Nanny Industry Standards

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Are you hiring a nanny? Do you have a nanny? Are you a nanny? We’re here to talk about nanny industry standards. What is normal, what should be expected, what is unacceptable?

Guaranteed Hours

Guaranteed hours means that the parents are guaranteeing that the nanny is being paid her weekly pay 52 weeks a year. To break this down more.

What guaranteed hours means:

  • When a parent decides to take time off for a holiday, sick day, vacation day, appointment, outing etc that the nanny still gets paid for their time.
  • Whenever the nanny is available to work and the parents don’t need them, the nanny still gets paid their regular hourly rate
  • That the nanny has enough PTO to cover a reasonable amount of time off. [more on this in the PTO section]

What guaranteed hours does not mean:

  • That your nanny can leave early, call out sick, take time off whenever they want and still get paid.

Nanny Expectations

What should you expect from your nanny?

  • First and foremost that they take excellent care of your child in the home.
  • That the nanny follows along with any discipline/scheduling/activity requests that the parent may request.
  • That the nanny keeps the home tidy and cleans up messes from the children throughout the day
  • That the nanny prepares healthy meals for the charges throughout the day
  • That the nanny does any dishes/bottles used from the charges throughout the day
  • That the nanny keeps the nursery stocked and organized
  • That the nanny does the children’s laundry
  • That the nanny changes the children’s bedding regularly
  • That the nanny safely transports the children to outings and activities [if this is a parent preference]

What should you not expect from your nanny?

  • Any additional tasks not directly pertaining to the children
  • That they clean messes/do dishes from days when they were not working.
  • That they do deep cleaning [toilets, mop floors]

What can you expect from your nanny if the pay reflects the extra duties?

  • Running errands: Target, dry-cleaning, car maintenance, pharmacy etc.
  • Cooking meals for the whole family
  • Doing laundry for the whole family
  • Managing purchasing of items: children’s clothing, diapers, pantry goods etc.
  • Any other household management tasks not directly pertaining to the children

Paid time off

How much paid time off is normal? What is typical?

Sometimes nannies come to the table with their own asks for the amount of PTO that they want, and other times it’s parents who take the lead. It’s important for both parties to know and understand the nanny industry standards.

Vacation Time

The standard is two weeks off paid vacation. There is some disagreement as to who chooses the dates. Some argue that the nanny should utilize those two weeks however the nanny sees fit, while others argue that the nanny family should be able to have the nanny take at least some of their time off at a time that is beneficial for the family. Example: When the family takes their own vacation. This is something to be discussed with your individual nanny to find out their preferences.

Sick Days

The standard amount of sick days is one week. If your nanny is full-time that is 40 hours/5 days. Some families allow nannies to keep track of hours vs days. For example: If a nanny was feeling ill and needed to leave 4 hours early. Some families allow sick days to be used for doctor’s appointments or other time off as well. With covid, and covid quarantines, many families are loosening their sick day policies to encourage their nanny to stay home when sick.

There is a hard and fast rule for sick days with a nanny, and it ties into guaranteed hours. It’s this:

If your nanny is willing to work, then they get paid.

What does this mean? It means that if your nanny has a sore throat but is feeling fine and willing to work, but the PARENT asks them to stay home, then those hours do not come out of their sick time. Different families have different comfort levels on exposure to illness. And it’s important to talk about all of this in the interview/contract negotiation stages.

One thing to understand about having a nanny is that they are usually considered part of the family unit. If your nanny is sick, chances are your child is already exposed. If your child is sick, your nanny will likely come down with symptoms soon also.


We feel that a big part of nanny expectations is respect.

Respect from the Nanny

  • The nanny should respect the parent’s wishes/choices
  • The nanny should respect the family’s privacy
  • The nanny should respect the terms of the contract

Respect from the Family

  • The family should respect the nanny’s time
  • The family should respect the nanny’s relationship with the children
  • The family should respect the terms of the contract


Finally. All of these things [and more] should be discussed and written out in a contract.

Are you a family looking for a nanny or a nanny looking for a family? Check out our Mass based agency here.

Karina McCarthy

A Rhode Island native who has babies in her blood. A mom to a beautiful daughter and a lover of yoga and long naps.