Your Nanny’s Holiday Bonus

Elyn Cone

Plus other holiday childcare questions were answered.

Amid all that holiday madness, it can be easy to forget what this time of year is really about: giving thanks. Especially to those who help you get through the day-to-day, like your caregiver or nanny. And while we know those caregivers and nannies do love a big old-fashioned hug, we also know they love a holiday bonus and some time off just as much.

To tell it to us straight, we asked “teen-preneur” Noa Mintz, founder of NYC childcare agency Nannies by Noa, how to treat our nanny right for the holidays.

What’s up with the “Nanny Bonus”?

The holiday bonus depends on a number of factors: how satisfied you are with your nanny, how long he or she has been with your family, and what her salary is. It’s important to remember that a holiday bonus is a customary and standard practice, and most nannies are under the assumption that they’ll receive one. Being with kids all day, every day, can be difficult and draining, and a bonus is a kind gesture and encouragement to make sure that they are happy. In my experience, the standard nanny bonus is 1 – 2.5 weeks’ salary. If you feel your nanny doesn’t deserve a bonus, then it’s likely that he or she isn’t the right fit for your family.

Should I get my caregiver a gift too?

The bonus is important and means a lot to your nanny, but a small gift along with the bonus goes a long with in showing your appreciation. What you decide to give your nanny depends on your relationship with him or her. Some families have more professional relationships with their nannies. If she admired a sweater of yours, perhaps buy her one. If she enjoys the ballet, tickets to a ballet performance would be appreciated. In addition to a tip (but not in lieu of one), a small but meaningful gift is perfectly fine – a little thought goes a long way. Also, avoid anything that is not appropriate for children (no alcohol). Remember – this is a gift from your family, so make sure that it’s family-appropriate and take your kid’s suggestions.

How much time do I give my nanny off during the holidays?

Many families follow bank holidays or their company’s days off. If you know you’ll need your nanny on Christmas or a major holiday, that should surely be laid out during the hiring phase.

I’m bringing my caregiver on my holiday travels. Any tips?

If it is a travel job over the holidays, the nice thing to do is invite the nanny to a holiday dinner with your family or if they want to go out alone, whichever they prefer so they feel welcome. You should also agree on a travel rate higher than the usual hourly. If not a travel job, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve/Day should be paid at least a time and a half.

My nanny’s alone for the holidays. Should we invite her over or will she feel like we’re asking her to work?

It depends on your relationship with the nanny. A nice gesture is to let them know if they need a place to go your door is always open but you wish them a fun holiday. Chances are they won’t take you up on the offer, but it will mean a lot to them to be invited.

What about working on New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s Eve pay is usually $30-40+/hr! If you plan to get home late, offer to arrange a car service or he or she can sleep over, whichever is preferred. The one thing you don’t want to do is guarantee to be home early out of desperation to have a sitter. Make sure your caregiver is free all night, and leave money for dinner! Maybe even a little extra than usual…

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