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Our nanny quit... (v. long post) - Page 3

post #41 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Potty Diva View Post
You can always take the high road and give only the facts.

Because although YOU may not have liked their performance doesn't mean they will not be a good nanny for someone else, and in this situation the nanny was NOT a poor nanny and having someone like you fly off the handle to a perspective employer who just be downright dirty.
I totally agree with your points. I'll ignore the part about "someone like you".
post #42 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
This is why I don't hire nannies anymore, and even try to limit babysitter use. Around here, they're all very young -- college age, or just out of school -- and I have to say that they're really not responsible people yet. I need regular childcare. My deadlines don't go away when the nanny/sitter gets a party invitation or a more attractive gig. I find that the flake rate for babysitters is about 50%, and the most reliable we've gotten has shown up about 80% of the time. There's the usual stream of lies about why they don't show most of the rest of the time. It's particularly rotten when I've got a conference to attend, I've hired a sitter, we're all set, and she emails me the night before I'm supposed to leave and starts a dance about how maybe she can, maybe she can't, something's come up. At that point, of course, I'm stuck scrambling for childcare, begging friends, and sometimes attempting to cancel plane tickets.

When they leave, my daughter's hurt, and will sometimes wait for months for the nanny or sitter to come back.

What shocks me is the lack of responsibility. I was young too, but when I wasn't going to show up for work, I understood that it was my responsibility to find a replacement -- or find a way to show up. In four years of hiring nannies and sitters, I've found exactly one girl who offers to try to find a replacement if she can't make it.

You know, if I had 16 of me, I'd set one to studying how often nannies and sitters flake. There's this great myth in the working world that women can just "get a sitter" and come to meetings, conferences, work late, work early. It'd be nice to do a study of sitter/nanny reliability and turnover, and put an end to that kind of talk. Because I bet that across the board, reliability isn't much better than 65%, and that the average tenure can be measured in months.

Also, if the OP's nanny has just signed a new contract, then I don't understand why she's not liable for breach of contract. It's binding on her just as surely as it's binding on the employers. I would be tempted to say, "Well, I'm willing to tear up the contract and negotiate a 2-month contract with you, to give me time to advertise properly and find someone else. Otherwise you can go, but I'd have to recover my income losses from you, at least till I could replace you."
And here we go down that same path that says employees are somehow more obligated to employers because emloyers pay them? and employees should be indebted to their employers for all eternity?

When will employers need to give two weeks notice or recoup the employees loss of pay? When will this happen? When I was "let go" because my school schedule changed, even though my boss knew I was in school when I was hired (and who for a minute doesn't know college schedules change usually each semester), I was not given a two week notice.

Why should employers get to recoup any losses when they don't afford their employees this same benefit?

IMO, employers have no right (ethically) to pursue a recoup of anything if their employee quits.

And again, IMO, if employers want to keep their employees they should keep them happy.
post #43 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Potty Diva View Post
And here we go down that same path that says employees are somehow more obligated to employers because emloyers pay them? and employees should be indebted to their employers for all eternity?

When will employers need to give two weeks notice or recoup the employees loss of pay? When will this happen? When I was "let go" because my school schedule changed, even though my boss knew I was in school when I was hired (and who for a minute doesn't know college schedules change usually each semester), I was not given a two week notice.

Why should employers get to recoup any losses when they don't afford their employees this same benefit?

IMO, employers have no right (ethically) to pursue a recoup of anything if their employee quits.

And again, IMO, if employers want to keep their employees they should keep them happy.
Sounds like you are disgruntled over some experiences you had in the past. Sorry your past employment was not ideal. However, if there's a contract in place, then the nanny and family agreed up front on a manner of leaving employment that would be mutually acceptable. Either party could be in breach. If there is no contract, all bets are off - in both directions. I just don't see how mama41's statements equate to "employees should be indebted to their employers for all eternity."
post #44 of 90
A few posts ago someone mentioned the nanny should find someone to cover for her if she's sick. That is NOT the nanny's job. I used to be a professional nanny (worked for high rated nanny agencies) and the agencies always had written rules. It's up to the family to have a back up childcare plan in place. Yes, it's a hassle. I understand that as a mom. But it's simply not the nannies job to find a replacement if she's sick.

For the OP- If you haven't already, just tell your nanny that you'd love it if she could let you know how you can improve things for the next nanny. This way, she doesn't feel as though she's 'accusing' you of anything. She's just giving ideas on improvements for the next nanny.


Sometimes, a nanny (or family) feels like it isn't the perfect fit. Sadly, it happens and you just move on.
Best of luck to you!
post #45 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Potty Diva View Post
And here we go down that same path that says employees are somehow more obligated to employers because emloyers pay them? and employees should be indebted to their employers for all eternity?

When will employers need to give two weeks notice or recoup the employees loss of pay? When will this happen? When I was "let go" because my school schedule changed, even though my boss knew I was in school when I was hired (and who for a minute doesn't know college schedules change usually each semester), I was not given a two week notice.

Why should employers get to recoup any losses when they don't afford their employees this same benefit?

IMO, employers have no right (ethically) to pursue a recoup of anything if their employee quits.

And again, IMO, if employers want to keep their employees they should keep them happy.
Potty Diva, many companies do these things--give workers two weeks notice before their final date at work, paid sick and vacation time, willingly work around peoples schedules and maternity leave--these are the better companies that people want to work for. That's how I would want to behave as an employer, and what I give back as an employee.

When you're working in an abusive or uncaring place, the standards of conduct generally fall apart on both sides. But, in this poster's case, it sounds like they're not unusual or extreme in any negative ways.
post #46 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaughterOfKali View Post
A few posts ago someone mentioned the nanny should find someone to cover for her if she's sick. That is NOT the nanny's job. I used to be a professional nanny (worked for high rated nanny agencies) and the agencies always had written rules. It's up to the family to have a back up childcare plan in place. Yes, it's a hassle. I understand that as a mom. But it's simply not the nannies job to find a replacement if she's sick.
True, but it's nice when your nanny has a suggestion of someone to cover her!

We employ a professional, career nanny, and I'm sure that over the time she will be with us, if she comes across some good people to be temp babysitters for us, she will let us know.

In the meantime, we have our own back-up plan.
post #47 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
This is why I don't hire nannies anymore, and even try to limit babysitter use. Around here, they're all very young -- college age, or just out of school -- and I have to say that they're really not responsible people yet. I need regular childcare. My deadlines don't go away when the nanny/sitter gets a party invitation or a more attractive gig. I find that the flake rate for babysitters is about 50%, and the most reliable we've gotten has shown up about 80% of the time. There's the usual stream of lies about why they don't show most of the rest of the time. It's particularly rotten when I've got a conference to attend, I've hired a sitter, we're all set, and she emails me the night before I'm supposed to leave and starts a dance about how maybe she can, maybe she can't, something's come up. At that point, of course, I'm stuck scrambling for childcare, begging friends, and sometimes attempting to cancel plane tickets.

When they leave, my daughter's hurt, and will sometimes wait for months for the nanny or sitter to come back.

What shocks me is the lack of responsibility. I was young too, but when I wasn't going to show up for work, I understood that it was my responsibility to find a replacement -- or find a way to show up. In four years of hiring nannies and sitters, I've found exactly one girl who offers to try to find a replacement if she can't make it.

."


This was in response to me saying I did similar to OP's nanny, but I was a great nanny, and very responsible. I ALWAYS showed up for work (whether it was nanny jobs or babysitting here or there) and was very responsible and loving and attentive towards the children.

To clarify, the part I could relate to, was the leaving and not being 100% honest about why.

Since I posted, the OP has shared more information - for example, that the nanny wasn't wild about the OP's mom, who the nanny felt was critical and difficult. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT WHY I WASN'T HONEST. Do you know how hard it is to be honest about such things? I'm not saying it's right, but it's not very comfortable to say the real reasons why a job isn't very much fun anymore.

In my particular situation (one of them), the mom started working at home. While she had every right to do so, I *HATED* it. Her DS became obsessed about where mama was (I can't blame him) and she did this whole drama of how she would "be in her office all day, you won't even know I'm here, Karina" and so on. Well, it just didn't work out that way!! Plus, I felt like she was following me around and being critical and it just wasn't very much fun anymore.

The OP's nanny sounds similar - she gave a B.S. reason why she is leaving ("I love twins") b/c she's not comfortable saying the real reason. As I said from the beginning, it's just a tough relationship being an employee yet sort of a part of the family....I *WISH* I had been more honest, and now that I am older and wiser, I can see what the ideal way of handling it would have been.

But alas, I was a nanny/babysitter from my teen years through my 20's and hated confrontation.

ETA: It is not the nanny's job to find replacement. If I could, I certainly would help out, but it is ultimately the parent's responsiblity. I was a manager of a big nanny agency later in life and we were very clear w/ parents about this.
post #48 of 90
I think we're really talking about 2 separate issues. One is the issue of a FT nanny who leaves the family in a lurch for whatever reason. The other issue is PT caretakers who aren't responsible.

I agree with Teresa for the most part that I don't think employees should be viewed as "bad" because they didn't give 2 weeks notice, particularly when very, very few employers do the same. At the places I've worked, you were escorted out when you were told you were being fired. It's mostly because of security in those cases, but it's still a shocker. So, no, I don't think employees "owe" the employer. I do, however, think it's the courteous thing to do, especially in a nanny situation, to let the employer know you will be leaving.

As for Mama41's comments about the immaturity of sitters, I completely understand. I feel the same way. We have one absolutely wonderful sitter. She's always early (and we pay her for the time she arrives early even though we don't technically have to), and she's wonderful with the kids. We will be losing her in the fall because of her school demands, and I'm already stressing. Many others we've tried have been horribly irresponsible. They don't show at all or have some lame excuse about why they can't (which they tell us at the last minute). We've screened these people, but obviously we need to do a better job somewhere.

We had a sitter who was supposed to come in monthly because I had specialist appointments. She didn't show once (said she forgot), and we were forgiving. Then she couldn't show (which she called at 11 PM to say) because she had to study for an exam. I was furious! What was worse was that she had the nerve to call later and ask why we didn't want her to sit anymore. She had absolutely no clue of the situation she'd put us in because she had poor time management skills. It was awful, and I think that kind of situation is where Mama41's beef is coming in that providing childcare is a bit different from other employment situations.
post #49 of 90
karina - no, when someone's quit a job, it isn't their responsibility to find a replacement. But if you're working and, for whatever reason, you're not going to show up the next day, if you're a responsible employee you'll find someone to cover. And that's true at all levels. Even if you're salaried in a large organization, you'll find someone to cover for you at meetings, on project work that's got a close deadline, etc. You don't just drop the ball. If it's wage or itinerant work, you either find a coworker to cover the shift or find someone who can show up and take care of the client.

Brandi, I've had both babysitters and PT regular nannies, 5 days/wk, 8-12, 1-yr commitment. I wish I could say the nannies were reliable, but they weren't. I had no end of excuses from them. I do work from a home office, and I know it's difficult to work when your boss is hanging around. It also makes the job harder, because you can't spend the time on your cell, or visiting with your boyfriend, or studying while you've got the kids parked in front of Shrek. The nannies also got treated to the sight of me in PJs, since that's how I worked. But they knew that's how it was going in, and that's why I paid a premium. If they didn't want that kind of job, they were certainly free not to take it.

As an employer, I don't care whether the employee is candid with me about why she flakes or quits. What I care about are actions. Mostly because that's what my clients care about. They don't want to know why a job isn't done by deadline, or why I've gone to work for someone else; they just want the job delivered. I can tell you that if I dumped them in the middle of a job and left them scrambling for help on short notice, I'd be toast in my business. Nobody wants to work with that kind of unreliability. You finish out the job and leave gracefully, even if that means you're working two jobs for a few weeks.

If you've signed a contract with me, I expect you to understand that not only is it an enforceable legal document, but that you have obligations under it too. Now I was naive, and I didn't have my nannies sign contracts. But if for some reason I had to hire nannies again, I'd work contract-only, and in the contract would be clauses making them liable for my losses if they either failed to show up for work (not counting personal days and holidays) or quit without some significant notice, plus recovery costs and any damages that followed. I make $35-70/hr. A nanny who decided impulsively that it was really important to visit a friend in another city, and cost me a week's work, would be liable for something between $700 and $2800. A nanny who cost me a client due to a missed deadline could be liable for considerably more. They may be young, but they are adults; essentially I'd be telling them when they interviewed that if they meant to treat the job casually, this was the wrong job for them, and it'd end up being expensive for them. If they wanted to job-hop, they would certainly be free to break their contracts, but again, it would cost. If they felt they could do the job responsibly and -- when they left -- leave according to contract terms, they'd have well-paid, regular, safe, part-time work with benefits.

I understand that for nannies, this is often casual "I just love kids (and I'm not doing anything else right now)" work, but the women who hire you generally do not work casually. Our careers ride on your reliability. When you flake or job-hop without notice, we pay, our families pay. So if the boss is unpleasant, and you want to quit, like, today -- hey, welcome to the world of work.
post #50 of 90
I do have to giggle when people mention enforcing these contracts with nannies. I have never lived in a state where these were actually enforceable.

In most cases these are "contracts" worked out for families and signed by nannies in a private home with no other witnesses and certainly not with a notary's signature.
post #51 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Potty Diva View Post
I do have to giggle when people mention enforcing these contracts with nannies. I have never lived in a state where these were actually enforceable.

In most cases these are "contracts" worked out for families and signed by nannies in a private home with no other witnesses and certainly not with a notary's signature.
You don't need a notary for a legally binding contract.

Depending on the dollar amount and duration of the agreement, even an email or a verbal promise can be a legally binding contract.
post #52 of 90
In the state of Washington terminating services without due notice can be a reported offense if it involves a vulnerable adult or child as it is consider abandonment. Therefore if you hold any license or certification it could be at risk. By contrast if you give your two week notice and then are told you are no longer needed the employer must pay you anyways or you are immediately qualified for unemployment.

Also the contract can be enforced by either party in small claims court.
post #53 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
karina - no, when someone's quit a job, it isn't their responsibility to find a replacement. But if you're working and, for whatever reason, you're not going to show up the next day, if you're a responsible employee you'll find someone to cover. And that's true at all levels. Even if you're salaried in a large organization, you'll find someone to cover for you at meetings, on project work that's got a close deadline, etc. You don't just drop the ball. If it's wage or itinerant work, you either find a coworker to cover the shift or find someone who can show up and take care of the client.



Sorry, this may be the case to *you* but it is not the industry standard or the case in general. You couldn't be more wrong.

Think about it...let's say I am your nanny. Let's say I am due to work at 8 am on Monday morning, and I realize Sunday night I am too sick to come to work tomorrow morning. Can I find you a babysitter to come in and replace me? Maybe. Will that person be up to your standards? Maybe. But maybe not.

Most parents are fairly particular about who they have watch their children, so how is a nanny (especially since many of them are not even from the area where they are living) supposed to find replacement child care AND find care that fits your specifications of what you want from a nanny?!?!?! IT MAKES NO SENSE!!! Someone could pick any old person, and you are going to be fine with it?!?!? I think not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, but this is NOT like "a salaried job in a large organization." HELLO????????? We are talking about *YOUR* children, not widgets.

Sorry, I'm not trying to yell, I'm just truly incredulous that you think it is the nanny's job to find replacemnet childcare. It's not. Again, if a nanny *can* do so and has some contacts, then that is great. But a nanny does not have this responsibility, unless it is worked out w/ the family beforehand.
post #54 of 90
Uh- that flake out rate sounds really high unless it refers only to teen babysitters... but even then :

I'm glad it will all work out for you, chocolatefix. You're lucky to have your mom to fill in.

A word about family sticking around or popping in-

I was a nanny for the same family for just shy of four years. The dad's parents would sometimes pop in. They were just fantastic people and I would never feel anything but warm surprise when they showed up, even if it was unexpected. I can see if they were being critical or something like that you would feel they were a pia. Otherwise, they have every right to be there if the parent gives the ok. As in the op's case, maybe that was what an "annoyance" she did not want to deal with. Her propagative, I suppose. Sad though in way. If the roles were reversed I would be a little angry the nanny was trying to control family from accessing my kids.

The mom also spent a summer decluttering. She was home with us. It was somewhat stressful worrying about making too big of messes as she was trying to organize her house though. For that reason, we spent many a fine summer day at the beach or the park or the museum or anywhere but home

Being a nanny is unlike any other job. I look back on my years as one as the happiest of my life. Even though it's been a long time, 12 years, since I worked for them I still think of them on an at least weekly basis and keep in touch.

chocolatefix, I hope you find the perfect nanny that will live up to your expectations- your LO deserves that
post #55 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
Sorry, this may be the case to *you* but it is not the industry standard or the case in general. You couldn't be more wrong.

Think about it...let's say I am your nanny. Let's say I am due to work at 8 am on Monday morning, and I realize Sunday night I am too sick to come to work tomorrow morning. Can I find you a babysitter to come in and replace me? Maybe. Will that person be up to your standards? Maybe. But maybe not.

Most parents are fairly particular about who they have watch their children, so how is a nanny (especially since many of them are not even from the area where they are living) supposed to find replacement child care AND find care that fits your specifications of what you want from a nanny?!?!?! IT MAKES NO SENSE!!! Someone could pick any old person, and you are going to be fine with it?!?!? I think not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, but this is NOT like "a salaried job in a large organization." HELLO????????? We are talking about *YOUR* children, not widgets.

Sorry, I'm not trying to yell, I'm just truly incredulous that you think it is the nanny's job to find replacemnet childcare. It's not. Again, if a nanny *can* do so and has some contacts, then that is great. But a nanny does not have this responsibility, unless it is worked out w/ the family beforehand.
Karina, I'm sure that many parents would say "Thanks, I appreciate it, but don't worry." In my case -- and for many other parents -- it would be acceptable, especially after we've gotten to know the nanny and find her responsible. (I would not have taken one nanny up on her offer; her myspace was a little too revealing that way.) If I'm working downstairs, there's a limit to what sort of horrors are likely to go on. I trust one sitter's judgment well enough that I'd feel comfortable leaving my daughter with her alternates even if I had to go out.

We expect that there will be sick days. However, as in all wage work, they're abused, and that's why I limit them unless there's a doctor's note. If it's a chronic problem, I'll fire and rehire. Again, while it's unfortunate for the nanny, my clients don't want to hear why I blew their deadline or failed to make meetings.

It would also help if nannies and sitters did not wait until the last minute to call in. If you're feeling crummy Sunday morning but are hoping to tough it out, at least give the parents a heads-up so they're not stuck scrambling for a backup at 8pm. Again, the same is expected of me. My clients don't want to hear, "Hey, that deadline tomorrow? Yeah, not gonna happen." If there's a problem, or even a potential problem, they want to know asap so they can adjust and plan.

In any case, covering for your absence, or at least offering to take care of it, isn't just a feature of corporate jobs. Most wage jobs will require you to cover. Nearly every handyman I've hired has called me at some point and apologized profusely for not being able to make an appointment, but has offered to get another guy to come in and do the job. In most employment it's expected that you will at least make some serious effort at covering for your absence, unless you've been told expressly that it isn't necessary.

So, you know. No need to freak. Actually there's an easy way around the trust issue you bring up: Hand the nanny a list of alternates you do trust, and say, "If you can't make it, please call through this list and attempt to find someone who can cover for you. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to wait for their calls back. If you're not willing to take covering as your responsibility, please don't take this job." This way the nanny avoids dumping her problem on the employer, which is something you're expected to do in most jobs. (Yes, you really are. I've worked for 25 years in a wide variety of jobs, from retail to caregiving to professional to professional contract in several fields, and I can't think of exactly one job where it was OK to call in and just dump whatever you were supposed to be doing. And that was because the manager couldn't deal with confrontation, so she worked herself to a frazzle covering for employees who took advantage of her.)

[edit:] It does occur to me that there's an element of "This Is Nannying So Get Used To The Industry Standards" here. It couldn't be more out of place. You're selling a service because there is a market. If the market says "be responsible for __________," then that's all there is to it. You can always turn down jobs because you don't like the terms -- I do, sometimes -- or you can try to negotiate your way out of them. But you can't really expect a market to stop having demands because you find them unreasonable or inconvenient.

My guess is that you can get away with contracts that don't leave the nanny or agency responsible for covering absences (or liable for no-notice quits) for only because the parents walk in naive and desperate. But as it becomes more usual to hire nannies, I would expect that to change, because they'll get better direction when it comes to contracts (including advice on enforcing them and ensuring that they are enforceable).
post #56 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
A nanny who decided impulsively that it was really important to visit a friend in another city, and cost me a week's work, would be liable for something between $700 and $2800. A nanny who cost me a client due to a missed deadline could be liable for considerably more.
Good luck finding a professional nanny that would accept that kind of language in a contract. There's no way you'd be able to enforce it. And what kind of surveillance would you put her under to make sure every absence was met with your approval? It'd be your word aginst hers in small claims court, and unless you had a PI follow her around to come up with hard evidence (and to be blunt, wouldn't it be better to just fire someone for lying or if you didn't trust them?).

And as far as the market is concerned...there's far fewer professional nannies out there than people willing to hire them. So in all honesty, that's the reason why nannies can and do often wield a little more power and get more slack than your typical cubicle employee in a corporate setting. HR can boot someone to the curb and find a replacement most likely in a timely manner. Nannying doesn't work the same way, unless you're talking about Kinder Care. And even then...there's probably a wait list.

I was a professional nanny. Each of my contracts had interesting stipulations in them, depending on the family. I only left one family without notice--after they gushed to me about how they'd been secretly using a nanny cam on me and were so happy that I was such a wonderful caretaker. I told them thanks, but that I was disappointed that they'd broken my trust, and that I didn't feel I could work with them again. I did tell them to be honest with the next one and put it in her contract that she might be periodically monitored without notice. If that had been in my contract, I wouldn't have had a problem with it. But that was a violation personally and and professionally to me to do it on the sly.

You can write anything into a contract. But man. If an employer was going to try to get me to pay their salary for them if they didn't believe me or felt my absence wasn't for a good enough reason? No thank you.

To the OP...habitual lateness can build up to a big issue over time. So can family members who treat you like "the maid" when the parent isn't around. I've dealt with both. I'm a fairly up front person, so I never let things get to the point where I needed to quit all of a sudden over little things like that. When you hire the next person, you might want to pad their hours a bit and if you know you're likely to be late one evening a week, *schedule* that. It's always better to be home early rather than late. You might also mention to the new person that if they ever need help setting out a schedule with your mom or if they ever feel weird about it, that it's safe to come talk to you and you will handle it. Or hire someone with the understanding that your mom is going to be over and have her come over and hang out with the new hire during her probationary period.

I really don't think most people get what a weird feeling it can be, to be a nanny. Yes, you are often an intimate part of the family, but it IS a job. For money. Sorry. It means that things can get a little weird (especially if the nanny isn't at the point where she knows how to interview families as much as they're interviewing her). Even on my best jobs, there was always some awkward moments. I think parents can sometimes become very vindictive as an employer, precisely because of the weird family-but-not relationship. They feel betrayed (even if they're not being betrayed) and sometimes will act out emotionally. Sometimes nannies are hesitant to bring up issues because they have (rightfully or not) concerns that the parents will take it as a critique or overly personally, and they don't want to have to deal with the emotional reaction. Some parents don't address concerns they have with the nanny before the become a constant annoyance for that reason too.

IME most employment relationships don't last longer than a year unless the nanny does a good job of interviewing the family as well, and knows herself well. And both sides have excellent communication with each other and are willing to hear and empathize with discomfort on both sides. Any time someone is pretty much constantly in "your space" there's going to be friction. Most folks can keep it together for a year. If there's not adequate communication between and by both parties, things tend to start breaking down at that point. Sometimes it's a nanny that doesn't communicate well, sometimes it's the parents, sometimes it's just the dynamic between them. The nanny isn't betraying anyone for leaving. Neither is a family that lets a nanny go betraying her. It's an important job, but neither side owns the other. You shouldn't take advantage of a caregiver's love of your children to get careless in respecting boundaries...nor should you disparage her love and care of your children if she decides she needs to leave the position on good terms.
post #57 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
Good luck finding a professional nanny that would accept that kind of language in a contract. There's no way you'd be able to enforce it. And what kind of surveillance would you put her under to make sure every absence was met with your approval? It'd be your word aginst hers in small claims court, and unless you had a PI follow her around to come up with hard evidence (and to be blunt, wouldn't it be better to just fire someone for lying or if you didn't trust them?).

And as far as the market is concerned...there's far fewer professional nannies out there than people willing to hire them. So in all honesty, that's the reason why nannies can and do often wield a little more power and get more slack than your typical cubicle employee in a corporate setting. HR can boot someone to the curb and find a replacement most likely in a timely manner. Nannying doesn't work the same way, unless you're talking about Kinder Care. And even then...there's probably a wait list.

I was a professional nanny. Each of my contracts had interesting stipulations in them, depending on the family. I only left one family without notice--after they gushed to me about how they'd been secretly using a nanny cam on me and were so happy that I was such a wonderful caretaker. I told them thanks, but that I was disappointed that they'd broken my trust, and that I didn't feel I could work with them again. I did tell them to be honest with the next one and put it in her contract that she might be periodically monitored without notice. If that had been in my contract, I wouldn't have had a problem with it. But that was a violation personally and and professionally to me to do it on the sly.

You can write anything into a contract. But man. If an employer was going to try to get me to pay their salary for them if they didn't believe me or felt my absence wasn't for a good enough reason? No thank you.

To the OP...habitual lateness can build up to a big issue over time. So can family members who treat you like "the maid" when the parent isn't around. I've dealt with both. I'm a fairly up front person, so I never let things get to the point where I needed to quit all of a sudden over little things like that. When you hire the next person, you might want to pad their hours a bit and if you know you're likely to be late one evening a week, *schedule* that. It's always better to be home early rather than late. You might also mention to the new person that if they ever need help setting out a schedule with your mom or if they ever feel weird about it, that it's safe to come talk to you and you will handle it. Or hire someone with the understanding that your mom is going to be over and have her come over and hang out with the new hire during her probationary period.

I really don't think most people get what a weird feeling it can be, to be a nanny. Yes, you are often an intimate part of the family, but it IS a job. For money. Sorry. It means that things can get a little weird (especially if the nanny isn't at the point where she knows how to interview families as much as they're interviewing her). Even on my best jobs, there was always some awkward moments. I think parents can sometimes become very vindictive as an employer, precisely because of the weird family-but-not relationship. They feel betrayed (even if they're not being betrayed) and sometimes will act out emotionally. Sometimes nannies are hesitant to bring up issues because they have (rightfully or not) concerns that the parents will take it as a critique or overly personally, and they don't want to have to deal with the emotional reaction. Some parents don't address concerns they have with the nanny before the become a constant annoyance for that reason too.

IME most employment relationships don't last longer than a year unless the nanny does a good job of interviewing the family as well, and knows herself well. And both sides have excellent communication with each other and are willing to hear and empathize with discomfort on both sides. Any time someone is pretty much constantly in "your space" there's going to be friction. Most folks can keep it together for a year. If there's not adequate communication between and by both parties, things tend to start breaking down at that point. Sometimes it's a nanny that doesn't communicate well, sometimes it's the parents, sometimes it's just the dynamic between them. The nanny isn't betraying anyone for leaving. Neither is a family that lets a nanny go betraying her. It's an important job, but neither side owns the other. You shouldn't take advantage of a caregiver's love of your children to get careless in respecting boundaries...nor should you disparage her love and care of your children if she decides she needs to leave the position on good terms.



OMG, Tigerchild, I can relate so well to so many of the points you made. And I bolded the ones that really touched me in a specific way. People just can't understand (which is obvious by some of the posts in this thread comparing nannying to a corporate job - which just needs to stop since they aren't really comparable ).

Thank you for your great post!!! As a former nanny, you are seriously SPOT ON!!
post #58 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
Karina, I'm sure that many parents would say "Thanks, I appreciate it, but don't worry." In my case -- and for many other parents -- it would be acceptable, especially after we've gotten to know the nanny and find her responsible. (I would not have taken one nanny up on her offer; her myspace was a little too revealing that way.) If I'm working downstairs, there's a limit to what sort of horrors are likely to go on. I trust one sitter's judgment well enough that I'd feel comfortable leaving my daughter with her alternates even if I had to go out.

We expect that there will be sick days. However, as in all wage work, they're abused, and that's why I limit them unless there's a doctor's note. If it's a chronic problem, I'll fire and rehire. Again, while it's unfortunate for the nanny, my clients don't want to hear why I blew their deadline or failed to make meetings.

It would also help if nannies and sitters did not wait until the last minute to call in. If you're feeling crummy Sunday morning but are hoping to tough it out, at least give the parents a heads-up so they're not stuck scrambling for a backup at 8pm. Again, the same is expected of me. My clients don't want to hear, "Hey, that deadline tomorrow? Yeah, not gonna happen." If there's a problem, or even a potential problem, they want to know asap so they can adjust and plan.

In any case, covering for your absence, or at least offering to take care of it, isn't just a feature of corporate jobs. Most wage jobs will require you to cover. Nearly every handyman I've hired has called me at some point and apologized profusely for not being able to make an appointment, but has offered to get another guy to come in and do the job. In most employment it's expected that you will at least make some serious effort at covering for your absence, unless you've been told expressly that it isn't necessary.

So, you know. No need to freak. Actually there's an easy way around the trust issue you bring up: Hand the nanny a list of alternates you do trust, and say, "If you can't make it, please call through this list and attempt to find someone who can cover for you. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to wait for their calls back. If you're not willing to take covering as your responsibility, please don't take this job." This way the nanny avoids dumping her problem on the employer, which is something you're expected to do in most jobs. (Yes, you really are. I've worked for 25 years in a wide variety of jobs, from retail to caregiving to professional to professional contract in several fields, and I can't think of exactly one job where it was OK to call in and just dump whatever you were supposed to be doing. And that was because the manager couldn't deal with confrontation, so she worked herself to a frazzle covering for employees who took advantage of her.)

[edit:] It does occur to me that there's an element of "This Is Nannying So Get Used To The Industry Standards" here. It couldn't be more out of place. You're selling a service because there is a market. If the market says "be responsible for __________," then that's all there is to it. You can always turn down jobs because you don't like the terms -- I do, sometimes -- or you can try to negotiate your way out of them. But you can't really expect a market to stop having demands because you find them unreasonable or inconvenient.

My guess is that you can get away with contracts that don't leave the nanny or agency responsible for covering absences (or liable for no-notice quits) for only because the parents walk in naive and desperate. But as it becomes more usual to hire nannies, I would expect that to change, because they'll get better direction when it comes to contracts (including advice on enforcing them and ensuring that they are enforceable).



It's obvious to me that you have no idea what it is like to be a nanny. Meanwhile, I have been a nanny several times AND hired nannies and babysitters myself.

Tigerchild's post is great - maybe she can help you understand b/c it is clear that I cannot.
post #59 of 90
well, contracts can be enforced whether signed or unsigned (some limitations on whether they need to be written or not to be enforced depending on how long is for, well even then the actual contract doesn't need to be written, just need a written memoranda of its existence, signed by the person against whom it is to be enforced, but that's kind of technical.....). You can't just state a certain amount of damages though, like "if you quit you owe me $1200). That would be a penalty. However, they would have to pay your reasonably foreseeable damages- if you made it clear that their flaking might mean a direct economic loss for you they might have to pay for resulting actual losses stemming from their breach. You would be limited to collecting money damages-- you can't actually force them to work for you.

You definitely do not need a notary or witnesses, although if someone is planning on perjuring themselves in court and claiming they didn't really sign it, I guess a witness or two can't hurt for impeachment purposes....
post #60 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
OMG, Tigerchild, I can relate so well to so many of the points you made. And I bolded the ones that really touched me in a specific way. People just can't understand (which is obvious by some of the posts in this thread comparing nannying to a corporate job - which just needs to stop since they aren't really comparable ).

Thank you for your great post!!! As a former nanny, you are seriously SPOT ON!!
I just don't think people can relate unless they've had a nanny job, KWIM? I've worked a lot of different jobs (admittedly, I've never worked a white collar or executive job--it's tended to be in the social services sector, and a little bit of management), even in a child care center, and it's just not the same as anything else.

On the one hand, people want absolute professionalism, which is cool. I like that, and prefer that myself. On the other hand, they expect you to be part of their family, but just totally on their terms, and sometimes kind of like a glorified kid. It's very strange, because you're not a coparent, nor do most employers want you to act like one, that's probably going to make them emotional about you overstepping your bounds, and I can empathize with that. However, it can be hard to figure out where that boundary is, because with a professional nanny, they can and do want some autonomy and more respect than a checklist observer. To some degree, all of that goes together like oil and water. Shake it up with some spice, and you've got a great salad dressing that can add zing to your life. But it requires constant attention to keep it in the right balance.

Comparing it to a corporate or white collar job is...just something that doesn't fit. If you attempt it, it means you really don't get it.

There really aren't a whole lot of other situations where you are so intimately, intimately involved in your adult employer's life and where the boundaries of personal and professional are so fuzzy. The only thing I can think of that's remotely close is a private personal care attendant (I don't know for sure, though, never done it.). The kid part is soo easy if you've chosen well. It's the adult relationship that is hard to negotiate on both sides.

It's not like we're blaming parents here. Just because someone wants to be a nanny and is good at it doesn't mean that they're aces of communication with parents! It's something you grow into, with experience. And a smart employer is one who can see the diamond in the rough sometimes! Unfortunately for a domestic employment situation (especially since we live in a society that doesn't have as many established societal rules for it!) you've got two learning curves for communicating and having realistic expectations--the nanny's and the employer's! It can be done well, and it can be great having two green people learning together, too! A good match can cover a multitude of faults on either side as long as they're willing to both try.

I just have to shake my head at the "typical professional" comparison. It just doesn't work that way. At least, not if the employer thinks that they're the driving market force. IME, unless you're talking about inexperienced or under the table folks, it's the nanny who's the mover and shaker. It's the employer that's going to be hurt the most if they lose their nanny, because they're the one who has to work the hardest to attract a good one.
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