Making the decision to grow your family does not mean that your career as a nanny is over! Here are options for both you and your employer or future employer regarding pregnancy during employment.
First are foremost, you should implement maternity leave into your contract prior to ever beginning a position. Because mandated federal requirements for maternity leave only apply to employers with more than 50 employees, it's really up to you and your employer on how you will handle maternity leave. A majority of employers do not even think about adding this into contracts, but we have found that when we request to add it for nannies who may think about growing their family in the future that 9/10 employers will say yes.
Things that you need to consider when adding maternity leave into your contract:
How many weeks will you take off?
When will your maternity leave will start?
Will you be responsible for finding a replacement for your maternity leave?
Will you be paid during your leave, accept 1/2 pay, or unpaid maternity leave?
Here is a sample of a clause that we have used in the past for a nanny who knew she would be expanding her family:
After 6 months of employment, the nanny will receive paid maternity leave. The nanny will receive 8 weeks of maternity leave for each pregnancy in the following agreement: 5 weeks will be paid at 100% of her current wage and an additional 3 weeks will be paid at 50% of her current wage. Unused maternity leave cannot be carried over. Paid time off (IE: vacation and PTO days) can be added to the maternity leave to extend the total number of weeks taken. The nanny will take maternity leave at her discretion with a minimum of four weeks notice to the family. The nanny will assist the family with finding temporary backup care during her employment period. The nanny agrees to inform the family of her pregnancy by at least 6 months into pregnancy to allow the family to adequately prepare for the transition.
Working After the Baby is Born
A lot of nannies have the opportunity to bring their babies to work, depending on their relationship with their employer. It's important to have an open conversation with your employer and spouse on what you plan on doing when the baby is born. If your employer is open but hesitant to you bringing the baby to work, suggest a trial period to see if the arrangement works for both of you.
If the trial period goes well and your employer feels it's okay for you to bring your baby to work with you, then a new contract needs to be created. In the contract you should include the following terms:
Whether or not the baby can use the family's items in their household (ie: highchairs, cribs, blankets, etc.)
How will nap time/feeding routines happen? Will you try to ensure that your child is on the same routine as their child?
When taking their child to classes, will your child participate in those classes?
What happens if your child is sick or their child is sick?
What are your expectations and your employer's general expectations?
Will hours/pay be modified?
If your employer is not open to you bringing the baby to work, then you will have to respect their decision and look into other options such as daycare or perhaps a nanny of your own. If you feel that you will be unable to continue with employment based on these circumstances, then you need to give adequate notice (typically 4 weeks) to the family. This should realistically be a discussion prior to you giving birth so that both your employer and yourself can have a plan in place to protect both of you.
Finding Employment When Pregnant/After Birth
So many nannies struggle with finding employment when they are pregnant or after they give birth. Families are hesitant to hire a nanny due to the fear of losing the nanny when she gives birth or after her maternity leave is up. It's important to be open and honest with future employers during this process.
If you want to bring your baby with you to a new job, then realistically the pool of opportunities may lower for you. We highly suggest informing a potential family that you are pregnant and that you are open to discussing options if they feel you are the right fit for their family. Bringing your baby to work with you can be a great opportunity for both you AND your nanny family, but unfortunately not all families are open to this.
If a potential family is okay with you bringing your baby to work with you, then you will also have to understand that your rate may lower. If you are typically paid $25 per hour then accepting a lower rate of $20-$22 per hour would be appropriate because of the additional perks you get with bringing your baby to work with you.
Some nannies may disagree and say that you should not lower your rate because your job duties stay the same, but realistically you are saving on childcare and get to spend the day with your little one. A majority of families who allow a nanny to bring their child to work also provide food and drink for your child, so there are many benefits that make it acceptable to lower your rate by a few extra dollars.
Finding a job while pregnant can be incredibly frustrating and overwhelming, and if you ever have any questions or concerns feel free to reach out to us. We have placed many nannies who were pregnant or planning on expanding their family and it's our goal to ensure that nannies are finding employment just as much as it's our goal to ensure that families are finding quality caregivers!