Negotiating Paris...

Received Friday, June 18, 2010
perspective and opinion Hi, I was hoping to get this posted so I could get some advice.

I am moving to Paris, France, and am in the negotiation stage of becoming a nanny. The family has 2 children aged 4 and 7, with a somewhat stay-at-home mother and a father who is frequently in another country. The family already employs a housekeeper and is looking for an additional nanny for the 2 children, and from where they live it is obvious they are well off. I would be live-out, and besides caring for the children (cooking lunch and dinner, bringing them to activities, bed time stories) there would be light housekeeping (laundry, straightening up). In total, I would be working 50 hours per week, with occasional working holidays.

My potential employer is offering me 1400 euros a month (approx. 1700 dollars), which comes to 7 euros an hour (around 8.50 dollars). This seems quite low to me, considering the amount of work I will be putting in, and especially because France has very high taxes (which are not taken out of your paycheck) and I live out and must pay for my own apartment (850 euros a month, the cheapest in Paris).

Is this a typical nanny wage in Paris? I haven't found much information on the internet. Would I be greedy to ask for 2000 euro a month (10 euros an hour)? The family seems wonderful, and I would love to take the job, but I don't want to put myself in the poor house! I have student loans and an apartment to pay for!

Any advice would be great. Especially if you already a nanny or employer in Paris!



mac said...

This does not sound like a legal position. 7 euro an hour (and 50 hours a week means 10-14 hours is considered overtime. I believe a full-time work week in France is 36 hours) is below minimum wage.

Is it even possible to get a work permit to work as a nanny in the EU these days?

On the other hand, you mentioned that the kids are 4 & 7 so they probably attend school 6 hours a day so you may not really be working 50 hours a week.

I lived in Amsterdam and the rate for legal nannies here is 9 euros and up (average is probably 10 euro, those with a bachelor in childcare-related studies get about 15-25 euro an hour). Taxes were 33.65- 52% (plus an additional 5% for healthcare, this is not included in your monthly insurance payment of around 100 euro, mind you) etc.

If you're free between 9-3p.m. everyday and would only work perhaps 4-5 hours 5 days a week, 1400 euro is not a bad deal. If you ARE working 50 hours a week, do NOT take this job.

Please make sure you'll be working legally.

CS Nanny said...

I worked in Switzerland for 3 years as a nanny and I would suggest you change your mind about working in France period. But, if you don't want to do that, you DEFINITELY need to ask for a higher salary. At LEAST 2000 Euros. If not higher. If you would like to talk more, let me know.

frenchie said...

I currently work in Paris, France, and I know a little. I'm assuming you'll be working in the 16th, 7th, or somewhere nearby.

What they're offering to pay you is too low, especially since you're not getting a 'chambre de bonne' along with the deal. Though 850 is not the cheapest you can find apartments. Not only do you have to pay rent, taxes, etc, but the cost of living in Paris is *extremely* high. I'd say ask for at *least* 2000.

Tell us what happens! I'm so excited to meet another Frenchie nanny!!!

nycmom said...

Could you contact a couple of local Parisian agencies and ask them for the average wages and benefits? I imagine they would be glad to provide info, and might be another source for jobs (assuming no charge to you to sign up with them).

French employer/ISYN fan said...

First, you need to make sure that you will be legally allowed to work in France, which entitles you to get medical insurance and social benefits. You should also get information about your tax situation - will you have to pay taxes in the US, how much will you have to pay in France (I would say about a month of your salary, as a very imperfect estimate).
Second, in France it is legal to work 50 hours a week if you are a nanny, but this is how it goes. 10 hours a day are in fact considered 8 hours of effective work IF you are spending six hours of that time watching the children nap or play by themselves and you are NOT doing any housework. This allows people to pay their nanny 40 hours a week even if she is actually spending 50 hours at work (with the understanding that she will not scrub the floor while the baby is napping). If you do extra housework however, every hour above 40 hours has to be paid 25% more and you cannot be made to work for more than 48 hours a week.
As for the salary now, the minimum net wage for nannies determined by the government is 7 euros/hour. I must say that this is less than what I gave to my nanny ten years ago, so I can't say that I am impressed with your potential employers' generosity. Also, remember that you are entitled to 5 weeks of paid vacation, which typically appears as a 10% extra charge for every hour you are working.
But what really baffles me the most
in your situation is why you would spend 850 euros/ month to live in your own apartment in Paris. It does not make sense to me that you should spend so much on lodging, given your salary. Is live-out something you requested, or is it that the family cannot accommodate you? By French standards Paris is an incredibly expensive city. You would be better off living on the outskirts of Paris, close to one of the metro stations.
So to conclude, your employers are offering you as little as the French law will allow them to. And I really advise you to make sure that they do have a valid work visa for you.

CS Nanny said...

Unless you are part of the aupair program, it is rather difficult for an American (you didn't mention your nationality, so I'm guessing) to obtain a work visa. Could you explain the situation a bit more?

no moniker said...

Anonymous said...

Do not accept this. I worked for 1500chf/month, at 50 hours a week and it's like slave labor. DO NOT DO IT.

East Bay Nanny said...

Yes, I had the same idea as NYCmom - contact agencies in the area to find out about going rates and anything else you should know.

Spaniard said...

I'm from Spain (cheaper than Paris) and 7 euros it's a really low pay.
I wouldn't work for any less than 10 euros.
I have a friend in Spain who is moving to France in September. He is going to study there and he will live in a room provided by the college.
Are you just working in Paris or will you also study?
Will you be open to share an apartment? maybe it's a better way to save money.

careful careful said...

My best friend nannied in Paris (briefly last summer) she'd didn't do her research and ended up having to quit and come back home (to the States). She was paid 7 euro (50 hrs. per week, 40 "on the clock") but the cost of living was too high for her to make it...long story short, she didn't even have enough money to fly back home and her dad had to bail her out by paying for the plane ticket!! Bad idea. I'd keep looking, unless they're willing to pay you more. Also, unless you can legally work there and obtain health insurance etc don't go. I also knew someone who thought they wouldn't need health insurance (when studying in a foreign Country) and guess what . . . they broke their leg!

I Love Paris, But said...

I think you should seriously listen to those here who know what they're talking about. I know from my own experience is that Paris has a very high cost of living. Unless you're attached to some romantic vision of being young, poor and in love in Paris, I wouldn't do it.

Chotto Coquette said...

My friend is a nanny in Paris currently and she went through a program. She makes something like 100 Euro a week, but she has a pretty sweet set up. An apartment of her own in the posh part of town, internet in the apartment, they pay for food/utilities, also her classes I believe, and her mobile. She also has insurance through this program which proved to be a life saver.

The thing is now that she is leaving the woman has decided to take issue with her. Thankfully, she was working with an agency so she cannot be stiffed. My point being is that you want to make sure that you take all the steps you do here to be protected.

An agency would probably be your best bet if you want to do something similar.

wikiwiki said...

I worked as an au pair , 25 hours a week, in Paris for 7 months last year. My situation was similar to yours (well-off family, housekeeper, 2 kids, inside Paris city limits), but different too (I'm an au pair, not a trained nanny, I didn't work full time, and I lived in the house). My weekly salary was 80 euros, aside from the provided room, board, telephone bill to call the U.S. and metro card. It was enough for me to see a movie and buy some lunch, etc. throughout the week, but not enough to put any money away.

From my experience talking with other nannies and au pairs in Paris, your offered salary is pretty typical, but will not leave you any buffer for saving. I agree with another of the posters... If the idea of being in Paris excites you more than the prospect of gaining money, then you will be fine. The extras that accrue with living in Paris do pile up so quickly. For example, I got sick once, and medicines that would've cost me 50 dollars total in America with my student insurance cost me over 250 euros in Paris. Not to mention exorbitantly priced basic foods.

Nanny visas are alive and well, as far as I know. I was just in Paris last week, and some of my old nanny friends were still there, doing well. There's a HUGE English speaking nanny/au pair community, which is one fantastic thing about Paris!

mac said...

Please take note that being an au pair is completely different from being a nanny (visa-wise and there're plenty of other rules such as taxes, hours you're allowed to work, tasks you can do, age limits, pension etc.etc.etc)

Zhu said...

I'm French so I'll just try to offer another perspective.

First, living in Paris is extremely expensive. If you have to pay for your subway pass, your food and the rent you will be spending most of your salary already. Forget about shopping or doing anything fancy, seriously. Plus, accommodation is extremely difficult to find and you will be require to provide a lot of guarantees (months' rent in advance, letter from your bank, guarantors, your blood type... okay, kidding about the last one).

Now, keep in mind the minimum wage in France is about 1 200 euro now if I remember correctly (I'm not living in France anymore). Asking for 2 000 may be asking for too much, French people themselves rarely make that much. Even 1 500 euro is quite a high wage for French people these days! Yes, the economy is bad.

If I were you, I'd try to get your employers to pay for your place (I seriously doubt you will be able to find something on your own anyway, it's really difficult, like really) and your subway pass.

Unknown said...

What happened? I know this was years ago, but I just stumbled upon this, and after reading the comments, in intrigued... What happened, did you go??