How Much Should You Gift your Household Employee this Holiday Season?

The holiday season is here, and that means if you haven’t started thinking about a holiday or year-end bonus for your household employee, now is the time! 

Our Placement Counselors typically advise Clients to gift their employee a bonus that’s equal to between one week’s and one month’s salary. The bonus amount is discretionary. Factors to consider are the employee’s performance, how long they’ve been working with the family and your family budget. 

Most families gift in the form of cash, but it is important to note that bonuses are taxable income and if you’re using a payroll service, they can advise you on how to legally pay out the gift. We encourage you to reach out to our partners at HomePay by Breedlovewith any questions specific to taxes and payroll. 

Along with the bonus, you may wish to include a note detailing some of the things you appreciated about your employee this year. Some examples might be the completion of a special project he or she took on, increased responsibilities or examples of time the employee went above and beyond. 

While gifts and gift cards are nice gestures, those are typically more appropriate for a vendor than a household employee, who might be relying on this bonus to make ends meet during this busy season. If your employee is a new addition to your family (e.g., under six months of employment) then a gift card or thoughtful gift would be appropriate in lieu of a bonus, but we would encourage you to communicate that with your employee so they do not feel undervalued. 

It is also important to make sure you clearly outline days the employee has off during the holidays and days you’re relying on his or her services. Many families offer Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, December 26th, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as a paid holiday, but if you need coverage on those days, you should have that discussion with your household employee with plenty of notice. If your employee’s working schedule falls on those days and you do not need their services, it is customary to compensate him or her for those days, but if he or she is not scheduled to work, then it is up to your discretion to determine whether you want to offer an alternative paid day off. 

The holidays can be a stressful and busy season, but it is a good time to pause and reflect back on your year. We believe that household employees are often the unsung heroes in families. They enable us to navigate our day-to-day with the peace of mind that we are not alone and we have a support system for our children, our homes and our professional and personal lives. 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your through process with respect to bonuses, we would love to hear from you! We are dedicated to finding you the one; and keeping him or her!