We field increasing questions from families and their staff about holiday and vacation pay as families prepare for their summer vacations.
A written work agreement should have clear statements concerning what paid holidays (if any) that the nanny or housekeeper is entitled to. Typical paid holidays will include New Year's Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some families pay for all Federal holidays, which would add Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day. Other families agree to 'swap' holidays - Columbus or Veterans day for the day after Thanksgiving for example, or Presidents Day for Good Friday. Whatever your agreement is, it should be in writing, avoiding misunderstandings and anxiety.
Vacation Scheduling and Guaranteed Pay
Many families who employ full time nannies or housekeepers take more vacation time than they offer to their staff on a paid basis. What happens here? It is typical for a full time domestic to be offered 2 weeks paid vacation, with one week to coincide with the employing family's scheduled holiday. What about the family who takes two weeks at a beach house, or takes a second ski vacation in the winter? The norm is a full time household employee will expect to be paid their base pay 52 weeks a year, unless THEY are unable to work or choose to take additional unpaid time off for personal reasons. So, if you are going to be gone for 2 weeks, your full time staff will expect to be paid. If you choose NOT to pay them for this time, you may return to find they have found another situation that provides them a more stable income.
It is very common for employers to leave behind project work that they expect the employee to complete in their absence. This may include sorting through the children's dressers and closets and packing away out of season clothing or clothing that they outgrew. Many families will request that outgrown clothing be delivered to a local charity, thrift shop or Goodwill store. Other projects may be emptying the pantry, discarding out of date items, and cleaning/reorganizing, watering plants, pet care, etc. but not major household projects such as painting or carpet cleaning that are outside the staff's job description.
What happens when a paid holiday falls on a weekend?
Typically, a paid holiday that falls on a Saturday is recognized on the prior Friday (paid, no work), and a holiday that falls on a Sunday is observed the following Monday. A family that needs their nanny to work on a day that would be an observed paid holiday should either pay her double time (for the actual work and for the holiday) OR negotiate a mutually acceptable alternate paid day off.
When to pay out nanny vacation pay?
A nanny's pay day should never be delayed. Think about it, you don't want your paycheck delayed because your boss is out of town either. So, if you are using a nanny payroll service you have no worries, you can arrange regularly scheduled direct deposits. If you write the nanny's check from your own checkbook, you need to pay her in advance when you are leaving town.