How to Determine the Right Salary for Your Caregiver
Lisa Flam, Contributor
Articles> How to Determine the Right Salary for Your Caregiver
mom and nanny looking through papers

You've decided to hire a nanny, now it's time to get to work.

You'll need to determine what kind of person you're looking for, what her duties will be, and how much you can afford to pay her.

"One of the first things a family has to do is think about the job description - what kinds of responsibilities they're having the nanny take on -- and then based on that, develop the salary," says Carolyn Stolov, Care.com's family life expert.

"Even though you might have a limited income coming in, you have to realize this is the nanny's full time job," Stolov says. "This is what they live on."

Assessing Your Child Care Budget
The going rate varies by town, city or state, but you can use Care.com's babysitter rates calculator to get started or check with the International Nanny Association.

As parents assess their child care budget, Stolov recommends they decide what qualities in a nanny are important to them. Do they require a caregiver with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, are they okay with a nanny who's raised children herself, or perhaps one who isn't a mom but has a lot of experience? The amount you offer should take experience into account. 

Determining Job Responsibilities
After you know who you're looking for, you should create a written job description. This will outline the child care duties, like food preparation, feeding and bathing, driving to doctor's appointments or setting up play dates. Parents should be as detailed as possible about these tasks and how often they'll need to be done.

If parents are going to ask their nanny to do some household chores, perhaps when a child is napping, consider making them related to your kids, like doing their laundry, Stolov recommends.

You should make it clear in the description that the nanny's primary responsibility is the child, and make sure to give her time to take a break, too, Stolov suggests.

"You want to think about how not to make those housekeeping responsibilities so overwhelming that you're going to have a caregiver more focused on getting those things done rather than interacting with your child," Stolov says.

When you're ready to make an offer, create a written work agreement and a list of house rules.

Work Agreement or Nanny Contract
The work agreement spells out hours, salary, how taxes will be handled, overtime, vacation and benefits.

Stolov urges parents to pay their nanny on the books, and provide two weeks of paid vacation, holiday pay, and some sick days, too. With low-cost nanny health insurance options available, she also suggests paying at least half of your provider's health insurance. And she says you should offer an annual raise that is part cost-of-living-based, part performance-based, and an annual bonus of a week's salary if you can.

"What families have to think about is, what are the things you can do to make your job attractive so your caregiver will stay with you," Stolov says. "The family needs to realize they are the employer of this person. They have to think about the job they're offering is a real job."

There may be low-cost things a family can offer their nanny instead of extra pay, like adding her to your gym membership or providing a cell phone. "There may be things important to the nanny that are not monetary," Stolov says.

Finally, the work agreement should also spell out any situational changes that would alter the pact, like if the hours or duties increased, or if a new child was coming into the home. If there are additions to the job, then a salary adjustment may be considered.

While there are multiple factors to consider when determining the salary for your caregiver like location and experience, you always want to do what's right for your family. Use Care.com's babysitter pay calculator as a baseline for the going rate in your area. From there, be honest about how much you can afford and be fair to the person taking on the job.

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(20) Comments
Rach R.
Rach R.
Hi Chelsea!

I just saw your response to my post! Thank you so much! Your comment was so insightful and I am definitely going to resign over the phone, as you recommended, because she is just very violent and I am still in this unfortunate situation, which sadly, continues to get worse. On the bright side; I have had a few interviews this weekend and will have one more tomorrow as well as one this upcoming Friday and I am also working a few babysitting jobs on the side for extra money right now until I receive a job offer that will replace the current position I am in! So hopefully, by the end of this week, I will be done working for her! Also, I do not have a written contract with her, the pay was only stated out loud, not on paper; unfortunately :( Now I know to always make sure to have a written contract in the future!!!! I do have a "Travel Expense Report" with all of the miles logged in and the dates as well! So all I will have to do is fill in the reimbursement amount that you have given me! Thank you so much for all of your advice! I think I will also be contacting the Department of Family and Child Services as you stated! I am absolutely looking into that! Also, I am worried that she will post a bad comment about me on the site and have me blocked before I can even defend myself, and that has happened to me before; and for the dumbest reason, once, because I am terrified of animals and some woman had a cat and told me at the last second and I said I am so sorry I am terrified of animals I'm going to have to cancel and she actually had me blocked from the website and I could not make an account for 4 months! As long as I have a job secured before I quit, I'm ok with her doing whatever, but if I don't, I'll need to be able to stay on the site to find a new job, so I'm just a bit nervous about that!
February 1, 2015 at 8:12 PM
Chelsea F.
Chelsea F.
Rach R. - I feel so sorry for you! That sounds like a super toxic relationship, not only between you and the mother, but the mother and her children! Unfortunately, she does know where you live most likely, if you live on the same street, so I would be cautious of that. Personally, if I found myself in that situation, I would resign by phone and carefully explain the reasons for leaving. Since this woman, again most likely, knows where you live, if you're really that worried about it, I would think about getting a restraining order. Now I say that only if you feel like you're in danger from her. TRO's are not to be taken lightly, but if this woman is a brash and rude as you're saying (and I don't doubt you at all - she sounds like someone I know from my family) then you need to figure out how to protect yourself from her if something were to happen. If you have somewhere like your parents' home where you could stay for a week after resigning, I would suggest doing that to determine the backlash before going to the extreme of the restraining order. Also, most likely she will be very put off and write a negative review about you on Care.com if that's where your relationship started. On the plus side, you can write a comment back to explain why you left but you need to think of what's best for you, and what's best for the kids. If you've seen any sort of abuse, other than neglect because she sits in the basement all day and she did hire you so therefore it's not "neglect", I would contact your local Department of Family and Children Services. Please don't take it lightly, which I don't think you will in any case, but these are children and they need a stable and loving environment to flourish in. But so do you so I would definitely get out of there as soon as possible.

Oh and lastly, if your contract says you have to give two weeks, it also likely has your hourly rate in there. If she's not paying your proper rate, then I see no reason why you should have to abide by the two weeks notice. Also, if you do have a contract, maybe you could look into getting back pay to make up for the difference in what she promised, and what she came through on. Additionally, you may be entitled to some type of reimbursement from driving the kids around based on the National Mileage Reimbursement -- it's $.56/mile for 2014, so if you have proof of mileage that could go a long way to help with the driving and also the wear and tear if you are using your own car. Just do what's best for you and what you feel comfortable with though. I really hope some of this helps!
December 20, 2014 at 8:02 PM
Rach R.
Rach R.
Hi everyone! I work for a family with 5 kids. I have been nannying for 8 years now, and have worked for several families. One family I was with for 3 years. I have never had such a negative experience in my life until working for this current family. Let me also tell you that I lifeguarded for 8.5 years and taught swim lessons for 7.5 years and counting. I'm certified in CPR/AED, First Aid, Lifeguarding and I have my Water Safety Instructor certification as well. I keep these all up-to-date. A typical workweek for me (when I work for this family) is Mondays 2:00pm-10:00pm, Tuesdays 4:15pm-10:00pm, Wednesdays 1:00pm-9:30pm and Thursdays 2:00pm-9:30pm. In our initial agreement, it was agreed upon that I would receive $20.00 an hour. I would be responsible for the children's laundry only, driving the children to their extracurricular activities (no less than a mile away is where they claimed these activities took place), work occasional overnights if I was available to, and helping the kids get homework done. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT WHAT I have been doing since June when I started. I only live 10 minutes from this family and off of the same road they live on. I have to fill my gas tank twice a week just for all the driving I do for them! I have to also fill it a third time half a tank but I can consider that much of my own driving outside of work. Anyways, this entire time they have been paying me $13 an hour! After we agreed upon $20! I have bills to pay! This just isn't working for me any more. So since what was based in our initial agreement, I have had to drive the children's friends around, take the one child to tennis which is 31 miles from their home 3 nights a week, and then pick her up 2.5 hours later 3 nights a week as well, I am also responsible for doing the entire family of 7 people's laundry and mind you they have at least 3 loads a day, on Mondays, they have 8 loads waiting for me. They let the sink pile up with dirty dishes (both the basement sink and the one in the upstairs kitchen), for me to scrub the plates clean before putting them in dishwasher then unloading it and reloading etc etc etc, they also have me driving the boys to wrestling 2 times a week, swimming 3x a week and to piano once a week, picking up from chess club once a week (these kids have at LEAST two activities a day), somehow manage to get their homework done in no time. And I tutor them in math and reading 3x a week. I do not get paid extra for this. I also have to do all of the grocery shopping and kids clothing shopping as well. I have to scrub the floors twice a week, reorganize at least 2 closets/shelves/craft room a week, I have to fold and put away everyones clothing each day, keep the children's rooms clean, take them to dinner when their mother doesn't cook, run errands for school supplies and such needed for projects and whatnot for the older children, drive them to physical therapy, swim practice, group clubs that are somehow at a students home twice a week, take them to all of their doctors appointments, they see their dermatologist once a week, sometimes once every other week, which is 15 miles from the house, plus more things as well. I am ONLY GETTING PAID $13 hour no gas money no mileage reimbursement and I have spoke to the mother regarding the original pay and what she has actually been paying me and she told me she would have to talk to her husband. It's been 9 weeks since I had that talk with her and nothing has changed. She's also super mean and rude and cusses at her young children, calls her oldest daughter horrid names that I don't even wanna repeat. I am actually terrified of this woman and do not know what to do now. I want to quit and know I should but I feel so bad for the two young children. However, I'm losing money by working there and know I should just quit. OH. And there have been more than 20 times she has called me off at the last minute, 7x where I actually showed up for work and no one was home and she called me later saying "OH sorry my bad, I forgot to tell you we're out of town!" And there have been instances where I'm 2 minutes away from there on my way to work and she will call and say "I don't need you today so don't come" and many Fridays where she has asked me if I could work and then I'll plan my Friday to help her out and then she cancels last second, saying she does not need me anymore. In NOT EVEN ONE of these instances has she paid me. She clearly doesn't understand that this is my JOB and I have to make an income! I've literally gone broke. I had $10,000+ saved in my bank account when I started working for her and now I have $309 in it. What she pays me each month can't even cover my rent. I want to know if you think I should even put in 2 weeks after all that she's done to me. She is a SAHM so it's not like she'd be stuck if I did not give two weeks notice. She just drinks wine, watches netflix and naps all day in the basement and tells me its because she can't hear the kids from down there. And to not bother her. This situation is too toxic for me. I don't even know if I should quit in person because I am terrified. Any thoughts?
December 13, 2014 at 10:17 AM
Clare H.
Clare H.
I have always believed in paying "above the table." Where I am paid like an employee and have taxes taken out of my check. I have been fortunate to work with family(s) that have done this. I feel like I am respected with integrity, and my time and attention to children is valued. I cannot emphasize this enough, nanny contracts are priceless! I advise any caregiver to consider one of these. Even if you have never done one, please consider talking about it with your family (employer). It is so worth having everything in writing including salary, job description, duties, expectations, etc...

As far as pay rates, I think any employer should consider each candidates skills, experience, education, availability, and expectations for the job. Then budget the salary accordingly. Nannies generally get paid more than babysitters. I am okay with asking 10-15$ per hour. But other issues have to be taken into account such as the number of children, how many hours you are working, daily job duties (light housekeeping, meal prep, car pool, etc...) .. You have to consider your needs and the needs of the family. Some families are only willing to pay minimum wage per hour, a daily flat rate, or weekly rate. You have to consider that when applying for a position or accepting a job offer. Know your worth! Pay may be different if you are a college student working with a family PT vs. Working FT with a family as your main source of income. There has to be balance, best fit, and realistic expectations for the family and the caregiver. If this can't be met as far as pay is concerned, then the family to nanny/babysitter relationship just isn't going to work.
August 2, 2014 at 3:22 PM
Cyndi S.
Cyndi S.
Although we are on care.com to have senior care I would like to mention something also -- about live-in care. In some states you would have a difficulty getting the person to vacate the room when they stop doing the work without a lease. My first attempt to have a "live in" caregiver for the overnight shifts was a disaster as he never paid the rent portion to the homeowner although the senior receiving care was paying full wages as an employer so therefore the Federal SSI & Medicare also for that employee. We had to go through the eviction process which was emotionally challenging to deal with while trying to have my parents and in-laws taken care of and impacted the other staff that did not live-in since we require 24x7x365 care in the home.

My advice, join up with your city or county landlord organization to get the proper forms and have clarity around the rent cost for the space and pay them full wages for ease IF things go wrong or you simply decide that the live-in arrangement doesn't work.
January 16, 2014 at 11:11 PM
Darlene W.
Darlene W.
Thank you so much for the info Stephanie!
January 11, 2014 at 6:24 PM
Stephanie Breedlove
Stephanie Breedlove
Hi Darlene!

My name is Stephanie Breedlove and I am the head of Care.com HomePay. The answer to your question is YES, some of the taxes withheld from your pay do go toward your retirement - specifically the Social Security & Medicare taxes (also known as FICA). During tax season, the family will file paperwork with the Social Security Administration listing your name, the wages you were paid and the FICA taxes withheld from you, and this builds credit over time for you. When you retire, the amount of Social Security and Medicare assistance you will receive will be based on how much you have paid into the programs over your working lifetime.
January 9, 2014 at 3:02 PM
Darlene W.
Darlene W.
This might be a silly question but I'm gonna go ahead and ask it because my husband wants me to. If I am a Nanny for someone and they take the taxes out of my pay does that go toward my social security benefits for retirement?
Thanks.
January 8, 2014 at 7:54 PM
Isabel R.
Isabel R.
From my personal experience I think is very important to do a contract with all the agreements you negociate with the family. You put everything in paper and clear it prevent future misunderstanding and leads to long lasting relationship.
I always make sure that my responsabilities are related to children. Little by little parents start adding things that are not your responsability, if you want to do is upon your decision.
My recommendation have everything written and be specific in all the things you want to be paid like vacation time, sick days, gas expenses. Good nannies should be recognized and motivated . Parents think the big responsability we have in our hands , the life of your children, our work sometimes is not seen as the eyes and heart people should see. Our job should be value as any job and be appreciated too.
December 20, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Iuliana M.
Iuliana M.
Candy,

And since when you have to work for nothing? Especially during night time?
You probably never worked overtime and don't know anything about how it is to stay overtime and they just send you off with a "Thank you"! How about your life and responsibilities? I thought slavery was abolished a long time ago!...
How you dare to say that it's less work then during the day?!? Did you ever encountered an emergency (FYI a tornado coming or flood or something else...) where you have to wake up 5 kids in the middle of the night and dress them, and explain to them why do you have to do this, why is not mommy and daddy here, put them in the car, try to find where to go at that time of night and so on and on? Can you explain to me how easy this is? And you answer with your life for them, if something happens to them...since when a child life during the day value $10/hour and during night $5/hour?

Look form this perspective: My children life is priceless and I will pay someone as fair as possible and above and beyond when I can to have the best care for them. It is the merit of the babysitter that they are happy and content and safe when I am not there, so she deserves to have the best treatment too.
I have worked for both types of families. Some will try to get the crap out of you and give you nothing, pretending you have to be happy they give you crap and that you have a place to work!!!
And I work for families who will consider me one of their own and paid me the fair wage even if I could see they didn't have too much either. And I loved to work for them...

These should be about RESPECT and CARE for people who you expect to RESPECT and CARE for your loved ones.
And that you give these people some money compensation does not at all count with you the smile you get from your child...

Remember that a HAPPY Babysitter has more then 95% chance making your child happy too!
November 22, 2013 at 9:13 AM
Warllem P.
Warllem P.
And about a caregiver for adult with especial needs?
November 18, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Candy O.
Candy O.
Britney F.,
That's an interesting way to look at it. Frankly someonw with thoughts like that should think twice about being a nanny. Sounds like money is the ruling issue. Watching children during the day is a whole lot more work than at night. Period.
November 17, 2013 at 5:25 AM
Jinafer S.
Jinafer S.
What is the going rate for a certified nanny / babysitter with over 25+ years of babysitting under her belt. Right now with the hours I'm working its comes out to be $6.10 an hour with no paid holidays,sick days or vacation days.
August 25, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Cathleen S.
Cathleen S.
I have been asked to pick up two children in a family from two different schools, help with homework, and do light housekeeping. They have asked me if I would also pick up two more children (friends of theirs) and take them home as well. How do I charge for this? I am charging $15 an hour for the first family of two, but don't know what to do about the additional two children that they want to add on. Thank you.
August 12, 2013 at 4:44 PM
Member Care
Member Care
Hi Kori,

Rates for live-in nannies do vary greatly based on a variety of factors such as location, experience, and your specific job requirements. We do have an article geared specifically toward gauging these rates which may be helpful to you:
http://www.care.com/child-care-what-does-a-live-in-nanny-cost-p1017-q30359222.html

I hope this helps!
July 29, 2013 at 2:18 PM
Kori O.
Kori O.
How much should I pay a live in nanny ? She would work one hour in the morning and then she would work 4 hours in the afternoon. I just would need her to big up the one child up from school. I have two boys. I would provide: room, board, food and cell phone. I would fill her gas weekly. I would need very light housekeeping, laundry and maybe dinner a few times a week. I have no idea what I should pay her weekly. Please give me your suggestions as I want to be fair and I want her to stay.
July 27, 2013 at 6:47 PM
Susan B.
Susan B.
I want to know what the going rate is to care for one dog for an hour a day. Basically playing with the dog and help with feeding. I'm in the Naperville area and the family is in Woodridge. If anyone could let me know a general range, I would appreciate it.
March 20, 2013 at 12:07 AM
Esther R.
Esther R.
I am disgusted by the families who want to pay $10 per hour and have you watch 3 kids, do their laundry, cook two meals a day, one lunch for the three kids and one dinner for the whole family, clean the entire house and use my car to drive the kids to special events and to and from school! I don't know what planet they were raised on but that is so selfish and stupid. Both parents were educated professionals and acted shocked when I told them to get real with the salary. So far I have not had any luck using Care.com for a job, everyone seems to want the moon and stars but not pay for the services requested. I hate to go back and work in an office but at least there I earn $25 to answer the phone, type a few letters and book a meeting or two.

Parents out there...give yourself a reality check, would YOU work for the lousy pay you are offering someone to watch your beloved children!!
January 11, 2013 at 7:26 PM
Dalkys R.
Dalkys R.
To rapped it up, the lady can afford paying what i am worth according to my friend, her previous babysitter who was an au-pair, however i am a us citizen, with ss#,DL#,experience, good reference and job performance, and excellent background check. Never got a tickect or run into an accident, with CPR certificate, and Tutor experience. She wants me to help with her kids homework and is telling me that I should be incharge of the pets when the kids or one of the kids are not at home. In otherhand, my boyfriend told me that his friend earns like $900 or more then a $1000 per week, just for one kid. If that is the case, Emagine guys what and how much, I am loosing wth this lady. I am loosing my wages bcuz she is paying on the the table, intead of on the books. She doesn not pay taxes, so which mean she will not contribute to my social security,healf, retirement, and unemployment benefit. So this is not the only issue, guys, but now another one that I just found out. I just realized that I will deff get in trouble if I continue driving her kids in her car, do you know why guys? Take notes: because if something happen to her kids,God forbit, I will be even more responsable to pay chrages for some legal issues. So Please guys becareful, with this kind of deals. I will deff drop this from my service, and have discussed it to her and period. SHe is not paying me per kid, not even overtime, and we haven drawn a contract, which ill deff will from now on. Im waiting for what she will tell me this upcoming Monday. I hope to share what she said and think about my thoughts.
August 24, 2012 at 1:50 AM
Dalkys R.
Dalkys R.
Think about the story and tell me if I am being fair with her charging the $400 and food, vacation and hollidays. And what she is offering me is staying at her house the entire day for me to take care of everyone, and a cell phone???
August 23, 2012 at 9:53 PM

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