Are you giving an end of year bonus?

During the holiday season, let’s make sure we’re taking care of those who help take care of us.


Has a nanny, cleaner, or home attendant you employ made your year a better one in 2017? In a turbulent year, has their labor provided relief, support, stability, or ease in your home or family?

Now is the time to return the favor: Learn how to bring more light into your home as an employer during the holiday season, including year-end bonuses and planning for time off.

For many of us at Hand in Hand, the labor of a professional domestic worker has allowed us do to more of the work we want and need to do. It allowed us to care for children and parents, show up at the office, and live independently at home. And yes, it even made it possible for us to protest! (Sometimes, we even did that together.)

Flora (parent) & Namrata (nanny), protesting together!

Reflecting our own stress and anxiety this year, we can appreciate how much domestic workers have faced themselves, as a workforce that is mostly immigrants and women of color. (Namrata, the star nanny pictured here, was honored by the National Domestic Workers Alliance this month, showed up to care for her employer’s children all year while also dealing with the risk of her protected immigration status being revoked.)

As we know from our own jobs and lives, it means a lot to hear that our hard work is appreciated. It strengthens our relationships and gives us more energy for the year ahead.

Because domestic work has often been “informal,” and because December can be hectic (so hectic!), it can be easy to forget that we need to put on our employer hat. But it’s not only doable, it’s really worthwhile.

As one worker said: “A bonus and paid time off show how much my employer values my work. It gives me a sense of dedication to the family I work for. When they come back from their holiday vacation, I’m here waiting.”

Here are 3 things to keep in mind, based on the Fair Care Pledge, our three golden rules of being an employer at home: Fair pay, Clear expectations, and Paid Time Off.

The Bonus

An average year-end bonus is usually between one and two weeks pay, although if it feels right to your family, you can of course choose to give more. Think of the bonus as an expression of how much you value your employee, within the boundaries of what you can realistically afford.

You may wish to let the nanny, housecleaner, or home attendant you employ know to expect a bonus (different from a holiday gift, though those are great too!) so she can take it into consideration when making her own holiday plans.

The “Annual Review”

The holiday bonus provides you with a great opportunity to communicate what you valued about your employee’s work over the past year and update the work agreement you have with them. (Don’t forget, if you’ve increased their responsibilities over the past year than in her initial job description, then you should also increase their wages.)


Please keep in mind that a bonus is not a replacement for paid time off. Your employee is also looking forward to their own holiday traditions, so make sure to give generously here too wherever possible. (You can find our recommendations about paid time off here.)

This has been a challenging year for many, many people, and many domestic workers have had an especially difficult year. Economic security is more important than ever. Together, we can bring more light to the end of a year that has felt dark for many. Make sure the person you employ gets the chance to have a restorative holiday season, and then, have a great one yourself!

Our complete guide to holidays & year-end bonuses is available here! And this is a great moment to sign the Fair Care Pledge, if you’re committed to making your home a workplace to be proud of in 2018.

Originally published at



Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network

We are a national network of employers of nannies, house cleaners home attendants, and allies advocating for domestic workers rights.