Ask the Nanny Expert Part 2

Kate McGeachin

When you hire a nanny, you become an employer and we realize that this is a huge responsibility and can be a daunting title.  With the help of the agency staff, and an accountant, you will realize that there are resources available to you.

You must follow the rules set out by Revenue Canada and follow Employment Standards in your province.  Make sure that you are aware of your obligations.

Here are some commonly asked questions:

Do I have to allow my nanny to take vacation?
Yes.  Nannies have the same rights as employees in any other industry. They are entitled to a minimum of 4% vacation per year (4% is the equivalent to 2 weeks vacation). Most Nannies get anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks paid vacation.

If my Nanny only works part time, is she entitled to vacation?
As employees, Nannies are entitled to paid vacation whether or not they are full time or part time employees and whether or not they are permanent or temporary.  They are entitled to a minimum of 4% of their gross earnings for the year which is the equivalent to 2 weeks.

If your Nanny works for you 3 days per week, in this case one week is the equivalent to 3 days (not 5) and therefore your Nanny can take a minimum of 6 days of paid vacation per year (not 10).

Our family is going away for 3 weeks over the summer and 2 weeks at Christmas and we won’t need the Nanny to work.  Do we have to pay our nanny for this time?
Employment Standards does not require you to pay her for hours not worked, but we strongly recommend that you do.  This is the number one complaint we hear from our Nannies.  If the Nanny is willing and able to work, and you can not provide her with work, we feel that she should be paid.  The Nannies rely on a steady income and if they are scrounging to make ends meet at the end of the month, they will be forced to quit and seek a new job that can guarantee a steady pay cheque. 

It is very similar to a daycare situation – even if you don’t send your child to daycare on a particular day, you still need to pay to hold your spot.

Can I decide when my nanny takes her vacation?
Employers are able to dictate when an employee takes vacation.   However, please remember that things come up in the Nanny’s personal life that are very important to her. You will have a very unhappy Nanny on your hands if she has to miss out on her best friend’s wedding or a family reunion.  As much as possible, allow her to choose her vacation.  If not, you can ask her to take these days as unpaid if you have allotted other times in the year for her vacation. 

My Nanny has asked to take vacation but she has only just started working with us.  What should I do?
If your Nanny has been employed for a short time, she wouldn’t have worked long enough to accrue enough days to cover the amount of days she would like off.  We don’t recommend giving her an advance for her vacation pay.  If she quits or is let go, and if she hasn’t worked long enough to repay her vacation, you are not allowed to deduct it from her final pay. You could either tell her that she isn’t able to take vacation until she has accrued it, or allow her to take as unpaid leave.  

If she has accrued it, we feel that she should be entitled to take it.

Do I have to pay for sick days?
As per Employment Standards, you do not need to pay her for any sick days.  However, we do recommend that you do pay her for sick days, as the nannies often get sick from your kids.  Otherwise, you will find that if they are really dependent on the income, they will come into work when they are extremely sick and will end up infecting your entire household. 

We recommend paying her for sick days as long as they are not being abused.

I often come home early on Fridays and so I let my Nanny leave early as long as everything is done. Can I deduct these hours from her pay?
Employment Standards only requires you to pay for hours work.  However, do yourself a favour and pay your nanny for these hours. This will ensure you have a nice long relationship with her.   This is an easy way to show your Nanny appreciation and you will find that she won’t be counting the minutes if you get stuck in traffic on the way home. 

I don’t need my Nanny any more.  How do I give her notice?
In Nannies on Call contracts, we have a two week notice period so you can let your nanny go by giving her two weeks working notice, or by paying her out the two weeks and not having her come back to work.

If the Nanny is still in the probationary period (first 3 months of employment) you can let her go without any notice at all.

Please see Ask the Expert Part 1 for questions regarding payment to the Nannies, Taxes,  and more commonly asked questions.

Kate McGeachin has been matching nannies and families for 9 years.  She lives in Vancouver with her husband and her daughter.  When she is not camping, skiing or biking, she is scouring the Internet looking for the latest vegetarian-gluten free recipes. 


Nannies on call mobile app banner Nannies on call mobile app banner