Some differences arise when addressing holiday, vacation and sick day issues, so they will be addressed one at a time. As an initial matter, be sure your nanny contract addresses all three as each give rise to potential conflict.
Holiday: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does NOT require you to pay your nanny for time not worked. Consequently, parents are legally required to give their nanny either paid or unpaid time off for holidays. Note that even if you choose not to pay your nanny for time off on holidays, your nanny contract should still address the issue.
Vacation: As with holidays, parents are not legally required to give their nanny either paid or unpaid time off for vacation. Nevertheless, as with holidays, many parents do so to increase their nanny’s job satisfaction.
Unlike holidays, however, many states have laws regarding paid vacation. California, for example, treats paid vacation as a form of wages. Under California law, paid vacation “vests” – meaning it is earned – as work is performed.
Importantly, in states where paid vacation is treated like wages, earned vacation cannot be forfeited or taken away. Thus, when an employee quits or is terminated, he/she must be paid all earned and unused vacation. Those states, however, do allow a reasonable cap to be placed on vacation benefits. Other stats have a “use it or lose it” policy with respect to paid vacation. In those states, an employee forfeits his/her paid vacation if the employer’s requirements aren’t followed.
Sick Days: In order to be completely thorough, your nanny contract should address sick days.
As with holidays and vacation, the FLSA does not require you to pay your nanny for hours not worked. So, under federal law, you are not required to pay your nanny for sick days.
If you choose to pay your nanny sick days, remember to include how much your nanny will be paid for sick days and how many days he/she is afforded in the nanny contract. Also of note, unlike vacation time, sick leave is not treated as a form of wages. Accordingly, parents are not obligated to pay nanny accrued and unused sick leave when nanny’s employment ends.
For more information about federal regulations, please visit the DOL’s website at www.dol.gov. For information about your state’s laws please contact your state’s labor department, or, if you continue to struggle, please consult a licensed attorney.