How to be thoughtful and do right at the end of the year
Calculating a bonus
An average year-end bonus is usually one to two weeks pay, although you can of course choose to give more. Think of the bonus as an expression of how much you value the person you employ, as well as an opportunity to tell them, whether face to face or in a note! Give generously within what you can afford; if a cash bonus isn’t possible, look for an alternative gesture of appreciation such as extra paid time off. It’s a good idea to let them know to expect a bonus so they can take it into consideration when making their own holiday plans.
Is it time for a raise?
If your employee has taken on more responsibilities over the past year, an increase in wages is an appropriate way to compensate her for stepping up. The end of the year is a good time to do this if you don’t yet have periodic check-ins or annual reviews. Even if the job description hasn’t changed, make sure you are providing an annual cost-of-living raise.
Communicate your plans
Communicate any holiday-related changes in your schedule as early as possible. Perhaps you will need extra help, whether it’s an attendant to travel with you or a holiday party, or extra childcare or cleaning. Or perhaps you are going out of town and will not need support. If you are reducing regular work hours, pay them for the time.
Understand their plans
Your employee is also looking forward to their own holiday traditions, so make sure to give and think as generously as possible. Remember the best practice: two weeks vacation at minimum, with one of the weeks at the time of their choosing. Because this year has been challenging for so many of us, consider whether your employee might need extra time off between now and the end of January.
Not required but always appreciated! Note: a thoughtful gift is not the same as a bonus. But giving always feels good and will provide you with a great opportunity to communicate what you value about their work over the past year.
New idea for the new year
If you employ a house cleaner, we recommend considering adding a contribution to go towards paid time off/sick time (Hand in Hand recommends at least $5/cleaning) to your regular pay to the worker in your home
May the rest of this year be filled with light, love, and support for you both.
What employers say about providing a bonus
“We always give a holiday bonus to our house cleaners because we are so thankful for how much easier they make our lives. It’s our way to give an extra ‘thank you’ because they always go the extra mile for us!” —Evelyn Ho, California House Cleaner Employer
“We firmly believe in providing a year-end bonus to our daughter’s caregiver because it’s the right thing to do, especially during these challenging and difficult times. The bonus represents our appreciation for all she does to support our family.” —Julia Yang, NYC Nanny Employer
“Our 11 year old son has a neuromuscular condition and is considered medically fragile. We have a couple different homecare nurses help provide care for him during the day in our home. They are paid through an agency and it’s covered by our insurance but we also wanted to figure out a way to pay a year-end bonus. In conversations with Hand in Hand we were able to figure out a good amount for the bonus and a thoughtful way to talk to them about it. It’s now become part of our year-end routine and is greatly appreciated.” —Burke Stansbury, Seattle Home Attendant Employer