Household employers are not legally obligated to pay for ANY holidays or time off. It is true, however, that some baseline provision of paid holidays is a general expectation of household employees. Many nannies, especially those working without a written work agreement in place, worry about their income during the busy holiday season. Will they receive pay on holidays? Will they be paid for those regular days when they are not needed due to holiday travel or entertainment?
Families who do not plan to offer paid holidays should make this very clear at the time of hire.
Failing to plan ahead for these situations is never a good idea - yet it happens frequently. What are the norms?
Full time household workers typically receive a minimum of 7-8 paid Federal holidays per year. Additionally, most full time household workers expect to be paid for their regularly scheduled time every week, even if the family decides to take additional holiday time and she is not needed.
Permanent part time household workers are typically paid only when the Federal holiday (or its observance) falls on their regularly scheduled work day.
Federal holidays that fall on a Saturday are observed on the prior Friday, and those that fall on a Sunday are observed on the following Monday.
Many families with different faith traditions sometimes 'move' the Christmas holiday, taking into account the faith tradition of their household employee. These arrangements ideally should be discussed and defined in the written work agreement.
Conclusion: These and all time off and compensation arrangements should be discussed and clearly documented in a written work agreement. Taking the time to be specific in the work agreement avoids misunderstandings later. Additionally, your nanny deserves to be able to plan for any reduction of her weekly income in advance.