Nanny Pay and Benefits

Updated on November 15, 2011
S.K. asks from Plano, TX
14 answers

I need to get a feel for what others are doing for their nannies. When my older son was born I didn't have any friends with kids yet so I asked a coworker who had 4 kids and had always had a nanny and she told me what the "norm" was and introduced me to the nanny we still have 3 years later, who we LOVE absolutely. But over the years as friends have had babies and hired nannies I've started getting the feeling that maybe our situation is not the norm at least for my area. Here are the facts:

1. My nanny works 3 days per week from 8:30 to 5:30. She also cleans my house and even does mine and my husband's laundry! So she goes far above and beyond cleaning as it relates to the kids.
2. We pay $13/hour.
3. She gets paid days off corresponding to how many days she is working so like if she's working 3 days/week that year she gets 3 paid days off that year (we've changed her schedule from time to time). Also if major holidays (Christmas, labor day, etc) fall on a day of the week that she is supposed to work that becomes a paid day off.
4. And finally, if we go out of town she still gets paid while we're gone even though she does not work (sometimes she comes to clean the house but there are no kids and that only takes part of a day).

She is actually asking for additional paid days off now that she's been with us for 3 years. While she's asking for more, I've started thinking we're already overdoing it. I mean, yes, we love her and the relationship she has with our 3 year old is something special, she helps so much around the house we do not have a separate cleaning person, etc. So of course there are good parts, but I want to make sure we're not going nuts here. I've told her that most people who do not work full time do not have any paid time off at all. We have friends who tell their nanny in advance if they're going to be out of town and then they don't pay their nanny while they're gone, just as one example.

So, what do you mommies think? What do you do about pay and time off in terms of holidays, general personal days off, and when you are out of town? I'd greatly appreciate your input!

Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

Whoa! I guess I hit a nerve! Thank you to everyone for your honest answers. As I said, when we first hired her I didn't know what I was doing. As is always the case with these postings, there was a lot I didn't include for the sake of not making people read my life story, but now I feel I must add that she has another job the other 2 days per week and told us right away she had no intention of giving that up, so she does work a total of a full time schedule and this is how she wanted it. It was hard for her to find a family who only needed 3 days/week. Also, she often brings her granddaughter with her to work which many friends have told me I'm crazy to let her do, but we love her and her granddaughter and we know it really helps them out. We also give her extra money pretty regularly and we also buy her groceries sometimes. I also think there is a cultural issue husband is from Russia and most of our friends are also and use Russian nannies. I am beginning to realize the expectation in that community is just different; all the nannies of friends who get paid less and don't get paid while the family travels are Russian. Ours is not. There are things that we don't love like I feel that she lets my older one watch too much tv; I've told her I would prefer her to sit down and do an activity with him than do my laundry but it doesn't seem to be getting through. She also doesn't drive so that has been a bit difficult but all in all we do love her and we will continue to make it work. Thanks for everyone who took the time to put me in my place :)

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answers from Dallas on

She definitely needs a raise and also some additional paid time off! If I was off for 2 weeks, I would give her one week off at that time with pay and expect her to work at the house the second week with specific projects or cleaning planned for her to do. Then I would give her another week off with pay.

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answers from San Juan on

I think you are really lucky to have her. $13 an hour is not anything special and neither is 3 days off a year. If you love her and think she does a good job with your kids, give her the time off and consider some type of raise. 3 years is a long time to work somewhere without a raise. Make sure you hold onto her or I think you will regret it.

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answers from San Diego on

As I was reading it, I thought 3 days off was really cheap and not very appreciative.

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answers from Chicago on


Well, here's the problem... good people expect to be compensated.

Basically, you need to determine if what she is asking for (or will negotiate to meet) is worth the hassle of finding someone else.

I'm not sure that I would think of a 'nanny' any differently than any other 'employee' (which is why I used center and babysitters rather than nannies btw, because I wanted someone else to deal with all that logistic stuff).

So, Typically your first year of employment you get 1 "weeks" vacation. For a "part-time" employee a week is what they would work in a week, so 3 days vacation if that is what she works is fair.

Beginning the 2nd year, most employees earn 2 weeks vacation - so if she is working 3 days a week for you, she would get an increase to "6" vacation days. Usually on the 5th year you get 3 weeks (or in her case 9 days) vacation.

Typically, employees also get a certain number of "floating holidays" - usually one or 2. Just extra days off.
Plus they usually get 4 or 5 "holidays" - Memorial day, 4th of July, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving etc - think of the days you are off work.

If WORK is closed down (snow day, or in your case you take off) employees still get paid for that (or some get paid 1/2 time if their hours are cut for low work availability but they are still "on call"), unless they am told up front when they take their job that they have to use my vacation days - for example for Christmas break or whatever.

Employees get a MINIMUM 3% increase each year (that is the standard for a "meets expectations" merit increase in the business world, so I've gotten as high as 5%, plus in some companies I got profit sharing - or bonuses). So, if she was making $13 the first year, she would get an increase to $13.40 the 2nd year and then $13.80 the 3rd year etc etc.

What you need to decide is if continuity of care for your son is more important than money. It may be. It was important for me to have my daughter in a school setting and I didn't want to hassle with the logistics of a nanny. Turnover is costly. You have to retrain. You have to deal with your child getting used to someone else. There is risk involved. etc etc etc.

Good Luck.

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answers from Dallas on

She could probably find a job where she gets more then 3 days paid vacation, keep that in mind.

I think she should be getting a week, personally. Her pay seems low, to begin with. It seems like nannies I know are getting paid a few more dollars an hour then that, and getting a week of vacation. My friend is a nanny, and she gets holidays off, a week per year, and $15 an hour. She also gets paid when they are on vacation, but only if she cleans their house. If she doesn't clean, then they don't actually pay her.

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answers from Charlotte on

Actually, I think you have a wonderful set up and if you like her work, you should keep her and give her a "raise" in additional paid days off.

When you are out of town and she doesn't have anything to do, how about assigning her some projects? Organizing your child's closets, the pantry, cleaning out the ovens and refrigerator, etc. Does she cook? If you are coming back soon, have her cook some dishes that you can warm up to eat for dinner.

That's what I did when we were overseas. I didn't want my lady to be without - she didn't live-in and even tiny apartments were expensive where we lived. I also didn't want to pay for her to do nothing, so this is what we did - give her projects that she didn't have time for during regular days. It worked out well for us.

Hope this helps!

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answers from Dallas on

She definitely needs a raise and also some additional paid time off! If I was off for 2 weeks, I would give her one week off at that time with pay and expect her to work at the house the second week with specific projects or cleaning planned for her to do. Then I would give her another week off with pay.

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answers from Detroit on

Wow!!! No offense, but as a nanny, ur setup with ur nanny stinks! I honestly would have been looking for a new job long ago. I am a professional, this is my career, not a temporary gig. I am not a babysitter either.

My nanny job is 3 days/week. 2 weeks paid vacation, 1 at my choicing,1 of theirs. I am paid 52 weeks a yr, no matter if they use me or not. I do not clean the house, do kids laundry and child related things. I have 5 sick days and 5 personal days a year too. I get an annual bonus at chrostmas time, and a raise of 5% yearly.

Rethink how ur treating ur nanny. Nannies are costly and trust me, we know when our employers are nickle and diming us.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I have had my nanny for almost 2 years, since my first daughter was 1 year old. I only work 2 days a week, and she comes from 9:30-3:30 or 4, but will stay as long as I need (rarely go later). On one of the days she has both girls, 2 1/2 and 6 months, on one she has just the baby. She also does light housework, mostly laundry and make beds, will do kitchen floor if I ask, load/unload dishwasher, etc. On the days she has both, I pay $20/hour, when she just has the baby I pay $15/hour. If we go out of town, I pay her for the days that will be missed. We also give her a holiday bonus in December, I think we gave her $200 last year, but I can't remember exactly. Sometimes I will give her an advance, if she asks. Living in Southern CA, I think this is fair. I think you are very fair, and take good care of your nanny. Sometimes I feel like the peace of mind that knowing someone takes care of your children and loves them as their own, is priceless.

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answers from Washington DC on

Here is the problem I see. She is working for you as her full-time gig, even if you don't need her full-time, she can't go get another job AND work for you, especially because her schedule changes.

She cleans your house, watches your kids, AND does your and your husband's laundry and you only pay her $13/ hr?? WOW! You guys are making out BIG TIME!!

Also, I have never heard of someone not paying their nanny because THEY chose to take time off. That is INSANE. She isn't picking to be off, you are. She isn't saying "I don't want to be paid right now." You're saying "We're not using you this week and you're not getting paid." Not fair. (I know you said your friends do this, and I think that's horrible of them.)

Here is my current set up. We hired our morning sitter for $8/hr. Her schedule is supposed to be 615-845, and she drops our 4 year old off at his regular sitter. So it works out to $100 a week IF she works all 5 days and all of the hours. I pay her $100 REGARDLESS. My husband travels to different clinics and when he does that he gets to leave later, so she doesn't have to come until 7 on those days. Our choice to lessen her hours, not hers. She gets paid.

She also gets every other Friday off, I still pay her. So on any give week, she is paid $50-75 MORE than what her hourly rate gives her. We don't care. We LOVE her.

She gets our kids up at 730, gets them dressed (clothes already picked), gets them breakfast, tells them to grab their already packed lunches, grab their backpacks which are by the front door, and she takes the older two to the bus stop. The 4 year old goes about 10 minutes away to his daycare for the morning.

One thing that annoys me is that she doesn't do the dishes, or have the kids do the dishes. Dirty dishes in the sink is my biggest pet peeve ever. I still don't care.

She is FABULOUS and we will pay her until she quits us.

You are underpaying your nanny and not giving her very good benefits (time off). I think you need to reconsider what you can afford to pay her and pay her accordingly (at least $15/hr for what she does) AND give her at LEAST one full week paid off. You need to still pay her when you take off too.

I hope that isn't too mean. I was a nanny and I wouldn't have stayed in your situation (unless it worked for me too - school or something). The family I was a nanny for is a close family friend of my parents and they screwed me BIG time. I still have a chip on my shoulder from it and it ended 7 years ago. They told me they were paying me under the table and then claimed taxes on me. They told me I was paid when they took vacation, came home, and refused to pay me. I love them all to death, like family, but I still begrudge them the tricks they tried to play on me.

The last straw was when she called and asked me to watch her two boys for Christmas break at the same rate. I was ALWAYS paid $200 weekly. Never daily. They tried to pay me daily. Not my fault there were holidays. I had the nerve to tell them it was wrong and they paid me for that.

Don't take advantage of your nanny though. YOU have a great set up, her not so much. Compensate her accordingly.

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answers from Dallas on

YOu have to decide if what you love about her is worth a couple of extra paid days off. Are you going to be able to find someone to do the things that she is doing for the same pay? Answer those questions and you will have your answer!

Take Care!

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answers from Cleveland on

I didn't read all the answers but I think people mainly said you're underpaying/underbenefitting her. I'm not sure about the $13/hour being so low. I'm not sure of cost of living in Plano. But for reference, we pay ours $19.50/hour, she gets about a 50 cent raise most years, she gets 7 paid vacation days of her choice, 7 vacation days at the time we chose, 5 sick days, major holidays and we pay her when we go away even if it's above "our" 7 days. And if she doesn't take her 7 days and 5 sick days, we pay her for those at the end of the year. We also give a Christmas bonus of a bit over 2 weeks pay and give bday and Xmas presents. We had a part time nanny for awhile too and I think bc she was part time, she got "1/2" these benefits. Your nanny works 3/5 time so perhaps 3/5 of what you would give someone who is full time. Our nanny does have a pretty good gig I think. I know there are foreign/under the table nannies not treated so well. But she's taking care of my children... And my take is if I can afford a nanny to make my life easier, I can afford a bit extra so her life doesn't suck.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Just my 2 cents. I was a nanny for a family for over 8 years. I stayed as long as I did because of the perks. This was over 20 years ago.

I got paid every week no matter what. If they took a day off and wanted to spend it with the kids...I still got paid to not come. When they took weeks each year (usually 6-8 total) to go skiing or to visit family, I still got paid. Often I actually stayed at their house and got paid EXTRA to watch the dog (what kenneling would have cost I got the mail and simply cuz I was bored, not cuz it was asked of me, I sorted and organized the kids toys and seasonal clothes, etc).

I started doing more cleaning when the older child was in school FT and the younger was in preschool a few hours a I started getting a cash bonus each week for that and it just became one of my added jobs. They offered medical coverage, in leiu of compensation, but I didn't need it as my hubby carried that for us. I worked anywhere from 35-55 hours a week. I got paid for every single week of the year, and at first one week of that time was up to me to choose for days off, later it became up to 2 (some years we added a day). But mostly I didn't need them as I planned vacations around them (they took so much time off each year), went on a few with them(and got paid very well to do so), and used my few days for extreme illness and even my Maternity leave (they paid me a week, and I took a week of vacation, then was back to work after my Csection). My daughter came to work with me everyday for the last 3 years I worked there. My "Nanny-versary" date was in the summer and was the same week as my I got at least a weeks a gift. At Christmas 6 mos later, I got the same. They were very generous.

I guess my point is..this was over 20 years ago, and I had it much better than it sounds like your gal has it now. My nanny family treated me great and I had alot of freedom with our days. We played and went to interesting places, we did household chores and ran errands for them and was a great time! And for that, I know I gave them everything I had and loved their children with all that I was. I still do and I am very proud to have been a part of raising them and still regularly hear from them about how appreciative they were of me. After I left they went thru several nannies in the next 6 years (6 or 8).

Your nanny is working 36 hours a week. At many places of employment that IS considered FT and eligible for benefits. I think you are under paying her for what she is doing. JMO...

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answers from Portland on

I will just answer your question from my perspective as a former nanny.

I did long-term nanny jobs for about four families. At first, I did not have a contract or ask for benefits. I soon learned that this was not to my advantage. I was an employee of a household which would likely take vacation days, and I deserved this too, if only to ensure that my income would be consistent. When I began writing contracts, I included that they pay me vacation days for as many days a week as I was working; in agreement, I would take my vacation on their schedule. Families typically take around four weeks of vacation, and I also asked to be paid for the days the family was not around, or that they could find a friend who I would work for in their stead. This arrangement worked well for everyone.

I personally think your nanny is getting underpaid at $13 dollars an hour, because she is doing a lot of housecleaner work, which usually pays about $25 an hour up here. (your local economy may be different, so only you will know what the rate for housecleaners is.) . I charged less as a nanny than some, but I was focused solely on the kids with very light housekeeping duties.

I understand your perspective that since she is not full-time, she shouldn't receive paid time off. But I would like to encourage you to think of it this way-- when will she get time off if she cannot get full-time work with you and has to cobble something together? Some of us find a job similar to what your nanny has-- just a few days here and a few days there. It doesn't mean that nannies do their job with any less of themselves because they aren't there full time.

I would encourage you to look at this in the spirit of reciprocity: she gives highly of herself when she is with you, and it would be a gracious and right thing for your to honor that with acknowledgment that she deserves a vacation. It's my experience that nannies are undervalued as workers. We do the job that we do so that parents can feel confident doing what they need or want to do. If your nanny is doing the great job you say she is, please consider her requests. Not everyone is so lucky to have someone as terrific as she sounds.

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answers from Chicago on

My nanny lives in, so there is a monthly pay not an hourly pay, but It comes out to be less than $13 because she lives here, does not have to pay for rent or other related expenses, does not travel for work and eats our food.
She has Sundays off, we pay double if we ask her to work on Sunday .
She works Saturdays (because we need a break too :)
We pay 1 week a year vacation time AFTER a year of service (so that time is just like an annual bonus worth a week of pay) but she has to take vacations when we take it. It is usually the major family Christmas vacation, we usually take off for 2 weeks and she is free to do what she wants for 1 week, for the other week I usually leave behind a lengthy list of chores. We take other trips and vacations but she works usually because we like to travel in splits (one parent with one kid, or two parents without kids).
If she needs a personal day it is at my discretion. She had an emergency this year and was gone for 3 weeks, I did not pay her but I did not fired her either because I like her and I waited for her until she dealt with her family drama. Personal days never paid. She works for me, not the other way around, so she has to accommodate my schedule.
Yes, my nanny cleans, cooks, does laundry - whatever needs to be done. I spend a lot of time with the kids and I cook a lot, so she helps me with other things. That is her job.
I think you are OK here because your nanny is part time, so you are OK with your 3 days of paid vacations. If she is asking for a raise, I would give her a small bonus, not an hourly raise - it will be cheaper for you on the long run and will give her some satisfaction. $13/hour is good enough if not too much in my opinion. It is not like she is working in a mine or lays cobble stones. Even the people at the front desk these days make less and pay taxes on that money so their take home pay is even less that that.
Do not worry about keeping up with the Joneses in re: to pay and benefits, with the economy as it is she should be lucky to have a job. If not - there is always more where she came from. Take care.
Oh, yes, I forgot to mention something about continuity of care. My kids switched multiple caregivers throughout their lives and NO PROBLEM with that at all. If she is inflexible - let her go. A new one will be fresh, you can mold her to your liking, and she will try hard at least in the beginning. If it is your first nanny I understand that you are not entirely comfortable with all this. It is not that scary, trust me. And your child will do just fine in case you will have to let her go. Nothing lasts forever. Good luck.

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