Should You Pay Your Nanny Extra?

Written by on October 17, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page

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When parents have a babysitter come over for a few hours on a Friday or Saturday night, they may leave a $20 bill on the counter so the babysitter can order a pizza. Once the parents return after their night out, they’ll pay the babysitter for the 3 or 4 hours she worked at the previously agreed upon rate.

While what you should pay a babysitter is a pretty cut and dry situation, things can get a little more complicated when you have a nanny. The reason is a nanny’s going to be doing much more than watching your kids for a few hours once or twice a month. Instead, she’s probably going to be helping you on a daily basis. Additionally, many families opt for a nanny who actually lives with them.

Because a nanny is an actual employee and not just a family friend who occasionally comes over to help, you want to treat her with fairness and respect. A big part of showing a nanny how much you appreciate everything she does for your family is not making her feel like she’s getting gypped out of any money. While a good nanny is never going to complain about that issue, it’s definitely not going to make her feel great about her working situation.

To ensure that you’re not accidentally shortchanging your nanny, here are some of the extras that are considered standard in addition to her base salary:


Food and Going Out: No, you don’t have to pay for your nanny when she goes out to dinner with her friends. But you do want to take care of any expenses that are related to taking your kids out to eat and taking them somewhere like a theme park for the day. A simple way to take care of this is to give your nanny a place where she can put her receipts for the week. Then on Monday, you can pay her for the previous week’s expenses. That will give her cash to use for the week, and makes keeping track of everything very easy to do.

Phone: It’s more than likely that the nanny you hire already has a cellphone. However, many families choose to give their nanny a work cellphone. Just like with any other job, a separate cell makes it easy to stay in touch with her without worrying about her getting distracted by incoming personal calls or texts. If that’s not something you’re worried about and are fine with her using her own cellphone, depending on how often you call or text her, you may still want to consider paying for a 1/3 to 1/2 of her monthly bill.

Driving: Since the standards for reimbursing for any driving your nanny does while working are very clearly defined by the tax code, all you’ll need to figure out is what system you want to use to make tracking this number as simple as possible. While pen and paper can work fine, there are also smartphone apps available that can make tracking dead simple for both you and your nanny.

This is a guest post.  John Wisenheimer blogs for www.nanny.net which is a site that helps young ladies to find nanny jobs.

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