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Does your nanny get a raise even if you don't?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
We have a nanny that we adore, and we do all the financial stuff ourselves. (We employ her directly, not through a service.) She makes an hourly wage that is fair, but not spectacular. Here's our issue. I am an educator and DH works for the state. We are heading into a third straight year of pay freeze, with no raise for either of us. Nada. $0. No cost of living or anything. Obviously, this sucks for us. However, I feel it is unfair to have our nanny on pay freeze, so we've been making cuts to other areas of our household budget to make sure that we give her raises. But this makes our budget tighter and tighter as time goes by. The last raise we gave was only $0.05, which is pretty pathetic but seriously all we could afford. This raise means she has had a total increase of 3% over the last year, which I feel is a fair cost of living increase. But honestly there is no raise for awesomeness, or excellent performance, or exceeding expectations, which she does. She was sort of surprised by the pathetic amount, and politely questioned why it is so low. I told her it was all we could afford, but feel crummy about it. I wish we could pay her what she is worth to us as a family. It isn't her fault she works for a teacher and a law enforcement officer. It isn't her fault the state doesn't give us pay raises. I'm terrified she will jump ship for a family that can pay her more. greensad.gif

So here is my question for all you nanny employees out there. Do you give your nanny a regular raise even if you don't get one? How closely tied to your wages are your nanny's wages?
post #2 of 12

I agree with what you did.   Her pay raise should be a result of the work SHE does, not whether you get a raise.  

 

Are there other ways you can show her appreciation that can be in lieu of a better raise?  Do you take some $ off her cheques to cover rent?  If so can that amount be reduced.  Give her an extra couple of days/week a year off for holidays?  

post #3 of 12

I work in a public school and my husband is a law enforcement officer too! And we are in the same boat with no raises. I think you are doing the right thing by offering whatever raises you can afford even if it isn't much. We can't afford a nanny at all so our toddler goes to a daycare. I would love to hire a nanny instead, but we just can't find a way to make it work in our budget. I agree with pp that perhaps an extra day off here and there or another nice gesture would be a good way to show her that you appreciate her even though you can't afford to give her a raise. 

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. She is a live out nanny, so rent is a non-issue. Daycare was cheeper before #2 came along, when the nanny became more cost effective than two in daycare. But our income to debt ratio is terrible, and childcare rivals our mortgage for our monthly expenses.

I like the idea of more time off. She mentioned wanted some time for herself (she has two teens at home), and would lime to take some time off when her girls have school. Obviously this means DH or myself taking time off too, but thankfully paid time off is the one thing we still have. (Knock on wood!). Her annual review is in October. Since I doubt we will have more cash flow at that point, I guess we will do five more cents and a personal day or two. Or maybe some extra paid time at the holidays. Thanks for the suggestion.
post #5 of 12
As someone who has been a nanny, and someone who has done jobs in people's houses for years, I would tell her that you are in a pay freeze. Simply saying that you "cant afford" something always made me question the things that they could afford, yk? For example, you cant afford to pay me more, but you can afford name brand clothes for your kids? Or you cant afford to pay me more, but you can afford special awesome goat cheese? Does that make sense? You just have to remember that she is in your house, seeing all your food, clothes, and other stuff and I can promise that she notices every new item that comes into the house. And she probably wonders how many .05 cent raises that item is worth.

I commend you for giving her a raise when you arent getting one yourself. Thats awesome.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

As someone who has been a nanny, and someone who has done jobs in people's houses for years, I would tell her that you are in a pay freeze. Simply saying that you "cant afford" something always made me question the things that they could afford, yk? For example, you cant afford to pay me more, but you can afford name brand clothes for your kids? Or you cant afford to pay me more, but you can afford special awesome goat cheese? Does that make sense? You just have to remember that she is in your house, seeing all your food, clothes, and other stuff and I can promise that she notices every new item that comes into the house. And she probably wonders how many .05 cent raises that item is worth.

I commend you for giving her a raise when you arent getting one yourself. Thats awesome.

This is exactly my fear. Like I got a new car, and she doesn't know that the monthly payment is less, which is how we could swing it. And I received an iPad as a birthday present, but she might think I bought it. Some things, like minor home improvements, (paint, new rug) are funded through years of savings for exactly that purchase or sometimes subsidized by my loving and generous family.

But I also don't feel it is right for me to have to defend every purchase in my own home. But I fear that not doing so erodes the trust between us, which is also uncomfortable. I don't want to make it personal or get defensive, because I try to keep our relationship professional since I think it is easier to address issues as employee/employer than as friends. But I can see the possibility for hurt feelings, and I hate it.

This is why we struggle. We are trying to find a balance that works for us, so that we don't feel like ALL our money goes into childcare. But from her standpoint I am sure it is frustrating to see something new in our home and wonder if we made a choice between her and that item. The truth of course is we have chosen her over eating out, vacations, eating organic, eating meat, new clothing, video games, TV service, diaper service, and many other things we have given up to make the budget crunch. But it is harder to see the things given up than the things that are there.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunarlady View Post

[ The truth of course is we have chosen her over eating out, vacations, eating organic, eating meat, new clothing, video games, TV service, diaper service, and many other things we have given up to make the budget crunch. But it is harder to see the things given up than the things that are there.


Have you chosen her RAISE over these things, or just her period? I ask because you choose to make those sacrifices to have a nanny, but from her standpoint it may not look like you are making any sacrifices to give her a raise.

I do think you should tell her about your pay freeze and that family sometimes gives you nice things. Its not to defend your every purchase (although, if you "couldnt afford" to give me a raise, but could afford a new car, Id be asking questions in my head.) its to explain to her that you are thinking of her and that when you finally do get a raise, you will pass it along. Its to have a more human relationship to her to let her know the truth so she wont wonder about things like that and possibly start looking for another job. If I worked somewhere for three years and wasnt getting raises, you can bet Id be on craigslist everyday looking for something with the potential to make more money, but thats just me.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yes, we have chosen her raise over those things. Like when she first started we could afford to go out for a date once a month, sitter, dinner, etc. Now we do not go out at all. We flew to see family once or twice a year. Now we fly nowhere. I had a standing date with friends for Friday happy hour once a month, yoga classes once a week, and regular trips to the pool in the summer. No more. We have sacrificed to make sure she is getting a cost of living wage of three percent each year, even though our jobs have been on pay freeze plus increasing our contribution for benefits, which means we are taking home less and less each passing year. But I still hate it because three percent is what I see as minimally acceptable. She deserves more. That is why I like the more paid days off idea. It is something we can afford.

And yes, sometimes I do splurge and buy that nice cheese, or that new DVD for my kids birthday. But that is because that is a one time expense of ten dollars, not ten dollars every month for the next four years.

Sometimes I wonder why I became an educator. A Master's degree later and I could qualify for food assistance on my salary. Pathetic. It doesn't help that I am in one of the worst paying districts in one of the worst paying states. Base salary for a teacher here is 22K, which is pretty pathetic for a job requiring a college degree. But that is a whole other story. Honestly if public education wasn't so dismal everywhere, I, too, might be scoping out another job! As it stands I figure at least I love what I do, and I certainly can't change before I pay off my student loans! But if our nanny quits on us, it may be the straw that drives both DH and I out of public service occupations. If weIcan't afford quality care for our kids, then we simply can't justify working for our current wages. Both of us choose to work in the public sector over the private one because we enjoy giving back to society. But we both would easily double our salaries by jumping ship to the private sector.

So now I have to decide how to broach the subject of what "cannot afford" means with my nanny. Obviously the lights are on, the Netflix subscription is arriving, and we are eating more than beans and rice. So do I just drop things into casual conversation, like "I'm so happy about my new car because with the amazing financing they have for GM right now I got it for $40 less per month than my old car and the maintenance, gas, and insurance is less too!". Or "We are so lucky that my mom decided to get us a new rug, the old one was so worn out.". Or...what? I don't want to give her the impression that we are super hard up, since she does depend on us and I don't want her to think we are going to lose our house or something. Things are tight for sure, but we are getting by alright. Sigh. Alot of this is just guilt. I want to pay her more. But I also do want to eat more than beans and rice. And I want to be able to buy my kids a toy now and then, or take them to the pool or the zoo. She is getting a raise at least every six months come hell or high water., with smaller ones, like the five cent one, scattered in between. Part of me says she should be grateful for getting something we don't, even if it is small. But logically I know that she doesn't see my pocketbook and financial budgeting. All she sees is her check. Sigh. I guess there is no solution to my issues. I just have to live with the guilt and the feeling that I am getting more than I pay for.
post #9 of 12

I would take her aside, and let her know, sincerely, that you adore her.  Tell her how much you appreciate her, and that you love how great she is with the kids, and how happy you are that you have a wonderful nanny that you can leave the kids with and not have to worry about them while you're at work.

 

Then tell her that you would love to give her more of a raise, but that you and your husband are on a pay freeze at work going on 3 years now, and that you just can't give her a raise when you aren't getting one.  Tell her that as soon as you and your DH get a pay raise, you'll give her one as well.

 

I would start looking for a new job though, and I would be considering other options for work.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Update:

So I talked to our nanny and just told her the how it is with our budget, parent's helping out, etc. Her reply was awesome. She said that she knows she could make more money doing something else, but that our ongoing and continuing efforts to ensure her a good quality of life (time off with her kids, flexibility to take our kids places she needs to go, paid holiday time, etc.) are worth more to her than money. She was just concerned that we weren't happy with her for some reason and expressing it through low raises. She said she loves her job and is so happy to be a working member of our family. Have I said how much I love our nanny? joy.gif

So all is well in our household at the moment. I'm hoping DH will get a long overdue raise at some point soon which would allow us to give her a much deserved merit based raise. In the meantime our current plan is to offer a few more paid days off and another small COL raise at her annual review in October. Thanks for all who replied!
post #11 of 12

Nanny raises haven't been related to our own raises, and have been mostly at her request.  

 

I'd also say that how much free cash you have is really, really obvious to someone in your home. And not just free as in extra, as the in the price you pay for meat.

 

And honestly, I think you would have been better off not offerring a raise that small. I think it probably comes off as insulting. I'd just review it annually.

 

And if you  can't do more money, there are lots of other things to do, more paid vacation time, setting up partial payment of her health insurance costs (pre-tax to you), using miles to buy her airline tickets, being more flexible about her hours, etc.

post #12 of 12

We had nannies for many years, about 6 years, but no longer anymore - our kids are old enough now. 

 

I agree with a PP who said something about giving a raise annually, instead of these 5 cent raises from time to time.  A chunk of money looks better in a raise.

 

From our experience of having nannies for a long time, I will tell you that even when a nanny is fantastic, if she is more than you can really afford, or if you can pay her but it's stretching the budget, or if you wish you could put that money elsewhere (retirement, college fund, pay off debts) there will come a time when resentment will set in.  No matter how fabulous she is.  It happened to us and it's happened to others we know.

 

Not saying that it will happen to you for certain.  But just keep it in the back of your mind and take time now and then to really evaluate your financial situation, your feelings about having a nanny, if you think moving into a private sector job is better, etc.

 

 

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