Does it Cost Less to Hire a Live-in Nanny?


Parents often ask us if it is more cost effective to hire a live-in nanny for their family, rather than a live-out nanny. The answer is more complicated than you think. A live-in nanny can end up costing less, but it may not always be the best or right decision for your family.

A live-in nanny must be paid at least minimum wage for your province, just like a live-out nanny; see our Useful Info section for more information specific to your province. Generally, parents will pay the nanny above minimum wage to compensate for the experience and qualifications of the nanny, as well as any special working conditions (i.e. twins/multiples, long hours, etc). When a nanny lives in your home, you are able to deduct room and board expenses from his/her pay to offset the cost of having them live in your home and eat your food. The amount you can charge varies from province to province and takes into consideration “reasonable” rates; the range is $75-$90 per week.

A nanny must have his/her own room in your home. It should not be shared with the baby, the office, etc. Therefore, the room should be treated as the nanny’s private space, and should only be accessible by the nanny. Be sure that all your family members understand the importance of the nanny’s privacy, and allow her to be alone during her off times unless she chooses otherwise. Many parents exceed this, and provide the nanny with his/her own bathroom, as well as phone line, computer/internet access, TV, etc.

Any employee in Canada is entitled to 2 weeks of vacation time per year (may increase over the time he/she is works for you, check employment standards for regulations in your province). While this is the minimum requirement, we often hear that a nanny from outside of Canada will go to his/her home country for periods of 3-5 weeks at a time. As you will be without his/her services during this time, you should be aware that there can be an additional cost to you to replace her or make other arrangements while she is away.

When a nanny is being sponsored under the live-in caregiver program to work in Canada, Revenue Canada will require you to submit Federal and Provincial tax deductions, employment insurance, and CPP on behalf of the nanny. They consider the family to be the employer of the nanny, and therefore will assign you a business number and the necessary forms or computer programs to calculate these deductions. These deductions come off of a nanny’s salary; they are not in addition to it.

As of April 2010, there were some significant changes made to the live-in caregiver program. Employers (aka the family) are required to pay the travel costs for the live-in nanny to come to Canada, medical insurance for the nanny until he/she is eligible, workplace safety insurance, as well as any recruiting fees owed to third parties. For more information on the live-in caregiver program and the requirements for the employer, please visit the HRSDC website.

Hiring a live-in caregiver can be an enriching experience for your family. We recommend that you first evaluate if your family is prepared to open up your home and give adequate privacy to a nanny living in your home before making a decision. If you decide this is an option you’d like to consider, then factor in the cost savings when choosing the best caregiver for your family.

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