« How To Get Out Of The House | Main | Should Kids Be Allowed In Nice Restaurants? »

January 13, 2014



I have worked as a contractor in a professional position - Full Time (40 hours a week) and did not receive pay for any hours not worked, holiday, sick, or when the office was closed. I don’t understand why this would not apply to a Nanny Position, when in almost any Job Title, there are Independent contractors.


Rhonda I totally agree! I am an independent contractor myself and I pay my own taxes and expect my nanny to do the same. She hasn't had any issues with that! I am not a business owner and I am horrible with math and my own taxes are subbed out! Why would I do that to her! Insanity in my option!


I wouldn't want to clean anyone else's bathroom, I would never expect a sitter to do that. I guess if I had the $$$ for a live-in nanny I might expect some sort of cleaning. But if the kids are clean in general and the toys are put away, we're happy.


There seems to be a lot all over the Internet about paying your nanny days off, sick days, snow days, etc. we have given our nanny paid holidays plus 10 vacation days, but still she wants to be paid as a salaried person - even when she has not worked. We pay her taxes, unemployment insurance, workers comp- this is super expensive!! Where is the break for families? I feel like we are getting put through the ringer because we are afraid to make the nanny unhappy & have something happen to our children. However, it seems like the compensation situation is getting out of hand & no one us on the side of the families. Aren't we stressed and financially strapped enough??


I was a professional certified nanny for 12 years. Granted, I haven't been in the business for almost 15 years now, but I can safely say that I've had several nanny jobs that fit 8 of those categories.

Back in those days we had little to no support in any of those situations. However, at one live-in job I had for 2 1/2 years something did come to surface. I was hired by a nanny agency. At the time they hired me they were both a placement and employment agency. They would hire & pay the nanny and the parents would pay the agency for the service. After I had been there for a year it was time for a vacation. When I called the agency they said, "We do not pay our nannies for vacation time." I told the mom of the house and she couldn't believe it.

So, I demanded the agency to send me a written statement that said I do NOT get paid vacation time. They couldn't do it. So, not long after, they sent out letters to parents/nannies saying they are no longer an employment agency. They will only place nannies in the future.

After that the parents paid me directly and no longer had to pay the agency anything. Well, the mom and I found out that the agency was charging them a lot more than they were paying me so I ended up with a raise from the family. That was probably the most successful business "deal" I've ever done in my nanny career.


Paying holidays and sick leave would limit a lot of families from hiring a nanny. If we have to pay all the taxes it would have to be taken from the nannies wages. I know when I work the government seems to take most of my paycheck. It seem like most nannies I talk to want to be independent contractors. I would never expect someone to clean my bathroom or fold my underwear. It sure helps when a nannies keeps the house hold going when I am away from home. Doing the children's laundry and cleaning up the messes they create should be a must for me. If I ask the nanny to drive the kids to a certain places I agree I should reimburse them for the trip. If they choose to drive the kids to fun activities on there own this should come out of their pocket.

Stephanie Schuler

Very comical, but also very true. Working at a preschool in the Chicagoland area, finding a quality sitter can sometimes be a handful. I've go through quite the number of interviews just to narrow it down to two candidates!


Boy I have several things to say on this issue. First is kudos to care.com for actually posting something relevant to the care and well being of nannies. Everything else on this site is catered toward the families, so it is nice to see an article of this nature in our favor. And might I add, oh so true.

As a career nanny of 20 years and degree in education I expect families I work for to treat me with respect, kindness and not take me for granted. I also treat others that way but many families take nannies for granted in so many ways expecting them to do everything that goes on in that house, even if it was not in their job description. Nannies then feel trapped because they have established a bond with the kids and also because it is horrible out there in the job market and they are afraid they won't easily find another position.

This next comment is to Mary who was saying she is unhappy with paying taxes on her nannies behalf, and vacation days, etc. Mary, do you get vacation days at your place of employment, I am sure you get paid for holiday days as well. And if you were "on call", meaning you were expected to be available to work such as a nurse, doctor, etc, YOU GET PAID FOR BEING ON CALL WHETHER YOU WORK OR NOT. If you are expecting a nanny to be available say M-F from 7-5 every day and there is a day you don't need her because you took a day off, you came home early, or you and your family took a week vacation, you still have to pay the nanny. She was available to you, kept her schedule open for you and you cancelling on her does not mean she is not owed that money. Why families cannot get this I have no idea. And as far as the taxes are concerned, a nanny has an amount that she feels she deserves to make after taxes, and then would need to make a certain gross hourly wage so she and you are paying the appropriate taxes. YOU are not paying ALL her taxes, she is paying her portion out of her hourly gross wage, and you are paying your employer portion. Not sure why you think you are paying all of it, you are not. Just like at your job a portion is take out of your gross pay and the employer pays their portion and then the net amount is all yours. Same with a nanny. Just because a nanny tells you what she needs/wants to make net does not mean she is not paying her taxes, of course she is (if you all are doing taxes that is).

Rhonda and Shelly, a nanny is NOT an independent contractor, it is illegal to pay her that way. Did you read the article that you just commented on, ie the part about nannies not being independent contractors. And just because you may be paid as an independent contractor with your jobs does not mean you can pay your nanny that way, she is an employee period. And employees should be paid overtime for over 40 hours, that is the law, but unfortunately families get away with not following the law because it is loosely regulated in the nanny industry. And just because you don't receive paid holidays doesn't mean you shouldn't pay your nanny. She is your employee and if a 4th of July is a Tuesday and she is normally supposed to work and you tell her you don't need her, you should still pay her. She didn't ask for that off, and she is not your independent contractor, she is an employee that deserves and expects certain benefits and perks like anyone else. Now legally you don't have to pay her holidays, there are other jobs in other fields that don't pay holidays, so that is your choice and you would need to say that when hiring. But most nannies will not be happy with that because the way it works is if a nanny has made herself available and you tell her you don't need her, you should still pay her. If not, and you are taking holidays and vacations and grandparents are coming in for long weekends to stay with the kiddos and you are telling your nanny you don't need her and you aren't paying her for that time off, why would she want to stay when you are constantly shorting her pay with no fault of her own. She needs to pay her bills and she can't do that when she doesn't know what her pay will be from week to week. It is bad enough that nannies have to worry about buying their own health insurance and most families do not contribute to this at all, you shouldn't short nannies in this way in regards to holidays and vacations.

Elizabeth, you are NOT paying all the taxes from a nanny's paycheck. Please see an accountant or a household payroll tax company like Breedlove to explain this to you if you do not understand. And if you are so financially strapped with having a nanny and do not want to pay holidays or vacations, then you probably shouldn't have a nanny. Why don't you put them in daycare where they will be 1 of 20 kids in a room. And guess what, most daycares charge you whether or not you show up as well.

Stop whining families and be more professional and kind to your nannies. Nannies know when they are being jilted financially and know when a family is treating them unkindly, they will not stay long if this continues. We are helping to raise your children for goodness sakes, and providing an exceptional enriching environment for your precious children, give us some respect, we do to you.


Hi I was just wondering about your calculator for rates. I am getting half of what nannies are asking per hour currently with your calculator. Does your calculator represent the minimum or are the nannies asking for too much? I would hate to pay too little but don't want to be ripped off at the same time. Thanks!


Well said, Cathy. Anyone who doesn't understand your comment should not have a nanny.


Responding to Stephanie's comment, I find it interesting that you tell "families" to "stop whining" in regard to paying more taxes and benefits. Well, I'm sure it's not so much that families are "cheap" as it is that they don't have extra money to throw around. There was a mention of "It's bad enough that nannies have to buy their own health insurance", do families all have some sort of free health insurance?
Nannies shouldn't take an employers reluctance to pay taxes and benefits as something personal. If everyone who hired a nanny followed every government regulation regarding employment requirements then there would be a significantly lower number of nanny jobs because families couldn't afford nannies.
Say a nanny whose employer does not pay taxes and does not report her income gets to take home $10 per hour. The amount the family pays out is the same as the amount the nanny gets to keep. But if the family pays the taxes and insurance that an "employer" is supposed to pay, then the $10/hour wage turns into more like $13/hour the family has to pay out and the nanny only gets to take home $8/hour. I'm not suggesting that people break the law but perhaps the employment laws regarding nannies aren't quite what they should be. Businesses get to write off costs of operation, families pay nanny wages in post tax dollars and get a ridiculously low write off in comparison.

Just as the article suggests, discussing such issues in advance will leave both the family and nanny happy with each other.

Elizabeth V

I think families need to understand that we are providing individualized care for their children. Specialized care costs a lot of money.
We come to your house, care for your kids, on your terms and schedules. Daycare facilities don't. If you want lunch for Johnny at 11 a.m., Johnny is going to get lunch at 11 a.m. Not at noon because that's the daycare's schedule. If you don't want Jane taking a two hour nap because it messes with her night time schedule, then she wont take a nap. But at daycare, that is their employee's time to eat lunch and take a break. She is going to nap whether you like it or not.
You can liken the care you get from your nanny to nursing care you would get at home. It's expensive because its individualized, specialized care that caters to your needs. You know exactly how your child will be cared for because YOU set the rules and standards and that costs money!


You are required by law to take taxes out for your nannies. Yea it sucks, I run a small business and I would much rather pay ALL of my staff under the table, but guess what you can't! The IRS audits for that, and if you get caught your worse off then you would have been paying her the legal way.


Mary, (and others) you might look into some type of corporation or LLC to get tax write-offs for some of the benefits, plus separating your personal responsibilities from the professional.
I understand nannies have to make a living too, but if the family is limited and you aren't willing to work with them on the financial aspects, then no one wins. They don't have a nanny and you don't have a job. Pre-employment conversations and understanding, even a contract, can prevent a lot of conflicts later on.
Not ALL employees who make a certain amount HAVE to be salaried. Look into the specific laws for the care you need or want to provide. Sometimes a simple change in title can make a big difference. There is nothing illegal about it and everyone can be happy with the results.


From a babysitters point of view, I honestly don't believe I should get PAID days off, If I don't work, I don't make money. :)


One of the things that I detest most is families who think you are a maid. It troubles me that Care.com allows families to post jobs with a title such as "Need nanny/housekeeper". That is two different jobs, not one. I have been asked to clean bathrooms, scrub stoves and ovens, fold and steam family laundry, mop floors and on and on. One mother told me that she would look after the baby and I should go clean. All that for $10 an hour. I don't think so. Even worse, I am a pediatric nurse with 40 years of childcare experience! They don't tell you any of this at the interview and then spring it on you after you are hired. We need to start saying no or things will never get better.

Alice D

According to the new health care act (Obamacare) in many states to get aid to help pay for health care you need to make at least 11,050 a year. Many nannies fall below this. I am one of them. I have a separate part time job that I can claim, however I will not receive aid because that job does not provide the yearly income I need. The three (yes three) families that I nanny for do not pay taxes. So even though I make enough to receive aid, I cannot, since I am paid "under the table". However, I am now talking with my families, since I just recently learned of all this, and we are proceeding forward so that I can claim my earnings and receive that help to pay for health care.

Babysitters and Nannies are different. As others have stated, nannies provide individual, specialized care for your children. If you don't respect your nanny enough to treat her as a real employee and help her with her future and health care, by paying taxes, and allowing her to report her income, then I sincerely hope she has the sense to move on and find another family who does.

Also, Breedlove is an excellent resource, they provide you with great savings tips and they do all the hard work for you.

So do your family and your nanny a favor, If she asks to be paid on the record, do it. Plain and simple.

Honestly, we are raising your children.


So glad I have a super close relationship with mom, to be able to talk to her about all of this.!


Kristy, so happy for you that you such a great relationship with mutual respect from your nanny/family. Kudos to your family for being that one in a billion that all nannies hope to be a part of someday.


These are all great topics that need to be discussed with the parents before you are officially hired on. The family I work for doesn't take out taxes or pay me for holidays other than Christmas, because I didn't work. But we agreed on this before they said 'hired'. Sick days would be nice since I didn't plan on taking those days off and weeks when the grandparents stay longer than intended that would be nice as well. I work at least 7.5 hrs overtime each week and don't get paid for it, and the over time is because the mom is never home on time. It is frustrating being a nanny. Because she isn't home on time I'm actually ready to quit.


I am a teacher, and often feel that I am "raising other people's kids" too. Nannies are obviously as well. Cathy's comment about how family's should be professional is ridiculous. This is NOT their profession- this is their children!! YOU as the nanny should remain professional. Just like when I am in my role as a teacher I am the professional- not the parent. Of course it would be nice to be treated with respect and courtesy would be nice, but professional is quite a stretch.
I started this year with a nanny. For various reasons we had to switch to a daycare. We couldn't be happier!! My daycare is an in home licensed provider and she loves my son as her own. She does feed my child on his schedule she plays with him and helps him develop and gives him all of the individual attention I could want for him. She has other children in her home as well and all of the parents feel the same way about her. She's flexible about drop off and pick up times and we discussed extra compensation when needed before we sent him there. We also have a mutual "escape clause" if either of us feel it is not working out for some reason. We did sign a contract AHEAD of placing him there about holidays etc. I ABSOLUTELY agree that if the family decides to change plans (i.e. Grandparents, change of work plans etc.) the sitter/nanny should still be compensated. It is their job and source of income. Holidays and sick days need to be discussed ahead. If you're not happy with a nanny and don't want a "corporate" type daycare I suggest finding a good in home daycare provider. We couldn't be happier- and bc she's licensed she takes care of taxes and we wrote off his care.


I am a full time nanny in the Boston area. I would like to say (because these conversations make me very angry) that many of the employers who are discussing not being able to afford employer portion of taxes, paid vacation etc, should not be employing a nanny. I am not quite sure when this change came, but it seems to me that too many people think that they and their children "deserve" top childcare. The reality of the situation is that nannies have historically only been employed by the top tier of society, and quite frankly, that's the way it should be. Not every family is entitled to personalized childcare. The reason why many nannies expect benefits and fair wages is due to the level of intensity of the job. There are no lunch breaks, (or bathroom breaks for that matter) where you can be alone. During a shift you are actively working 100% of the time. I have a college degree and have been nannying for 4+ years. Because I work for only families who are actually able to play by the rules, I make a significant sum of money (taxes withheld, etc), receive paid time off (close to 6 weeks/ year), health insurance, and an end of year bonus. All in all my employment package is comparable, if not better than area public school teachers. I both expect and demand this is as a highly qualified professional.

Ana Herazo

I was a nanny for a family for about ten years. Family did not agree to pay me benefits. When I presented my resignation, I was terminated on the spot. I didn't even get a thank you from them. Now they are acting like they don't want me to have contact with their children. Right now, I am having problems with my knees which is preventing me from seeking work. I'm living off my savings. Do you think, this family was fair? how should handle the issue of keeping me away not to be able to keep in touch with the children that I raised. I'm devastated.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Great care starts with a conversation.
    Premium Members can unlock these tools for any caregiver:
    • Send unlimited messages
    • Access background check options
    • View reviews and references
    Not a member? Join today!