How much should a nanny get paid and how to ask for a raise
April 30, 2009 5:52 PM   Subscribe

What do other Canadian nannies earn? I get $12 an hour and want to ask for a raise. Never done this before, any advice on hour to go about it?

I work part time (20-25 hours p/w) as a nanny for a very nice couple with one 2 yr old daughter. They treat me very well and I like them a lot. I am not expected to do any cleaning or housework - just look after/entertain their kid. It's a good job and I enjoy it, I like the kid a lot.

But I can't help but feel that $12 an hour is measly. For similar work in Australia I was paid $18. I do a great job, and the parents constantly tell me how happy they are with me. I'm 31 and and very experienced.

I've been working with them for 3 months now and I feel it's time to ask for a raise. I'm nervous about it because I have a great relationship with them and it's obviously not business-like at all. It's not like approaching a boss in an office environment.

Also I know that a lot of other Canadian nannies get paid much less. However I still think $12 is measly...

PLease offer suggestions on hour to go about asking for a raise in this casual, friendly employment situation. I feel very respected and appreciated, so I don't want to go about this the wrong way.

Also if you are a Canadian nanny and earn more, please tell me so I know it's reasonable!

posted by beccyjoe to Work & Money (35 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: oops i mean "how" to go about it...
posted by beccyjoe at 6:04 PM on April 30, 2009

Much less? Really? Man, $12/hr is not much more than the minimum wage in most provinces. I'd say based on your experience you're probably justified. I am not a nanny though.
posted by the dief at 6:07 PM on April 30, 2009

Are you legally able to work in Canada or are you working under the table? That's a big factor in pay scale. And where are you located? In a major city? That's another big factor.
posted by kate blank at 6:08 PM on April 30, 2009

You don't give enough information about your location or live in/out status for people to give accurate predictions for your wage requirements, as "I get this the other side of the world" is not at all relevant to any job. Not even slightly.

Why do you think you deserve a raise? Because you think you are being paid less than the average wage for your profession in your location? Or because you think you are better than that local average?

If your justification for a raise is solely the AUS comparison, then you may be looking at this wrong...
posted by Brockles at 6:09 PM on April 30, 2009

the dief, the nannies that get paid much less are generally new to Canada as part of the live-in caregiver program and from what I've seen they get paid about $5/hour plus room & board (and the family pays all the expenses related to the visa/immigration/entry to Canada).
posted by kate blank at 6:10 PM on April 30, 2009

I don't know what the reasonable amount is, but I think you're looking at this the wrong way - because they aren't your bosses, they're your clients. You decide what your rate is, and they decide if they want to pay it or not. That said, given that the rate was agreed upon (whoever proposed it initially) just three months ago, it is kind of early to renegotiate.
posted by moxiedoll at 6:13 PM on April 30, 2009

I nannied four kids, did a ton of housework, for two years, in a college town (i.e. flooded nanny market), started at $11 US, ended at $14 US. Don't know if that helps.
posted by greta simone at 6:18 PM on April 30, 2009

Response by poster: Additional info-



I am located in Toronto.

The reason I think I deserve more money - I have about 10 years experience working with children, 5 years of university including a bachelor of education, I worked as a primary school teacher for 2 years. And I put a lot of effort, energy and thought into the job. I'm 31 and very responsible etc. I know I am good at the job.

I feel that the nanny "industry" is underpaid, generally, because a lot of nannies are vulnerable immigrants etc, and there is no union / solidarity between workers for obvious reasons.

moxiedoll - I like your take. When I took the job I had been looking for a while, so was very eager to start work and figured $12 was my minimum. I accepted the rate at that time. But I can't figure out if they are my clients or my employers...
posted by beccyjoe at 6:25 PM on April 30, 2009

"The average rate is between $8.00 and $14.00 per hour, depending on nanny experience and job details", according to, a website designed to connect parents and freelance nannies.

However, part-time nannies employed with this Canadian nanny agency earn $12 to $20 per hour.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:25 PM on April 30, 2009

It depends on what city you live in. Child care is very poorly paid in Canada. Are you a live-in nanny?

Over 90% of the live-in nannies in Canada are Filipino, under the live-in caregiver program (many are treated horribly and they are paid less than minimum wage, but that's a whole other kettle of fish.)

The live-in caregiver nannies are mainly in the big cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Under this program, there are many people willing to work for very little, so you might not have a lot to bargain with, unfortunately.
posted by Flying Squirrel at 6:27 PM on April 30, 2009

I can't figure out if they are my clients or my employers...

They're your clients if it would be easy for you to find another similar gig. They're your employers if it would be difficult.

I think you're overqualified for the job. It seems like very low pay for your qualifications, but good pay for the work itself (one kid, no housework, nice parents).
posted by headnsouth at 6:33 PM on April 30, 2009

To an extent, on the further information, regardless of what you think you may be worth, you have to price yourself with the market - even if you are a megastar that is worth $100 an hour, if some other person will do the job for the same hourly rate you are on now and will be acceptable to the people you currently work for, then why should they pay the extra?

You have to be aware of the market, I guess. You'd be lucky to be paid much more than the going rate (especially, to my mind, for only one child in your care) so tread carefully. It doesn't matter how much you personally feel you are worth, as your relative position in the market is the most important factor - it doesn't matter how much more you are capable of, say, if you are doing all the looking after a 2 year old needs for the same money anyone else can look after a 2 year old for.

You're paid for the job you do, not your extra potential, unless that extra potential is directly relevant and valuable to your clients/customers.
posted by Brockles at 6:33 PM on April 30, 2009

Response by poster: thanks for the perspectives people. You are all Helpful.

@headnsouth yes I am over-qualified, but teaching jobs are very scarce in Toronto and I'm also studying part time to take my career in a new direction. Good point also about clients/employers, that's sort of what I was thinking.

I do realise there are other people who would do the job for less, but the couple I work for were very particular about who they hired. They interviewed a number of others. They appreciate me for what I bring to the job - so even though in ways my market value is not high, I know I am valuable to them for what I bring to the job...
posted by beccyjoe at 6:47 PM on April 30, 2009

Three months is awfully early to be asking for a raise. I have a (not live-in) nanny for my son and I'd be quite put off if she wanted to change the pay rate that quickly after being hired. Of course, if you started off at this rate and said you'd re-evaluate after a few months of services, then that's different.

Seconding that you sound like you are overqualified, which you are. But as far as I know, most nannies do housework and errands, and you're being paid pretty well for doing nothing but watching a 2-year old. If you want to earn more, consider a different field. Part-time nannying isn't exactly expected to be a big moneymaker.
posted by Lullen at 6:53 PM on April 30, 2009

Response by poster: @Lullen- Yes I realise three months is early, but when I started they said they would pay me $12 but hoped they would be able to pay me more. I think of it as a trial period to see if we liked each other, now time has passed and we know we like each other.

as for "doing nothing but watching a 2 year old", "watching" involves constantly playing games with, thinking up fun activities, taking her out, managing her tantrums, thinking of creative ways to avoid tantrums, cleaning up after her, etc etc. It is not a passive job.
posted by beccyjoe at 7:06 PM on April 30, 2009

You cannot ask for a raise only three months in. You had a minimum rate ($12/hr), they exceeded it ($14/hr), and you are making the average for your position in your location in a job that appears to suit you very well.

If you want to make more money, do something else for a living. It really isn't the nanny sector's fault you're vastly over-qualified for the position you took.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:26 PM on April 30, 2009

Response by poster: @DarlingBri I am being paid $12 not $14. What is "the nanny sector"? There is no nanny sector. That is why nannies are so underpaid. They have no collective bargaining power. It is a female domain that is undervalued.

I realise I'm not going to make THE BIG BUCKS. All I hope for is a $2-3 an hour pay rise.
posted by beccyjoe at 7:34 PM on April 30, 2009

There is no nanny sector. That is why nannies are so underpaid.

Er. The Nanny sector is that in which Nannies usually work and get paid.

Your post initially suggested a sense of poor pre-employment negotiation, but now just seems to be "I am WORTH MORE" indignation for which you are looking for validation. Well, to my mind, the important factor is - you are NOT worth more if the market has people that could fill your job to the same standard (crucially, 'standard', not experience and qualifications) for the money you are making now. Your additional experience is irrelevant to the job you do now.

You seem awfully defensive, and if you need to be so, perhaps its because your personal viewpoint is not necessarily universally shared (it seems not to be, to me). This is important information in your decision whether or not to approach a pay rise negotiation, rather than just 'how'.
posted by Brockles at 7:56 PM on April 30, 2009

Beccyjoe, I *have* a two-year old, i know all about what it takes to keep one happy and healthy and occupied. But if that's the only thing you are doing--no laundry, no cleaning, no shopping--then that is all you are doing. Period. Other nannies generally do much more for the same (if not less) money. Again, I'm a parent of a child that age and I have a nanny. If she changed the game only 3 months in, I would be very unhappy.
posted by Lullen at 7:57 PM on April 30, 2009

As someone with several friends in Toronto who have non live-in nannies and also run errands, do laundry, do groceries, etc., I'd say your wage of $12 is pretty spot on. I know one of my friends pays exactly that for way more work than you're actually doing.
posted by meerkatty at 8:12 PM on April 30, 2009

Beccyjoe, I'm in Vancouver. The going rate for a daytime/evening babysitter or part-time nanny with your qualifications is $15 to $20 an hour under the table. (!) I pay $12/hr over the table (with receipts!) to a sitter with very few qualifications and I'm going to be switching to someone more like you in a couple of weeks because I would rather pay more for someone who is well qualified. Even college students make $10-15 an hour -- just check (I am going to one of their events to screen sitters.) I can't imagine Toronto would be that different, unless you're living in lesser affluent area.

I'm not suggesting you pack up and move to Vancouver. However, you might be better off with $15-$20 an hour for several families, perhaps as a sitter (aka part-time nanny). You could probably set up a few gigs within a short distance. I have a sitter booked for this weekend at $15 an hour. I'd pay more if she gave me receipts.

My friends with nannies say someone good costs about $20 an hour over the table. You can get someone who is lesser qualified, with more limited English skills and no knowledge of English games/songs/etc, for around $12/hr.

Take a look around. Maybe you need to focus on an area of Toronto where pay rates are bigger. Or maybe you need to work for a few families or something.

posted by acoutu at 8:46 PM on April 30, 2009

Unfortunately, licensed ECE teachers (pre-school teachers) earn about $12/hr.

A major benchmark or constraint is that married couples are generally allowed to claim $12,000 for childcare expenses against tax (or something) in Canada.

I'm not sure if you can compare AUS rates versus Canadian rates, because the purchasing power of each currency is different - AUS wages are usually higher than Canadian wages, but the cost of living in Australia is also higher.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:47 PM on April 30, 2009

Do they pay you a wage and deduct taxes, EI, CPP, etc. from your cheque? If so, then they are your employer. If not, then they are your client and you are self-employed. I am in the process of looking for nanny help and am looking to spend $50 per day per child on daycare. That works out to about $12.50 per hour to look after two one year olds (probably less as I anticipate needing care for more than 8 hours.) I think your rate is fair.
posted by ms.v. at 9:26 PM on April 30, 2009

For a bit of a different comparison, here in Alberta respite care (requiring similar requirements as you describe as a nanny) but with severely disabled children runs around $14-16 per hour (intervention workers are paid around $17-$25 /hr.). This is (under)funded by the province. So that is the 'going' rate, and they are explicit that it is the skill set required by the job that determines the pay level, not the qualifications of the individual. Highly skilled/experienced individuals may well be in higher demand, but the pay rate doesn't vary much. Again, this is for the care of severely disabled children.

While this is not clearly your situation, I think it offers many parallels to your situation.

In this context, the respite workers are workers (whether self employed or paid benefits), the parents are the employers (even though the govt funds the wage) and the child(ren) are the clients. Do not make a mistake about the power relations here. Parents are really really unlikely to think of themselves as your client. As much as they value your expertise and care, they likely value it in you as their employee in their home with their child.
posted by kch at 10:17 PM on April 30, 2009

Best answer: I want to point out that one of the links I found earlier, ABC Nannies, advises parents to offer nannies a raise after three months in order to encourage them to stay for the long term. The same site also says that the more experienced and educated nannies in their agency make $20 an hour. The asker's desire to ask for a raise doesn't seem unreasonable in this context. The assertion that the market would not bear a salary of more than $12 an hour also appears to be false. If anyone would like to provide evidence to the contrary you are welcome to.
posted by PercussivePaul at 10:53 PM on April 30, 2009

FYI Neiltupper: There is a little "!" flag button if you are unhappy with a post.
"Fuck off." Over-react much?

I'd say wait a few months and then tell them that you are raising your rate to 13$ an hour. They'll be pretty used to you by then and I'd imagine the worst that happens is they say no.
posted by zephyr_words at 11:01 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm in Toronto and know several nannies. $12 an hour is pretty typical for childcare and light housework. Yes, childcare is underpaid and teaching gigs are hard to come by.
posted by saucysault at 6:17 AM on May 1, 2009

You accepted to be paid $12/hr when you started; it's inappropriate for you to jack up the price so soon. You would definitely ruin the relationship with your clients if you started asking for more money now. If you think you're worth more, you shouldn't have accepted $12/hr.

Also, you might think you're worth something, but the market rate determines what you actually get paid. Like any other employee/contractor, you need to understand what others are being paid for similar work; if you want to be paid more than the "industry average", you need to make a good, convincing argument. During the next few months, collect the information you need, and then on your 1-year anniversary of nannying, approach them with your new salary request (if your research supports being paid more).
posted by Simon Barclay at 6:23 AM on May 1, 2009

In many jobs it's not uncommon to see the first 3 months as a probationary period. So I wouldn't be put off about asking about a raise. Do you know how hard it would be to find another job like this? What would you plan be if they say no to your request? I think finding out what the job market looks like should be your first step. Ignore how much underpaid filipino ladies are making -- that seems irrelevant here, since you aren't marketing yourself as a regular-ass nanny. (Or you shouldn't be anyway.)
posted by chunking express at 8:11 AM on May 1, 2009

Best answer: comment from someone who would prefer to reamin anonymous
I see what you're saying and obviously you should be paid more than $12 an hour.

I work as a nanny and know several nannies and their employers. You're right, nannies are underpaid, and I'm actually a bit shocked at some of the attitude you're getting here.

However, at this point it might be difficult for you to both get a raise and maintain a good relationship with your employers. At three months, the child is probably attached to you (as are the parents), you've been trained. They would have difficulty finding someone with similar qualifications because they're not paying enough. They'll think it's a bit of a bait-and-switch (right or wrong).

Here's what I think you should do instead of asking for a raise:

Try to get another job in addition to this job. Multiple recent references and 2 separate streams of income are wonderful things to have in this business.

You should market yourself as a tutor, that will make you MUCH more money than nannying, especially during the summer. You have a college degree, use it. Aim for wealthier families. You could easily fit this around your current schedule.

Do a lot of research about what pay is actually available to you. There are different markets for nannies--the market for nannies who don't speak English is completely different than it is for nannies who have a college degree in education. Those in this post who are implying otherwise are wrong. You are NOT competing against people who make $5/hour. Find out who you ARE competing with and if you can realistically get a better wage. I bet you can.

I would stick with this job (without a raise) while you're doing your research and finding tutoring clients. They're not psychos, you like their kid, and it's part-time, which gives you opportunity to find something else while still getting paid. These are all rare qualities in the nanny world. You would be shocked at the stories I've heard. I know it's hard to feel positive when you feel like you're being taken advantage of, but do your best.

And kick up your feet a little bit more. Remember to take breaks, just like everyone else does at their job. A lot of nannies with good work ethics forget that and they get burnt out rather quickly. Ignore the people here who suggest it is an easy job. Keep your spirits up.

Good luck!
posted by jessamyn at 8:40 AM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

One way to approach it might be to broach the topic when you're all doing something casual like having a meal. Tell them how much you enjoy working for them. After they finish complimenting you (which I'm sure they will since you say they really appreciate you), thank them sincerely and say "When I started, you indicated that you'd be willing to pay me a bit more if things worked out... well, my living expenses are such that I need to be bringing home at least $XX.xx per hour and I'm hoping we can agree on a firm salary now."

If they balk, ask them when they think your "permanent' salary will be determined. What's their time frame? If they start to give you a million excuses as to why that won't be possible, be prepared to counter with, "Oh, that's too bad. I really love it here, but I can't support myself on $12.00 an hour..." Then either change the subject or maintain an uncomfortable silence, depending on your assessment of their mood.

It could go very well or blow up in your face. They'll either offer you a small raise or start mentally planning to replace you. I hope you have another job lined up if it doesn't work out. Good luck.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:40 AM on May 1, 2009

Best answer: I work as a part-time nanny (20-30 hours a week) in Toronto. I'm 29, I do freelance work in another field, and I work for several families. I am paid $12-$20 an hour. I generally ask $13 for one child, $15 for two or more.

I also feel like it's time to ask for a raise from some of my $12/hour families. However, since I'm in a situation where I work regularly with 4 different families in a week, my approach will probably be to send out an email explaining that I am increasing my hourly charge to $14 an hour, but that if anyone has a problem accommodating that wage, it can be negotiated. I'll let you know how it goes.

A good place to find out about going rates for nannies is at the Parenting Centres and Ontario Early Years Centres with a high concentration of nannies. At the one I attend most regularly, we talk about our wages quite openly if anyone asks.

Feel free to Mefi-mail me if you have any questions (or if you're looking for another nanny to do playdates with!) And I wouldn't worry about having the situation blow up in your face if you ask for a raise. They can turn you down or let you go, but there are tons of nannying/babysitting jobs in Toronto, and with your qualifications, you shouldn't have any problem finding other work at a higher wage.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 5:42 PM on May 1, 2009

Response by poster: thanks everyone who weighed in, especially those who were supportive!

I asked for a raise on monday, $14 an hour rather than the $12 I'm getting. They came back to me 2 days later and said "Yes" and when I thanked them they said, "Don't thank us, in retrospect we should have done it a while ago." Which was really the best possible response.

So I am so glad I asked. THanks to other nannies on here and if you are thinking of asking for a raise DO IT! People rely on the fact that it's a scary thing to do, so they don't have to pay you more. BUt if they value you and the work you do with their kid, they won't want to lose you.
posted by beccyjoe at 1:55 PM on May 6, 2009

Congratulations! That's great news.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 6:50 PM on May 6, 2009

Response by poster: thank you LuckySeven~ :)
posted by beccyjoe at 8:25 AM on May 8, 2009

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