Gifts & Bonuses for Nannies

Parent Q&A

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  • Nanny holiday bonus

    (4 replies)

    Trying to figure out how much is reasonable to pay our nanny as a bonus this holiday season. We’ve worked with her now for about 6 months and we pay her $32/hr total (nanny share with two babies).

    Thanks in advance!! 

    [Moderator note: one week's pay is the most common bonus, per BPN's 2018 nanny survey. More advice here: Gifts & Bonuses for Nannies ]

    We give one week's pay in cash as a holiday bonus (but don't do a year end bonus). This year we'll do a winter jacket as she doesn't have a very warm one + a week's pay (worked for us for 1.5 years at this point).  

    For a full-time nanny that you love and value, 1 week's pay is a common amount for a holiday bonus. This is what we did when we had a full-time nanny. We shared split the amount with our share partners. In addition, we also did $100 gift card to her favorite restaurant or Target for her birthday.

    Most people do 1-2 weeks of salary, so your portion of the bonus will be whatever you pay her for 1-2 weeks of work generally.  I also know that it is usually pro-rated for the first year based on how long she was with you, so if she only worked for you 6 months I'd do 50% of the normal amount you would have paid in a normal year.  Though it all really depends and  I know bonuses vary from the 2 weeks' salary worth on the high end to a $100 Amazon gift card based on the employer's financial circumstances.  

    We had a nanny this time last year and I struggled with what was appropriate to show appreciation and at the same time what we could afford (definitely not a full week’s salary). Our nanny was part-time and half of the hours were paid at a nanny share rate. We ended up doing about a day’s pay and included a nice card. In the end, I felt like I was still showing that I appreciated her, but I needed to stay within our budget. She spent so much time in our house so she could tell we were not wealthy. I also gave her $50 on her birthday, I believe. It didn’t fall on one of our days with her, but it was still something to show appreciation. 

  • Hello, we are first time parents and have a wonderful nanny who has worked with us about two months now.  We would like to give her a year end/holiday bonus of some kind and are wondering what would be appropriate.  I've seen the recommendation of one week's salary.  We are also going to be out of town for the holidays (2-3 weeks) and will pay her during that time per our contract.  Paying a full month's salary while we are away is very steep and would be difficult for us.  Is it enough to give the paid 2-3 weeks off or is an additional bonus expected?  I'm thinking maybe a smaller bonus might be sufficient as a holiday gift?  Thanks! 

    Of course do what is feasible for your family-- however even with holiday paid time off, a bonus of a weeks pay is standard. 

    Giving 2-3 weeks of paid time off seems like a generous enough holiday bonus to me.

    The BPN nanny share results showed that about half of people do one week's salary as a bonus, but quite a few families do more than that- with quite a few doing two weeks salary. I think it's quite normal to go away during the holidays and have to pay during that time and to pay a year end bonus- I don't actually see them as related. I do understand though that since the nanny has only been employed 2 months that this may seem like a lot. One suggestion would be to discuss with her tying her bonus to her one year anniversary as opposed to doing it as a "year end bonus." Then you can plan for it, she would also know when to expect it and it may keep her engaged vs. not getting the bonus at all that her colleagues will be getting.  We just got lucky that our nanny started at the first of the year last year, so this is a year end/one year bonus and raise time all at once. I think many companies prorate bonuses if they only do them at the end of the year, so you could also frame it that way. 

    We did 2 week paid time off which is expected. Holiday bonus is nice and common but I don’t think a full week pay is obligatory especially considering the nanny’s short tenure with your family. we did $300 bonus for the first year and $400 bonus the following year and a full week pay for the last year when we had a nanny. We also did $100 gift on the nanny’s birthday, paid public holidays, gas reimbursement and included a lot of other perks (YMCA, zoo, fairyland membership for her and her kids, flexibility to bring her kid when needed, dinner when she stayed later, fruits, drinks and snacks always available)

    I would not make it about the payment while you are gone if it is mandated in your contract but rather due to her short tenure with you.  Most employer pro-rate bonuses so even if you were going to do a one week bonus you could multiply it by 2/12 since she only worked for you two months and give her a much smaller bonus and explain that it is pro-rated if asked so she knows to expect a bigger one next year, assuming you think you would be able to manage it then.  Good luck! 

  • Nanny Raises & Bonuses

    (1 reply)


    We are first time parents and have had a nanny for the past year. Would love your opinion on a few things:

    - What is the recommended year-end bonus?

    - Is there an expectation for a raise in salary at the end of the year?

    Thanks a lot!

    [Moderator note: Per BPN's 2018 nanny survey: 76% of respondents give their nanny a year-end bonus, the most common amount being one week's pay.]

    I'm not sure what the norm is, but we give our nanny a bonus at the end of the year of about 3% of her annual salary.  She is great with our kids, and we want her to be happy and want to stay.  I would prorate the bonus if she's been working for less than a year.  We have given her raises about once a year.  I don't think that the raise has to happen at the end of the year.

  • Gifts for nanny

    (1 reply)

    Our nanny of six months is very sweet and has given small gifts (clothes, toy, etc.) to our baby at Christmas and at Valentine's Day. I'm anticipating that the baby will also get a gift from the nanny on her birthday. I'm wondering the best way to reciprocate. I gave the nanny a cash bonus at Christmas and will ask when the nanny's birthday is to get her a small gift or cash at that time. Have other folks given gifts or cards to their nanny on other holidays, such as Valentine's Day?

    Our nanny is similarly thoughtful and generous, so we also try to reciprocate, but really it depends on your relationship with your nanny and what little (or big) thing you think would make her feed appreciated for going above and beyond. Cash is king, but it's also the thought that counts. For example, I snuck a bag of pretty foiled heart chocolates into my baby's diaper bag on Valentine's Day and I could tell she really loved it. For the holidays/end of year we gave her a week bonus an a substantial gift certificate to a place we know she shops, and we're planning to give her some extra cash when she takes her vacation this summer. I wasn't going to ask her birthday (for some adults that can seem kind of nosy), but we gave her and her family a plate of cupcakes when they couldn't make it to our baby's 1st birthday party. Probably I will think of something else in the moment when there's another occasion to thank her with a little gift of something. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Holiday bonus for new nanny?

Dec 2013

We just hired a new nanny in December and I was wonder what the etiquette is with gifts. I understand the Holiday bonus concept but seems like a lot for someone so new. We got her a small gift and giving her next week off paid. Is that enough? T.

You've done enough since she just started her job with you. If she's still with you next year, a bonus would be appropriate. J

I am a nanny and yes to both. After a year, it is a weeks pay for each year that she is with you. Cash is king and it is nice to know that you are appreciated, especially when it comes to care for your children. @

We started with a very part time nanny start in October. For a bonus, We gave her the equivalent of 2/3 or 3/4 of one week's part time pay. We don't have a contract. When we had a full time nanny, we gave the full time nanny:
- one paid holiday (per contract)
- one additional extra paid day (to do something extra)
- we paid out the additional sick time that she had for the year that she hadn't taken (our contract had 3 days and she hadn't taken any of it - well worth celebrating her being healthy & punctual through the year.) This came out to one week's pay, but it was mostly expected pay... anon

Holiday Bonus for Nanny in East Bay?

Oct 2013

What is the going rate/type of compensation for holiday bonuses for live-out nannies in the East Bay/Bay Area? We want to be appropriately appreciative but do not want to set a precedent for overly lavish holiday bonuses. Thanks! anon

Usually one weeks pay for every year worked, but if your nanny is a keeper, be more generous. After all its your kid/kids she is looking after. appreciated

There are lots of discussions about this on BPN already. But I have to say, it bothers me when people say, ''You have to give two weeks pay as a bonus.'' (that's usually what I hear). You don't have to anything. A bonus is a bonus, not regular pay. It's a gift and it's your appreciation for the nanny's work. Give what you can, what you think she deserves. Often times it's in the contract you created when you hired the nanny, but if not, then you can decide on giving what you think is right. And what you can afford. Maybe you can't afford two weeks pay. Anna

I get a bonus from my firm based on how well the firm has done that year, and I give a bonus to my employees based on the size of the bonus I get! I think a week's pay is pretty good. $$$

Christmas bonus for nanny

Dec 2011

We have an amazing nanny that we've known for about 3 months now. We scrape by to provide this level Of care for our infant. As Christmas approaches I want to get her a small gift to thank her. I know she prefers money over gifts, but we don't have a lot of extra money this year. What's the going nanny Christmas bonus these days?? What have you done for your nanny at Christmas? Happy holidays!

Give her money. Even if it is a small amount give her money. We scape together money to give our nanny 1/2 a week of pay. She takes good care of our kids and makes our work \\ home life balance possible. I think of it as a gift for myself and kids. $$


Gift for nanny under $100

Dec 2007


This is the second Christmas with our daughter and the first with her nanny. I am wanting to give the nanny something for Christmas, but have no idea what.

Gifts are so culturally driven. If she had kids, I would get her something related to them, but she doesn't. It's just her and her husband. They are recent immigrants from Central America, and they both work in service type of jobs. In lieu of vacation, our nanny has always preferred money instead of time off. She works 5 or 6 days a week and is always interested in getting extra shifts from us or her other employers. (We have her only part-time.)

Ideally, I would give her money, but our budget for this is about $100, which doesn't seem like much. I thought about getting her an English language tape course, but I thought she might find that insulting. She was taking English classes at night, though, and recently had to quit, so maybe she would appreciate it??

For our daughter's (first) birthday, she gave us a few very cute outfits, a balloon, etc. It was very special and unexpected. I would like to give her and her family something that resonates with them, that shows our appreciation for the caring she gives our daughter, etc. Any good thoughts out there? Mom on Hayward Fault

Give her the $100. I doubt she will buy English language tapes with it. She is special to your family, but she is an employee and you are in a business relationship with her. Also, it should be a year-end bonus as opposed to a holiday gift (this way you avoid the cultural issues you mentioned). Anon

From what you've told us about your nanny, I would definitely go with the $100 in cash. It seems pretty clear that what she needs most is the extra money. How could she not appreciate $100? You could also get her something small and more personal to go with it. anon

Please give your nanny the $100. She is working extra a hours and asking for extra shifts because childcare does not pay well, and Spanish-speaking immigrant women are not seen as valuable, skilled, talented workers. Do not buy her the language course. She would much rather have the money. Please.

Give her the $100. It is ''enough.'' Heck, I make six figures and would be DELIGHTED if my employer gave me $100 for Christmas. anon

i always heard nannies are supposed to get a bonus of 1 to 2 weeks' pay for the holidays. i definitely think you should give her the cash rather than trying to come up with a gift that she may not want, which would be a total waste of money. i don't know how things are done here, but her caregiver-friends may have conditioned her to expect a big bonus, and she may be quite surprised.

I worked as a nanny for several years, now just date nights. I got between 1-2 weeks salary as a bonus for Christmas and birthdays. Now that I just work date nights, my family gave me 3x what I make for the one night I work. I know you say money is tight, but I count on that money (build it into my budget) and even though I love the kids, if the family did not give me the bonus, I probably would have started looking elsewhere. Good luck, but please understand that money is tight on the other end too. nanny

I think you have your answer. Cashola. Even if it is only $100, that is a lot better than a $100 gift she doesn't need. I would stay away from English tapes or any kind of gift card, which is basically deciding how to spend her money for her. anon

As a former nanny and as you describe it, she will be more grateful to get a Grocery store gift card. with a nice box a cookies. or a Mall gift card rather a store gift card, so she can pick the store she likes best. Happy Holidays to you too!

We have tried to give the equivalent of one week's salary and a small gift to our nanny each year. She too is from Central America and while she appreciates little gifts, she also is supporting a lot of family back home and cash is really a big deal.

You say you don't have much cash to give. I am sure anything would be appreciated. If it just doesn't feel like enough, give cash and something else. English tapes are not a bad idea if you know she has wanted to learn, but perhaps also something that is just purely about the holidays, or about her. A basket of cookies? A gift card for Target? One year, we got a free used computer, refurbished it, and gave it to our nanny with money for 6 months of internet. Love our nanny too!

The English Tape thing is not cool...or very festive. Give her a small personal token (nice lotion etc.) and the $100 that you have in your ''budget.'' She'll appreciate the money. Maybe that isn't a lot to you, but i'm sure for her, it is. peace

It's very thoughtful of you to think of her this holiday season. Give her cash. It's probably what her and her husband need most and it allows them to buy what they need or save up for something they really want. mother of 4

You already know the answer to this. Despite that it's nice to get gifts, the best gift someone struggling with finances can get is more money. Believe me, I know. Poor


Holiday bonus for part-time nanny

Oct 2006


How much do people give as a holiday bonus to their childcare providers? One week, Two weeks wages .. more? Or do people give them a physical present? What is appropriate? Background: We hired a *fantastic* nanny in June to take care of our 12 mon old child 10 hrs a week. We pay her $13 per hr and did not offer her any paid vacation. But we pay her when she is sick or we take vacation (which is about 4 wks a yr)

Our wonderful nanny has worked full-time for us for almost three years. We've given her a $1000 holiday bonus the past two years plus a small gift to open. (We currently pay her $17/hour with COLA increases on her employment anniversary date, plus health insurance, 3 weeks paid time off, time off on most of the U.S. national holidays, and a cell phone that's part of our family cell plan.) I realize our situation is different than yours, but seeing a range of practices should be helpful. - An appreciative mother

Definitely give her cash instead of an item. $13/hour is very difficult to live on in the first place, but clearly she's a part-timer (perhaps she's in school?). It's likely she will always need extra money at this point in her life. Give her whatever seems generous to you, but not over the top. I also strongly feel you should give her yearly paid time off as part of her contract anon

The ''apropriate'' amount is 1 or 2wks salary. Though, I think any amout in keeping with your income level and living style will be appreciated.


Holiday bonus for nanny share?

Dec 2005


We are part of a nanny share and are giving our nanny a week of paid vacation at Christmas time. I'm wondering if it's also customary to give a bonus and how much that should be (or if a gift would be more appropriate?) She's been with us for just a couple of months now and this is all new to us.

I got my first holiday bonus as a nanny last year and nearly fell over! It was about a week and a halfs salery. In addition, I had time off with pay and a small gift personally picked out by the child. I suggest any or all of the following: Time off with pay, a cash bonus (whatever you can afford..and make it cash! Not a check the nanny has to take to a bank.), a gift certificate, a small gift chosen and wrapped by your child. Nannies come from all backgrounds, try to match your bonus/gift to what your nanny might really need and want! It will be very much appreciated! A happy nanny in El Cerrito


2004 & Earlier


Christmas Gift, Year-end Bonus

Dec 2000

Can anyone provide some guidelines regarding Christmas bonuses for childcare providers? Are there any rules of thumb for the appropriate dollar amount? I would appreciate any feedback given. Thank you Maria

I had this same issue this year. I spoke with 4 other families and everyone had a different idea. I think it depends on how well you like your nanny and what her financial situation is. Our nanny is a single woman and is supporting a teenage son so we wanted to give a little more. We decided on one week's pay, in cash. That worked out to about $300. Our nanny just started working for us in August and only works 3 days/wk. Next year we may decide on two weeks pay. our neighbors want to give their full time nanny who started in Sept. $500 - $1000. Other people said they were going to give $100 but those tend to also give a gift as well as other perks during the year (trip to Hawaii with the family, extra days off with pay, etc.) Hope that helps a little.

Nov 2000

As the holidays approach, I am curious about what people do for their nannies/sitters as a xmas/holiday gift. I remember hearing a colleague at work last yr say that it it not unusual to give the nanny a bonus as much as one month's salary! That is much more than we can afford, and I was wondering what others have done. I certainly think my nanny deserves the best, but need to stay within our budget. Thx.

We have two babysitters who each work only one day a week for us, and have done so only for about 3 months now. What would you recommend as a holiday bonus in this situation, and when should it be given?

To the person inquiring about a holiday bonus. We have a full-time nanny and have given 1 week's salary for a year of service at Christmas. If the nanny has worked less than a year, we prorate the bonus with a minimum of 1/2 week's pay.

Nov 1999

I'm trying to decide what kind of bonus to give our nanny, and would love to know what other people consider to be appropriate. The nanny, who is wonderful, takes care of two 8 mo. old boys together in my home full-time. Both families essentially split the cost of $15 per hour (which we pay as a straight salary of about $650 per week). We give her paid holidays and two weeks of paid vacation and 5 sick days per year. She's worked for us since June of this year. We have an informal contract that says she'll get a year-end bonus. We'd like to give the bonus around Christmastime, in addition to some smaller gifts from the babies. We have some good ideas for gifts, but have no idea how much cash to give. We're broke, of course, but we'd like to do the right thing, whatever that is.

Most people whom I've seen/heard of giving bonuses, give a bonus tied to the person's compensation. So, say, an extra week's salary (or, since the nanny has worked a half year, say half-a week's salary -- though since you're happy with her, maybe a week's salary isn't crazy).

We generally have given our Nanny a nice personal gift plus a bonus. Our bonus benchmark is a week's salary, which of course increases as she gets raises over time. You might reduce that benchmark a bit for a new nanny with only a half year's service, but if she is as great as you say, I'd give her a whole week.

I want to respond to the issue of Nanny Year End Bonus recommendations. Someone suggested a week's salary for good service.

While I don't philosophically object to this advice, some of us are paying at the highest level we can afford throughout the year and an extra week's wages, even if one month a year, is simply not in the budget. I believe that our ongoing commitment to fair financial treatment is adequate and that I'd like to share in the celebration of this season, with our nanny as well as with our families and friends, in heart-felt ways when possible instead of or in addition to limited use of cash gifts. We (2 families in a shared childcare situation) are therefore are planning to give our nanny an extra $100/ per family plus a color zerox photo collage of her with the children documenting their year together. We will also make an extra copy of the color zerox and copy some video tape excerpts made throughout the year for her to send to her family, and probably make her a gift from the babies (their hand prints with warm message glazed onto a large coffee mug at Brushstrokes for example). I do beleive that it is possible to be fair and during this season without spending a lot of money which we don't have.