Nannies and holidays

When you employ a nanny, whether full-time or part-time, temporary or permanent, the nanny is entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave per year. That’s the statutory minimum; some employers will give more.

The legislation is based on a full-timer receiving 4 weeks off plus 8 bank holidays. This works out at 28 days pa, or 5.6 working weeks.  


Part-time nannies get 5.6 weeks too. Each week is paid at the normal rate of pay, so a nanny working 25 hours a week will get half as much holiday pay as a nanny working 50 hours a week. The number of weeks is the same, but the amount of holiday pay paid out is half as much as for the full-timer.

A full-time nanny working 5 days per week gets 28 days. If fewer days are worked, the entitlement is reduced proportionally, so that 4 working days a week earns 4/5ths of 28 days, 3 days per week earns 3/5ths of 28 days, and so on.

Bank holidays

The minimum entitlement includes bank holidays, and these can cause a bit of bother for part-timers. If the nanny would normally have worked a bank holiday, when a holiday day is taken (and paid for), it will count as one of the annual leave days. If the employee would not normally have worked the bank holiday, the full annual entitlement remains intact.

This means that someone who works Mondays and Fridays will find that half of their holiday entitlement is eaten up by bank holidays, and they have fewer floating days. Someone who works Tuesdays and Wednesdays will rarely get a bank holiday, and therefore they have lots of extra floating days. It is fair, because both nannies get 2/5ths of 28 = 12 days in total.

Who chooses?

In law, the employer must simply allow 5.6 weeks of holiday. There is no legislation covering when that holiday should be taken. In theory, this means that an employer can decide when the employee takes all the time off, although in practice that rarely happens. The standard for nannies is a fair compromise:  the parents choose half the floating days and the nanny chooses the other half.

Often there are longer periods when the nanny is not needed, perhaps because the family is abroad, or grandparents are visiting. In these cases, the nanny may end up getting significantly more than her annual entitlement.    

The extra days must be paid, unless the nanny agrees in advance to take unpaid leave (which is unlikely). One solution is to request that some of the extra days are worked back at another time, perhaps with babysitting, or by acting as a live-in to give you a weekend away on your own. Another is for the nanny to come into work and carry out ‘reasonable’ alternative duties while you are away, e.g. to spring clean the nursery. The key to avoiding disputes is to plan ahead and negotiate before the leave takes place.