I feel very bad for her, I do...but...

Received Wednesday, October 31, 2007-Perspective & Opinion
My boss-a single mother has just been diagnosed with cancer and will require surgery-followed by radiation. I have never worked over time for her because - although we agreed to a rate at the beginning -she never followed through and conveniently and consistently forgot to pay me. I feel very bad for her, I do. What do you think of this idea? Would it be acceptable if I asked her if she would like me to help find someone to help out here - as she goes through this? Because I have a live-in position and a fairly close relationship to her children,-I cannot help but imagine that I will fall in to place as her main support- weekend, evenings or even early mornings.


Anonymous said...

"I have never worked over time for her because - although we agreed to a rate at the beginning -she never followed through and conveniently and consistently forgot to pay me"

This is another great example of why nannies should never live in. I would consider leaving, she's already broke her word on finances and while 90% of the moms would have pity for her you can't take that on. Because not only has she not learned that kind of respect that bridges employer and employee when things are tough but because it's not your responsibility.

If she does not pay over time and went back on her word you need to either get another job because she does not want to pay and be decent OR you need to agree ahead of time what you will make when she is convalescing.

What you mention is going to be misery and if she was a good employer it would be worth it. She is not going to want to pay you overtime. much less a second person and she is not going to like you, you are going be living with this unspoken declaration that because she has been going through serious medical problems that it its all about her. You are going to have to be really strong.

Nanny B said...

I can understand how you are feeling, and these are concerns you need to bring to her attention. there is nothing wrong with having a meeting with her to discuss how you can help her out and how things will work during this time. Simply explain to her that you want to continue to be the best nanny you can but that you don't know if working tons of overtime is the best situation. Ask her if she is considering having a family member come and help her out during this time. Tell her you want to help with the children, and continue to help her, but state your concerns. She will either understand and have a good discussion with an outcome that suits the both of you, or realize she needs a bit more help and arrange that. Good luck though

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just talk to her and tell her you must be paid for overtime? Just straighten things out with her.

I don't understand why this is not possible.

Anonymous said...

I would have a talk with her. Tell her you are thinking she may need a lot of additional help, and this may be a financial burden, so while you are ready to pitch in, you will understand if she calls on relatives instead.
This should make her aware that you expect to be paid for overtime. Then, you must keep a log of your hours, and present them to her each week. You have to take some responsibility for letting her get away with not paying you. GL

Anonymous said...

I agree with 9:04.

I am a mom with breast cancer and am in the middle of chemotherapy. I had a double mastectomy. You did not mention what kind of cancer your employer has. If she's having a mastectomy or a lumpectomy, she is going to need extra help after the surgery. The radiation will make her tired, but she is not going to be sick like she would be if she were getting chemo.

We hired our part time babysitter full time through the end of the year. And she gets paid for every hour she works if I need additional time the week after chemo tx. You need to work this out with your employer BEFORE she has surgery. You are responsible for letting her get away with not paying you overtime (although it doesn't excuse her).

Good luck to you. And good health to your employer.

Anonymous said...

"You are responsible for letting her get away with not paying you overtime (although it doesn't excuse her)."

Not true. the mother is responsible for being a decent employer not the employee. Sadly in the nanny world the nanny has to always be on guard or she will get nickel and dimed.

When you live in the mother can easily tell you one thing and then turn around and do another.She can cut your hours or suddenly throw a monkey wrench at you. And what can the nanny do? Leave?

This nanny should. just like violating the trust of her charge's parents by not being a good nanny this mother has done the same thing with overtime.

Mom said...

This kind of illustrates a point I learned from my mother's situation.
When you are an employer, be generous with salary, benefits, perks and appreciation and you will have the loyalty of your grateful employees. They will be willing to go the extra mile for you, even when you're not looking.

When you are an employee, do the absolute best possible job you can. Be flexible with your hours if they have an emergency that requires overtime (assuming you are paid and the overtime is not oppresive.) Be on time every day, and dress and act professionally. It will not go unnoticed by your grateful employer (usually anyway.)
My mom is not a nanny, but has worked many years as a word processor for a law firm that very much appreciates her excellent work ethic. When she had breast cancer last year, the firm bent over backwards to do everything possible to make it easier on her. They told her to take as much time as she wanted off, said her job would always be waiting for her no matter what. And they even worked things all around to make sure that every day she was out of the office was a paid day. (In her gratitude, she worked every possible day that she could drag her body out of the bed so as not to take uinfair advantage of their generosity.)

It's too bad the mom in this situation didn't treat her nanny better before she got sick. If she had been treating her like gold...compensating her generously for her overtime and treating her like a friend and member of the family, I'll bet the post would have read a lot differently.

I wish the mom the best of health.

Nanny, it is perfectly acceptable for you to require that she pay you for all overtime even though she is sick. You are an employee...not her mom, sister or friend.

Anonymous said...

You know mom, I wish I could agree with you.
I have found in my experience, on more than one occasion, I have given so generously only to be taken advantage of. Maybe it's just this industry. A lot of my friend's go through the same thing.
I think you just have to be really lucky...

Mom said...

Maybe you do actually run into a disproportionate number of really self-centered, thoughtless people who don't care about anybody but themselves in the nanny industry.

Think about it, SOME really great moms, who are caring, nurturing and thoughful people, hire nannys to give them an extra set of hands.

SOME really great women are forced into the workforce against their wishes, and have to hire childcare.

But probably MOST women who are tremendously self-centered, and all about "Me! Me!" WILL hire a nanny for the simple reson that they don't want to be bothered with raising their own children...a task they probably consider "beneath them." These moms probably consider their nannies, (the ones doing all the work they consider themselves too important to do) to be lesser than them as well. Is it any wonder that they treat them so poorly?

I still think a great nanny who is not being treated like gold ought to look for another job. It is the loss of the family who didn't appreciate what they had in you. There are others who will line up to get a great,professional nanny, and treat you well because they don't want to take the chance of losing you.

Anonymous said...

Initiate a dialogue with your boss, stating everything that you want and need out of your employment and what you think she may need as she goes through this medical crisis. She may well not even be thinking straight right now. She should also look at whatever support may be available from social service organizations, cancer charities, etc.
If you just walk away without giving it a shot, I think you will always regret it because you seem like a caring person. Best of luck to you and good health to your employer. Let us know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

If YOU had cancer, would your employer accomodate YOU?

That's the question you should be asking yourself.

Don't feel bad at all. Think about yourself first. This is always an employer/employee relationship. If she was a nice person, her friends and family would be there by her side.

Anonymous said...

You're her employee, not her friend. She needs to understand that you need to be paid regularly at the agreed upon rate.

Anonymous said...


I think you are DEFINITELY entitled to overtime pay. That goes without saying. But why have you waited this long to think about discussing it? You should have nipped that in the bud a long time ago.

I don't like that it took cancer and the subsequent treatment of it in order to get you to wake up. How very convenient of you.

When the going gets tough, the tough really do get going, eh?

Mom said...

I have to say, you make an excellent point!
people think it is easy to ask for free "favors" from people in a service business. I assume they reason that it "doesn't cost you anything tangible...only your time.

My husband is a lawyer, and sometimes I think he could work all day everyday for FREE just performing all of these "favors" people ask of him. Everybody who knows he is a lawyer...especially people at church (many of whom we barely even know)...expects that he will "wink wink" just take care of their little "situation" for them. At first he did many of these favors because he felt guilty turning people away. But when he found himself working nights and weekends to make up for the time he lost on all of these those people who had received all of the free services were at home enjoying their families...he finally realized he had to just say no.

I imagine it is even harder for a live in nanny, because what are you going to do if the parents don't come home on time? Or if they all of a sudden have to "run out" and you happen to be home? I would hope employers would be more thoughtful than to do this without paying you generously for your extra time. But again, what are you going to do, short of quitting, if they don't?

Sue Doe-Nim said...

If you were on her family tree I'd say, "get ready to roll up your shirt sleeves."

But you aren't.

And caretaking is bigger than anyone can ever imagine.

I suspect (although I may be wrong) that if you decline to help this woman will have to use her family (who should be there anyhow). I'm sure you love the children but you are an employee.

You are also an employee that has not been treated well and chemotherapy doesn't cure bad manners in all people.

She may just suck the life out of you.

What does your mother suggest?

Anonymous said...

the lady has obviously dont know what this means. you are close to her children. like legit if you were anything of a person you would be there 24/7 for is all you care about you conniving self centered animal

cali mom said...

12:12, you must either be trolling or smoking crack. Or Ax2.

An employee is an employee, and needs to be paidf for their time. Since when does nannying for a person's children suddenly mean one is morally obligated to be on hand to fulfill all the personal needs of the sick employer 24/7 at no charge?

Are you the sick employer? If so, you need more than chemo. I really hope you're not or I'd tell this nanny to get out FAST.

Anonymous said...

these employers they all do it. they just want want want and don't want to compensate you- pigs