How to Deal with Snow Days When You Have a Nanny

First and foremost, a snow day school cancellation disrupts your daily plans as a parent, as well as your employees. Here are some questions to ask yourself, as well as some comments I’ve heard, followed by my personal suggestions on how to approach them.

A very interesting question was posed to me today about snow days; and whether or not a nanny should be paid for them. I found this to be a very good question to answer here on my blog.

I will say that this is a first for me. I have never experienced snow like this before which has left me unable to go to work. I mean, I am literally snowed (well, iced) in. There is just no way for me to get out.

So when I was asked, “should I pay my nanny for snow days”? – my first reaction was yes – why not? I mean they would have been there having it not been for the bad weather, right?!

But then I began to think about it and realized that there were two possible positions on this topic. Those two positions simply being whether they are hourly or salaried nannies. This is where contracts are extremely important.

“For a snow day, we definitely pay our Nanny!” We don’t force her to take a vacation day/sick day/whatever. It’s just that she didn’t realize she couldn’t control the weather and was relying on those wages. We make every effort to treat her wages as if they were salaried. I frequently use Nanny Match Me as a resource for best practices in hiring domestic workers, and I highly recommend them!”‘

-Eloise K,

As a salary employee, you are guaranteed to get paid no matter how many hours you work or do not work. Yes, generally you would have a set number of minimum hours per week to maintain but even if those hours are not met you would be paid your salary at the end of each week.

Now, for nannies that are paid hourly, this is different. It is generally understood you are only paid for the hours that are worked. So, snow days would be considered time off without pay.

I know that snow days don’t come often to us in Austin, TX but it’s important to cover all your bases when constructing a contract that works for both you and your nanny.

Make a written policy for snow days.

Your work agreement or nanny contract should include how you will handle snow days for your nanny. Make a policy that is reasonable and takes into account both your needs and those of your nanny. Before your nanny begins work, go over your snow day policy and the rest of the agreement to ensure there is a clear understanding of responsibilities.

Make your expectations known.

Beyond the written work agreement, express your expectations clearly when there is snow or bad weather that may delay or prevent your nanny from arriving at your home. This is especially true if you work in law enforcement, as an emergency medical technician, or in a hospital where you are expected to be on the job regardless of the weather. In that case, you’d only have a few occasions where you’d have a snow day for your nanny.

Final Word

The bottom line is that a respectful, healthy, open, and communicative relationship is best for your children, home, and sanity. The most common reason I see employee-employer relationships fall apart, resulting in resignation or termination, is that expectations are either one-sided, misaligned, or not discussed, and bitterness sets in and poisons the collaboration. We would like to avoid that at all costs! Small issues like this are critical to addressing.

I’d be interested to hear what your thoughts are on “paying your nanny” for snow days.

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