Can I Pay a Nanny Minimum Wage?

A woman and a child cooking in the kitchen

Paying a nanny can be a family’s top cost item, and it’s understandable to want to keep the expense as low as possible. But can you pay them minimum wage?

Legally, yes. However, the minimum wage should merely be a starting point for figuring out how much to pay your nanny. Ethically and competitively, paying your child’s caregiver minimum wage is not the best long-term solution.

The problem with only paying a nanny minimum wage is that their hard work, patience, flexibility and problem-solving deserve financial respect.

What is minimum wage anyway?

As of July 2009, the federal minimum wage changed to $7.25 per hour. There are also 29 states with minimum wages that are higher than the federal minimum. And in January 2019, Massachusetts and Washington State posted the highest state minimum wages of $12 per hour. However, there is currently momentum to change the hourly rate to $15. It always helps to look up minimum wage in your area because there can be city and county minimums that are above the federal and state level.

Learn your state’s minimum wage here.

How much should nannies earn per hour?

The decision on how much to pay your nanny is going to come down to how much you can afford, combined with the going rate and the quality/experience-level of your nanny.

The International Nanny Association (INA) reports that, as of 2017, the average hourly rate for nannies is $19.14. Learn the average nanny hourly rate in your area here.

If this seems high to you, ask around. Go to playgrounds and use local message boards to learn what people pay, and for what level of experience (i.e., college nannies earn less than life-long nannies)?

Once you determine your rate, you will also want to remember that this is your child’s caregiver, and you want to treat her as well as possible.

Paying taxes, providing paid time-off, and giving bonuses are all part of the nanny package. However, a nanny share can offset a lot of these costs, making the decision to hire a high-quality nanny much more affordable!

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