How Do I Raise the Topic of a Small Raise?

opinion 2 I have nannied for a wonderful family for over two years and loved every second of it. I am writing to ask how to bring up the topic of a small raise, maybe $1-1.50 per hour. I know that this is standard in the nanny world, and that would be enough to convince most parents to say yes, but my bosses aren't knowledgeable about how most nanny arrangements work.

When we made up our work agreement, we didn't talk about what nannies normally do/earn, only what's fair for our situation. Everyone on all sides has always been very flexible, accommodating and kind. I'm just worried that if I tell them I deserve a raise because most nannies get one each year, they'll disregard it as irrelevant. They truly are wonderful people, this is just how they operate.

My questions are:
1. How should I bring this up?
2. How can I explain it to them without involving what's "standard" in the nanny world?


nannyLL said...

I would approch it as a cost of living / merit raise. point out that not just nannies, but most emplyees get COLA and then talk about what you have done for them and that you love your position and can see your self being there for awhile. a family that appreciates you will give you a raise and if they cant afford it they will give you some other added benefit. if they scoff at your request I would reconsider whether they are all that great. they should know and respect that this is your job and you deserve a raise as much as they do. unfortunatly in the nanny world lines get blurred and personal. at the end of the day you are a professional and should be treated as such. good luck!

nannyLL said...

forget to mention...the next time you take a nanny position I would have written agreements and literature about the role of a nanny and salaries ready before you take a job. This has been a great red flag indicator for me

NapTown Nanny said...

I would be VERY careful how you bring it up. I just approached my bosses about being reimbursed for gas money (yes, I was driving the kids around on my dime for 2 years) and it didn't go very well. I asked about 3 weeks ago and was told they would have to discuss it. I asked again the other day and was told the same thing. I finally asked the DB one morning before he left for work and he went off on me. He told me how rude I was and how good they have been to me (ha!). They didn't want to pay me 51 cents a mile (he said they don't feel they should have to pay for wear and tear) and I guess they kept blowing me off because they didn't want to tell me that. I also didn't get a raise this year and I stay late all of the time without getting paid overtime.

Anyway, my point is that as nice as they seem (I too thought the family I work for was nice), there is a very good possibility they will get bent out of shape over you thinking you deserve a raise. Best of luck to you.

nycmom said...

Ask to set aside 10 minutes at the end of the day and plan something you know will keep the kids entertained during that time. Then just ask nicely and directly. "I've been working for you for two years. I love my job and the kids. I wanted to talk with you to ask for a raise this year. I was hoping you could raise my salary from X/hr to X/hr. I have done some research and it seems most nannies do get a raise each year."

I have written this before, but with my first nanny I too was rather clueless. I did not give her a real raise for two years either. When she asked for one, I immediately knew I should have been doing it already! Now, she asked for a raise that was a bit excessive (24%), but I gave it to her and we agreed on no raises for 2 years going forward. I had no doubt in my mind that I had erred in not doing this of my own initiative. She was wonderful and she deserved the raise, plus I considered the two years she went without a raise and figured she deserved the back pay. If they are good employers, they will understand.

nycmom said...

Oh, and NapTown Nanny makes a good point that it can be hard for employers to deal with this issue. For us it definitely wasn't getting upset that she felt she deserved a raise. She did deserve one and it was the normal practice.

I don't know how to explain the emotions well, but it made us really consider for the first time that nannying was a true "job" for her. We had never been the type to call our nanny "family," but we did go to her wedding and felt personally close to her. We had to process some feelings about her wanting a raise, but they were OUR issue. It didn't make logical sense, but there were momentary thoughts like "I thought she was so happy in this job. We go out of our way to be good employers and we are so happy with Nanny. Does wanting more money mean she doesn't really want the job anymore? Does it mean she is only going to stay for extra money? Is she really unhappy?"

Ultimately, we realized that it could be both a job AND that she could be happy. There came a time with the same nanny about 2.5 years later when it did become about money and "just a job." The interaction was completely different at that point. It definitely helped me learn the difference between a happy nanny asking for a raise and an unhappy situation that money wasn't going to solve.

Dr. Juris said...

I've seen people recommend this time and time again: ask for a letter of recommendation first. A week later, broach the issue of a raise. Like the nanny above said, you don't know how they will respond to such a request and it's better to be safe than sorry. :)

Anonymous said...

To the nanny who is driving the kids around without being paid for it, STOP driving the kids around without being paid for it. Just tell your two tight bosses you can't afford it. If the parents can't afford it, you sure can't.

As for the OP, tell them YOUR standard of living needs a raise.

Some families are just cheap, and will always be that way. Its the fortunate nanny who finds a family who is not.

Adele said...

@Dr. Juris:
Your idea is good in theory, however when if she does get the letter of recommendation, then also asks for the raise the very next week? The family may view the Nanny as cunning and/or deceptive, etc. I wouldn't risk it.

Instead if you feel awkward about confrontation, you can always e-mail your bosses and ask. I hate hate confrontation and have used e-mail to ask my bosses for more money. Not smart, I know..but my bosses seem to appreciate it as well since they are not put in an awkward position.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope things go well. If they do not agree on a raise, would you be willing to stay? Also, if your job has a lot of perks (i.e., health club membership, medical insurance, free meals, etc.) or you get bonuses on your birthday and Christmas, I would be happy with what I am making.

Lalalalala...Nanny said...

@Nap time Nanny:
Your bosses sound so cheap!! I cannot believe they do not take into account wear and tear on a car aside from gas!! What nerve!!

I have been looking for a job on and you won't believe how many families are trying to nickel and dime me to death at the moment. One father says they are only willing to pay me 27 cents per mile (wtf??!) while another family states that mileage will not be reimbursed as it is too complicated to figure out.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I think your best bet is to ask for a meeting to review your job performance and discuss a salary increase. There are nanny review sheets available (google it) online, and this way you are being direct without adding "everybody does it!"

I would also ask them to give you a written recommendation letter as well, just to have it for the next year.

You might also suggest writing up a work agreement, and then add in yearly reviews to the general format.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

And I just saw this on FB:

Speak Up and Earn More
June 9, 2011 By Lora Brawley

It’s scary to talk about money with employers. Especially when you’re trying to get them to hire you or give you a raise. But if you don’t talk about it, you’ll end up kicking yourself every payday because you’re earning less money than you need. Or than you’re worth.

If you want to make more money in your next job, or the one you have now, it’s time to learn how to talk about it. This webinar will teach you how to…

• push through your fear and bring up the subject in an interview or during a performance review

• confidently ask for what you want

• use a proven selling technique to show parents why you’re worth every penny

• overcome the “everyone else is cheaper” and “we can’t afford it” arguments

If you’d be happy to get a job whatever the pay is or you don’t think you need a raise this year, this webinar isn’t for you. But if you want more, sign up today and learn how to take charge of the money conversation.

Next live webinar is Sunday, June 26th at 5 PM PST / 8 PM EST.

Take Ownership said...

Many professionals providing a service set their own rates. Take charge of your pay. When you interview for a nanny job, don't ask them what they'll pay you, tell them what your hourly rate is. When it's time for a raise, inform them that you are raising your rates. Can you imagine a landscaper or a plumber coming to do a job and asking you how much you will pay them? Come on, be PROFESSIONALS.

Adele said...

Good Point Take Charge.

Wow said...


Thank you for your honest perspective as a parent, and your mature willingness to see the situation from your nanny's perspective. Kudos to you and your husband!

MissMannah said...

I just don't get it when nannies act "afraid" of their bosses. Naptown Nanny has shown us here how a boss is NOT supposed to act and I sure hope she's taken the hint and is looking for another job. Disrespect from the boss is a non-negotiable as far as I'm concerned. OP, if you feel you deserve a raise, just ask them respectfully for one. Nycmom phrased it perfectly when she said to be direct. Adele, if you continue to only address money issues via email, I'm afraid it is going to make you look scared and unprofessional. Maybe this family is comfortable with it but in the future, you will run into someone who will see that they can take advantage of you. Asking for a raise is not a "confrontation," and I don't even know why you would consider it one. Money should not be a negative issue unless you make it one, as Nycmom said she and her husband almost made it out to be with her first nanny. All nannies need to know their own worth.

Mrs. Billy Lamar said...

Miss Mannah: On the flip side, I think the reason some nannies are afraid to ask for more money is that they know that nannies are a dime a dozen in some areas (made worse by the recession) and that if they ask for a raise, they risk losing their jobs. Yes, this may sound extreme, but most parents (myself inc.) do not want someone watching their child who is unhappy with her rate. Once the nanny states she wants a raise, the parent is to assume she is unhappy with her current rate and unless they comply and offer more, they believe their child's care may be in jeopardy and look elsewhere.

MissMannah said...

Mrs cannot possibly be serious. You think that if you don't give your nanny a large raise, she's going to provide sub-par care for your child? That is beyond ridiculous and if you would even consider that of your nanny, then you shouldn't have hired her to begin with because you obviously don't fully trust her. A nanny asking for a raise is NOT her saying she is unhappy with her job, she is saying she likes her job and wants even more of an incentive to stay with it long-term. If she is truly a fabulous nanny, shouldn't she be worth the extra incentive? Everyone knows what a hassle it is trying to hire a great nanny, so is it worth it to get rid of a good one and try to find another one just a save a buck?

Mrs. Billy Lamar said...

Miss Mannah: You missed my point. My point is that a Nanny who is requesting more compensation pr hr is doing so because she feels she deserves it. All Nannies have the right to ask for a raise, even in the corporate world employees ask for raises. It happens all the time. I do not have a problem with giving a raise to my nanny if she has proven to me to be a good nanny. I.e., reliable, punctual, responsible + trustworthy.

I was just trying to look at it from a different perspective. Suppose a family cannot afford a raise at a given point, and informs the nanny of this. Even if the nanny still continues to care for the children, the parent will always know deep down that the nanny is not 100% satisfied w/her pay and may not provide optimal care. She may have distractions going on such as late car payments or trying to find a supplemental and/or new position. I would feel uncomfortable w/my child being cared for by someone who was not happy w/her current rate.

MissMannah said...

If a parent is so hard up that they can't afford another 40 or 50 bucks a week, they don't need a private nanny. A request for a raise isn't finite, it is an opening for negotiation.

Plus, if the nanny gets to the point where she literally cannot afford basic needs, then yes she needs to look for a new job that pays better if the boss isn't going to give her a raise. This is common knowledge and I would assume it is standard in any job situation.

If you really felt "uncomfortable" about it, you would discuss it with your nanny and come to a mutually agreeable situation. This is what adults do, rather than silently live in fear of what the other is going to do.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Mrs Billy Lamar, if a family has maxed out the salary they can afford to pay their nanny, I would assume she has been with them for a LONG time, and would be both willing and able to sit down and discuss other benefits that could be offered in place of a raise.

If a family can't afford to give a COL/Merit raise each year, then they have no business hiring a nanny in the first place. There is a certain income level a family needs to have to hire a nanny, and if you resent your nanny asking you for a raise on a yearly basis, you may not be at that income level.

Of course, since you are happy to pay the least amount possible for nanny care, it's likely your nannies have found out you've low-balled them, and THAT is the reason they are providing your kids with sub-par care.

christine said...

Just who is this Mrs. Billy Lamar and why is she so mean?

A yearly raise and review is standard in any job.... be it an executive or a motel chambermaid. Mutual respect is standard and any employer who chooses to not pay gas and milage, give a yearly review, award a raise or is so scary that they must be contacted about a "sticky" subject by email is an employer you should avoid.

I am in the unique position to have my own business working in people's homes as a cleaner and I also work part time as an executive assistant. When my office job boss asked me how much I make an hour as a self employed house cleaner she almost shit her pants... My response- $30-$45 an hour, depending on how quickly I can work. She pays her cleaner $16 an hour. Well, I set my own pay and people can choose to pay or not! The old adage, you get what you pay for, is so true.

After I have been with her for a year, I will most certainly bring up a raise without any problem at all.