You might have let your nanny go because you can no longer afford her or because she’s done something inexcusable. However, it’s important to remember that you are her employer and should treat the end of your relationship in a professional way. The amount of severance pay for nannies is directly related to the reason you’re letting them go, just as it would be in a large company.
If you are letting your nanny go for reasons outside of her behavior, such as relocation or your child starting school, let her know as far in advance as possible. If, however, you need to fire your nanny for treating your children badly, you need not give any notice and you may ask the nanny to leave immediately. The president of the International Nanny Association, Pat Cascio, explains, “I wouldn’t leave my child with anyone who might be upset with me.”
Amount of Severance Pay
The Nanny Network recommends providing severance pay for nannies of two to four weeks’ pay, particularly if you would like them to stay on until the time that you no longer need their services (such as your child starting school, or your move to another state). Keep in mind that this is for nannies whom you must part ways with for circumstances outside of performance. If you fire your nanny, one weeks’ severance is generous but not necessary.
One way to avoid ending up in a situation where you need to fire your nanny is by making your expectations clear upfront. Unlike jobs with corporations, families usually do not provide nannies with a contract detailing the duties and expectations of child care. By outlining what you need your nanny to take care of and how you would like her to perform her tasks, as well as opening up the relationship to clear communication, you may be able to avoid the nightmare of having to fire a nanny and then finding a replacement.
When firing a live-in nanny for behavioral issues, keep in mind that she’ll need somewhere to stay, at least for the night. It’s proper etiquette to drive her to a safe motel, and to pay for one or two nights’ stay. Nanny Network suggests paying for her bus or plane ticket home if she is from out of town.
Settle your financial obligations to the nanny immediately. Make sure you pay her for any accrued vacation time and the time she has put in for which she has yet to be paid. Your nanny may file for unemployment. When this happens, you will receive a questionnaire from the local labor office. Make sure to fill it out and return immediately to avoid losing the right to appeal benefits charges.