Parting ways with a nanny - appropriate gift/bonus?

I am seeking advice about best practices for parting with a caregiver. The question comes from my confusion about what my partner and I should have done in a recent situation. The nanny in question began working for us on a regular, part-time basis, one day a week, starting around February. Starting around May, she began working 2-3 days a week. For a little less than a month, from mid-August to mid-September, she worked for us full-time. Throughout this period we paid her $25/hour, on the books. This rate was higher than what we had anticipated paying a nanny, but we recognized that she was very good at her job and that she fit our situation well. We also gave her paid holidays and a small amount of paid sick time and paid vacation time.  We were clear throughout that we did not contemplate a long-term arrangement and that we planned for our child to enter full-time day care in mid-September. In preparation for her departure, we provided the nanny with an excellent reference, advertised her services, and ultimately helped her secure a full-time job that commenced as soon as our arrangement ended. We probably did not put as much thought into her parting gift as we should have, but decided on a $100 gift card to a place that we knew she liked. The next day, she messaged us to tell us that a significantly more generous gift, paid in cash, would have been in keeping with industry customs, and that we ought to be aware of this going forward. We do plan to hire a part-time nanny again down the line and we want to do the right thing. What do others think would have been appropriate in this situation? We ended up writing this nanny a check for two full days of pay (her suggestion of what was minimally appropriate), in an attempt to end the relationship on the right note, but we still feel confused. She cited BPN as a good place for us to educate ourselves -- thus this inquiry.

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When we last employed kid help, the word on the net was year-end bonus was "one week's pay."  Since we had a seasonal employee, not a full year, we gave her a bonus of about 1/52nd of the total amount we expected to pay her over the course of her work with us.  In our case, we paid $350/week for ~15 weeks so her bonus was ~$100 (350x15/52), plus a few small token gifts.  

I'm appalled that this nanny extorted money out of you. I really wish that you didn't succomb to the pressure. A bonus is a bonus. You paid for all of the services that you received and this was just a thank you gift. I would really like to know the name of this person so that I never end up having anyone like this alone with my child. You say that she was a good nanny but I find it hard to believe that she wasn't teaching your child horrible manners. I'm seriously outraged that anyone would treat you like this. Repulsive.

Think about what you've been given by your employers when your job ends. I've never received anything more than a payout of my unused PTO. Why should nannies be paid when no one else does?

I think your former nanny's response to the gift was very inappropriate and that you did nothing wrong. A gift is not a gift if a specific amount is demanded, then it becomes a business transaction, like pay in exchange for work. Unless you had agreed in advance to pay her a certain amount upon termination, like a severance payment, then you owed her nothing and whatever you gave her should have been graciously accepted, even if she felt some inner disappointment. It also certainly sounds like the terms of her employment were fair by community standards and that you were very helpful in assisting her to secure new employment. I'm honestly pretty appalled at her behavior. 

First, it was poor manners of  your nanny to comment on the gift you gave in any way, other than to say thank you.

That said, my understanding is that the equivalent of two weeks' pay as a bonus is standard.  In your case, since she worked for you full time only one month, and 2.5 days per week most of the time, I probably would have given at the low end the equivalent of 2.5 days * 2 weeks' pay (8 hours per day x 2.5 days = $500), or at the high end, one week's pay at the full-time rate ($1000).  And yes, cash is always best.  

It's hard when there is a personal relationship as well as a business one.  Nanny caregiving is highly personalized caregiving, but it is still a profession, and the "gift" in this case I think would more properly be considered a tip, bonus, or severance - in essence, income.  So while she was definitely rude in commenting on the gift, it appears that you paid her only about 1/5 to 1/10 of industry standard

I'm curious about others' responses, but to my mind, your caregiver sounds incredibly ungrateful. She was a part-time employee for less than one year. You paid her well above market at $25/hr (for one child presumably?), placed her in a great new position, and gave her a parting gift on top of it. You shouldn't have felt badgered into giving another check on top of that. We give our nanny large bonuses ($500+), but that's because she's been full time with us for years. I don't think your situation called for hundreds of dollars in parting pay.

Let me understand: You had her about half a year only, most of which part-time or less, paid her a generous rate plus extras, communicated clearly about the duration, ensured she had a great immediate new employment, were thoughtful in giving a sizable parting gift - and she complains about that not being enough?!? That strikes me as extremely ungrateful and disproportionately demanding. To expect 2 days' pay on top of the gift card might be what could be justified after a year or more of near-FT employment. Unless things have changed dramatically in the marketplace since my kids were little, I would think your treatment was more than generous and fair. Her attitude would have left me bitter, and I would look for a different person for future needs.

I think you were more than generous with your gift, maybe if she had worked for you for a couple of years full time you should have done more. Frankly you paid her well for her services and anything over that should be taken as a gesture of your appreciation. I am an owner of a small family daycare and usually have children full time in my care for a couple of years. And I often have the siblings of first children.Some parents give gifts and others just tell me how much they appreciated the care I gave their children. Frequently parents  keep in touch with me about how preschool is going. I am paid for my services and really would never want to have my clients feel they have to give me gifts when they move on in the next step of child-hood.  You gave her plenty of notice and paid her well. I feel you did a lot for her.


I'm fairly shocked at your story, I have to say. From your account, you were quite a decent employer. $25 /hr for a nanny is on the high end in my opinion (though I'll admit it's been 4 years since we last had a nanny, so perhaps the rates have gone up significantly with the cost of housing?) Frankly, I find it pretty appalling of her to tell you that your gift wasn't enough, since what she got sounds reasonable to me. She was with you for less than a year? I'm kind of amazed. I don't think it's standard in ANY profession to expect ANY bonus when you've worked for someone for such a short amount of time.

Here's my take on it: This woman has manipulated you into giving her more than you wanted to and has done so by making you feel insecure about what you had offered her. But what you offered was not at all inappropriate, and in fact sounds extremely respectful and reasonable. My advice is to close the door on this lady and not let her occupy any more of your precious energy. (And if you every need another nanny, I'd be happy to recommend our former nanny who would treat you a lot better!)

I've never heard about your nanny's industry standard customs. I've hired part-time nannies, and I have many friends who have hired nannies, so I think I know a fair bit about the industry standard.  I also researched pay rates, vacation expectations, etc. because I needed to know what my family could afford when we were looking at childcare options. 

You sound like you were a very fair/generous employer--and your reaction to her comments was also kind. If you have the opportunity in the future, you may want to warn future employers (parents) about making sure they understand your ex-nanny's possible expectations.  Of course it's fine that she asks for what she wants, but a gift is a gift--it's not severance pay.  The caretaker should have made her severance expectations clear when she was hired or when she went full time. Her comments weren't professional--or in my opinion, accurate. 

But, it's great that she provided your child with good childcare and you were happy with the situation! That's the most important thing.

After many years of childcare work as a nanny, I was surprised by what your caregiver told you. I would have been delighted and grateful for getting a $100 gift card for working just a few months for a family. I don't recall many (or any) families being that generous even after several years of part time to full time nanny work for them. 

Generally 2 weeks severance pay would be standard, and a month's notice is standard (being a different kind of job, it requires more notice than standard on both sides of the equation). But only after some time of working with the family, not with a brand new employee. She wasn't a brand new employee, but she was part time with other benefits. 

You can also search Berkeley Parents Network Nanny Severance to find other feedback. 

You should have messaged her to point out that a gift should always be graciously received with a simple "Thank you", regardless of the amount. She lacks manners, grace and common sense. Maybe not such a great nanny afterall.