August 28th, 2020

What Every Family Needs to Know When Starting a Nanny Share or Learning Pod

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Author: Jamie Alvarado-Taylor, R. Aron Benjamin, Kristin N. Burtzlaff

Learning Pod

As the new school year dawns, families are looking for creative ways to educate, entertain and care for their children while at the same time providing a safe environment for them to socialize and learn. Two popular socializing environments are nanny sharing and learning pods. While these are wonderful ways to keep a child involved and engaged during these difficult times, they do not come without legal concerns that should be addressed up front by a written agreement.

Decisions about childcare can be challenging in the best of times, and the factors to weigh vary greatly from family to family. In the current climate of pandemic and school closures, distance learning and cancelled playdates, it may seem downright daunting. As families consider options for childcare for the coming school year (and beyond), it is important to know how this decision may impact the family’s finances and legal obligations.

The most important question to consider before entering a nanny share or learning pod arrangement is: “Do we need a formal agreement?” In nearly all situations the answer is “yes.” The factors to consider when crafting an agreement among families are as diverse, detailed and unique as the families themselves. Whether the families involved are just acquaintances or life-long friends, the issues to be contemplated by all parties should be reduced to writing so everyone is on the same page.

To start, the agreement should take into consideration the needs of each family who will be a party to the contract. In considering these needs, any agreement entered into by the families should address, at minimum, scheduling, lesson plans, meals, a sick child/care-giver policy and location(s) where the caregiving will take place. Once all the families are in agreement about the aims and goals of the share agreement, the next step will be to discuss the financial and legal obligations between each family and the caregiver, such as salary, taxes, insurance (including general liability, automotive, unemployment and workers’ compensation), overtime, work hours and coordination of payroll. Families should also discuss and address the potential pitfalls that come with these types of arrangements such as licensing, assumption of risk and indemnification prior to beginning any nanny share or learning pod.

Finally, the contract should cover amendment and termination procedures so that the parties understand their respective obligations and rights when it is time to end the nanny share or learning pod. While all the considerations referenced above can seem intimidating the right attorney can help craft an agreement that is tailored to your needs and allows the parents, extended family, caregivers and teachers to all focus on what is most important – the children’s well-being.