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Vacations and your nanny – what to think of before you go

Vacation with Kids and Nanny - SmartSitting Blog

Summer is at last on the horizon! After a long year of unprecedented challenges, better days seem to be on the horizon. There is reason to believe that when the virtual school screens close, there might be hope for a summer vacation after all. 

This time of year, we always hear from families in the SmartSitting network reaching out to us for advice on how to think about vacations when it comes to their nannies. Can our nanny come along? What happens if we go without? How should we handle changes when it comes to scheduling needs? For this reason, we have gathered some of our most common questions from parents and hope they can give you some guidance as well. 

Should I pay my nanny when we go away on vacation?

The short answer is yes. Just like in any job, your nanny counts on their regular income in order to live their life. If that income suddenly disappears for a week — or several — it severely impacts their livelihood. Without an income, the nanny is likely to have to look for income elsewhere. By the time you return, they may have found another job, and you have to look for a new nanny. By paying your nanny their regular weekly income on weeks they work and on weeks when you’re away, you’re ensuring that their commitment to the job and your family stay intact. 

Should I pay my nanny when they go away on vacation?

As part of salary negotiations, paid time off is often included as a benefit in a nanny position. This means that when your nanny uses their paid time off, as on a vacation, you should pay them the agreed upon time off. If you know that every year you are away for an extended period in the summer, for instance, you may include overlapping vacation days with the nanny in the negotiations. Request that they use a certain amount of their paid days off when you are away and do not need assistance.

Bring up this kind of negotiation as early as possible, or discuss it with your nanny with plenty of notice. Many employees use vacation days for travel, and it can be hard to accommodate an employer who says, “Next week we’re using our paid time off, so could you, too?” A thorough job outline/contract at the beginning of a hire will help this immensely. If you are unsure how to go over these expectations or put them into a job outline, we are always happy to guide you through it. 

 How do I pay my nanny if they come on vacation with us?

It comes as a surprise to many that going on a trip with a family isn’t a vacation for nannies. Think of it as a work trip you may have taken as part of your job: the location can be lovely and meals included, but you are still on the clock. You are still away from home and your regular routine. When you bring your nanny on travels, we recommend that you pay their hourly rate for hours worked as well as an overnight rate to compensate for being away. Outline beforehand the minimum working hours you will be paying for, as well as expectations of overtime with corresponding rates.

If your nanny is the sole responsible adult in the vacation house or hotel, these are working hours for the nanny. This includes time the children are sleeping. Think of it like a date night in the city after the children are asleep, when you would normally pay the nanny or sitter for those hours.

Nail down the details ahead of time

In conclusion, all situations that arise with family vacations are most easily handled by outlining expectations up front. Ideally, write them down in a job outline or contract. If you do not yet know your travel needs, the more notice you can give your nanny, the better. This will enable them to accommodate your needs and still feel like their professionalism is respected.

This post is part of our ongoing series on what you can do to set up your family-nanny relationship for success and longevity. What solutions have you found that work well for your family and nanny? Hop on our Facebook or Instagram and tell us all about it! For more from our team, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. And, as always, if you need advice and guidance for your family, reach out to us. We’re here to help!

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