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Am I being taken advantage of?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I am currently working as a Nanny/Housekeeper. I've read lots on these forums about how the two are actually separate jobs but I've managed to get myself in this situation. I work for a family with 4 children: 3, 8, 11, 14. The 2 older ones are pretty self sufficient. All girls. 


Here's my day:

7am: Help dress 3 & 8 yo. Feed them breakfast. Brush teeth, hair, etc. Send off 8 yo to school. Play with 3 yo until 9am. Pack her lunch and send her off to school.

9:15 am Walk the dog.

9:30 am: Make 5 beds, wash bed linens and towels 1 x week (I do towels on Monday, parents bedding on Tuesday, 2 girls beds on Wednesday, other 2 girls beds on Thursday and then there will inevitably be someone who had an accident so it all shifts around), wash blankets and bedspreads monthly, put away toys, school books, laptops, hair supplies, toiletries, pick up clothes off the floor, figure out of they are dirty or just left out, fold, put away.(The kids are not required to put anything away. I am not joking.) Fold all the laundry that was washed by the night nanny. Clothes for entire family. Clean 5 bathrooms, sweep floors (massive apartment - 3 apartments merged into one), take out recycling and garbage, put dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down marble counter, water the plants, straighten up around the entire apartment, organize closets, cabinets, etc, oh and iron and sew as needed.

12 noon: end of day.


So basically, I am a Nanny for 2 hours and a Housekeeper for the next 3. I am fine with the Nanny part but getting all of the housekeeping done in 3 hours is really tough. The mother tells me it should not be a problem, she could do it, but I am there until 1 pm every day and not getting paid for that extra hour. 


I do not like to rush. I am not slow but I take the time to do things right. Like today, I was grabbing the broom and I noticed the broom closet was a mess. So I vacuumed out the closet, wiped it down, re-organized the brooms, and moved the dusters to the supply cabinet and I cleaned all the brooms with the vacuum. It's not required of me but I put in that extra effort and now she is using it as an excuse that I am slow. In a perfect world, I'd just make her try and do what I do in 3 hours.


I am horrible at defending myself. We don't have an agreement. And on top of this she is messing with my pay. I used to wok for a cleaning company and she was a client. She then poached me. She told me it was light housekeeping and nanny. I do the exact same cleaning as before. Even more because now I am doing laundry and making beds and childcare. My pay for cleaning was $70 for the first 4 hours and $20 for each additional hour. So she pays me $90 per day. There have been a few days where I have worked extra hours but she only pays me $18 for those hours because $90/5=$18.  


Anyone think this is a bit much? Any advice on how to deal with it?


post #2 of 12
It does seem like a lot. Maybe you can up your rate, making up for the extra hour without explicitly charging for it, unless you don't like the job and want a different employer.
post #3 of 12
Originally Posted by nannynyc View Post

 Fold all the laundry that was washed by the night nanny.

What? the night nanny not folding the laundry?? Well I would leave a note asking her to finish the job. Then I would talk about some more $$

post #4 of 12

From your point of view, you sound like a very reliable, quality employee, with very high work ethic who goes above and beyond to make sure things are done properly.... from the employer's perspective, she might think it isn't her fault you take longer to do what was asked and you shouldn't be paid extra if you're there longer. I personally wouldn't expect a nanny or housekeeper to notice extra things and take care of them, and I wouldn't like being expected to pay extra for that either... at the same time, if she isn't providing enough time (pay) to do what you were asked properly, just half-ass it. She should get the quality of work she pays for. 

When I had a housekeeper come in before going on mat leave, I had to tell her multiple times that I don't need the glass shower doors spotless, the walls scrubbed, etc. just dusting, vacuuming, and "cleaning" the bathroom, the spit shine wasn't necessary. 

I would have huge issues with allowing my children (or even the adults) to expect that someone is going to clean up after them but that's another person's parenting that I'm not going to touch.

post #5 of 12
Originally Posted by nannynyc View Post
We don't have an agreement.

Does this mean you don't have an employment contract of any kind?  If that's the case, it seems that everything from your duties to your wages needs to be clarified.  It sounds like you think you're making what you made at the other place while your employer thinks she's paying you $18 an hour.  It's totally impossible for me to tell you whether you're being taken advantage of if you don't have a contract spelling out what you agreed to do and for what price. 


The contract should also specify whether she's paying you to do a certain amount of work a day (in which case, you should work faster and less diligently to get it done) or if she's paying you by the hour (in which case you shouldn't have to work late but should instead finish anything you didn't get done the next day or have it roll over onto the night nanny).


You're basically doing two jobs here, so there should definitely be a contract in place to clarify what happens in various kinds of scenarios (if a child is sick, do you pick her up?  And then what happens to your housework requirements?).  One way to approach this would be to say that you're feeling a little unclear about job requirements and pay and that you would like an agreement on paper to help you keep track of things.  If she resists or if the contract is not acceptable to you either in terms of pay or amount of work required, you should go back to your old employer or find a new one.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

I should have mentioned that all clothing gets hung up to dry. Night nanny washes it and hangs it up then it's dry by morning for me to fold. The night nanny is great. She's very happy to have me there and agrees I do a lot of work. I am amazed by her. At least I have 3 hours with no kids around. She's there when they are home!  

post #7 of 12
I agree with the PPs that you need a contract with all duties and expectations clarified. Nanny and housekeeper are two separate jobs but it sounds like you do them separately anyway as you have 3hrs of child free time to do the housekeeping. It's not much different to having a job as a nanny for 2hrs a day then going to a different household and working as a housekeeper for 3hrs a day.

If you are doing more than is expected/required of you ie cleaning out the broom cupboard and that is putting you into unpaid overtime then I suggest you stop doing those things. There is no reason your employer should be expected to pay you for things they didn't ask you to do/aren't part of your job.
If you are not being given enough paid time to do the things which *are* expected of you then that is a problem. If creating the contract doesn't solve it then I guess the next question is whether you stay with them or not. If you decide to stay then only you can decide whether you give them lower quality or unpaid overtime.

ETA - to answer the original question; no, I don't think you're being taken advantage of if you're doing things your employer hasn't asked for and doesn't expect. If they expect you to constantly do overtime for no pay then yes, that's an issue.
post #8 of 12
I have two nannies and a housekeeper. The nannies do some light cleaning such as help me load/unload the dishwasher, clean up toys and help me simply to keep the kitchen looking decent (so that I don't go insane!). The housekeeper cleans the toilets and everything else. I would not ask the nannies to clean toilets!

I don't think there's anything wrong with doing the two jobs, but I think you need an agreement in place that you're both comfortable with. I think it's awesome that you go above and beyond. Man I would love it if someone would think to clean my broom closet (it's scary in there). I understand having a hard time standing up for yourself, but this is a great learning experience for you. You will feel SO MUCH BETTER. And if she doesn't like it, then she is a bad employer. I know it's tough when kids are involved but if she doesn't want to treat you fairly then you should find someone who does. You deserve it!
post #9 of 12
Here in Colorado I get $20 an hour and don't do as much housework as you do.. I will mop the floor if it need it but its up to me not a requirement.. You should be able to get a lot more in NYC!! And ya get a contract
post #10 of 12
I think you should definitely draw up a contract and lay out exactly your duties and then come up with a reasonable amount of pay for the time it will take. Going above and beyond is wonderful, but not required, but maybe you could work it into your contract somehow if your employer is interested (like give yourself an extra half hour each day to tackle something like the broom closet?) I think you should be paid more for what you are doing now, but since there is no contract and you are doing things your employer is not requiring, it all need to be clarified so that you are being payed fairly and your employer is getting what they want.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for all the very wise advice. When I talk to my friends they just agree with me! Bad friends. 

This is exactly what I needed. 

I am going to talk to the night nanny and see if she has a contract. Just so I am prepared. 

AND, I am definitely not doing any more detail/organizing work. I do professional organizing on the side and I charge a lot more so I gotta stop giving it away. I do have a feeling that she is going to say something though but I feel much more prepared after hearing all your advice. The reason I was staying late was not because I am slow but because I am detailed and if that is not required or appreciated, then I don't have to do it anymore. 

I actually did just the basics today and it was nice. I idd not feel as physically drained and I was out of there by 12 noon. 

I so appreciate your thoughts and time in helping me work through this. I was a single mom once upon a time so I know how precious time is. Thank you for giving me some of yours. 

I'll keep you posted on how things go. 



post #12 of 12

I think the rate of pay is reasonable and the expectations are as well. The only distinction I think you should clarify is that when your scheduled hours are up for the day you go home. If all of the work or new work isn't completed isn't done it just isn't done. Make sure you both understand that you are being paid hourly and leave. Sometimes the scheduled work needs to be changed to accomodate extra work (clean out broom closet etc) and sometimes you might need to ask for some extra hours to do specific tasks. In the case of your employer, she may prefer that you just do the assigned tasks if you don't have time to complete everything whether then take the initiative.

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