Good news for service workers — holiday tipping is on the rise this year.
Some 87% of people say they’ll tip household employees and other service workers, up from 81% last year and 70% in 2015, according to a survey of 1,200 people by Care.com, an online referral business that matches caregivers with families.
“It’s the time to show your appreciation for the people who make your life easier and more pleasant throughout the year,” said Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder of the Etiquette School of New York. “We all want to give each other gifts, so why wouldn’t we include the people who do work for us?”
Holiday tips aren’t just about recognizing the hard work of the past year — they also pave the way for good service in the future, Napier-Fitzpatrick said. And in cities where there’s stiff competition for nannies and housekeepers, a generous holiday bonus helps families hold onto those valued employees.
See also: Who are better tippers: Democrats or Republicans?
Be as generous as you can, especially with workers who get a close-up view of your household, Napier-Fitzpatrick advised. “If you can afford to have these people, you can afford to give them something,” she said.
Doormen are well aware of what the families in their buildings can afford, she noted. “If you live on Park Avenue and have a $20 million apartment, you’re certainly going to give them more, I hope. If you come home every day with bags from Bergdorf’s and then you say, ‘I can only give you a $50 tip,’ that’s not going to go over well.”
Napier-Fitzpatrick’s 3 tips for successful tipping:
• Give early in the holiday season, so workers can use the money to buy gifts for their families
• If you’re giving cash, get crisp bills from a bank and put the money in an envelope with the recipient’s name
• Write a short note thanking the worker for their service
For nannies, experts also recommend giving a small gift, maybe something handmade by the kids, in addition to cash. The best holiday bonus that Boston-based nanny Claudia Villamizar ever got included a fancy dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel restaurant with the family that employed her. The gesture made her feel special.
Villamizar typically receives two weeks pay as a holiday bonus. She’s been a professional nanny for 14 years and provides physical therapy and Spanish language instruction to her charges. “It’s just wonderful to work for families that appreciate domestic workers,” said Villamizar, who is also a leader at Matahari Women Workers Center.
Are you giving the right amounts to the people who make your life easier? Care.com recommends the following, based on its survey: Dog walker, hair stylist and personal trainer: Cost of one session. Garage Collector: $20 to $30. Newspaper carrier: $10 to $20. Parking garage attendant: $10 to $20 for someone you see regularly.
MarketWatch also asked service workers, or groups that represent them, for suggestions.
Nannies: One to two weeks pay, plus a personal gift
The average nanny bonus nationwide is about two weeks pay, and the median amount is $600, according to the Georgia-based International Nanny Association. Massachusetts has the highest average nanny bonuses in the country ($575 to $1,150), according to Care.com. The lowest bonuses are in Idaho ($409 to $818).
This year, employers should be mindful that many domestic workers are immigrant women who’ve faced a challenging time, according to a guide by Hand in Hand, a nonprofit that advocates for domestic workers’ rights.
See also: Read this before hiring or paying a nanny
Doormen: $25 to $449, depending apartment size and other factors
What do doormen expect for a holiday tip?
The Manhattan real estate firm Triplemint went straight to the source and interviewed 108 doormen, asking what they recommended residents give, based on the size of their apartment. The results are captured in Triplemint’s Holiday Tip-O-Meter, which also includes recommendations for other building staff such as superintendents and porters.
Renters in small apartments who’ve lived in a building for less than a year and rarely use building staff can get away with as little as $25, but longtime residents who own multi-bedroom apartments should be prepared to shell out at least $100 per tip, according to the survey.
Also see: Behold, the ‘Holiday Doorman Tip-O-Meter’ is here…
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