How Much of a Raise Do I Deserve?

Received Wednesday, February 9, 2011
opinion 1 I have been mulling this over for months and still don't know what to ask for. I am a nanny for 3 children 3 days per week for 8-10 hours a day. I have been with them for about 13 months. I get paid $560/week before taxes and after about $490. She pays my gas occasionally when I have to bring the baby to my house while the other 2 are in school (their house is being COMPLETELY remodeled). A little info on the kids. The 6 year old boy has severe ADD and is on multiple medications for this. He can be quite violent, hitting, biting, kicking, throwing things etc. He has gotten better but does have relapses. I have received many bruises from him. He is constantly disobeying me and I have to keep a constant eye on him because he will run outside and down the street without even saying anything. The 9 year old girl has serious listening problems. I have to ask her 9 and 10 times minimum to do something as simple as getting her shoes on. Then when she doesn't want to do something she throws tantrums and cries for her mom and all she will say is "momma, I want momma" and she won't talk to me or let me talk to her, she just screams and cries momma. It is ridiculous. Her mom just shrugs it off and she doesn't even get reprimanded for it so it continues on. Again she is 9! Then there is the baby who is 16 months old now. There is no structure or reprimanding in her life either. She is very difficult to deal with, refusing naps, throwing toys, refusing diaper changes, throwing food etc. She in herself is a full time job for me and it is incredibly difficult to handle. She screams all the time and gets into everything (they have NO childproofing in their home including NO gate on the stairs). I have bought a baby gate and high chair and changing table with my own money to have at my home because i have to bring her here during the construction at the house. Mom hasn't even offered to give me money for things like that. They also have 2 birds, 2 hamsters, a dog, 2 cats and a chinchilla that I have to deal with daily. It is not part of the job contract but I have to deal with meowing cats if I don't let them out and feed them and SCREAMING birds who are constantly going nuts and a crying dog. So that adds to the stress. Then to top it all off their house is a disaster. It smells like cat pee EVERYWHERE. I have to bulldoze through and clean up the kitchen, sweep and mop, straighten all the rooms and vacuum and do laundry etc. None of that was part of the job except for the laundry yet I do all of it and she constantly thanks me and tells me how wonderful I am. So, i asked for a raise and she said we can discuss it. How much should I ask for? Is asking for an additional $60 per week too much? Some people say that they pay their nannies for their cell phone usage and their car insurance. I drive them around everyday and I always use my phone. Is it possible to ask her to pay my taxes for me? Ive heard someone say that as well. I just don't know what to ask for. I feel that I deserve much more then what I get. Please help! Thanks in advance.


Nanny who loves what she does said...

I have to give you so much credit- I mean that. You are at a job that requires a lot. That's an understatement. The stress has to be getting to you. Personally, I would need to get out of there. I have ADD myself and that would make me nuts. You deserve a monster raise. Asking for the extra $60 dollars to help "pay" for things you will have/ already bought- seems very reasonable. You deserve more. Taxes is something you will have to discuss with her. Some families will do this/ some won't/ Red Flag to look for: If she (mom) doesn't give a little/ gives you run around- you need another family. Finally, a nanny who gives us a good name. Good Job. ( I am thinking- mom is taking advantage of you) BE CAREFUL! Maybe a contract- hours, duties, etc is not a bad idea.

Nanny Nanny bo Banny said...

oh dear God, that situation is giving me stress and anxiety just thinking about it. 60 is totally acceptable. I would just ask her to pay the full amount that you are owed before the taxes taken out. I mean, having her pay you the difference.

formertxnanny said...

I think the amount sounds reasonable... it's been a couple years since I nannied but a $1-2 hourly raise was pretty standard.

However, if there are possibly other job opportunities for you I don't know why you would even bother staying. The job sounds awful; while they pay you well, there are additional duties added on and lots of stress. Plus, from your description it seems like you don't really even like any of the three children...? Usually in these types of letters the nanny says "They take advantage of me, my pay is crap. But even though Susie has her occasional tantrums I love her and I can't imagine parting from little Max either. What to do?" Yours is more like “They take advantage of me, the place is a pigsty, and all three children are constant terrors, even the baby. How much of a raise should I ask for?” I understand the job market has been tough so if there are truly no other positions available for you then it makes sense to stay but otherwise…

nycmom said...

We include expected raise annually at 3-5% of salary which is consistent with the national average for COL adjustment. I have also commonly heard families giving a raise of $25/week additional (which is within the 3-5% range for most starting salaries).

However, your case is obviously not normal. If I were you I would absolutely write up a contract of hours, duties, etc and get it all in writing. I would also ask for much more than just a raise. The number for your raise, on the surface, seems high, but considering it's really just paying back all you are owed it is not high. Also, only you know what is the market salary for your area and you need to approach this equipped with that knowledge and a strong sense of whether you could get another job if this one doesn't work out (to know how much strength you have at negotiations). I think it might be better to structure it as:

1. Raise of $40/week (for an even $600)

2. Request reimbursement for your car usage. There is a standard rate/mile of usage which is designed to account for wear and tear also. Not sure if it includes gas. Since I'm in NYC, I don't know it, but I'm sure you can google the federal rate or someone on here knows.

3. If above does not include gas, request reimbursement for ALL gas used. This will, as above, require you to keep track of all mileage used to get an accurate estimate, but is worth it.

3. Address the housekeeping and say that you either want additional money to do it or need her to hire a hker.

4. Cell phone. If you got the phone specifically for the job, or need a higher usage plan due to the job, bring this up. Otherwise, do not. It would annoy me simply because I know most nannies have a cell phone anyway and we *rarely* communicate on it. If my nanny raised this issue, I would offer to buy her a work phone (used while at work only) and add it to our family plan.

5. Taxes. Grossing up is one of my *biggest* pet peeves in the nanny industry. By paying your taxes you are getting a lot of benefits, short-term and long-term, and I am very much opposed to paying anyone's taxes for them. Not the best way to address that you need a raise IMO.

I actually think all of the above will come out to more than $60/week and be more palatable to mom and you. If you continue under current working conditions, you WILL burn out fast.

Finally, could you clarify the house issue. If they are in the midst of a gut renovation, I imagine that will take at least a year. So are you watching kids at their home, yours, or a combo (as you mention both places)? Just wondering since if it is your home I would not hesitate to do ZERO houskeeping except laundry at theirs.

NannyM said...

Nanny Nanny I had the same feelings! My gut reaction was "get out!" but I know that is not an option for everyone.

I know a person's job is generally a large part of their identity and mood. Even when you go home, you're going to be unhappy thinking about the day that you've had (unless you drink to forget, that's a whole different set of problems!).

I agree that a raise is not out of the question. You need compensated for that insanity.

christine said...

I am a housekeeper, not a nanny, and to keep a house clean with that many animals and a house renovation has got to be an impossible, time consuming task. I wouldn't even touch a job like that, so good luck with the possibility of her hiring a housekeeper. It would cost a fortune as well, even if she could find someone who would take it on. Don't be her doormat, which is what you're becoming by tolerating nasty children, taking care of too many pets and cleaning her filthy house.

MissMannah said...

I have to agree with NannyM. Get out if you can or you're going to be miserable. All the extras you're doing for the family is worth way more than $60.

PS: I don't know why you bought baby stuff for your own house. Didn't you say the youngest is 16 months? She doesn't really need a changing table and high chair at that age. Maybe a baby gate, but only if she is spending time upstairs unsupervised.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

OP, I think NYCmom gave you some great advice. FYI, the IRS Mileage rate is 51 cents per mile, and that covers gas, wear and tear, etc.

Definitely do some research to find out the average rate in your area for a job with 3 kids, and use those figures to determine how much of a raise to ask for.

WRT taxes, you could ask that your raise gives you $XXX "take home", and then figure out the taxes you owe on that net amount, but I wouldn't ask MB to cover the taxes for you and let you take home your gross pay.

If your cell use has risen considerably due to this job, ask for a work only cell if they can add you to their plan for a nominal fee. If you have unlimited everything on your plan, I'd skip asking for this benefit.

Stop cleaning their house. Since you have been taking the baby to your place, simply continue doing that, and even consider taking the olfder kids there as well. Their home sounds like a disaster area, and it also sounds like you have your hands full with just childcare.

So, once you have a target $$ figure, you need to go through and write down every single solitary thing you do for this family. Then get out your contract and list all the extras you have taken on.

At that point, decide what you are willing to continue to do and what you are not willing to continue to do. When you meet with the mom, you need to emphasize the extra work you have been doing, discuss what you are willing/able to keep doing while still making her children your top priority, and be prepared to compromise a bit. IOW, don't list ALL the things you'll keep doing, hold a few chores back so you can "give in" to your MB in negotiations without agreeing to take on stuff you really hate doing.

And if you are going to stay at this job, you and MB really need to get on the same page WRT discipline. If MB is not willing to enforce any rules, ask her how she wants you to respond to her daughter's refusal to do things/her son's abusive behavior/her toddler's food throwing/etc. Does she want you to take any action? Does she want you to simply stop asking older girl to do things and do it all yourself? Are you there simply to try to contain the chaos, or are you there to help MB correct some of the behavior issues?

And finally, stop spending your money on things. You are not, IMO, getting paid enough for this job, and you need the money for yourself.

you know this said...

I would skip to plan b, quit. It sounds like you're struggling at this job, and that isn't good for you or the children. So leave.

another nanny said...

I don't think it would be wise to simply ask for the raise, with all the other issues you bring up. I don't think you can realistically request a raise that is going to compensate for all the chaos. So I think you're going to have to really clarify your work agreement at the same time you ask for a raise. I think nycmom makes a lot of good points. You should receive additional compensation based on the tasks that you do; otherwise, they may give you the raise and just continue to add more work. They'll justify it to themselves because they are paying you more.

sharon said...

Here is an idea - i do not know how young/old you are - but - this position is taking an incredible amount of your energy in a negative way - instead of building you and your psyche up to move on to better and other things - you are being trampled and torn down without ample compensation - at the very least - don't let this go on too long, it does not appear to be good for you ;0)

Value Yourself said...

I agree on multiple levels here (if that is possible).

First, I would ask myself, "Am I truly happy in this situation?" "What would it take to make me truly happy and enjoy working here?" "Can I sustain a healthy lifestyle physically, emotionally, financial if I continue in this position?"

Second, I would write out a list of pro's and con's about the job. I would also list out the things I felt I needed in order to be in a comfortable working environment.

If these things cannot be reached - I would leave. Life is too short to be miserable (much like Sharon said).

If you feel that you can truly work out an arrangement that will make the position desirable and healthy then I think NYC Mom has some great advice.

Taxes said...

Concerning taxes - nanny is a household employee, not an independent contractor, and by law the family has to pay half of SS, Medicare and unemployment insurance. The other half comes out of nanny's paycheck, but she does have the option to not have federal and state taxes withheld and pay them herself, if she'd like.

rasha said...

Where is Rebekah's column? I really look forward to it. I have printed out and saved all of her other columns. I am thinking of making a book out of them.

bluebell said...

Call me cynical, but I think your MB is playing on your good nature here - hoping that if she pays you enough compliments about being the best nanny they have ever had (although I think you're a saint to have put up with this situation for so long, so you're probably an AWESOME nanny!), you'll overlook the crap that's going on there. And it sounds to me as though the nine year old has got some sort of issue that needs professional help, because no normal nine year old - however much of a brat they may be - behaves like that! As for the boy - yes, he may have ADHD, but you do NOT deserve to be physically assaulted at work. If the parents have allowed this state of affairs to continue for this long, I very much doubt that anything you say will change their minds advice would be to start looking for a new job now.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on!

Hippiechick24 said...

Thank you to everyone who has commented. You have been incredibly helpful to me through this! I did have a sit down conversation with my boss and we are making some serious changes. I may have sounded quite jaded in my original post because, really who wouldn't be, but I love these children. They may drive me crazy and stress me out to the max but after being so close with them for over a year how can I not grown to care for them. I asked for an extra 2.50 an hour instead of the 60 dollars a week. Honestly I do soooooooooooooo much and I felt that I deserved much more to continue doing it all. She is still deciding if she is going to agree or not. If she doesnt then no more cleaning at ALL and I will start working at the level she wants to pay me at. Anyway, someone asked why the baby is still in a high chair and changing table. I follow what mom does at home. Plus, she is so out of control that if she isnt strapped down in the high chair, she will jump out. Even a booster seat wont work. She still continues throwing all her food down and kicking and screaming. And the changing table just makes things easier since she does the same when I change her diaper or clothes. I owe over 3500 dollars in taxes because she messed up and wasnt taking out what she was supposed to due to forgetting to correctly input the W4. I shouldnt have trusted that she was doing it right so its just as much my fault. So, if she comes back to me with anything lower then what I asked I will be leaving. I have already begun searching for other positions. Again, thanks everyone, so much!

MissMannah said...

I mentioned the changing table and high chair thing. I only meant that it seemed totally unnecessary to spend your own money on your charge. I know plenty of parents who change on the floor or their bed. I personally prefer to just do stand-up diaper changes most of the time because it is quicker.

As for the money situation, I rarely say this but your boss sounds like a huge bitch and a not-too-bright one at that. Leave, for your own sanity!