Being a nanny (or any other caregiver position) is a job, and depending on your commitment to the craft, it’s a profession. It’s a demanding, exhausting, mentally and physically taxing job with an immense moral reward – shouldn’t the financial reward be the same? Nothing should deter from answering a unanimous, “YES” to this query.
There is no reason that your childcare position should be treated differently than others’ simply because you are in someone’s home as opposed to the office. The same offerings are expected of your employer: An agreement or contract, health benefits, and a realistic hourly wage commensurate with your experience. Additionally, most businesses have in place quarterly and annual reviews with the opportunity to discuss a raise, your nanny position should be no different.
If you are a nanny reading this, please know that if you have been with a family over a year, you deserve a review and very possibly a raise. Below are some important points to consider when asking for a raise.
Nobody will hand you a raise out of the blue
You may work for the most amazing family in the world. Perhaps they constantly remind you how appreciative they are of your work, and shower you with praise daily. That said, chances are nobody is going to take it upon themselves to sit you down and hand you an increase in your hourly pay; this is something YOU will have to initiate.
Bite the Bullet – Ask!
Asking for a raise is tricky business in any career path – add onto that the closeness of being a nanny, working in their home, with their children. You are in most cases part of the family, and for some people it can be a very difficult topic to approach. The biggest advice I can give is to make a mental decision that you WILL ask for a sit down with the parent/s to discuss the possibility of a raise. Once you’ve made that decision in your head, tell a few people close to you that can hold you accountable to it, and not let it fall by the wayside.
Be prepared, have supporting documentation and show your worth
Now you decided you deserve a raise, you have to be able to clearly demonstrate WHY you deserve it. For most people, duration with the same family is a very important factor to consider. An extra year with your family adds an extra year of professional nanny experience to your resume which needs to be considered. Also, think about how your duties have changed since you’ve been with the family – are you required to cook more now? Have you taken any courses related to being a better nanny or assistant that have improved your skill-set? Is there a new baby? Do you perform any house manager tasks? Any additional duty that has been added since the inception of your position could be used as a justification for a wage increase. Also, consider the natural rate of inflation in your economy, gas prices increase, cost of living going up, if you’re locked into a rate while everything around you is getting more expensive, it will become increasingly difficult to keep up.
Pick the right time
Now that you’ve decided you deserve a raise, you have to pick the right time to bring it up to them. Most parents are excessively busy for most of their lives, hence the need for a nanny! it’s crucial you find a slice of downtime to approach them face to face. Around the year mark is a great opportunity to ‘raise’ the topic, as it’s a common practice in most industries to negotiate compensation after one year. Additionally, asking for a raise after you’ve completed major accomplishment is also a good time to present your expectations.
Make your intentions clear – no surprises
Now you know the perfect time to ask the parents, do not avoid the big question you eventually want asked. It’s so much easier to ask for an ‘annual performance review’ than a ‘raise review’ so ask for both! Whatever path you take, make sure to manage their expectations so they are not caught off guard. Depending on your relationship with the parents, you might say something like:
“Would you happen to have some time this week to sit down together to discuss how things have gone this past year with my position, and the prospect of a raise in my pay?”
For most people, reading or even saying these words in your head makes you feel uncomfortable and awkward – I completely understand that. Unless you found your family through an agency that can handle this awkward minefield on your behalf then I am lead to my next point….
Know your worth, know that you give your all and you work hard for this family. Know that if you have been with them a year, you are continually doing the right thing day in day out and they want to keep you around. You have formed a strong bond with their children and with the parents. You are irreplaceable – there is no other you! They respect your hard work and know that a raise is more than deserved. Additionally, chances are your employers are no strangers to a corporate or business structure – they know you deserve a raise and it’s expected of you to ask!
Send an email…
Still not feeling bold and empowered? That’s ok, nobody said it was easy. Maybe you would feel more comfortable reaching out via email (which would be best because they’re so busy and you barely ever see them and you don’t want to catch them in a bad mood, right?)
If you’re hitting a wall crafting what to write to them, here’s a great tip: Have a close friend or family member write the first draft of the email for you. It removes any anxiety, provides a great starting point, and you can edit from there. Most likely, your friend has far less hesitation about describing your value on paper.
Angeles Mannies has composed many ‘Raise Request’ emails and we would be happy to do the same for you, drop us an email with a few details on your situation and we’ll reply with something you can forward directly to your nanny family!
Be realistic about you may get
Don’t set your hopes too high and don’t ask for $0.25 per hour raise. I’ve seen increases range from 5-40% after the 1st year, so decide where you would like to be on that scale. If you currently earn $15 per hour and want to make $18, that’s a 20% wage increase ($3); $16.50 is 10% wage increase. I would suggest you speak with local nannies in your area to get a feel for what they make, and check if your experience and responsibilities line up; local agencies can also help with this.
I asked, they said no, now what?
If they said no, ask why. Without letting emotions get the best of you, listen to their reasons; ask them if it would be possible to set up another review in a couple of months to approach the topic again after you make adjustments per their feedback (within reason of course). Check if there are other responsibilities to take on that could see your hourly wage increase accordingly. There are many reasons why a family won’t or can’t offer a raise, and it’s important to understand what they want moving forward. Perhaps providing an increase is not within their financial capability, which means you may want to reconsider working with this family for the long term.
For parents that possibly can not afford a raise, an alternative could be to ask if they would consider paying for courses specific to your job or sending you off to a nanny conference (INA) and assisting with hotels and airfare. There are many alternatives to a financial raise to consider that can help save you money and demonstrate to the family your dedication to your job.
If you have prepared your reasoning well, presented yourself professionally and with confidence, there is no reason why you won’t be treated as a professional and receive the raise you ask for.
If you have any questions about this article or need more direction, please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org