How and when to ask for a pay rise

Your contract of employment should show your start salary and inform you of review dates and therefore you shouldn’t have to ask for a pay review. For many of us though an annual pay review isn’t a given, doesn't always result in a pay rise, and is seldom up for negotiation – we get what we’re given, or the contract actually stipulates pay will increase by a set percentage each year.

However, you’ve just had a year like no other!!

Despite the pandemic, and lockdowns, you’ve continued to work, kept the household afloat, and enabled your employer(s) to work effectively in their jobs. You’ve proven your worth, gone that extra mile, received loads of praise from your appreciative employer, and now it’s time to think about your salary expectations for the coming year.

Your employer may have heaped praise on you, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get an easy ride when asking for a pay rise. We’ve had several calls on this subject in recent weeks and while the majority of nannies can easily justify the extra cash they’re looking for this year, they’ll need to find the right time to put their case, prove their worth. Sadly, you can’t always assume your employer will agree with you.

We’re hopeful the information shared here will give you the best chance of convincing your employer of your true worth and securing that pay increase we know you deserve.

When we discuss this issue with members, one of the first questions we ask is “Are you underpaid?” It’s a serious first question. We all feel undervalued sometimes, but before you go to your employer with a request for a pay increase / above-planned pay award, you should take the time to work out how your salary really ranks with other nannies. You may not know what your nanny friends earn or be keen to ask them but, your local nanny agency will know the going rate in your area and also you can scan through your local job boards on social media. That way, you’ll be well informed and armed with the facts when you broach the subject, particularly if your employer isn’t immediately agreeable.

Things to remember

Be prepared to state your case. You’ve been giving this matter consideration for some time, but your employer won’t know this. Being able to explain exactly why you think you’re worth more is essential in convincing your employer to give you what you are asking for.

Blow your own trumpet. Think about what you bring to the table right now. Make sure you include the following:

  • Newly acquired skills – have you been involved in home-schooling for example

  • What training and qualifications have you acquired since your last pay increase? We’re aware many of you have undertaken quite a bit of online training during lockdown

  • Job milestones. Have you successfully potty trained, improved sleep patterns, managed new challenges, conflicts you’ve helped to settle in relation to both parents working from home for example? Show your indisputable value

  • Flexibility. We’ve all had to become more flexible over this last year or so. Demonstrate how you’ve adapted to meet the family’s needs

  • Flatter. Don’t forget to tell your employer how much you like working for them, how much you love your job, and how you’ve actually enjoyed successfully meeting all the challenges last year threw at you.

Nobody's indispensable, but all the above add value to your discussions.

Don’t argue. Your employer won’t necessarily immediately agree that you deserve a pay rise or that your annual pay rise should be greater this year. Make your case and suggest you’ll leave it with them to consider and get back to you.

Do not give your employer an ultimatum, don’t threaten to leave. If you get a negative response, be firm. Tell them you’ll like them to give your request further consideration and suggest you all speak again in a few days. This way, you’re giving them time to properly digest your case as you’ve put it, and for them to cool down if their initial response was hostile. If you’d prepared yourself a few notes perhaps you could consider leaving them with your employer so that they can go over the points you’ve made. Do not take anything personally at this point.

When to ask for a pay increase

Like so much in life, timing is everything when it comes to asking for a pay rise. You will need to pick your moment. Be mindful of the household’s routines – it’s never a good time to ask at the start of the day when you or the parents are busy trying to get the children to eat their breakfast; get in the car for school etc. Nor is it a good time to bring it up immediately your employer arrives home after a long and arduous train journey. Communicate with them well in advance that you’d like to schedule a meeting with them in the next week or so. You might also wish to give them a heads up with regards to what it is you want to discuss. Don’t be tempted to go into detail – you’re asking for a meeting at this point.

Your annual performance review is a great time to bring up a pay rise. The end of a financial or calendar year is another good time to talk about pay, as these are times when your employer may already be assessing their outgoings for next year.

The above said, sometimes there just isn’t an obvious time to ask for a pay rise. You will need to make a judgment call. Nannies often tell us that the opportunity “just presented itself”. If you’ve been working for the family a while, you’ll be familiar with their routine, their moods, and you’ll be able to assess a good or bad time.

How to make your request

It’s natural to be nervous, but if you’ve prepared your case well in advance, the following dos and don’ts should keep you on track:

  • Do take the lead. You’ve asked for the meeting and it’s you making the request

  • Do open the meeting by talking about the skills and successes you’ve documented as covered above

  • Do ask for a little more than you would like, but don’t be excessive. Ask for more and know where you’ll settle

  • Do speak with confidence. You know your worth

  • Do be ready to listen and to compromise, there may be good reasons why they can’t agree to your request just now

  • Don’t threaten to resign unless pay really is non-negotiable for you

  • Don’t get into an argument. If there’s some resistance, be prepared to firmly make your case but don’t generate an argument - leave it with them

  • Don’t try to rush things. It's unlikely you’ll get an answer right away but,

  • Do suggest a time by which you’ll like a response

  • Do be prepared to consider other options if hard cash isn’t forthcoming. You may find you’ll feel equally valued if your employer(s) were to add benefits such as flexible working, a reduction of hours but with no reduction in pay, an increase in holiday entitlement, or funding of a training course(s), gym membership, car allowance and funding public transport to and from work, private health care, etc. You should bear in mind that some of these are taxed so best to check for guidance

  • Don’t close your mind to any compromise arrangements on offer.

What to do if the reply is a firm “No”?

The first thing to say here is that asking for a pay rise or a greater rise than is on the table, is nothing to be embarrassed about. You are not being greedy. This is about showing your employer your worth, that you value yourself as a professional, and that you’d like greater financial recognition.

What you do should you get a point-blank refusal can be tricky and depends very much on the individuals involved. If this has happened more than once; you keep doing more and more for your employer but each year you have a battle on your hands to get any pay rise or, they stick to a fixed percentage each year come what may, you may have to consider if they are the right employer for you and treat the coming months as a time for searching new opportunities. Or you may decide the other benefits of working for the family e.g. familiarity, short commute, flexible hours etc., outweigh your disappointment. Either way, take time to consider your response.

Never respond on impulse.


Telephone: 01332 239388



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