Should you give your nanny a December bonus?

At the end of the day, she is an employee trying to make ends meet and wants to have a fun Christmas too.

This is an easy question to answer, based on your relationship with your nanny and your understanding of her situation. For others, it is a very unnecessary question that they would rather not answer. It is an avoidable question because it is not only a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ question. If you answered ‘yes’, then you also have to get into the details of how much she should get.

Some people I have had a chat to say ‘no’ and the general justification is that times are tough, and money is tight. This reason makes it sound like tough times exclude nannies and helpers. Like they are not susceptible to tight money.

This is my second year of having my nanny and our second holiday together. Last year, I doubled her salary in December. I also received a holiday bonus from my employer and thought it to be fair for her to receive the same.

I cannot tell you how many times she called and texted to thank me. We never had a prior conversation about it so she was not expecting one. Especially because she did not receive one from her previous employer. I had brought some groceries for her to take home. So she assumed that was our ‘thank you’ gesture for the year.

The reason I mentioned the nanny’s circumstance is that I know hers all too well. She is a young Zimbabwean woman in her 30s with two kids that are in primary school. Both her children are in Zimbabwe. In December, she visits her children and this is the only time she gets to see them. Can you imagine their expectations?

So imagine if she had to buy some December groceries, book a bus ticket and still manage to buy some December clothes for the kids.

All this on a single salary is impossible.

I say this because we also spend more than usual during this time. We visit our families in rural areas and they are waiting for us with open arms. Not only for hugs, but also for some material things that they haven’t been consuming since the last time they saw you.

Nannies and helpers are human just like their employers and are trying to make ends meet. They have the same needs that we have and would appreciate our assistance to meet them. So, if you can, bless her with double her salary this month all in the spirit of giving and fairness.

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