Raises and Perks

Received Saturday, July 25, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN
A) I have a few questions. I'm coming up on my year anniversary. I work as a live-in nanny in the Inter mountain area. I have never received a bonus or raise. My job started out as the perfect job, and I feel as though it has slowly gone down hill. I love the child I I take care as if they were my own. So, here are my questions. Did you receive a Winter bonus? How about a birthday gift or bonus? What about a year end bonus or raise? My employers didn't even say a word to me on my birthday. They knew it was my Bay. They didn't do anything for me for Christmas. Yet, I spoil them & their child with my time and my money. They say jump and I say how high. I hate to leave my position due to the economy. I feel extremely under appreciated and over worked.

B) Hi, I am a nanny with 9 years experience. I have a BA in business administration and am fluent in Italian and English. I am CPR certified, lifeguard certified and have previous experience as a camp counselor for 6 years. I am leaving my position with great references and want to interview for some of the top tier positions. I want to know going in what kind of perks can I demand? What kind of vacation time and bonuses should I ask for? I am pretty firm on my salary, since I was well paid my entire time as a nanny. I am looking for positions in the Beverly Hills or Tri state NY area. What are the minimum holidays a nanny with such a thorough background should be asking for?


ChiNanny said...

I can only address the first one.

I started working for the family I'm with now last July. I have received a few small gifts throughout the year for no reason. I received a Christmas bonus of about one weeks pay. I also received a birthday gift from the family and homemade cards from the kids on my birthday. I also got off early that day (approximately 4 hours early, with pay, which was their decision, I did not request it.)

I am a live out, full time nanny for two children. I haven't taken any sick days this year, and took one personal day for a death in the family. I don't have bonuses in my contract, they were given out of the family's generosity.

I love my current family and am very happy with my job. I realize bonuses aren't always a requirement for a nanny job, but not recognizing your birthday in some form isn't right. At least a "Happy Birthday" and homemade card for the person who helps raise their children. It seems like this family doesn't appreciate you.

Anonymous said...

1. That's just wrong. They obviously don't view you as a valued member of their lives. If you don't get a bonus and a raise for your annual, I would look for a new family who respects you.

sed said...

Number 1 - That family sounds really lame. No acknowledgment on your birthday is really sad. Unless perhaps they are a religion that does not celebrate birthdays.

You should ask to sit down and have a one on one meeting with them about your 1 year pay raise if they don't bring it up first. At least $1 an hour pay raise. Bonuses should not be expected - not every job has them, but if you are going above and beyond for them, and they truly do appreciate you, you might get them here and there.

I never got birthday gifts or wishes from my last employer either who I worked for, for 3 years. I did get 1/2 weeks salary for Christmas. I also got paid vacations whenever they went on vacation (I was not needed to go along, kids were older) so that counted for a lot too.

The one HUGE mistake you are making them is spoiling them with your money. Don't ever, ever spend any of your personal money on them, or their child. Okay maybe a small birthday or Christmas gift for their child but don't spoil them.

CuriousDad said...

This is for poster #2: You might want to get with a reputable Agency, as most high end families go through agencies or through word of mouth from friends. From what I have been reading and studying over the past few months on the subject, so Buyer Beware on my advice. Minimum holidays to ask for are 2-3 weeks a year. Good Luck!

seasoned nanny NY said...

1) The man is keeping you down. They laugh at you as you shower their child in gifts and love. Leave them in the middle of the night.

2) The minimum you should ask for is 3 weeks vacation per year. The minimum holidays you should ask for are NY Day, NY Eve, CHristmas Eve, Christmas Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day and 4th of July. If you are Jewish, you should ask for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashannah. The reason for asking for all of these is not so that you get them all, as in 60 percent of the cases, the upper echelon of nannies work holidays and don't get a lot of vacation pay. Which brings me to my next point, negotiating your overtime and vacation rate. It should be nothing less than double time. If at the end of the year, you do not take your full 3 weeks vacation, you should get a check for all that you did not take. Same goes with holidays. It is preferred to provide a well respected nanny her birthday off, so employers in the know will take note of her birthday. Sick days are a tricky subject. Plan to ask for 5, but plan to take none. The best thing you can do is get paid for those at the end. Professional nannies do not take sick days unless they are hospitalized. After 6 months you should ask for health insurance at your cost. After two years, you should ask for the health insurance to be paid by your employer. You should also have a car provided to you and there should be no mindless provisions imposed upon the car, ie "you are not allowed to drive the car in Yonkers". If you are a professional nanny entrusted with their children, you can be trusted with their car. Negotiate up front how household expenses and children's needs will be paid for. Establish that at no time will you pay for anything with the promise of being reimbursed. Do keep detailed receipts of everything, even if they say you don't need to, even if down the line they stop checking the receipts. Just do it. Do plan to arrive every morning five minutes early. If you are not a live in nanny, do negotiate a late fee with the family. My late fee is $5 per minute. I have my own family to get home too. I know traffic happens, it happens to me to in the morning, but I manage to get there on time EVERY morning.

CuriousDad said...

OP number one.
I agree with much of what Sed wrote. Though you should never expect a dollar an hour raise from ANY job that is not at management level or above (though it does happen).

Never expect any bonus for what you do, just expect to be paid the way your contract says. A bonus is for when the employer thinks you have earned it. Also you have ONLY been with them a year, they may very well think they will pay you a bonus come Christmas time. Last Christmas you did not have a full year with them, they may have felt it was unwarranted. This is the only kind of a job I have ever seen that anyone expects Bonus's and other perks that are not contractually obligated before a year is up.

However if you have been spending money on your charges, and your employers have not reciprocated, STOP! They obviously do not appreciate what you are doing for them in this regard. If someone gets Catty and mentions you not doing so, reply simply that you have noticed that you have not receive such in kind in the past and thought you were over stepping you bounds by doing so and did not want to insult the family.

Do discuss a possible pay raise with them. They may say because of the economy they cannot afford to pay you more. In which case you definitely know why you have not gotten a bonus. I would put feelers out for a better job, if you are not satisfied with your present one.

sissy said...

Your employers know you are trapped. They know about the economy. Keep doing all the great things you are doing and meanwhile start searching for your next job. It is up to you to look out for yourself, clearly they don't give a shit.

Michelle said...

Seasoned nanny NY:

Re: #2 - how would your advice change for a relatively new nanny? I have lots of babysitting experience and about 2 years of PT nannying experience but haven't done it FT. I'm looking for a FT job now and am wondering what to ask for, especially as far as vacation and sick pay. Two weeks' vacation and 5 sick days? Two weeks' vacation and 5 sick/personal days? That seems like a lot for a novice like me.

Also, if you never take a day off when do you go to the doctor? Do you take the kids with you to your appt? These are things I've been wondering about - thanks for your insight.

ChiNanny said...

Seasoned nanny,

Professional nannies NEVER take a day off unless hospitalized? Really. That's extreme and completely untrue. Professional nannies only take days off when they are necessary and not frivolously, however a professional nanny would never put her charges in danger if she was too sick to care for them or contagious.

BCNanny said...

The Tri-State area for nannies right now is VERY poor.
Too many seasoned nannies looking for work. Families know the ball is in their court. Avg. Salary is about $10-$12 per hour. Check some of the on-line jobs that agencies are listing. Sad..very sad...

BritishNanny said...

No. 2,
I moved to NYC at the beginning of the year. To get one of the top tier jobs, you have to be registered with the best agencies who still have well paying jobs on their books despite the recession. Not sure what salary you are looking for, but the jobs I have seen are offering $65K+ (up to about $95K.) Many of them include lots of traveling or spending time in holiday homes, and specify that the applicant has to have a 4 year degree, can drive, swim and speak a foreign language. Seems like you fit the criteria! I can point you in the direction of some good agencies if you wish.

In terms of benefits, I would ask for 3 weeks paid vacation, along with the usual public holidays. Health insurance is also a must (I got it straight away). Am not sure use of a car is that necessary if you are in Manhattan, though you may want it in other locations. Other perks you may want to negotiate are a cell phone and gym membership.

Just remember, if you don't ask, you don't get! :) Get the agency to do the negotiating; they have experience in it and it is their job to get you the best package! Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

round hill road said...

$10-12 an hour? Even the Jamaicans off the boat make that. I am a seasoned nanny and I make $22 an hour. Many of my friends make in the $20-35 dollar an hour range, but to be fair, my only nanny friends are professional, eduated American nannies.

Look around.
There are always rich people, esp in Greenwich. Many hedge funds are still up.

Manhattan Nanny said...

#1. Do your employers have friends with nannies? Is it possible that they aren't aware that giving holiday bonuses and acknowledging birthdays is customary, because it isn't done in the fields they work in?
If you are happy in the job otherwise, I wouldn't worry about this, but I do understand how important it is to feel appreciated.
When your anniversary comes up, ask for a sit down to discuss your next contract. This is the time to ask for a job evaluation, and bring up anything you want to discuss, including a raise. A dollar an hour is pretty standard in my area after one year.
Re holidays, see below.

#2. I agree with BritishNanny's advice, with one warning. When it comes to negotiating, bare in mind the agency is working for the one who pays the fee, and that is the employer, not you. Go in knowing what you are going to ask for, and what you are willing to compromise on. Make your criteria clear to the agency, and they will be better able to match you successfully. They don't want to send you on an interview, and then have you turn down the job offer.

Holidays: Always off, Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving. Negotiable, Labor Day, Memorial Day, July 4, MLK Day, Presidents Day, Jewish Holidays etc. If the mom works, and she has to work on any of these days, so do you.

nyc mom said...

1. Manhattan Nanny raises a good point - are your employers used to having nannies and familiar with common practices? When I first employed a full-time nanny as a young mom I had NO idea what the norm was. I made lots of mistakes out of simple lack of knowledge. I applied principles from my own experience as an employee and had never before been an employer. I did not give an annual raise; did not think to give a birthday gift and did not even keep track of my nanny's birthday (none of my employers had ever recognized my birthday so the thought never crossed my mind); gave Christmas gifts but not a bonus. Once I learned what was common practice, I changed all these things and felt really guilty of course! But my early mistakes were not intentional, just inexperience. I now give a paid day off for my nanny's birthday; 1-2 weeks salary for Christmas bonus plus gifts; and annual raise of 5-7% figuring 3-5% is cost-of-living raise and the rest is for excellent job performance. Are you familiar with the norms in your area? My numbers are for NYC so I imagine a rural area may be different.

OP #1 said...

OP #1 here--

The area I live in has very few nannies. I am unaware if the family I work with have any friends with nannies. I guess what frustrates me most is the lack of appreciation shown to me. I love their child with all of my heart and would jump over fire for this child yet, I feel like I'm just the "babysitter" as the mom has called me. Someone needs to slap her up the side of the head and remind her who takes care of her child and house 70+ hours a week.

CuriousDad said...

"I feel like I'm just the "babysitter" as the mom has called me."
If she has titled you as a babysitter then, you are a babysitter and that is how she is going to treat you.
Titles in any employment is as big a part of the outlook on how others will treat you. You can be the CEO and make on 100K a year or a Secretary at the same 100k a year and be treated completly different becuase of the title. Heck just within the titles Officemanager/personal assistant/executive secretary/administrative assistant/secretary there is a HUGE difference in how people will treat you. You can make the same wage for all of them, and still do the same job for the same pay. Which will dictate how people will treat you.

Nanny Molly...not HH. said...

"Just the babysitter"...
I remember one Nanny interview I went on, the mother asked me in no uncertain terms if the family could refer to me as "the hired help"...I wanted to say, "I personally prefer Molly, but knock yourself out!"....or can I call you my "Hired Bitch!!" I hate these demeaning to us domestic workers.

Marypoppin'pills said...

I remember one of my Nanny jobs (where I also did light housekeeping) being referred to as the Maid! I shouldn't have let it bother me, but it did.
I guess with some Titles, there comes a certain amount of respect with it.

OP #1 said...

OP #1 here--

Sad thing is the father has always treated me with respect. As stated before, the title shouldn't bother me, it just stings. As a nanny, I wonder if the mother would continue to treat me the way she does if she had to walk a day in my shoes.

LA_nanny said...

I am in LA right now trying to find a nanny job. I have interviewed with the 3 most well-known agencies (that have the best jobs) and they are all saying pretty much the same thing: jobs are still coming in but MANY more nannies are too so it is VERY competitive. Since the economy went down, they started getting a wider variety of applicants (recently fired, changing careers, not retiring, etc) so I would be careful about moving out here unless you have something lined up.

CuriousDad said...

Quick question is the father the primary bread winner? IF so he may have some knowledge of dealing with direct reports. Boss's who deal with employees that directly report to them, (hence the term “direct reports”) generally have a better feel and training on how to act towards an employee then someone who while they may work outside the home as other then a home worker do not normally deal with direct reports and seem to end up treating them in a bit of a haphazard manner. Either treating them as general dirt, as family or constantly moving between being too buddy/buddy and a dictator. She probably would treat you exactly the way she does now if she had to “walk” in your shoes. If anything she may be a bit as you say “mean” too you because she cannot be in your shoes, raising her kids. Either way if you feel that the job is becoming a bit harsh you need to find another one. This is after all a JOB not your family. No matter how much you love the kids.

G whiz said...

To poster letter A: Find another job, give your current family notice and leave, learning only what you have just told us. Move on.
To poster letter B: I think it's fabulous that you are a nanny with 9 years of experience...but what type of experience? Is it full time nanny work, part time nanny work? Just babysitting? There is a big difference among all of these job titles. Many nannies such as myself have their degree, are fluent in English (obviously) and another foreign language, are CPR certified, have been lifeguards through high school and even experience as camp counselors from their summers off in high school. My point being, you are aiming too high if you expect to just move out to Beverly Hills or the Tri State NY area and 'become' a high paid nanny. I have over 15 years experience as a full time nanny, 4 years as a full time household manager and I have a degree, speak fluent English and Spanish, CPR and first aid certified, good references, and worked with a reputable agency to get the job I am currently working... I net $15 per hour, after taxes and my employer pays all of my taxes (state, SS, medicare). I am happy with this as without the tax pay, I'd be making about $20 per hour. I receive all federal holidays off and paid. I receive 7 sick days per year, 5 personal days per year and 7 vacation days per year. Hey, I think this is darn good!

My advice to you is to have realistic goals in regards to sick/personal/vacation days and holidays. Don't suggest too much or the family will be scared by such demands and turn you down. As you know, our economy isn't too great so be happy with a job that you do work hard to get!

On another note, a nanny DOES use sick days even when not in the hospital. Hey we are not superhuman here! Everyone gets's a part of life and especially working with children who spread lots of germs, it should be okay and not frowned upon. Sure we all strive to be the best, but I guess what I am trying to say is don't aim too high, yet aim at a reasonable height.
If you don't believe me, do what I did and do your research on what nannies typically get in terms of pay and benefits.

I'd also like to comment on "seasoned nanny NY" 's post and that I strongly disagree with what this poster has written! Come on now... $5 per minute for a parent being late? Talk about a non -flexible nanny... how did you get a job? AND "always arrive 5 minutes early". Where did you get this idea of a 'standard' ? "Professional nannies do not use their sick days" So untrue!
"It is preferred to provide a well respected nanny her birthday off," Whatever! That also is SO untrue! It comes down to your boss if you want your birthday off. It's not a given! AND LAST, "A car should be provided for the nanny" Yikes, you have set your standards way too high if you expect to have a car provided for you and not be a live in nanny. To this season ny nanny, are you working in la la land?!
To the poster of B/ Good luck to you and I hope the information helps!

clara dubol said...

To "G Whiz"

Your post is very well written. I am writing a book about nanny experiences and am interested in hearing more from you. Can you give me your email address if you feel comfortable doing so? I think your advice is great.

fox in socks said...

I really agreed with "seasoned nanny in NY!" Well, except for the middle of the night part . . .
Otherwise spot on!!

You really cracked me up with that condition of not being allowed to drive the car in Yonkers!!

And G Whiz, why do you think the nanny should not expect to be provided a car? This doesn't mean she gets to keep it forever. It means she doesn't have to drive her own car when she's doing her job which probably involves a decent amount of driving.

I actually disagree with a few more of G Whiz's points. It's true that professional nannies really don't use their sick days unless they're practically at death's door. (I'm exaggerating but you get my drift.)

As for other general points, I think there are plenty of people out there who are just plain inconsiderate and it would never occur to them to celebrate or acknowledge their nanny's birthday. This doesn't excuse their behavior but it might help to explain it.

Nanny Molly, that is so strange that the woman asked if she could refer to you this way. So odd. You would think she would just refer to you that way and be rude, but not that she would think to ask beforehand.

Michelle, you asked for seasoned nanny in NY's advice about taking time off. I hope she comes back on and says more, but in the meantime, my view is that you are starting with the wrong mindset by thinking that this is a suitable reason to miss work. Doctor's appointments and personal needs should be handled on your own time other than emergencies. If you foresee this as an issue then you should look for a job that offers a four day job, or one that offers one weekday off and working one weekend day.

Realistic "High Tier" Nanny said...

I agree with G Whiz. It seems like OP #2 may be aiming a bit too high. I could easily say "I have 9 years of experience." However...I do not have 9 years of full-time nanny experience, and I could be wrong, but it doesn't sound like OP #2 does either. I'm not trying to be a bitch or anything, I just think if she goes in with such high expectations and demands she may be bitterly disappointed. If I was hiring a nanny, hearing that they have a degree in Business Administration would be hardly better than them having no degree at all. It's nice that you are bilingual, and there are those out there looking for a nanny who is simply bi-lingual in anything (as well as those who are looking for one that is specifically fluent in Italian), however, I believe that in the majority of cases if a family is really considering a second language a perk or even an essential...Italian is probably not the #1 on their list.
Camp Counseling is something that is a nice resume plumper...but if those 6 years of counseling are included in your "9 years of experience"...well it's just not the same thing!
If I was hiring a nanny I don't think I would find your resume as impressive as you seem to, and I would be very put off if you came with a lot of demands. If your degree was in ECE or Elementary Ed (or something like) and you had 9 years of full-time nanny experience it would be different. You learn invaluable things in education courses that not only beef your resume to get good jobs, but that are extremely helpful to understanding children and their development and how to teach them.
I am not saying that you aren't/wont be a very good nanny and a very good fit for some families. I think that even a first year nanny can be a fantastic nanny. However, I would go in with realistic expectations!

"Realistic" again. said...

Oh, and in response to "professional nannies do not take sick days unless they are hospitalized": not true. Of course you should avoid taking sick days if you can, you should not take a day off because you have a cold or something. But just because you are a professional nanny does not mean you are immune to sickness! I would severely question your judgment if you had the stomach flu (or something else contagious) and you came into work to infect the children! I think Seasoned NY Nanny's comment should read something closer to: professional nannies try to avoid using their sick days unless they are hospitalized OR CONTAGIOUS/too weak to work."
I do not know if she was exaggerating... but if any parent is mad at you for staying home when you are quite ill...well I think they will be a lot angrier if they have to be up nights (or worse) with their sick child. Most parents will understand. That is why they give you sick days! There are some bugs that can be deadly to children, and I think you are a horribly unprofessional nanny if you would subject your children to your illness!

Michelle said...

Fox in socks - thanks for the advice.

Beth Cooper said...

To fox in socks: Don't take this the wrong way...Not to sound rude but after reading what YOU wrote, you don't seem very educated; only just average or slightly below(nothing extraordinary and nothing that is written with a "What did she write" feeling that a reader may get).
However in your recent post on this comment forum, i completely was wowed by your choice of words in agreeance with ny season nanny. I think most would agree with me on this- It's pretty clear that MOST nannies don't get the day off for their birthday and if they do, it's not a 'given perk' upfront. All of the full time live out nannies I know DON'T get a car while working as a nanny either.
You are making it seem that nannies get cars, as a standard. This isn't true. I've worked in NY, Florida, MD, and DC and have not seen this in my 13 years of experience as a nanny.

I noticed that you posted your comment late at night. Perhaps you were tired? (giving you the benefit of the doubt here...)

Moving forward, my question to you is, are you a nanny? Have you ever been a nanny? I ask because only a working nanny or prior nanny can really answer the questions that this posting conquers.

It seems as if you haven't and are not a nanny because of the sick day issue you wrote about. Many nannies are given sick days and in some cases, personal days. It is only natural for a person, no matter what their career may be, to get sick throughout a year. You suggest differently. What is wrong with using a sick day? If a nanny is sick with whatever it is, she should know herself enough to decide whether or not to go to work.
I'm not trying to knit pick your comment apart but was really taken back by your response to "G whiz"'s posting and ny season nanny's posting and what you consider to be "spot on". This comment suggests you are not American.

fox in socks said...

To Beth Cooper, Thanks for your interest in me. (Ha.) I am actually extremely well educated, and have a doctorate, am 100% American, and am amused by some of what you wrote.

If you were following some of my comments on this blog, you'd know that someone stole my moniker and posted comments pretending to be me.

I am not and have never been a nanny. However I'm quite familiar with what a professional nanny is expected to provide to a family, and what ought to be provided to the nanny. If I were to hire a nanny today I would surely provide a car. If for some reason this was not possible I would reimburse for gas, mileage, and wear and tear on the nanny's own car.

Your post, especially the beginning, is very unclear and not well written. So, this seems to be a case of the pot calling the kettle . . . an uneducated nanny.

And, it seems that you are under the impression that only someone who is not American would use the expression, "spot on." Not the case.

Further, you seem to assume that simply because I heartily agreed with a nanny who began her post stating that "the man is keeping you down" that I must be a nanny. Then you seem to go even further to associate this with being uneducated.

So, thanks for "knit" picking my comments. Surely a critic like you is a level to which we should all aspire.

Manhattan Nanny said...

You go Fox!
I love when someone says "not to be rude", and then proceeds to say something incredibly rude!
Beth Cooper,
If you are going to disparage someone's education, best not to do so in a poorly constructed run on sentence that would earn you an F in freshman comp.

AmeNanny said...

to fox in socks: i am sorry but i completely disagree with how you went after beth cooper. stop starting trouble on here and grow the heck up.
i couldn't help but notice your comment that you aren't a nanny, so why comment in the first place?


DCNannyEmployer said...

I am currently an employer of a wonderful nanny in the DC area. We could not be happier with our nanny and consider her a tremendous blessing to our daughter and to our family. I was a nanny to work my through college so I've had experience in the nanny profession as both an employee and an employer. I have tremendous respect for nannies and believe that their compensation and benefits should be reflective of the importance of what they do each day.

That said, I am absolutely shocked at the demands many posters consider normal and are encouraging others to request. We have a very open, friendly relationship with our nanny. I would be horrified if she was as demanding and petty as many of these posters are. My husband and I are both business executives and look at the employee/employer relationship both in terms of what is standard for the market and how we would want to be treated.

I am not off for my birthday and would not expect to provide this as a benefit. That said, our nanny requested a half day off for her birthday this year (doctor's appointment) and we offered her the full day, paid. This is not something I would expect to continue to provide on a yearly basis but was happy to provide this year.

We do not provide a car for our nanny, just as my job does not provide a car for me to drive to client meetings, etc. We reimburse her for mileage just as we are reimbursed for mileage.

Since the posters appear to primarily be nannies, I thought you might like to know what an employer provides a live-out nanny in the DC area:
- $600/week salary for a 48 hour work week
- 5 sick days/year
- 3 personal days/year
- 2 weeks of vacation with one week required to be taken at the same time our family takes vacation
- 9 paid holidays (the same we have through our companies)

Additionally, her adorable kindergartener is welcome to stay at our home after school, during school breaks, etc. We also try to do things for her daughter (such as birthday gifts, buying her something we buy for our daughter (e.g., recently bought them both hand-made puppets from Prague), etc.). Even though she contractually has 2 weeks of paid vacation, she had 6 weeks of paid vacation last year because we do not ask her to work when we are away on vacation and our daughter stays with her grandparents for 3 weeks each summer.

All that to say, I hope you are both able to find families who appreciate you and who treat you with respect.