Severance Pay for Nanny

Parent Q&A

Is severance pay for a nanny customary? Sep 25, 2021 (14 responses below)
Severance pay when nanny share ends? Mar 11, 2019 (2 responses below)
Parting ways with a nanny - appropriate gift/bonus? Sep 15, 2016 (11 responses below)
  • Is severance pay for a nanny customary?

    (14 replies)

    I am curious to hear from other parents whether paying a severance to a nanny you are parting ways with is market standard practice? My family and I have worked with a nanny for just over two years, but we are relocating and therefore have to part ways. Our agreement requires either party to give the other party two weeks notice, so if she decided to take another job, she was only obligated to give us two weeks notice and vice versa. Our agreement doesn’t mention severance or parting gifts. We gave her two weeks notice and are helping her with finding her next family. She has since sent us an email asking for severance (vs. bringing this up to us in person). We want to be fair but reasonable, so I’m curious what other families in East Bay have done when ending their work with their nanny. 

    A parting gift of 1-2 weeks' pay for a nanny of two years is common--we gave two--but severance pay beyond that is not. Assuming you have been paying over the table, though, your nanny is eligible to receive unemployment if she does not have a job immediately lined up.

    I don't know what's customary, but we suddenly found a preschool and had to work through how to part ways with our awesome nanny.

    We ended up delaying preschool start by a few weeks due to a previously scheduled vacation. We ended up giving our nanny 4 weeks notice, and paid her 1 week's pay extra in her final payment. I guess it could be considered severance, altho we were already planning to pay her while we were on vacay, so it was a natural blend of the two.

    We also acted as a reference and would have posted on bpn if needed. 

    We did not pay severance per se, but our nanny had accrued vacation time during her time working for us, and we paid out the unused vacation time when we parted ways.  The expectation of this was laid out in our initial nanny contract.

  • Severance pay when nanny share ends?

    (2 replies)

    Our nanny share is coming to an end.  Is it usual and customary to pay a severance or give parting gifts?  Our nanny is choosing not to stay with us as she would like to be in a share situation.  

    Generally when the employee chooses to leave there is no severance needed.  In a situation where the nanny is let go without cause I have heard of a severance bonus being common, but in your situation where the nanny chooses to leave I would personally not do a substantial severance bonus.  I would likely do a parting gift or a small gift card, but not a significant amount of cash as severance since in this case leaving is her choice and it seems she knew about the situation ahead of time and chose to leave so she likely has other work opportunities lined up.   

    Severance would be something your nanny would have negotiated when she started working for you. Do you have a contract with her? If she didn’t ask for it and you didn’t agree to it up front then I don’t think there should be any expectation of severance, especially if she is terminating the relationship. As far as a parting gift, I think that’s up to you. I gave our nanny flowers when we wrapped up with her. We had just recently given her a generous holiday bonus. Between that and some recurrent issues we’d had with her performance I didn’t think another large gift was warranted. If you feel like expressing gratitude and generosity then I’m sure a gift either small or larger will be appreciated, but I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule to follow. 

  • 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.

    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. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Parting gift for nanny

Sept 2012

We are parting ways with our beloved nanny of 3 years and are at a loss for how to express our gratitude. I plan to write her a nice letter but would also like to get her some sort of gift. But, what kind of gift do you give someone who has helped raise your child?? Would love some tips from other folks who have gone through this process. Thanks! Kat

We gave our nanny cash and a small photo book with pictures of our child throughout the time she cared for him. anon

Lots of cash (not a check) and a very thoughtful card with a small framed photo of your child with her. Anon

Our nanny has been with us over 7 years and just left since our youngest just started daycare. As a goodbye gift we gave her some money and I created a Shutterfly book with our children and her over the past 7 years. She loved it! Jessica

Hi Kat - We gave our nanny of 3 years a book of photos (we used our iPhoto on our Mac, but there are a number of self-publishing photo book options like Snapfish or Blurb and many others) along with text. We inscribed it with what you'd likely want to put in the letter you mentioned, and then we filled it of pictures of her with our child. She loved it. It's a sentimental gift, plus a good ''portfolio'' for her to show to prospective families. We even asked her to take some photos towards the end of her term of service, not telling her what they were for, but just to have documentation of all the places she took our son. photo mom

My nanny greatly appreciated severance pay of one week's pay per year worked ! She's still my close friend.

We've had a couple changes in nannies over the years, as well as their birthdays, Christmases, etc... We have always had rather young nannies who were saving up money for all sorts of things and often did not have too big of a budget to spend on unnecessarities. While my husband has always argued for giving money, I have always found that too impersonal, and have preferred to find a gift that reminds them that they have a life outside of taking care of our kids while trying to give something that they might long for but would not buy for themselves (we usually end up doing a mix of both, money AND gift). Favorites are Marc Jacobs bags (clutches I should say), Leigh & Luca scarves, Creed perfume, or beautiful jewelry from Pimlico Place on Piedmont Ave in Oakland. So far, we've had no complaints Have Fun Shopping

Goodbye Gift for Nanny

Sept 2005

It is time for us to say a fond farewell to our nanny, who currently cares for our daughter with another child three days per week. Our daughter is starting preschool in the fall and it is an amiable parting. We want to give her a goodbye gift, and her husband suggested a gift certificate for the Gap. I am wondering if other people give parting gifts to nannies (we like her a lot), what they give (cash or gifts?) and for about how much. Thanks for the advice

When our nanny left our employ we gave her a cash bonus (I think equivalent to 1/2 mos. pay but I honestly can't remember - it's been a while) and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers in a vase. I felt money would be most useful to her, to spend as she chose, but I wanted her to also have a traditional gift that let her know how much we cherished her. Amy

Meaningful gift for departing nanny

Nov 2004

My family is moving out of state so we will be leaving our nanny- share situation. We have been using our nanny for the past 16 months and my daughter truly loves her. She is amazing with my daughter and the other little boy whom we share her with. Obviously I am feeling sad and somewhat guilty over taking my 18- month old daughter away from a situation in which she is completely thriving in, but our decision to move is based on many factors (mostly to be closer to grandparents).

I want to get our nanny a gift or do something special for her to show our appreciation. English is not her first language, so I don't know how much she understands when I verbalize to her how much she means to us. Any suggestions on a meaningful gift? I know she probably mostly needs money, so maybe that would be best, but to me it seems inpersonal. Also, should I do some kind of farewell dinner, or just pick her up on the final day and say good-bye? Finally, Is there someway to prepare my daughter for this major change in her life? She is losing her nanny (who she often asks for by name), her best friend (the little boy whom we share with), moving out of her home to a new and unfamiliar place, and getting a new sibling all within a few months. I appreciate any responses. felicia

When we moved away from our nanny of 4 years, I made a photo album for her and gave her a pair of earrings. I invited her over to say good-bye and we gave her the gifts, drawings, hugs and tears. It is very hard to say good-bye and to make a big change. Like all changes, you and your little will be sad and then it will get better with time. Good luck! becky

I think you can do something that is very personal that is not expensive, like give your nanny a framed picture of her and your daughter, or a framed piece of art that your daughter made, or a typed list of all the nice things your daughter has said about her over the years, or some sort of corny thing where you spell out your nanny's name and for each letter you make a word that describes how you value her/her character. And then when you give her the personal item you also give your nanny *cash*. I really do believe that most nannies would much prefer cash to expensive gifts of another type. I know friends who got their nanny a day pass and massage at the Claremont and the nanny was so bummed. She would have much rather had the $200 to spend on her family, or herself, in a way that she could choose. Another gift is to carefully write your nanny a strong formal recommendation letter that she can take with her on job interviews in the future (even if she has already set up her next job, she can still use it in the future), and make yourself super available as a reference. Give the gift that keeps on giving...