One of the risks with hiring a nanny is the possibility that it may not work out. It is never fun or enjoyable to let someone go, but sometimes it simply has to be done, especially if your children are involved in the equation.
There are many reasons to fire a nanny. It’s possible that the children are grown and do not need a caregiver anymore. Or perhaps the nanny has horrible work habits – always late or a frequent ‘no show.’ Maybe the nanny who was a wonderful nurturer of your infant does not have the energy to deal with your demanding toddler. The possibilities are endless.
Whatever the reason may be, there is a general protocol when letting someone go. You have to be firm while also making sure to cover all the bases.
The Nanny Network explains the process in detail but here is the general gist of it.
When it is for practical reasons:
You may need to fire the nanny for reasons beyond her control. One of the parents may have lost their job. Perhaps your family is relocating. Your baby may be starting full time kindergarten and your needs have changed. Recognize that this will come as a blow to the nanny. Take the time to show your appreciation by writing a nice letter of recommendation. Provide ample notice to the nanny – if you know your nanny won’t be needed in September when school starts, let her know a few months in advance. Provide severance pay.
When the nanny is a disaster:
She doesn’t show up on time, parks the children in front of the TV all day, and the only food she prepares is PB and J. You have met with her to go over your expectations and nothing improves. Generally speaking, families are most comfortable delivering the bad news, effective immediately, with a week’s severance in lieu of notice. Families don’t want to leave their children with a nanny who is disgruntled.
When the nanny is a liability:
She is endangering your children. You catch her failing to use the car seat or seat belts. You find drug paraphernalia in the house. She is asleep on the couch when you come home and the children are playing in the front yard. You need to act immediately. Severance is not required under these circumstances. The nanny should return your house keys and be gone immediately. This may disrupt your schedule at work for the next few days, but it has to be done.
Now of course, we hope this never happens but just in case, you will be prepared!