Originally Posted by karina5
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).