanny before you resort to firing her.

Be aware that every state has different employment laws and often these apply to household workers, including nannies.

Check the laws of your state before you do anything, or you could face legal action from your former nanny.

Have a Backup Plan

Even if you give your nanny notice—for example, tell her she can keep working for two weeks—she may not end up doing that.

Before you have a difficult conversation with your nanny, make sure that you have backup childcare I place.

If you do give your nanny notice, you shouldn’t be firing her for any serious reason. Giving notice should be reserved for situations where you’re firing your nanny, but only because your schedule is changing or she no longer works for your family’s needs.

You might also consider severance if you’re firing your nanny through no fault of her own. The guideline is usually a week’s pay for every year the person worked for you.

Write a Letter of Termination

If you’re firing your nanny, you should document your conversation and have the nanny sign it. Give her a copy and keep a copy for your own records. You’ll want to include the time and date you fired your nanny, the last paycheck and any other relevant details.

Having the Conversation

It’s tough to face your nanny and tell her you’re firing her, especially if she’s a nice person, but it’s just not working out for on reason or another.

Resist the urge to fire her by text or email even so.

Try and wait until the end of the workday and tell your nanny exactly why you’re firing her.

Don’t be angry or too emotional during this conversation.

Don’t fire your nanny around your children, and you might want your spouse or another adult to be around for the conversation.

If you’re concerned about your nanny’s behavior, you might want to change your locks. You should also let your children’s school, health care providers, and other family members know that your nanny no longer works for you.

Finally, your nanny may file for unemployment even if they aren’t eligible for it. Your state will then ask for details of your nanny’s firing, and you’ll have to let them know why your nanny was fired and perhaps provide documentation.

No one wants to be in a position where they fire their nanny, but sometimes it’s the reality, so it’s best to be prepared.


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