Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Answers to 10 Top Nanny Compensation Questions

Writer Kimberly Coleman looked to Deborah L. Smith (DS) the President of Parents With Nannies, Inc. and Kathleen Webb (KW) the co-founder of HomeWork Solutions for expert advice regarding common questions that parents ask regarding nanny pay.

1. What is an appropriate birthday present for a nanny?
(DS) Money is always the most appreciated gift. Birthdays don't have to be quite as expensive as Christmas. It all depends on what you can afford. If you appreciate your nanny, let her know it.

(KW) Birthday gifts vary greatly according to the tastes of the nanny and the means of the employer. Some examples are concert tickets, a spa treatment, camera, gift cards for restaurants/movies/stores, flowers, etc.

2. What is an appropriate holiday (i.e. Christmas) present for a nanny?
(DS) Money is always the most appreciated gift. For Christmas a week or 2 weeks salary plus maybe a small gift to unwrap is appropriate.

(KW) Christmas is an unusual holiday, as many families give a gift similar to the birthday gifts above as well as providing a holiday bonus. Again, the relationship between the nanny and the family and the family's means play roles here. We found in our payroll practice in 2005 that 69% of the families provided a year end bonus payment. 1 - 2 weeks salary was the average span. Amounts ranged from $250 - $5000.

3. Should you pay nannies for holidays when you (and they) don't have to work?
(DS) Yes, most full time nannies get the major holidays off and paid.
(KW) Yes.

4. Should you pay nannies when you are sick and can't work?
(DS) Yes, it is not the nanny's fault that you are sick and can't work. The nanny still has to pay her bills. This should be the rule of thumb for days off that the nanny does not request. If it is the family's choice to go away or to excuse the nanny for a day or two, it is not fair to expect the nanny to do so without pay.
(KW) Yes.

5. Should you pay nannies when your kids are sick and you stay home from work with them?
(DS) Yes. Also, nannies are used to caring for sick children. It is one of the reasons that you hire a nanny.
(KW) Yes.

(KW) (For questions three through five) The golden rule is the best to fall back on in these situations - do unto your nanny as you would have your boss do unto you! In general, the nanny should be paid for every day that they are regularly scheduled to work, whether the family decides to use them or not. A full time nanny will expect to be paid for all holidays when the parents are not at work (July 4th, Christmas, etc.). What these holidays are vary, particularly with the parent's occupations (medical and emergency personnel, airline and hospitality employees might get different holidays).

(KW) (For questions six through eight) Most full time nannies have some vacation and/or sick time negotiated into the employment agreement. Moms beware - the first time you dock your nanny for missing work because they caught your kid's cold could be the last time she works for you. The total paid days is most commonly 10 per year, and flex days are the way things are going. So, the nanny has a pool of 10 flex days she can use for sick time, vacation time, personal time, etc. This will vary among nannies and families - the work agreement is vital here to determine this in advance of the problem.

6. Should you pay nannies when they are sick and can't work?
(DS) I think it is probably advisable to include some sick days in her contract. I have seen numbers from 3 per year to 10 per year. (See more on sick days below)

7. Should you pay nannies when their kids are sick and they have to stay at home from work with them?
(DS) This should constitute a sick day. Many parents have commented to me that they do not specify a number of sick days in there contract, they simply "cover" for nanny if she is sick. I think it is probably advisable to include some sick days in her contract. I have seen numbers from 3 per year to 10 per year. The decision basically depends on how generous you are and your ability to make other arrangements if the nanny gets sick. If you have to pay for expensive "alternate" care when your nanny is ill, you may want to stop the paid sick days at 3. If, on the other hand, you can make arrangements when the nanny is sick and you'd rather not have her bringing her germs around the kids, offer more paid sick days so that she doesn't feel financially obligated to show up to work with strep throat or worse. Some parents require their nanny to work six months to a year before offering paid sick days.
(KW) Flex.

8. Should you pay if your nanny has to miss work for uncontrollable reasons (i.e. death in their family, jury duty, weather prohibitions, and transit strikes)?
(DS) Families should use their own discretion in this matter. Nanny could use a sick day or vacation day. Or, as in my case, I would just pay my nanny if she had to miss a day because her brother died for instance or she got snowed in. It seemed too cruel to dock her pay when these things were beyond her control. This is where the family needs to look at nanny as more than an employee if she has been loyal and conscientious, on time and not taking advantage of time off. My own personal nanny was so dedicated in 3 years that she was never late and only took a few sick days because of stomach flu. There was no reason to dock her pay in my opinion.
(KW) Flex.

9. Should you pay if your nanny needs to go on maternity leave?
(DS) Maternity leave is usually too financial impossible for most families. Some families who love their nanny and want her back will hire a temporary nanny to take her place until she is ready to come back. If the family is financially able to pay maternity leave, then it is up to them. Rule of thumb in all instances...if you love your nanny, do what it takes to keep her.

(KW) Maternity leave is not commonly paid by nanny employers. They may cash out flex days, but that is the extent of it. Nannies also do not always take the 6 - 8 weeks professionals do, but are often back at work within a few weeks with their infant (assuming that was the agreed arrangement when she left).

10. How much vacation time should a nanny receive?
(DS) Nannies get at least one week paid vacation, usually two. Families commonly ask nanny to plan one of those 2 weeks around the family's vacation to save on alternate childcare expenses.
NOTE: All of the above variables should be covered in a Work Agreement between the employer and nanny at the time of hire. Sample agreements that you can use can be found at http://4nanny.com/work_agreement.htm

Kimberly Coleman is the founder of Mom in the City http://www.mominthecity.com a social and support group for expectant moms and moms with children five and under in the New York City metropolitan area. She is also the NYC Metro and Long Island parenting guide for ParentZone.com/BabyZone.com ([http://nyc.parentzone.com] ).
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kimberly_Coleman

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