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How Far Would You Go to Help your Nanny?

Your nanny is planning to go to college when your youngest child no longer needs a nanny.  Should you help your nanny establish a college fund?  Some employer-families do so, but some do not.

Your nanny has tendered her resignation.  For all the years that she has worked in your family, she has always driven the car that you provided for her.  When she leaves your family, will you give her that car?  Some employer-families do, but some do not.

Your live-out nanny is getting married.  Will you hostess a bridal shower for her?

Your live-in nanny has just received a telephone call that her brother has been in an auto accident and is not expected to live.  Do you pay for a last-minute, round-trip airfare to get her home in time to say good-bye to her brother?

You found your nanny crying during nap time one day.  She said she’d never cry in front of your child as she didn’t want to cause distress, but during nap time, she just broke down.  She proceeds to tell you that she’s recently considered filing for bankruptcy.  She’s scared, sad, and feeling mired in debt.  Do you offer to help her by giving her a raise, offering to grant her a payroll advance (a loan), or paying off some or all of her debts on her behalf? 

How you choose to handle these and other difficult situations is reflective of how you view your nanny, your family’s relationship with her, and your available resources.  Is your nanny an employee or a member of the family?  Has she been with you a long time or only briefly?  Do you hold her in high or low regard?   Are you likely to lose her if you don’t help her?  Do you have the resources available to help your nanny?

There is seldom an objective “right” and “wrong” way to handle situations like those listed above.  You have to do what you are comfortable with . . . what feels right to you, given the unique set of circumstances you have at hand.  If your nanny is a treasured member of your family and you have the resources available to help her (available cash, the spare vehicle, etc.), then perhaps you may choose to help her with the tangible help posed above.  Even if you choose not to (or are unable to) help your nanny tangibly, you can offer her your emotional support and encouragement as she proceeds through the transition in her life (leaving your family, getting married, losing a sibling, filing for bankruptcy, etc.).   Or, you can choose to stay out of your nanny’s personal affairs entirely and offer her the resources available to her within the employment context, such as paid bereavement leave (in the event of the death of her brother).

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