Nanny Severance? or No Severance? Help!

Updated on March 13, 2017
D.P. asks from New York, NY
19 answers

We've had the same beloved nanny/babysitter for our daughter (now 13) since she was born. When my daughter turned 11 we started sharing her (50-50) with another family in our building. Money is tight and my husband and I had been talking for a while about wanting to cut back further but she and our daughter are extremely close -- we have no other family for hundreds of miles and it was unthinkable that we'd lose her. But when the other family told her they'd be putting their son in day care this spring we decided to bite the bullet and let her know that we'd probably need to cut back ourselves later this year. We told her that if she needed to look for a full-time gig we'd understand.

To our surprise, during a very awkward conversation, she told us that she'd already begun interviewing for full-time positions. And yesterday, she said she'd already gotten another offer and would move on in a month.

If we'd had to let her go, we would have put together a *very* generous severance for her. Now we're pondering. We'll still definitely give her something, but since she actually initiated the change does that actually change the situation? We do love her dearly and want to do right be her -- but money is tight. All advice is *very* welcome! -D.

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

With only one exception, you all are amazing and generous (with your insights) and kind to take the time. Thank you thank you thank you! The big day isn't until the end of this week and we are putting together a package that will include some gift cards , fun small gifts, and some extra cash. The notion that we should re-frame the way we are thinking about this from "severance" to a parting gift was especially helpful. We had already had in mind some ways and occasions to keep in touch but there are some extra suggestions here which make great sense.

To the judgmental poster who lectured us on having a "nanny" for a 13 year old -- walk a mile in our shoes and see what you do. I didn't share the health issues -- and recent care-giving and losses in our family -- that we felt made continuing this warm, nurturing and supportive relationship so vital for our daughter even at this age. I didn't share how medical expenses and work limitations now make money so tight. I didn't think I needed to explain that of course we're not using her as a nanny but had her role morph as our needs changed. I didn't think I needed to because I thought this board was for constructive support.

Bully for you that your 8 year old is so independent. Count your blessings.

More Answers



answers from Portland on

In this situation, a family goodbye gift would be wonderful.

I was a nanny for years and never received severance. Then again, I was never asked to leave a job, but some jobs, like yours, just sort of 'died out'. The kids got older and I usually needed more hours, so it was a mutual parting of ways.

Do offer a way to stay in touch. One family I was a nanny for-- we are still close. I communicate with the girls independently when they are out of town (they are 18 and 23 now)-- one just sent me a card the other day. I also still go for walks and tea with their mom, who has become a good friend. Her family held my son the day he was born, just as I did when their youngest was brought into the world. Enjoy the connection and a well-chosen gift will be appreciated!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Just give her a gift. Your daughter is 13...seems like a fine age to "cut back" on nanny time. Stay in touch around the holidays if she is like part of the family. Otherwise - it's a job, she resigned, say goodbye.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

If you were working for a company and decided that you were going to look for a new job would you expect your current company to give you some kind of severance? I wouldn't. Nor would anyone else.
She got a new maybe a nice card and a gift card to a place she eats....maybe a card from your daughter talking about how much she has loved her nanny. could still use your nanny as a babysitter (if you think you need to) or get together with her once a month. That's a LONG time to have a nanny, she is probably like part of the family.
I nannied for a family for 3 years and still get together with them every once in a while. It's been 7 years!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I used to use a at home/babysitter. When we were done with her (we put our kids into daycare/preschool instead) I gave her the next pay period's money. That's because we were ending our arrangement and she was holding 2 spots, and I just felt it was the right thing to do. She was in demand and found other kids soon after, so not a big deal but she appreciated that - said no one else had done that.

I was friendly with her but not as close as you likely are to your daughter's nanny. In your case, I'd do something more as a parting thank you for your service type gift, and I would stay in contact. I like the idea of the occasional babysitting however at 13, not sure your daughter would need it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

A severance is usually a sum of money paid to an employee when that employee is let go, for a variety of reasons. So first, I'd suggest you stop thinking of any kind of severance and instead think of a farewell gift.

Actually this sounds like a natural time to make a change. Your child is now a teen. She'll have more independence. She can probably stay home alone for short periods of time (depending, of course, on her maturity, health, the safety of your neighborhood, and other factors that only you would know). If you were using the nanny to transport your daughter to lessons or to/from school, that will have to change, but the babysitting part would probably have naturally changed anyway.

I'd give her a lovely photo of your daughter, a letter of reference that she can use in the future if the need arises, and a personal gift. You obviously know her well, and you can select a useful gift for her. Maybe a gift certificate to a spa, or maybe even a spa day for her and your daughter? Or something related to her interests?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I'd be surprised if she hadn't begun interviewing. The other family is going to daycare and you cut back to part-time two years ago. The writing has been on the wall for some time. She knew this was coming and was proactive.

I think it would be nice for you to give her a nice parting gift for 13 years of service, regardless of which of you took that final step that you both knew was inevitable.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

If you've had this woman in your life for 13 years, and told her you were cutting back? She saw the signs and was proactive. You are NOT firing her. She doesn't get a severance.

You can give her a gift or whatever you feel is necessary for her contribution to your lives over the last 13 years, but it is NOT severance. Severance is for people who get fired.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

A severance is something you pay to someone you let go.

According to your post, you cannot afford a "generous" severance or gift. You don't do any more than what you can easily afford.

A nice family gift would be meaningful (dinner at fine restaurant, piece of Waterford crystal, something she wouldn't purchase for herself that's very nice) and I personally would add a nice sum of cash to that gift.

I wouldn't be offended that she sought out another family. She was being proactive for her own financial well being. At least she was looking ahead and planning vs some people who put things off, laze around and wait for the inevitable.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Binghamton on

We have had nannies for years, one of whom was with us for for about 8-9 years. So I can relate and have some experience. I agree with others that a really nice gift along the lines of a moments is appropriate. I'd also give a nice gift certificate that she can use to treat herself - spa, fancy restaurant. And then I'd have her over for a nice dinner in a couple of months. We've kept in touch with our nannies and I always make an effort so they know how much we appreciated them.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Maybe not a severance because she saw the writing on the wall and wasn't terminated either, but you could give her maybe a $100 gift card, just out of kindness, and appreciation for being so reliable and kind to your daughter for so many years. There are so many horrible, neglectful, abusive nannies out there, that I'd be very indebted for having found such a great person that loved my child like her own. Seriously. I think $100 is a drop in the bucket in the scope of things, and since you were considering a very generous severance, I assume $100 is not out of your budget. Feel free to add more to that amount, but I think that is the bare minimum I would give to someone who has been in my service for 10+ years.

I would tell her I am glad and relieved she found another job offer (she probably figured that your daughter, at 13, would not require her babysitting services anymore anyway, and she had to do what was best for her. Put yourself in her shoes, if you had to pay rent and people are cutting back on what they pay you, would you not also find a way to move on?). I would wish her the best, ask her to keep in touch, and let her know I would be glad to provide letters of reference for her, in addition to that nice gift. Let your daughter know that she can continue spending time with this woman as a friend, if the woman is up to it, so she doesn't feel like she'll never get to see her again because she is no longer working for you. It may alleviate the feelings of sadness if she knows you're encouraging her to stay in touch.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree that it's not a severance, exactly, but I would certainly give her a thank you gift, the amount of which is at your discretion.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia.

A SEVERANCE is when you fire someone. You terminate or fire for cause or no cause. You tell them "today is your last day, you're done here" that's what a severance is for. IF you're cutting back? How can you afford a "VERY GENEROUS" severance for her? I guess I'd have to know your idea of "VERY GENEROUS". What's the point in cutting back if you are going to be VERY GENEROUS with her when she leaves?

After 13 years, she knew her time was coming up. She's not going to follow her to high school. You told her you were cutting back. The other family that shares her with you was cutting back. She thought ahead and starting putting her resume out there.

You need to understand you are NOT firing her. She, in essence, gave you her notice when she told you she was actively pursuing other positions.

If you really live in NYC? You might consider moving someplace less expensive? :)

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I am surprised you didn't assume she was interviewing since you cut her back years ago and knew the other family was switching to daycare, she would be crazy not be looking. After 13 years of basically helping to raise my child I would get her as much of a parting gift as I could afford, knowing your child was well cared for and loved is priceless.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Did I miss something or did you say you hire a babysitter for your 13 year old daughter?

Most kids her age are out babysitting other people's kids. I don't know what sort of environment you live in so I can't say too much about your choice but have you even started home alone time with her?

Our girl is 13 and she started home alone training when she was 8. We might just go outside and work in the yard or go to the neighbor's house for a bit but what she needed to learn was what the house sounded like when she was alone inside, if she was worried or afraid, etc...she did fine but we still didn't go off and leave her alone for hours. Plus we had neighbors looking out for her that she didn't know about. You never know what might happen to you when you walk out your door. You might never return. So we always had a backup plan. Someone that was notified we were leaving and that would notice if we didn't come back when we said we'd be there. If we didn't come home on time they'd call us, if we didn't answer then they might check on kiddo and bring them to their own home.

We'd run to the grocery store for one or two items, go pick up a pizza, that she's 13 we know we can leave her all day if we need to. We still don't leave her alone in the evenings or at night.

As to the severance package, if money is tight I think a small appreciation gift would be a nice gesture but I would not call it anything but that.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

No severance needed. Take her out for a nice farewell dinner, make her a photo book to remember her time with you. Maybe have your daughter pick her out a piece of jewelry or something she could use in the future.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

No severance - that's for terminated/laid off employees.

Definitely a gift - a cash bonus is fine, a gift card is okay if you know it's a place she would like and if she didn't have to put her own money against it. (For example $25 at a restaurant is no good to someone who has to fork over more money to pay the normal bill plus tip, or for a friend/companion to go with her so she doesn't eat alone.) You probably know her extremely well, so a really nice gift would be good too. This is not the time to think about money being tight - she's given you many wonderful years. Offer to write her a reference for a future job, or a "confirming" note to the new family about how lucky they are to have her. And do have your daughter write a lovely personal note (you should write one too) about what she has meant to you.

You might consider her for occasional babysitting, perhaps for a weekend if you and your husband go away. So keep things wonderful and positive.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think I would offer a gift commensurate with one month of pay or equal to 1/2 of what you would otherwise offer her as a severance had you had to make the decision to part ways. You were planning on letting her go and she kind of saved you the trouble, I don't see any reason to "punish" her for that.

I see some posters offer some negativity regarding the fact that your daughter still has a "nanny." I personally think that it unbelievably awesome that not only have you planned for daughter to not be left alone at the start of her teenage years, but that you loved her nanny enough to keep her for 13 years.

Good luck!


answers from Boston on

You say that she is like family. Will you all be invited to anything that she hosts in the future? Backyard bbq? July 4th gathering? Christmas party? If so, yes end on a generous note. If not, a last meal COOKED by you, at your home can be given.



answers from Santa Barbara on

No severance. You need to decide what type of farewell gift you would like to give her. Will it be cash? If so, this turns into semantics. You are tight on money, yet want to give her something.

I can not give you the amount. You are in NYC and there might be an expected amount in your area. I also don't know if she has another milestone coming up (if I had a nanny who would be getting married in a month, that might impact the farewell gift since I would be giving another wedding gift shortly. So $500 farewell and $500 wedding, if $1000 was my end goal amount).

I am imagining a young just out of college aged person, but that doesn't make sense since she has been with you for 13 years.

Next question: Nanny of 2.5 Years Quit with Notice, Gift?