Cancellation Policies, Minimum Hours and Holiday Rates for Sitters

Work Agreements for Babysitters

It’s a waste of a babysitter’s precious time when parents cancel, or reduce the number of hours they will work, at the last minute.

For underemployed nannies, babysitting jobs are often needed to pay the bills. For those who rely on babysitting jobs to make ends meet, last minute cancellations can be more than annoying, they can literally break the bank.

Babysitters should create a cancellation policy. The policy should be included in a contract in which the parents agree to give proper notice before cancelling a babysitting job. While implementing a cancellation fee childcare providers should also include the minimum amount of hours they will work for each babysitting job and their holiday rate to prevent resentment in the future.

Of course there are instances when waiving the cancellation fee is appropriate. It would seem cruel to expect parents to pay if they have an emergency such as a family member being very sick, there is a dangerous storm, or a death in the family.

The babysitter’s hourly rate, amount of notice required for cancellations, and the minimum percentage of compensation required will differ for each caregiver. We are just providing a sample below that each sitter can adjust their terms to their wishes.

A babysitter cancellation policy or work agreement isn’t meant to be a contract to take parents to court, but to spell out how you expect to be treated.

Here are 6 things to include in a babysitting work agreement:

1. Babysitter Name and Contact Information:

Put your name and contact information in a bold and large font at the top of the work agreement.

2. Hourly Rate:

List your typical hourly rate per child. You can also list your overnight rate.

3. Minimum Hours:

List the minimum amount of hours you are willing to work to make babysitting worthwhile to you. For example, I require a 4-hour minimum for all babysitting jobs. Reservations of 8-hours or more are require an 8-hour minimum.

4. Cancellation Policy:

Choose a cancellation policy that makes sense to you. I use a 72-hour notice to cancel a babysitting booking, otherwise a minimum 4-hour fee will still be paid. If parents cancel 48-hours or less prior to scheduled babysitting than the entire agreed upon time will be paid in full. Adjust the terms to the time and amounts you prefer.

5. Holiday Rates:

Sitters should also earn more than their standard hourly rate when their services are more in demand, like on holidays. A higher holiday rate is typically time-and-a-half or double the usual hourly rate. I charge time-and-a-half hourly rate when working some of the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Memorial Day Weekend
  • 4th of July
  • Labor Day Weekend
  • Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • New Year’s Eve

6. Signature and Date:

Have parents and babysitter sign and date the work agreement to confirm they understand the babysitter’s minimum requirements.


  1. This is great. I never heard of a babysitting contract before. Usually I tell parents I charge 20.00 per hour 4 hours minimum. If they cancel I just tell them that if they wish to bank the hours for another day they can but only during the time I’m available. I explain to them that in order for me to reserve that time slot for them I need to be compensated. Otherwise I can’t commit to it. So far they’ve paid me and used the time another day when I was available.


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