Do You Give Your Nanny a Holiday Bonus?

A Christmas bonus for a nanny? Yes! Learn why your nanny should get a year-end bonus and what the average bonus is in each state.

Your nanny cares for your kids and keeps your life running smoothly all year long. Come December, it's important to say thank you for those efforts by giving a holiday bonus.

According to a poll of almost 600 members, 60 percent of families give their nannies a holiday bonus. But many don't know how much to give. And 31% percent of families only give a present, while 9% give nothing at all!

With this in mind, put together a map of the average nanny bonuses in each state. Click on your state to see what you should be giving. Then continue reading below for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about nanny bonuses.

  1. Why Should You Give Your Nanny a Holiday Bonus?
    You may feel a bonus isn’t necessary because you pay your nanny well and show your appreciation in other ways. However, a holiday bonus is customary. Many people count on it as part of their income.

    Jennifer Kuhn, executive editor at Nanny Magazine and a former nanny, says, "Although I believe that no nanny should ever expect a bonus, a holiday bonus can go a long way toward letting a nanny know her nanny family appreciates the work she does."

    Kuhn notes that “a nanny may feel unimportant or undervalued if she receives no holiday bonus, while every other nanny on the block does." And if your nanny feels like she's being short-changed, she may start looking for a new job in the new year.

    "My wife and I have always paid our nannies a holiday bonus," shares Graeme Gibson, a Seattle father. “There are a number of reasons why, but the main one is that we want her to feel appreciated."

  2. When Would You Not Give Your Nanny a Bonus?
    Bonuses are an extra thank you for a job well done. Don't give your nanny a bonus if you're about to let her go for poor performance or because things aren’t working out. Doing so will lead her to believe you're pleased with her work and give her a false sense of job security.

  3. How Much Should You Give Your Nanny as a Bonus?
    Most nannies receive between one and two week's pay as a bonus. Check out the infographic at the top of this page to learn the average bonuses in each state, based on a 40-hour work week. Aim for something in that range.

    If you live in a major city, the bonus might be more; if you're in a rural area, it might be less. Kuhn suggests you do a little research and ask what other parents are giving their nannies.

    The size of the bonus also depends on your family's financial status. Some working parents can only afford a half-week's pay, while others may give their nanny two weeks' or more.

    Just make sure it's consistent. If your longtime nanny has grown accustomed to receiving a certain bonus, it could cause confusion and even resentment if you cut corners this year.

  4. What if You Can't Afford a Bonus This Year?
    Unexpected expenses may leave you with a tight holiday budget. Kuhn recommends that you factor a bonus into your budget when you first hire your nanny. If you find yourself unable to afford the usual holiday bonus, explain this to your nanny. She’ll probably understand. Maybe rather than giving her one lump sum, break it down into smaller more manageable amounts over a period of time.

  5. Can I Give a Bonus Another Time of the Year?
    Some families give nannies their bonuses during their annual review. This is certainly allowed -- as long as your nanny is aware of the timing.

  6. Do I Have to Pay Taxes on the Bonus?
    You typically don't think of taxes while you're handing out presents, but your nanny's bonus (whether you present it during holidays or a performance review), is considered taxable income and you need to pay taxes on it -- along with the rest of her income. Because you're an employer, the bonus doesn't qualify as a "gift". Learn more about paying nanny taxes.

  7. Is a Gift Acceptable?
    While a holiday gift is always nice, a monetary bonus is traditional. Your nanny is a professional and deserves to be treated like one. Many employees receive end of the year bonuses and so should nannies.

    If your nanny is used to receiving a cash bonus, switching to a gift could be taken as a sign of dissatisfaction. But for a new nanny who has spent little time with your family, a thoughtful gift is appropriate.

    In addition to money, you may want to give an inexpensive gift from your kids. Personal items such as a new scarf or something related to a hobby are always great ideas. Try these 8 Creative Holiday Gifts Kids Can Make for Their Nanny »

Your nanny is a valued member of your family, and while you're giving thanks during the holiday season, don't forget to show how much you appreciate this very special person.

Gillian Burdett is a freelance writer in New York. Her writing focuses on education, public policy and family issues. Her work can be found here.

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Comments (12)
Elisabeta V.
Hi my name is Liz I work as nanny for 10 year the family I work for give me a $ 2000 bonus and. iPad for my birthday I love the kids and I love the family and I'm not tired to do thinks around the hause because they are so good to me I fill I'm in my own family and I love the bous
Posted: April 01, 2014 at 2:36 PM
A bonus is for going above and beyond, and, no, these days, most professionals do not get bonuses. Also, why on earth would I spend more at Christmas on my nanny than I do on my child or any other relative. Get real. Good pay, paid holidays, paid vacation, vacations where she doesn't pay a dime of expense and doesn't work any more than normal hours is much more than fair. I know no one who tips like this and when I was babysitting I never got a "tip".
Posted: February 02, 2014 at 9:55 PM
Christy K.
I have been a nanny for over twenty years. Of all the families I have worked with only one gave a holiday bonus. This was always one week's salary in addition to gifts from the children. One year they even added a gift certificate for Glamour Shots. While a gift certificate is nice it should be centered around something the nanny enjoys. A spa gift card might be nice for one nanny while another might prefer one for a favorite store or better yet how about a Visa gift card? It can go a long way to show her that she really does matter to your family and that you care. After all, she is taking care of the most precious people in your lives. Let her know you feel she is doing a good job!
Posted: December 10, 2013 at 6:02 AM
I have received bonuses from families throughout the ten years I've worked as a nanny. They have ranged between $100 in cash or a cash gift card like Visa for example to a small gift. Others have given $1,000 bonus plus thoughtful gifts such as a cook book, since I love to cook and a designer handbag. Most recently, I've been given spa gift cards. As much as I love a day at the spa, I personally would rather have a cash bonus so I could decide where to spend the extra money. As a professional, I wouldn't, as one member suggested above, give false information on my experience in hopes of getting a higher cash bonus. This information is true and accurate! :) The Golden Rule goes a long way- treat your nanny the way you'd like her to treat your family! Happy Holidays everyone!
Posted: December 04, 2013 at 2:01 PM
Heather B.
What if you have only had the nanny for a little over 4 months? Would you still need to give a whole week?
Posted: December 03, 2013 at 5:17 PM
Photo of Jennifer S.
Jennifer S.
My children goes to a daycare facility. While I appreciate the different perspectives that they get from having different people watching them everyday, I struggle with what to give at the holidays. What type of gift would be appropriate for the workers.
Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:25 PM
I see references to a weeks pay all the time online, for both nannies and home daycare providers. But no one I know comes even close to that. We do $100 cash, and it has been completely unexpected to both our former daycare and our current nanny.

I'm starting to suspect nannies fill out these surveys in hopes of guilting their families into hefty bonuses.
Posted: November 26, 2013 at 12:04 PM Member Care
Hi Lisa! What a great question! Check out these articles for tips on giving gifts to the kids you care for, and to their parents/your employers:

We hope this helps!
Posted: November 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM
Photo of Renee M.
Renee M.
I personally think its totally appropriate to gift to the little ones in your care, Lisa. The parents will appreciate it too because it shows that you think of them; it doesn't have to be anything expensive, but I always buy something thoughtful that I know the child will love (books are always great!!!) :)
Posted: November 24, 2013 at 8:49 PM
Photo of Lisa K.
Lisa K.
On the flip side, is it appropriate to buy the child/children that you care for, a gift?
Posted: November 24, 2013 at 7:07 AM
Photo of Kristi G.
Kristi G.
Thanks for the insight. I never even thought of a bonus. I have been a Nanny for 19 years, and have never received a monetary bonus. One of my former employers used to give me an all expenses paid weeks vacation as a perk, to various locations. I am in the metro Atlanta area and it is nice to know that employers should add a bonus at the holidays.
Posted: November 20, 2013 at 5:04 PM
Thanks guys! Love this. I didn't know I had to give my nanny a bonus. Never even thought of it.
Posted: November 20, 2013 at 1:09 PM
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