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Handling Nanny Vacations, Holidays and Sick Days

Lauren Wolfson
June 22, 2018

Do you give your nanny paid time off?

When you hire a nanny, you'll probably talk about things like pay rates and schedules. But what about paid vacations, holidays and sick days?

Being a nanny is a job -- just like any other. And nannies have lives of their own and should receive benefits like overtime, insurance and paid time off -- just like the rest of us.

Lots of families forget to negotiate these things when they hire a caregiver. Talk about them before you officially hire someone. Then make sure you add all the details to your nanny contract. Here's what you should talk about:

Paid Holidays

According to the 2017 INA Salary and Benefits Survey, 73 percent of employers provide paid holidays to their caregivers. Holidays tend to be busy for everyone, so it's natural to give your child care provider -- especially those with kids and families of their own -- some paid holiday time off. Negotiate the days based on what works for everyone.

Paid Vacation

Everyone needs some time off to recharge. And nannies definitely need some rest and relaxation after caring for your children. Two weeks of paid vacation time is typical -- and we suggest the same for your nanny.

Many families try to coordinate their nanny's vacation time around family vacations, so they're not left scrambling to find backup child care. Maybe your nanny takes one week off during the summer, while your family is visiting Disney World and then has one week to use whenever she want.

Set rules for using these vacation days. For example, how much notice does your nanny need to give you that she wants time off? How will she let you know: in-person, text or email? Can she split the days up or does she have to use it a week at a time?

Paid Sick Days

When a nanny is around kids all day, it's inevitable that she'll get sick. While paid sick days aren't as common as paid holidays and vacation, the INA reports that 67 percent of employers include paid sick days in their nanny benefits. It's most common for families to provide four or five days, but you should agree on an amount that is best for everyone.

Again, how much notice does your nanny have to give you -- and how should she contract you to let you know?

Plan for your nanny's sick day now by weighing your 6 Options for Backup Care. If you find yourself in a real child care pinch, consider looking into services like Care.com Backup Care to find last-minute quality backup care.

Providing this paid time off is a great way to show your nanny that you appreciate her and everything she does for your family.

Your Next Steps:

Muang in Oakland, CA
June 10, 2017

I have a question regarding vacation pay. I've been with a family since march 31, 2015. I get two weeks paid vacation each year. On May 1, 2016... I had to take an indefinite leave due to an emergency. They have since replace me. I don't blame them. I'm just trying to figure out if they owe me my vacation time or not??? Thanks.

July 19, 2016

what about if the parent is at work and 4 hours later the parent comes home not feeling well. I get sent home should they pay me for the full 13 hour shift or only for 4 hrs. oh and its a night shift.

User in Elgin, IL
June 10, 2016

I think all of the above situations could be probably avoided by having good, clear nanny contracts in place before hiring. They are there to help protect both the nanny and the family. It's sometimes difficult to discuss fine points beforehand but will save a lot of embarrassing confusion later on.

April 15, 2016

My nanny was part time 6hr days, we agreed to 5.5 weeks pto. She didn't want sick days, said she never got sick. After the first couple sick days I said sure she could make them up with date nights. 10 months and 14 sick/emergency days later (8 of which she had made up time) we're arguing over whether we should be deducting pay for the remaining sick days vs forcing me to find time for a ton of date nights, and she ends up quitting right then and there. I felt like I was trying to be flexible on her behalf, and we were on really good terms until the very end. Which is too bad, I was having flashbacks to breaking up with my high school ex.

I am committed to a summer nanny position - what about when the family goes on vacation? My family is going away for two weeks this summer and I won't be paid. I committed myself to work for them during that time also and could not get any work for that two week period. The husband and wife will be paid through their employment for their vacation - shouldn't I get paid too?

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