Travel Pay

Received Monday, June 23, 2008- Perspective & Opinion
I have a question about compensation for travelling with a family. I'm a nanny for two kids(12 and 8 years old) and had to spend 6 days with the kids grandparents(one of the days was a Sunday which I usually have off). My day began when the youngest child woke up, about 8.30 am and ended when the children went to bed, usually around 9.30-10pm. My hours in the city are 7.30-7.30. The only break I had was an hour of personal training at a nearby gym each morning which I should point out that they paid for. I did not ask for this though and if I had have been given the choice I would have said I would prefer to be paid extra instead. I was surprised to receive my normal wages at the end of this trip. Maybe my employer thought this was a vacation for me but it definitely wasn't.What are the opinions of other nannies/moms?


mpp said...

Another topic that pisses me off. (We know how I feel about the Nanny and housework) ....

Why do Parents assume this is a Vacation for the Nanny? More often than not, they are actually putting in MORE than the usual hours, and because the Family is together 24/7, it only makes it easier for them to get away with it.
Also, the Nanny sometimes has to room with the child. This should be a big no-no for 2 reasons:
*You shouldn't take that small, maybe it'll never happen chance, that the kid will say something 'untoward' happened with the Nanny.
* Where is the Nannies downtime? Her privacy? .... when she's bunking with the kids, it's non-existent.

Please sit down with the Parents. Tell them you expected more ..... try to work something out.
And next time, have a contract before you leave Town so that everyone knows where they stand.
You'll know what you will be earning, and what your hours will be ahead of time, without stressing whether or not they are taking advantage of you.
And don't forget to negotiate your own room if you didn't get one this time.

Good luck. Post back and let us know you had a heart to heart with them .... and they paid you.

molly's nanny said...

Any night I don't sleep with my head on my pillow, my salary is doubled. And it doesn't matter if I am in Larchmont or Fiji. Your employers are tight asses. They probably can't afford to have the nanny travel with them. So they might want to try TAKING CARE OF THEIR OWN CHILDREN.

Anonymous said...

Your employer probably wasn't aware that you worked on Sunday. I would tell them immediately. I don't think you should ask to be paid for the extra hour or so a day, since you had an hour off to go to the gym. They would probably think that balanced out. Perks like that are common when traveling with a family, and should not be considered in lieu of salary.
Next time you go out of town you MUST discuss compensation before hand. You should be paid for any hours over your regular weekly schedule, and an overnight fee for being away from home. (In NYC that would be $100 to $150 per night.)

fox in socks said...

I gather from your post that you assumed they'd be paying you more but you never actually discussed compensation for the trip?

Of course the trip, as you describe it, is way more work and should require more compensation. Furthermore, it sounds like you took the trip wtih the grandparents and the kids, and the parents weren't there at all. This is even more burdensome than being with the family who presumably, you know much better than grandma & grandpa.

I think you should talk to the family. You can approach them by saying that you realize you should have talked to them about this sooner, as soon as they mentioned the idea of this trip, but unfortunately that conversation never took place and you're disappointed to be paid the same salary for the trip.

They may or may not give you more money to compensate for the trip, since you didn't discuss it (it seems), but at least you will clear the air for any possible future trips.

Miserly Bastard said...

I will be interested to see the answers.

We have never travelled with our nanny, but have discussed the possibility of doing so.

I'm not sure how to handle the price issue. Certainly, the ordinary day rate would need to be increased.

But I dont think that the rate should be billed at the full overtime rates we pay of $21/hour, nor should it be billable for 24 hours.

My own sense is that it should be pre-negotiated between employer and nanny. I would probably pay around $125-150 extra, per day, plus reasonable expenses for food, lodging, travel, etc.

jojo bear said...

"plus reasonable expenses for food, lodging, travel, etc. "

Reasonable expenses?

She gets EVERYTHING you get.

Anonymous said...

If you never brought up the subject of being paid more, it seems pretty ridiculous to me that you're surprised that you didn't get paid more.

Do you really feel that your employers should not only pay you more, but start the conversation as well? If you're not working for your own best interests, it seems strange to me that you expect other to do it for you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I say this sweet, naive OP needs to "buck up" ....
get your own, dear! You know what you're worth.

Anonymous said...

1149..I agree 110%..OP you are a grown women. It is your job to look out for yourself. You allowed yourself to be put in this situation and now feel taken advantage of.Speak up for yourself in the future before the trip takes place.

I would tell the parents you worked Sunday and need to be compensated but otherwise, there is not too much you should do after the fact. Sorry you had to learn this lesson but in the future you will know what questions to ask before agreeing to travel with the family or grandparents.

Anonymous said...

When I was 16, I travelled with a family to Las Vegas (they were there for meetings in the hotel) for about 3 days, 2 nights (I think!). The family paid for my flight, paid for all of my meals (which in Las Vegas, was expensive as they ordered a lot of room service for us), paid for my own room, and paid me money on top of that.

Treat your nanny well or she won't want to go on any more trips with you.

saint paul nanny said...


next time you should talk about this before hand. you got screwed.

chick said...

Approach your employers like this:

"I would like to talk with you about setting up guidelines and a travel contract. I know we didn't do this before I took the recent trip with the kids, and that has prompted me to do so now for future trips.

I have checked with other nannies and looked at various websites, and generally, OT is paid for hours worked beyond the normal schedule, and an overnight fee of $100 - $200 is paid for each night I am away from home as well."

I would like to set up a contract now to assure I am fairly compensated in the future. I am eager to discuss this with you further. When can we schedule a meeting?"

This way, they will realize they got off cheap this time, and they will either pay you OT and travel coverage, or they will no longer ask you to go on vacation with them. In the latter case, make sure you will be paid your full rate each and every time they choose to NOT use your services. Don't let them make you take that as your vacation.

chick said...

MB, you have always sounded like a reasonable employer. I would suggest the following...

Pre-arrange a schedule so your nanny can see when she'll be working.

Pay her OT for any hours each day past her normal quitting time UNTIL your child is asleep. At that point, the overnight fee is in play.

Also, remember that many nannies will offer their help even when they are "off the clock". If your nanny is going to be pitching in even when she doesn't have to, add some sort of "tip" or bonus to her total pay for the trip. 15% - 25% would be generous.

As far as any travel and accomodations and meals: She travels with you (Business Class, or whatever) if she is expected to work the flight. If she is not expected to work the flight, a seat alone in coach is fine, IMO.

She gets her own room. If she has to room with her charge, double the overnight pay to $300.

She gets to eat what you would eat yourself. If that means all meals out or via room service, so be it. If that means using the room frig for breakfast and lunches, so be it!

The best thing to remember about travel and your nanny is that nanny has to work twice as hard when YOU are taking a vacation and she travels with you, and her compensation shouyld reflect that.

ATL Nanny said...

I like Chick's advice. What's done is done, and although I think you got screwed -- badly -- there's not much that can be done in retrospect. But I would sit down with them asap and hammer out a work agreement for any future travel plans. And next time they ask you to travel with them, bring out the work agreement and go over things like a schedule and accommodations before you leave.

UmassSlytherin said...

well done, chick! I love how you broke it down for miserly bastard! I hope he takes your advice! :)

Anonymous said...

If you are taking your nanny on a working vacation she should be paid. You pay for food lodging and travel expenses,she is working while there not having a good old time at the beach without your children. She should be paid her wages too. I do not understand why people think they should not have to pay their nanny when making them work your vacation .
These nannies need to have this all in a written contract and not go thur this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

my opinon as a nanny is that you should have been paid a slightly higher hourly wage for that day and for all those hours in addition to your regular pay. i think when you do something like that for the family on a normal day off it is a special favor. they should treat it like you did them a special favor and if they don't they are being cheap.

Anonymous said...

my opinon as a nanny is that you should have been paid a slightly higher hourly wage for that day and for all those hours in addition to your regular pay. i think when you do something like that for the family on a normal day off it is a special favor. they should treat it like you did them a special favor and if they don't they are being cheap.

Anonymous said...

by the way...i hate when people say "oh well, you got screwed, you should have stuck up for yourself, you're a grown woman." you know we are talking about what is right and wrong here. you wouldn't want us to treat your kids that way would you? those people should try having a heart and not being an a$$ about it or you may end up being on the short end of the stick yourselves one day.

Anonymous said...

Posts like this really disgust me. OP I am so sorry this happened. You had trust in your employer being fair and honest and got screwed.
Sad part is that they KNOW they got away with it. You think they have no idea they should be paying for your overtime?! Please. I am sure they work in very nice high paying jobs.
I live in a very privileged suburb. I know parents like this and they are disgusting. They shop in the fanciest stores, flaunt the best jewelry, get their haircuts at the most expensive salons, but try to save money where the neighbors won't see it.

Anonymous said...

When a family I was a nanny for wanted me to go to Hawaii with them they wanted the vacation to be my pay for the week. They thought I was ungrateful when I told them that didn't work.they ended up saying that they didn't need me to go on vacation but were not willing to pay me for the time off even though our contract stated that they had to give at least 6 weeks notice for unpaid vacation. I quit that week!

ATL Nanny said...

8:08 -- good for you for standing up to yourself. Your former employers sound awful. And any family who refuses to hold up their end of an agreement deserves to be left with no notice. I'm glad you were able to get out so quickly.

Anonymous said...

I agree with every bit of chicks advice, but don't you think it's a bad idea for the nanny to stay in the same room with the charges? I've seen that over & over on this site. Unless of course, if it's a baby -- maybe??

How do others feel about rooming with your charges?

nyc mom said...

I have travelled with our nanny many, many times to various places and with a variety of arrangements. When I first did this a few years ago, neither of us thought to negotiate the hours or fee up front. I assumed my nanny would want a break before and after the trip so arranged almost a week vacation before and after in lieu of extra pay. When we discussed it much later, turns out she would have preferred to just earn extra money. For all future trips we set things out clearly ahead of time. I pay my nanny a salary for a 45hour work week. If, on vacation, she is "on the clock" for 65 hours, I pay her approx 1.5x her salary etc. She is never working all the hours she is "on" but we pay for them all for the flexibility. This avoids the issue Chick raised of our nanny working even when she is not on the clock. I just assume she will be helping if around and pay her for this. If she has the kids in her room overnight, these count as regular hours, if not, they do not. I have used this arrangment with several different people over the years and it has worked well for all of us. Prior to each trip, I now also offer my nanny two options for the trip: one with lots of hours and lots more money; one with less hours, more free time, and less pay. She *always* picks earning extra money. Paying for all travel, food, expenses goes without saying. We also sometimes bring our nanny's daughter along (who is around the same age as one of my kids) and pay for her in full too. The key is communication and to put everything in writing so there is no confusion later. I also encourage my nanny to disappear when she is not working (by that I mean, go off and enjoy herself). I know if she hangs around us the kids will never leave her alone. I have also tried doing a straight hourly rate before but found this was more trouble for everyone. I also was never big on the overnight fee, prefer to roll it all into one clear number we can both be happy with.

I also want to make it clear that I strongly believe my nanny works MUCH harder when on vacation with us than during regular hours. Yes, she gets to see places she might not otherwise have the opportunity to see, but she certainly doesn't have much time to enjoy it! We spend a lot on our annual family vacation and I don't mind paying a lot extra to have my nanny along and have her feel she is getting a fair deal. I count it into the cost when budgeting our vacations. The alternative to taking our nanny would be to use a hotel sitter or have my older two very limited by our baby and his naps, etc. I much prefer to have the person we trust along and, since my initial naivety, I have had no problems at all. My husband and I find we get much more quality family time with our nanny along and more opportunities for one-on-one, age appropriate activities with our older two. Plus, we get to go out to dinner alone a couple of times!

To OP's situation, I think it is still reasonable to bring up the situation with your employer, certainly in the context of clarifying all future travel.

seattlenanny said...

NYC mom..

Good post! You sound like a fair employer!

Anonymous said...

Gosh I hate going on vacations with the family I work for. In the past 4 years we have taken 3 vacations together. The first one they didn't pay me extra for all the hours I worked but did compensate me with a ticket home which 3 days after returning from the vacation my dad passed away and they paid for the flight to be moved and all that. The second time they didnt' pay me anything, even though I worked for 5 days straight including 2 six hour car drives and sleeping in a single bed. ugh. the 3rd vacation we traveled sat to sat. I told them they had to use one of their extra date nights for that. they fought me on it. if they hadn't had been going to my home town anyways, I would have fought harder for more pay and time off. But in the end I told them never again would I go on vacation with them and they know it.

Anonymous said...

My boss just pays double my salary.

LindaLou said...

i don't understand why the nanny would be going on a family vacation at all. isn't spending time with yur family what vacation is all about?

Anonymous said...

I went on vacation ONCE with the family I work for...that was more than enough. Their lack of respect and consideration for me was eye-opening. Not only did I not get extra pay or comp-time (or even my own room, as promised), but worked a full week before and after this eight day nightmare. I've been searching for a new job ever since, and never again will agree to travel with a family I work for.

Anonymous said...

OP, ignore the posts saying this is your own fault. The only thing you did wrong was to assume your employers were fair and decent people. It certainly is the responsibility of the employer to discuss the details of the arrangement, because they are asking a favor basically. If your original work agreement did not include travel with the children, then it is optional. That means the employer should ASK you if you will go, and give a work description, hours, pay, room arrangement, and any perks that might entice you to go.

Anonymous said...

I'm the OP and just want to say thanks for everyone's insights and thing I'll definately do is have a discussion about terms and conditions before any future trips so I know where I stand and won't get any more nasty shocks. They've generally been very fair employers and I guess I ended up being too trusting and naive because of that.

Miserly Bastard said...

All of this may be academic for us, because I suspect we wont be travelling anytime soon with our nanny.

For one thing, I sort of object to bringing a nanny with you on vacation; sure, we can afford it, but when I was growing up, family vacations always included an unavoidable amount of inconvenience for our parents. Even though my wife and I are far wealthier than my parents, I think that if you want to imbue your child with "middle class values", you have to demonstrate those values yourself by NOT doing things like travelling with a nanny.

On a less philosophical level, our daughter is at the age where she can climb out of a crib, but isn't yet old enough for a bed. (She sleeps in a crib at home with a "tent" over it to keep her trapped inside.) Travelling with her these days inevitably means she refuses to stay in a pack-and-play or hotel crib, and instead will sleep with us in the hotel bed. I wouldn't want to ask the nanny to have to do this because (a) it results in a lousy night of sleep, and (b) I'm not sure our daughter would sleep with the nanny anyhow, rather than us.

So in all likelihood, we're travelling on our own without the nanny, for the forseeable future.

W/r/t the commenter who said "whatever you get, the nanny gets," I totally disagree. If I fly business class, I think it's perfectly fine to send the nanny in coach. (I fly coach, though.) Just because I can eat at a restaurant and order room service whenever I want, doesn't mean the nanny can--I think she should expect a fair per diem, but in no way should expect what I buy for myself. Finally, when it comes to hotel accomodations, obviously the nanny gets her own room, but I don't see why it has to be at my hotel. My wife and I were discussing the possibility of taking a trip to Vegas with the nanny, and if that happened, we would have stayed at the Wynn or the Bellagio; I probably would have put the nanny up at a perfectly adequate Strip hotel, like the MGM Signature towers on the South strip, or the a place like the Mirage or Paris. I don't see why she should reasonably expect to stay at the same hotel as my wife and I.

ATL Nanny said...

I agree with Miserly Bastard regarding the "what you get..." issue. As a nanny, I don't see myself as a member of the family. I see myself as a professional who has a good working relationship with my employers. When traveling for work, I don't see it as a vacation. I see it as a business trip. Therefore, I don't expect luxuries. I expect all of my expenses to be paid for in advance (hotel room, transportation, per diem for food, etc) and I expect to be paid for my additional hours at my normal overtime rate plus an overnight fee. If the family would rather I stay at a different hotel or take a different flight, that's fine with me -- actually, I think I'd prefer it. It's be nice to have a little quiet time and privacy. Any luxuries I do receive -- special sight-seeing trips, gift certificates for the hotel spa, etc -- I see as perks, not something to be expected simply because my employers do the same activities.

Sensitive Soul said...

Well at least they paid for you to have a personal trainer. Maybe they are trying to tell you something. Are you fat?

Anonymous said...


kate said...

Miserly Bastard: I totally understand the spirit of your post, that there's no reason why you should shell out hundreds of $$ more for the nanny to stay at the Bellagio, and I realize that you do admit to not taking the nanny with you which I think is a great thing. I think you'll find that most parents who can afford to take the nanny with them on vacation would be annoyed by having her several hotels away, and Las Vegas is an anomoly in terms of the way so many resorts are packed into such a small area.

In my 5 years as a nanny I've stayed at some of the nicest hotels all over the world and I can tell you one thing for sure: Your nanny doesn't care that she's in a hotel room next to you or not. She's not there for the perks, she's working. When I spent a week in Las Vegas we were in the Four Seasons (part of the Mandalay Bay property). I would have loved to be off at the MGM Grand or somewhere comparable because it would have allowed me to have an experience more akin to "going home" at the end of a long day.

For what it's worth: I've stayed at the Venetian (personal time) and the Bellagio (work time) as well, and there's no better place in Las Vegas than the Four Seasons--especially (but not just only) if you're with your family.

Anonymous said...

"I probably would have put the nanny up at a perfectly adequate Strip hotel..."


Miserly Bastard, you are aptly named!

W.P.N said...

I get a in town rate and an out of town rate. Out of town is always more exhausting and more work I find. It is overtime and you are giving up a huge amount of your free time to work and cover for the family. This should be something to look forward to. A little change, extra salary and hopefully some time off to have a little look around where possible.

Maybe you should have a meeting and lay out a new contract? If I cannot work extended hours (which I do normally) there is always a travel or weekend nanny to cover. as the main nanny honestly you can only do so much and when you are over extended sometime even the money does not help and you just need time off.


W.P.N said...

I remember going out to La with one of my families and the father picked me up late at the airport and drove me to what I thought was a rather scary hotel. I just walked in and said I am not comfortable. He apologized and we searched for a better one. The family had their own apartment and there was not room for me there. It was just a matter of everyone being way too busy to work this detail out.

I always believe in speaking up. I know now to set the ground rules of what I prefer and am comfortable with early in the hiring process.

I tend to stay in the same hotels as my families as they always need me close by. I expect to be able to eat and sleep well so that I can put in a good days work which normally ends up being way more time then when I work with the family at home.

Honestly I would be pretty fed up if a family was staying in a gorgeous place and put me up in some dodgy inferior place somewhere. If the family really were staying in an outrageously expensive place and they wanted to put me up somewhere a little cheaper I would not mind as much if it was still nice. The space is often appreciated and hey when you are off you are off! I just like things to be sorted out and know what is going on and have communication.

*If they said is it ok that you stay here or here and gave me some alternative options I would be reasonable. Some families also want the space from the nanny. It is hard to stomach though if a family is staying in a $8000 a night hotel and you are put up in The Crack Hotel from Hell.

I also expect nice benefits if I manage to get time off which normally means room service and a nice dip in the pool and hopefully a work out. I would also feel pretty bad if the family was flying first class and I was shoved in the back. That is just not respecting the person who is going to be there 24/7 for you. If you cannot afford your nannies travel expenses and are skimping on her end then hire someone when you get there.

On the issue of staying in the room. I just do not do that. Its my professional opinion and I am not a baby nurse and I really do not think it is appropriate. I have no problem having a suite with a separate room and monitors etc etc. I am a constant checker in any event. I just do not share bedrooms.