Help calculate a fair wage for a part-time live in nanny.

Hi there. Hoping your readers can help me to calculate what would be a fair wage for a part-time live in nanny.

Here's our situation: My children are 5 and 7. We've used Au Pairs for childcare with the exception of about a year after my first child was born when we had a live-out nanny. We moved into a house that worked well for having an Au Pair and my husband wanted the kids to learn Spanish (they didn't). The Au Pair's room is on the daylight side of our basement so her room has a lot of light. The space includes a small living/sitting/TV room area and kitchenette which leads to her bedroom and en suite bathroom. There is a separate entrance if desired (although none of our au pairs ever used it. We do need to walk through the living/sitting room area in order to access the laundry room but otherwise it's pretty private.

We have enjoyed hosting Au Pairs and have almost nothing negative to say about the experience but next school year with both children in school full-time we only really need 10-15 hours per week of childcare....primarily a daily after school gig from 3:30-5:30 or 6:00 which might include shuttling to lessons, etc. We'd also like the flexibility for an occasional very early morning (I work with Anesthesiologists and sometimes our meetings begin at 6 am and if my husband is travelling I need someone on duty from 5:30am until the kids can be dropped off at 7. This happens about twice per month).

The Basket Maker's Wife
How do I calculate what to pay a live-in in this situation? We posted at the local University to gauge interest and have had a lot of responses (I think it's a good gig for Grad Students) but now I'm getting ready to do some interviews I want to have an idea of what we should be offering in terms of salary. I would pay the nanny the same amount weekly regardless if she worked 10 or 15 hours and on the books and thought if she ever did additional work (a date night or that kind of thing) I'd pay her cash for that.

Please don't bash me...I have no idea...but is it customary to estimate what the rental rate would be for a live-in situation and deduct that from a salary? Or just pay a lower rate per hour?

We usually pay $15-$18 for adult sitters ($10/hr for high school students). If I assume up to 15 hours per week that would be $225-$270 per week or 975-1170 per month. Should I then subtract some kind of "rent" calculation? I checked Craigslist and I think in our area for a shared room situation this space would be "worth" around $600 at the low end. So should I offer the weekly rate minus $150 per week? That seems really low but it's also not a lot of hours. We'd also be open to having this person work full-time over school breaks and the summer if she is interested and would adjust the salary at that time.

Would love some advice! My motivation for the live-in is that we have the space for it, we've gotten used to having someone in our home, I like the convenience of having someone there in the mornings for my early mornings AND because I would like to save at least a little money.

P.S. One more thing: I wouldn't expect that she would do much, if any, domestic duties as well with the exception of putting something in the oven for dinner for us (unless she loves to cook and she can go to town on that if she wants!!) and helping the kids to tidy anything they've taken out. We have a weekly cleaning service come and I'm a little OCD about laundry so pretty much have always done my kids' laundry myself :)

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this_nick said...

Yeah, no. You don't subtract rent from a live-in nanny's pay. She's there for your convenience, as you've said. Of course you can do so if you want, but bear in mind your quality of care will be less.

Anonymous said...

I agree. No on the rent deductions. She is there for you.

Nanny said...

Well, I think when you offer $200 - $250 a week it's fair. She can still find an additional job. But for the amount of hours you need I think that would be fair. Yes, it is for your convenience but also a lot of Nannies like to be a live in for their own convenience of not having to worry about rent payments and all additional bills that come with having an own place. Not to say, there are actually Nannies who like to be around kids and feel like a family member.

Me! said...

You shouldn't subtract any amount for rent. As you yourself said,the live-in is for your convenience. Also, the space isn't fully private and job creep is a problem that happens often in live-in situations. She'll earn her salary. Such as it is.

this_nick said...

The OP gives $270 a week as her top salary, then proposes knocking off $150 of that for rent. Live-in nannies don't typically pay rent, so requiring this is not going to get her much interest from career nannies. Show me one who'll take a position for $120 a week, and I'll show you a rap sheet lol.

Anyway, the OP's needs may not require a child care expert, just an adult person with a clean record. It may indeed be a good gig for someone whose primary goal is to secure housing in that area. I'm just pointing out that the salary she's proposing ($12 an hour for a ten-hour week; $8 an hour for a fifteen-hour week) will not entice a professional nanny.

this_nick said...


Lacy said...

When subtracting your Room value from the nannies wage, it is legal, but you can't deduct the "going rate" in full. Subtract 33%. Really to a live in a $600 room is really only worth $400. Try only taking $100 off her weekly wage, that seems fair. Get a contract laying out duties, don't job creep. Make time for updates and checking in.

nannyrobot said...

I would say don't take any off at all unless you have great benefits to offer. Even then, nobody who is qualified will take the job if you take a lot off. 50 dollars would be the maximum, in my opinion.Your room is not worth market value when the person is an employee. And no, she can't get another job if shes needed full-time in the summer.

CleaverJune said...

Exactly, This_Nick!

this_nick said...

Also, the hours needed are smack in the middle of the day, cutting into the end of a full-time first-shift job as well as the beginning of a second shift position. That eliminates the majority of other job opportunities.

OP said...

Thank you for the thoughtful responses! My gut was telling me that subtracting the market value would make the salary too low but this is all uncharted territory for me so your responses are helpful.

I don't need a career nanny but want my kids taken care of by someone with experience who likes children. We were mainly looking at Graduate Students with some previous nanny experience.

I think we've landed on offering our lower end ($15/hr) for live in and higher end ($18/hr) for live out (although I have already advertised as a live in but I can offer that if someone would prefer a higher pay rate and doesn't want to live-in).

Thanks again!

nannyrobot said...

That sounds pretty fair.

this_nick said...

Agreed; you should be able to find someone with decent qualifications at that rate.