How to Manage Nanny Vacations


At some point, you are going to be faced with the dilemma of how to handle childcare when your nanny goes on vacation. The job of caregiver is never easy, and your nanny is going to need time away to rejuvenate. However, when your nanny takes her much needed holiday respite, you will be left scrambling for solutions if you have not prepared for such an occasion in advance.

Nannies Need Vacation Time

Vacation time for nannies is standard. All families come to different terms around vacation with their nanny depending on their situation. Most nannies receive a 4 percent vacation per year which works out to two weeks. However, you can lower that number of vacation days to one week when you first hire your nanny, depending on his/her needs and expectations. If your nanny has been with you for several years, you can expect to increase their time off substantially for each year of employment from two weeks to up to four weeks paid vacation. 

Handling Childcare While Your Nanny is Away on Holiday 

Here are a few tips to handle to manage vacation time with your nanny:

Planning Ahead

Coordinated Vacations:When you first hire your nanny, you can ask that your nanny only take vacation time when the family also plans to take time off. Of course, such agreements should clearly be outlined in the employment contract before hiring, so there are no surprises. However even with this specification, your nanny might have something unplanned and essential come up in their personal life such as a wedding, funeral, graduation, or some other event which cannot be scheduled around the days you have outlined on the calendar. In such a situation, we may need to find other options. 

Annual Calendar:At the beginning of the year and likely with quarterly updates, it is good to look ahead at the vacation calendar, both for the family as well as for your nanny. If there are any known events such as graduations, family weddings, big birthdays, holidays, etc…, the sooner you know, the better prepared you can be when the time comes. 

Ask for substantial notice:While emergencies arise, typically vacation needs are known with significant advanced notice. Clearly request at least a month’s notice for personal vacation needs that your nanny may want or need.

Establish a PTO Reserve:It is a good idea to reserve a few days of your own vacation time from your employer for unexpected situations such as a nanny emergency, an unplanned vacation, or even a planned vacation when you may need to provide some additional or alternative coverage for childcare. If both parents can do this, it provides a good amount of flexibility when situations arise. 

Coverage options during vacation

Family Members:When your nanny leaves for vacation, you could always turn to family members, such as grandparents, to pick up the slack and help watch children. Even if your family lives out of town, you could suggest that they plan a vacation that coincides with your nanny’s planned trip. Everyone can reap the benefits with such an arrangement because your children will undoubtedly love spending time with their loved ones. 

Taking Tandem Vacations:If you have some extra vacation time, you can always plan your own personal time off around your nanny’s schedule. You can get away with your children at the same time your nanny is vacationing. If a full-blown vacation away from home does not fit your schedule or budget, then plan a stay-cation and some fun activities that you may have been wanting to do in your area. Depending on your job, you could also opt to work from home for the period that your nanny is away on vacation. 

Nanny Share:Nanny share is a relatively new phenomenon. The process works terrifically when it comes time for your nanny to take a vacation. Ideally, you will work with another family who also has a nanny. When your nanny needs time off, their nanny will watch your children and their children. In exchange, when their nanny needs time off, your nanny will cover the childcare tasks of both families. With a little pre-planning and communication, a nanny share is a great childcare possibility for everyone involved. 

Temporary Nannies:Throughout the nation, you will find a multitude of agencies that supply the services of a temporary nanny to fill in for your full-time nanny. Having a temporary nanny agency on speed dial who you trust is a godsend if your nanny should call in sick or ask to use vacation time. A temporary nanny comes in for the time that your permanent nanny is away. The nannies employed by most temporary employment agencies have already undergone background checks. These temporary nannies can also come in for “training” before your nanny leaves to meet the children and learn the family’s routines. Turning to the services of a temporary agency is an easy and cost-effective way to receive fill-in childcare so your nanny can go on vacation and you can continue working.

Nanny Backup:Many nannies are friends with other nannies who may or may not work full time. Your nanny may already have a backup nanny that she likes to use to fill in for her when she is on vacation. If your nanny has someone who she trusts to handle her day-to-day childcare responsibilities while she is away, then you should at least have a sit down with her requested stand-in. If you also like the temporary nanny, you can go forward with a background check and drawing up the brief employment papers, so the stand-in can take over when your permanent nanny goes on vacation. Working as a stand-in nanny is often an excellent situation for a retired nanny who does not want to work full time but who still wants to work with children. 


Keep the Lines of Communication Open When It Comes to Time Off 

The best way to handle vacation time is to keep the lines of communication open with your childcare employee so you can make advance plans. Most nannies appreciate being in the loop on their fill-in and feel valued if you seek their ideas on such a situation. 

Everyone deserves a vacation to refresh and re-energize. It is a mutual benefit to be able to approve time off that your nanny wants or needs. Hopefully the above will help you plan for the situation in advance and explore options for coverage.