Not so long ago at MBF, we made an employee agreement a mandatory item for our clients and their household staff – at this point, all clients must have some kind of written agreement or contract with their employees in order to be eligible to receive our replacement guarantee. They are free to rely on our standard agreement, one that is literally 18 years and thousands of families in the making. They are likewise free to use one of their own, so there is some flexibility. But mandating this feature is still a bold move, I know, and it is perhaps one that begs some explaining.
Back in the days when employee agreements were optional, again and again we encountered sticking points between families and their staff. Without a written agreement between the two parties, relationships were often tested over all sorts of terms, both significant and seemingly trivial – including the conditions of termination, severance pay, vacation, sick time, holidays, and much more. And since there was no agreed-upon standard to turn to when disputes occurred, these relationships just as often broke down altogether, with neither party willing to yield ground once those grounds were tested.
Ultimately, then, we made the employee agreement a mandatory item because it was the surest way for us to back up our constant goal of creating enduring and productive relationships between clients and their household staff. And although it may be common to think that employee agreements are mostly about salary terms, our company agreement encompasses so much more than that. Everything from the amount of notice expected to what to do on snow days has found its way in, rooted directly in the real-life experiences of all the families we have ever worked with. In that way, it is also a living document, one that I’m sure will continue to evolve and grow as MBF continues to do so as well.
At this point, the employee agreement has become such an integral part of our big service picture that it is even typically negotiated with the formal job offer, and it is also the baseline for the negotiations typically conducted during annual reviews. Additionally, we constantly come back to it whenever disputes arise between clients and their employees – even terms that may seem unusual to outsiders are typically upheld if they have been agreed upon by both parties. In the end, it provides the best way for us to be fair and neutral arbiters and to provide the highest level of service and support to families and their staff.