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Reality Check: Less Pay for Equal Work?

Q. We share our babysitter with the neighbors, and they pay her more. Our families have the same number of kids. Should we raise our rate?

A. The neighbors may outshine you on payday, but your babysitter wouldn't work for you if she didn't want to. If she's not complaining or canceling at the last minute for something better, there's no need to dig deeper into your wallet. If you're nursing a sense of guilt about what you pay or feel like you're taking advantage of the poor girl, then go ahead and give her more. Otherwise, just give her a nice tip every once in a while, or a generous bonus on her anniversary, birthday, or a holiday (and keep the pantry stocked with a few good snacks!). You'll generate enough goodwill to keep her coming back. And if she decides to ask you for more money, consider doing so, if it fits your budget.