Sunday, December 28, 2008

What to Charge on New Year’s Eve

Is it Fair to Ask for More Per Hour Working on New Year’s Eve?

Andrea Flagg, professional nanny and co-founder of Nanny Alliance of New York and New Jersey http://www.nannyalliancenyandnj.com/ asked Best Nanny Newsletter http://www.bestnannynewsletter.com/ "Is it fair to ask for more than usual on New Year’s Eve?”

We believe, in the spirit of the American way (of capitalism) a nanny can charge more when her services are likely to be in higher demand, such as on holidays. Other professionals working in different occupations do it all the time. Florists charge more on Valentine's Day. But, when working for the same family, suddenly asking to change your rates can be tricky.

Nannies should first check their work agreement to see if New Year’s Eve is considered as a paid vacation day in their job contract. If they are supposed to have New Year’s Eve off then they should definitely ask for time and a half overtime pay (or even double their standard rate) since it is a holiday.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, live-out nannies must be paid at least minimum wage for the first 40 hours worked, every seven days. Then, the nanny must receive overtime pay, equal to time and a half, for any hours worked over 40 in a seven-day period. Live-out nannies working overtime on New Year’s Eve should absolutely ask for the higher pay because it is the law. Minimum wage by state is listed at this link: http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/america.htm

Some states require overtime pay for live-in employees as well. For example, states like New York require overtime pay after 44 hours of work per week.

According to The Legal Aid Society of San Francisco, http://www.las-elc.org/HouseholdWorkers.pdf “a live-in employee who works more than nine consecutive hours in a day must be paid overtime (time and a half) for the hours over nine because the employee wasn’t given three hours of free time… In addition, if a live-in employee works more than five days per week, the employee must be paid overtime for all hours worked on the sixth and seventh day (time and a half for the first nine hours, and double-time thereafter.”

But, asking for a higher rate when you haven’t previously is easier said then done. Do most nannies actually ask their employers to pay time and a half overtime for higher holiday rates?

If different parents (other than the family you typically work for) ask you to work on New Year’s Eve it’s easy to simply respond, “Yes, I’d love to work for you on New Year’s Eve. I typically charge $20 per hour when asked to work on holidays like New Year’s Eve.”

It is easier to decline a different family too. If you do not want to accept the offer to work on New Year’s Eve, answer by saying, “I’m sorry I already have plans that evening.”

Many full-time nannies have New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day off as paid vacation in their work agreement.

Back in 1999 the New York Times posted this article: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06E3DF1539F930A15751C1A96F958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

According to the New York Times back in 1999 babysitters were earning up to $100 an hour, some $250 for five hours, with a 13-year old charging $135 per child. If sitters could earn that much nine years ago, nannies can certainly ask for more than the usual rate when working on New Year's Eve in 2008.

Do you charge more per hour for babysitting on New Year's Eve?

If so, how much more per hour do you charge over your regular babysitting rate? Respond by clicking "COMMENTS" below.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I charge $200 from 7:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. I am actually doing an overnight for a family on New Year's Eve and my rate is 12 hours, for $300. So basically I am at $25 an hour for that night. The family has 3 kids, 5, 2 and 3 weeks old, so it will be a long night for me with a baby who eats every two hours and a 2 year old who doesn't sleep thru the night. Have a great weekend!

Andrea
Erin's Nannies
(216) 514-3600
When you need me, but don't want me,
I'll be here!
When you want me, but don't need me,
I'll be gone!
(Nanny McPhee)

Anonymous said...

As a nanny I always received double my normal rate on new years eve mostly because I was always supposed to have that night off, so if I work they paid me 2x what I normally make.

Anonymous said...

I just asked for a flat rate of $150 for the night. I just watch a movie with popcorn with the kids, then they go to bed. The parents can come home anytime, the children will be asleep, I’ll be asleep on the sofa, we’ll all be happy.
Lauren, Nanny in Bay Area

Andrea Flagg said...

I am the person who asked this question, since I have not babysat on NYE since 2004 and had no idea what the current going rate was, and if the bad economy was going to affect what a fair and competitive rate would be.

I was actually a bit hesitant to ask for more than my normal babysitting rate, because I was afraid the parents would not want to pay more.

I asked the professional nannies in my area and most said- they get time and half or double their regular babysitting rate.

I forward this info. to the family who wants me to babysit and asked her what she feels comfortable paying. She said $25 per hour.

So I am very happy with that as I feel that is fair- since it's in between what I earn per hour if I asked for time and half or double time. The best part is I will be babysitting only from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

So that is SUPER and exactly what I want to do on NYE- since my huband and I are going out to an early dinner- and then I can be home with him to watch the ball drop.

So glad this worked out in my favor!

Anonymous said...

I am glad it worked out in your favor Andrea. As a mom, trying to get a sitter for New Year's Eve is a nightmare and you need to line something up months in advance and I always pay my sitters twice their normal rate, and I can always guarantee a minimum of 5 hours or $100 depending on their rate. It's worth it. Sounds like the parents are lucky to hire an experienced nanny rather than a high school kid too.
Susan S.

Anonymous said...

When I worked for my first nanny family, I worked on New Year's Eve. My normal babysitting rate was $10/hr but NYE it was $15/hr. They paid it if there was somewhere they wanted to be. I there was nothing special planned, then they didn't want to pay it. The school age kids I let stay up til midnight. The younger ones got to stay up late, but not that late.
K. Gutierrez

Anonymous said...

Dear Parents: No one wants to work holidays. Think about any job you ever had: a server, retail, babysitter, and so on…people always feel unlucky if they have to work on a holiday. If you hire a nanny, sitter, chef, and so on at least give them a nice tip or gift for helping out on a holiday.

Whether it was a Christmas Eve party or a New Year’s Eve party I used to get taken advantage of on holidays with the parents saying “Oh can you just stay a little bit longer?” One Christmas Eve after presents were exchanged and bonus was already given, I got stuck helping for hours without any formal arrangement and no extra pay. The parents didn’t pay me for the night because they were partying and just asked me stay a little longer. Hours spent helping for no pay. After two years of feeling taken advantage of during Christmas Eve parties I said I could not stay this year since my brother was having a party. Still, I got stuck keeping the kids busy so my employers could set up for their party hours longer than normal, without pay.

This year I said, “If you need me after 6:00 PM (my normal time off) I will need $22 an hour.” That’s less than one and a half times what I make. The mother was so insulted. But, I got out on time this Christmas Eve. She went ahead and found other arrangements for New Year’s Eve which is fine by me. I’m sure the high school babysitter will be happy with the extra cash but she will be exhausted after the night. But by sticking up for myself everyone’s happier. The parents still have a sitter, I can be off and spend the evening with my family, the high school sitter will make extra cash, and the parents can pay within their means.

Nanny in Boston

Anonymous said...

It is fair to ask for more money for New Year's Eve. But, the parents might get mad like Nanny in Boston above. Best idea is not to work unless it's for a different family.

Anonymous said...

I charge double. All my families know and are willing to pay it simply because there are several of them and only one of me. One year I did a slumber party for two families.

Being in California makes it easy - we turn on the TV or computer for the Times Square celebration and celebrate at 9 pm local time. The usual children's party type stuff - hats, noisemakers, goodies, sparking cider in champagne glasses. Of course with babies, it's just the usual routine.

Terri Carroll

Anonymous said...

I don't usually babysit for my work families (my first New Year’s Eve with my first family I was scheduled and they decided they didn't want to go out at the last minute). What a pain that was. This year I mentioned it to my Mom Boss and she said they might just go out to dinner, but I never asked again as that wouldn't be much $. Last year I did a 24 hour overnight for one of my babysitting clients. I am paid $10/hour for them and we agreed on $150 for a 24 hour overnight. I am doing that again this year. Easy as pie, we go out and do an activity, go to a movie, dinner at McD's or swimming and he stays up until midnight (he's 10 now). We may do an activity the next morning. $150 may not seem like a lot but they're not rich.
Erin

Anonymous said...

I make just about $12 an hour as a first year live-in nanny. I haven't a clue how to get a conversation about making more on New Year's Eve started. They always pay me my regular rate when I work overtime and I have never asked for more. Isn't it too late to ask now? I won't leave me name because the parents would die if they knew I was discussing this.

Anonymous said...

This is the first year I haven't had a job for New Year's Eve. I usually had one little girl and her parents paid me $20 an hour. I didn't have to ask them for that much, they just gave it to me. They were transferred to Tokyo just after New Year's last year so obviously I won't be working for them this year!

Denise, Central New Jersey

Anonymous said...

sitters.com says, "...factors that affect how much to charge include the hours of the job (fees for long hours or late nights may be higher), special dates such as New Year's Eve, and the number of children. Some babysitters charge an extra dollar or two per hour for each child, over and above their base rate for one child. Finally, keep in mind that extra responsibilities..."

If sitters can charge more on New Year's Eve, nannies certainly can too.

Anonymous said...

You get what you pay for! Don't be cheap.

Anonymous said...

I’m just embarrassed to admit I never thought to charge more. I’ve been nannying professionally for twenty years. One thing I have learned in those years is to accept extra work only for families that pay me more consistently. $12 is just insulting at this stage in my professional career. Even if the sitter job is easy, doesn't mean I want to make the same as a 13-yr old high school kid. My advice to charging more on holidays -- why not? I wish I had thought of it sooner.

Gretchen

Anonymous said...

Like Gretchen above I never thought to ask for more. I just assumed no one raises rates. Too many nannies are passive. We allow ourselves to get walked over. Did you read the article above from 1999? Those ladies are charging well over double their normal rate 9 years ago! You just have to weigh which is more important to you: making parents possibly “surprised” that you want to charge more on the holiday or just accept less money so not to rock the boat. I say “surprised” because do you really think they’ll fire you if you ask for more on a big demand night like New Year’s Eve? If you take initiative they will respect you more!
Nanny Francine

Anonymous said...

I also never thought to charge more for working on New Year's Eve. I have been working as a nanny for about 15 years, am confident, love my job, yet never thougt to charge more on holidays or for overtime.

It's amazing to see that other nannies do this regularly. I'm glad to have read this. It is an education.

Because I feel like I was taken advantage of twice before by parents when I worked on New Year's Eve, I now hate working holidays and have been avoiding it at all costs. I've been making up excuses instead. If I had charged more I'd probably would have been happier.

Working holiday parties has always been an issue for me because I have accepted my typical rate, then more and more kids come as the night progresses, the night gets later and later, and it has always become a miserable evening for me.

I have resented not being invited to the party when I see the mothers I hang out with during the week enjoying their evening while I’m stuck in the playroom trying to keep rowdy kids in control. During a holiday party the children misbehave from too much sugar, too much excitement, and their parents being in the next room. I just don’t enjoy having so many cranky and crying kids on my hands, with not enough money to justify my frustration.

If the parents want to go out to a party and have me stay with one or two kids with a movie, popcorn, hot chocolate, a few books to read, and bedtime that would be fine and fun for me, with no extra fee even needed.

L.D. on East Coast

Anonymous said...

Wow, I had no idea I could charge so much for babysitting on NYE. I think it's too late to ask for more now but next year I will keep this in mind.
Stacey F, Montclair NJ

Anonymous said...

I charge $150 9pm to 1am one child in Miami

Anonymous said...

I have the rest of the week off between Christmas and Jan 5th for vacation so I just charge my usual rate. I never thought to charge more. I'll change that in the future now. Thanks, Amanda B. Texas

Anonymous said...

I am ashamed that I too never thought to charge more on holidays. I babysit on NYE but never wanted to. Next year I think I might just advertise as an experienced nanny available to babysit for a great sum of money and go for the highest bidder!! Why don't agencies teach us this stuff??

Anonymous said...

I’m also amazed that nannies can raise their rates like this. I wish I could. But, I just don’t think I could ask for that much money on New Year’s Eve all of the sudden. When I start working for another family then maybe I can start asking for higher rates for special occasions.
Nanny Stuck In Same Job

Anonymous said...

Yes it appears it is fair to charge more on New Year's Eve. Would I do it with the family I work for full time? No probably not. For another family, now I probably will.

Anonymous said...

Kimmy Career Nanny in Long Island

I get $150 9:30 pm to 1:00 am, but if they come home at 1:30 I won't charge them more. I didn't ask for that rate, they offered it to me.

Anonymous said...

The family I work for is having a party. They are paying me $150 for the evening for their kids. Then, if their friends bring their kids to the party they will pay me $50 per extra kid. We already bought (their money) fun party favors and crafts for the evening.

Anonymous said...

I used to make the same hourly rate when working on new year's eve so I just don't work new year's eve anymore. I just tell everyone I have other plans. After reading these rates I may change that next year. I had no idea sitters could make this much for new year's eve.
Nanny in NJ

Anonymous said...

I just have no idea how I could possibly ask for an increase of rate. I am a live-in and never have been paid overtime, ever. I haven't a clue how to bring up such a discussion. I have no idea how to do that. How can someone do that suddenly when they never said anything before?

Anonymous said...

I work a New Year's Eve party for the past few years. The parents pay me $200 from 8:00 pm to midnight for their three kids. The kids play in their jammies. We do crafts or play games on the third floor. We watch a movie, eat some food, but they usually go to sleep before midnight. Kids are welcome to be at the party or with me, but the parents have me on hand so they can host their party.

At midnight the children will most likely be asleep but I'm welcome to stay for toast at midnight.

When other parents have brought their kids also, they pay me another $50 per child (like others mentioned previously). They come in the jammies too and just watch movies with us. It's a fun way to make more money.

Nanny in CT

Anonymous said...

I will be making double my usual rate tonight.
Nanny Maria

Anonymous said...

I was joking a few days ago with the mother that hired me for new year's eve that I read this blog and thought to myself I would be sleeping on their sofa when they got home on NYE. She typically pays me $20 an hour and she paid more! I never asked and she paid more than $30 per hour!! I think she might have read the blog. Thanks, happy new year! Nanny on East Coast

Melonluv said...

Hi, what info did you send the family? I got asked to babysit and I don't know how much to charge or how to word it so they still decide to use me .