Thursday

Nanny Seeks Guidance with Wage Issues...

Received Thursday, January 31, 2008-Perspective & Opinion
I am a college student and have been working as a nanny for three years in the Sacramento, CA area. I also have nine years babysitting experience. I am CPR certified and have taken ECE courses in college. I work three days a week with one family after school MWF. This position, I consider, full time. I work usually close to 25-30 hours a week. I just secured another position from 10am-1pm on Tues/Thurs as a mother's helper. The infant is three months old and mom is going to be working out of her home office. My question is that since this position is very part time, only 6 hours a week, and I know the financial state of the family, should I charge less than my normal rate for one child? ($10/hr) Or should I charge the rate my other family is paying me? ($13/hr) This rate is based on my duties (driving kids to and from appts., playdates, making dinner, help with homework, etc.) Im just unsure due to the amount of hours, though I know I am well qualified (cpr, etc.). Should I reduce my rate due to the job criteria? (pretty much playing with the baby for a few hours, take her for walks, etc.)

39 comments:

Calanna said...

As a nanny, you are getting paid for more than just the actual duties... you are also being paid for your time, your level of experience and expertise, and for being responsible for that baby.

Think of it this way... say you're a nanny in a traditional setting, watching a baby who naps 2-4 hours every day while both parents are gone. Your employer doesn't require anything of you during naptime (such as housework).

Your employer says, "You know, I'm not going to pay you while the baby is napping since you're not really working then." What do you say? "OK, since I'm off the clock during naptime, I guess I'm free to go out and run errands during that time."

Not a perfect analogy, of course, but the point is, you charge a certain hourly rate that is not contingent upon what you are doing during any given hour, where the parent's office is, and should certainly not be contingent on how much money the family has.

Just my opinion, your mileage may vary.

just anonymous said...

I would set the record straight right now that you are in no way going to be a "mother's helper" just because the mother works from home. From my personal experience, I charge MORE if the parents work from home b/c it is utterly annoying to nanny as the parent is constantly hovering over you and undermining you. I will never again nanny for a works-from-home parent. I would say nothing less than $13/hr, and if they don't like it, find something else. Trust me, work-from-home parents are not fun to work for. They want to be in control of every aspect of raising their children, and you're just there for filler so they can still "work". Although all I ever heard the Mom doing was laughing on the phone w/ friends.

Anonymous said...

I agree with previous posters that it should be your same rate, if that is typical in your area. Especially since it is only six hours a week, 3 each time! Most agencies have a four hour minimum to make it worth it for you to leave your house and drive wherever the job is; if it is a corporate or church job that only lasts three hours, sometimes instead of the minimum you will get paid time and a half. So yes, charge whatever you would normally charge someone for care of one infant, and maybe even more since it is only 3 hours a day 2x a week.

Anonymous said...

AMEN 7:05!

Charge 13 per hour and if she balks to hell with her.

I too, will no longer accpet a position with a work from home mom for the exact same reasons stated. I have worked for 3 different WFH moms in the past and each was a nightmare. NEVER AGIAN!

mom said...

I would charge the $13.00 at least. She's paying for your time and what you are giving up in exchange is your ability to use that time for yourself. Don't sell yourself short. It costs a lot for childcare now. I remember that it seemed to cost an arm and a leg for a sitter when my kids were young and we would go out just for the evening. But I never thought it should be the burden of the babysitter to accept less pay because her fee took an uncomfortable bite out of my discretionary income. I wanted a great babysitter (I know you are a nanny) and I would rather have adjusted my hours away to fit my budget than expect her to "supplement" My income by accepting less.
You are not a member of the family. Their financial burdens are not your responsibility and you don't owe them a reduced rate in order to help THEM "get ahead." You are also trying to make a living, right?
I would tell her that you charge and make $13.00 at your other job, and that it's for more hours. I don't understand when I see chldcare providers on here accepting less pay because their employers are short of cash. Aren't the nannies also a little strapped at times and also trying to make a living and get ahead? I assume this is why they choose to have a job anyway.
This is not to say that a childcare provider should ever feel entitled to more than she deserves either, just because the parents "have so darn much that they could afford to spread it around a little." It's just that fair is fair..in both directions.

Anonymous said...

You need to be charging at least $13/hr. With your experience, you are absolutely worth it. Anything less than that, and it's not really worth your time.

Anonymous said...

I agree--charge $13/hour. If you ask for less, you are unable to take another job for more later. You deserve it--the first family's willingness to pay proves it!

Sarah said...

Agreed with all the above. You are worth your salt, and though the baby is young now, your responsibilities will definitely grow as she does. Stick with your normal hourly wages and be proud of what you do.

Sue said...

I would stay with the regular wage for a few reasons.

1. It is always fair to ask for what you're worth.
2. The baby will not be 3 months old forever and the job could last many years. The duties will increase with the age of the child.
3. You are in business. Although it's hard for many women to admit the relationship is employer/employee and even when you grow to love the children the parents are still employers.

Ask for your due.

Laura said...

Im from stockton and all I have to say is you should be making a hell of a lot mroe then that. With my agency she said standard is i belive $12. And thats like no experience, no classes no cpr.

Anonymous said...

What kind of Agency hires:
No experience.
No classes.
No CPR?

In my book:
That's NOT a nanny!

Anonymous said...

I second 7:05, I too will never work for another "work from home" family again! I have had nothing but nightmares in this situation, and I truly hope you have better luck.

Regardless, don't charge less than $13 an hour, that's robbery! Nannying is hard work, and babies are probably the hardest job of all, especially as they grow! Because you are working fewer hours and are with them for less time you should be charging more, rather than less, (in my opinion) to make the job and the money you are making even worth your time. For example, a family using you for 6 hours at $13 an hour is paying, way less monthly than a family using you for 30 hrs. at $13 an hour! I never charge less than 15 per hour, and have similar qualifications to you, (I have taken ECE courses, I am in College, I have my CPR and First Aid, I have daycare experience, babysitting experience, and now 4 years of nannying) don't sell yourself short, and never assume a job will be easy because a parent is at home, I've found (the hard way) it is often much more difficult!

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I'd have to disagree with everyone saying how awful it is to work for a work from home parent. I am a nanny for a wonderful almost two year old little boy and his mom works from home. We have a wonderful relationship and she does not hover over me and question what I am doing, you cannot say that working for all WFH parents is awful just because you all worked with some bad ones, and I cannot say that all WFH parents are wonderful just because I work for a wonderful one.

Anonymous said...

You want to suffer? Take a position for a do-nothing mother. I thought I took a job with a normal, regular type mom. She is seven shades of crazy- rapidly approaching 8. I wouldn't say she's as bad as britney, she's worse. And she has her own 'sam lufti' and her own 'Adnan Ghalib' that pull her in different directions. how do i survive? it's a job. i've had worse. my job is working for a crazy woman.

Anonymous said...

infant = more pay

Anonymous said...

I would never hire a nanny that has an issue with a work at home Mom. I have a job where my work location varies from day to day. Sometimes I'm at a client's site, sometimes at my office or another company location and sometimes at home.

The only nanny I had that ever had an issue with my working at home sometimes was my first and that was because she didn't want me to see how horribly she treated my children. She suggested that I should not work at home at all in the beginning so that she has a chance to "bond" with my children, and the few days I did, said the kids coming up to see my when they came home from school was undermining her. Fact is, she was a horrible person incapable of establishing any bond with a child not grounded in intimidation and fear. She was always complaining about them being badly behaved when that was never ours or any other caregivers (relativer or sitters) experience. The day we rid ourselves of this incompetent woman was the day she grabbed my toddler so roughly she made five claw marks in her shoulder.

My current nanny has no issue with me working at home. I respect her time with the kids and stay in my home office most of the time if I am working at home (as I did with the prior BTW), but she knows the kids and I like to say hi when they first come home and doesn't see them as wanting to come see me now and then during the day as a problem--even if they come up to complain because she told them no because she knows I don't allow the kids to play me against her. She is a great nanny and knows it and does not see my being in the house as a risk to her authority or bond with my children. My kids and her have had a great relationship from the very beginning and although she does have to discipline them at times, she is always saying how good they are and takes enormous pride in their accomplishments. Plus, she can and does take advantage of my job location flexibility and feels free to have me take the kids for a bit so she can run to her own children's school events, conferences, or just drop in on them if they are having a rough day. She appreciates that having the ability to step away during a work day rather than use her vacation or sick days to do these things is not common in many nanny jobs.

Anonymous said...

You should ask for the same rate the other family pays, if not more. Pt rates are usually higher than full time, and most nannies and babysitters have a four hour minimum. $13 is not a lot for your qualifications.
If the family can't afford that, find another job. Why should you subsidize them?

Anonymous said...

9:08

So what your saying is you let your first nanny undermine you and abuse your kids. Your instincts must've been out to lunch.

And you allow your second nanny time away to run personal errands ... while you babysit your own kids?

Quote:
"Plus, she can and does take advantage of my job location flexibility and feels free to have me take the kids for a bit ...."

Oh well, at least this one's working out for you, right? I guess that's all that matters.
As long as the kids are happy and aren't being abused.

Anonymous said...

7:40 pm here, just to clarify, I was not trying to say that all work at home parents are bad, I was simply agreeing with the several nannies whom had indured a bad working enviroment due to this. To say "all" people are "this" or "that" is making an extremely broad over generalization and never true. There is variation, and exceptions to every thing, even the "rule".

9:08, just because your particular nanny didn't want you there because she was abusive doesn't mean that is the reasoning for all other nannies who feel her sentiments. Don't assume things, same to the women who said she "would never hire a nanny who had a problem with her working from home." To be perfectly blunt with you all, my problem with a parent working from home stems from the fact that I worked for a family with a work from home father, who felt it necessary and okay to spend his days sexually harassing me, until he finally attacked me, now obviously, I quit and called the police, and obviously not all families are like this, however it leaves a bit of a "mark" on you, and the decisions you later make in life. Don't assume that because a nanny has a problem with this she is the abuser, sometimes she is the abused, whether it's a mother who finds it necessary to follow her around the house all day chanting orders, and making progress with a child impossible, or a father who thinks because his wife is a way "it's time to play". I have just learned to be a little less trusting and no longer feel safe alone in a house with a stranger. Perhaps after working for my employer for sometime (and gaining trust both ways) my opinion and feeling would change, but to start right off that way is a total "no, no" for me now. I hope this clarifies a bit more why someone may not want to have a parent in the home with them, I'm sure if you think hard enough you can think of plenty of scenarios that would make it hard on a nanny to do her job...

Anonymous said...

10:10

I was a live-in nanny. The mom was on a business trip. The dad worked late nights. I put the 2 y.o. to bed, then I followed soon after.
I woke up in the middle of the night with the father on me. I never called the police, I was too scared.
I commend you for being brave enough to do it.
That was my last nanny job, I could never bring myself to nanny again.

cali mom said...

10:10, just curious why on earth you would STAY in a position where this happened regularly and frequently. Once should be enough to make you move on, even if it wasn't enough to make you call the police.

11:07 said...

Cali mom
We should be careful not to make 10:10 feel like any of this was her fault. She probably thought the Father was an obnoxious jerk and that she could handle him. I'm not trying to put words into her mouth but I'm sure she feels guilty enough already.
Just like me, even though I had no warning, I played in my head a dozen times what I could have done differently to keep from getting attacked. After years of blaming myself, I finally realized it was HIS fault, not mine.
I didn't do anything wrong.

Anonymous said...

9:08 Yes, my instincts were not good enough to pick up that after interviewing over a dozen nannies from various sources and finding one through I highly recommended agency with a clean record at the better business bureau was not as good as she came off on the interview or the glowing references she used would have you believe. I work in sales for an overseas company and have the same benefits of my European counterparts. When I had my first child, I stayed home for 24 months on salary, during which I had my second and opted to extend out my leave an additional 18 months unpaid--so my 3 1/2 and 2 year olds had never known anything but full time care by Mom. I knew that the transition to a nanny would be difficult and I was clear that was a big concern in the interview process and with the agency. I was under the impression the nanny I hired was a professional who had dealt with rough transitions in the past and knew what she was talking about --and, yes, I naively put WAY too much trust in the agency and recommendations, and I DID run a comprehensive private background check. The first week I worked from home, the beginning of the second I left for most of the day day, but checked in--always letting the nanny know when I would be home so I don't startled her or disrupt their day. The nanny then said she thought it would be best I spend some full days away until the transition is over. I blame myself for what happened, because I did not pay attention to my oldest when she said the nanny was mean, but my oldest had been unhappy about having a nanny from the day my husband told the two of them I was returning to work, so I was not sure if she was telling the full truth (she never gave an expample that I would find unacceptable when I asked her how she was mean--things like she didn't let me have a cupcake, or she made us leave the park too early because her younger sister wouldn't listen to her--not things I would consider problems). But when my youngest started to act out two weeks into her employment, I wondered if I hired the right person. The middle of the third week I went home without calling beforehand and found my youngest crying and showed me where the nanny scratched her. I told the nanny to leave immediately. I called the agency later that day and let them know how awful she was and was greeted very coldly. They said the nanny had already called and said that my kids were unruly and I was demanding and asked her to do all sorts of things not in the job description and that we were not the type of clients they like to work with (which was completely false, BTW on both points, I believe in discipline, limits and good manners, and enforce that in my home but I was clear with every interviewee that physical punishment of any sort is not acceptable). It was only after I sent her a picture of the marks on my daughter's shoulder from my cell, she called and apologized and told us that they will drop her and help me find a replacement.

As for allowing my nanny breaks while I babysit for a bit when my nanny has something to do with her own kids, what's wrong with me taking care of my own kids so she can attend to important events in her kids' lives? I am very lucky to have benefits not afforded to most US workers. Although the 2 years paid leave was not at full compensation since most of the money I make are commissions and bonuses, I was able to stay home with my kids when they were infants, return to work when it was right for my family and I am able to remain an involved parent even though I work full time because of my flexible hours. I would not still be working if I had an employer that insisted I choose them over my family. Why would I be that type of employer to my nanny? A bit hypocritical, don't you think? And yes, thank you very much, my kids are happy, as is my nanny.

I find people on this board are a mixed bag too. I think it's extremely valuable and I come here because I often find areas and issues that would not occur to me that help me be a better employer and parent, but people do talk in extremes. In this case I didn't mean it as a knock against nannies of WOH parents. But, I stand by my statement I would not hire a nanny that has an issue with me working from home. I completely understand the position of the nannies who suffered abuse and harassment at the hands of bad employers, and think that's awful. But just as they have gone to one extreme to keep that experience from happening again, I have gone to the other to prevent a repeat of my bad experience ever again. And I have come to trust my current nanny and no longer feel I need to drop in unexpectedly to check up on her (thank goodness she is confident in her abilities and just took it as a sign of a concerned parent because I'm sure I was a pain in the beginning and she had the grace and patience not to say anything).

Anonymous said...

9:08
What I meant by my comment was that you looked at the times your nanny stepped out as "babysitting your own kids" -- They're YOUR kids. You shouldn't have to call it 'babysitting'. I guess it was the terminology that threw me off.
Anyway, I'm not sure you get my point, but that's ok.

I am glad things worked out for you, and I bet it was hard having to find and TRUST another nanny.
Good for you! I guess your diligence paid off this time - but even though you say this nanny is the greatest, you should NEVER be off guard.

Maggie's Mommy said...

When I first started looking for a child care provider, and was considering in home care, I received a number of resumes that specifically indicated they would not consider working in a home where the parent stayed home. While I can understand why someone would not want to work in a home where the parent was overbearing or anyone who doesn't want me around doesn't get the chance to be alone with my cinappropriate, I was taken aback that people who considered themselves to be "high level" nannies were concerned about having a parent at home. Of course, I am sensitive to the bonding and trust that needs to be developed between a child and a caregiver independent of the parent's involvement but I also understand that work at home parent's need childcare too. Even though I work out of an office and would not have required child care when I was home, I did not consider any of the nannies who warned me they would not work for at home parents. If you don't want me around, I don't want you around my child, if you know what I mean.

mom said...

9:45
I think it's really GREAT that oyu allow your nanny little breaks to be a mom to her own kids. That's what it means to be a compassionate human being who actually cares about other people.

I have often wondered here, when I read about nannies who mention that they also have small children, how it feels to them to be giving their very best childcare skills to the raising of somebody else's children, and having to trust somebody else to raise their children. (And presumably somebody less qualified who is paid far less than they are being paid at that...because otherwise, why bother working if you are paying anywhere near as much for childcare as you are making?)

How wonderful that you allow your nanny to bridge that gap a bit.

Laura said...

2:18 PM...I guess i have to be technical with you.
By no experience I mean very little or perhaps maybe only experience in baby sitting, maybe a preschool or some other type of childcare. Oddly enough nannies are not born being nannies.
By no classes I mean maybe they didn't go to college...maybe they did but for anything other then ECE, I am a psych major. Does that make me a bad nanny, no.
By no CPR I mean, maybe they have not been CPR certified. I worked for Head start and about 3 families before I became CPR certified. Why i didn't do it before wasn't because I didn't want to but where I worked didn't care either way.

So yes my agency requires references, you being CPR/First aid certified, background checks, experience (in whatever way you may have worked with children), and your DVM record.

Laura said...

One more comment i forgot to add. I dont like working with parents who work from home because of one family I worked for. I hated that everytime the baby started to cry the father would run out. The baby never cried long and was usually because he was hungry/sleepy/ or in his attempts to start walking fell on his bottom. I know why he did it, but it made me feel like i was there for nothing or that i couldnt do my job. I did not like the fact he would come in and interfer with feedings because the baby would start fussing to get out. It was great he could work so close to his child but didnt not understand the boundries...(can't think of a better word for that)

just anonymous said...

Maggie's Mommy-the issues I ran into working for a wfh parent are these:
-I appropriately discipline the child, he runs to Mommy to whine about it and get his own way
-I give him his lunch and the Mom runs over to cut things up smaller so he won't choke
-I have the house picked up but the Mom continually comes in and out of the kitchen leaving her crumby mess and dirty dishes about for me to clean up
-I never got a 'break' bc when the child was napping and I would normally sit down and chill out for a bit I felt like I had to be productive b/c I was being watched
-The child would be trying to fall asleep for nap but the Mom would be speaking loudly on the phone with her office door open, so he wouldn't settle down
-The Mom unexpectedly comes out to play for a bit throughout the day. What am I supposed to do then? I just sit there. Why are you paying me to come watch your child when you are playing with them and don't need me there? If you're going to play with your kid on my time, then send me home b/c it's annoying.

I'm not saying every wfh parent is like this either. But what I am saying is that if you are a work-from-home-parent, please don't do the things listed above b/c it's really obnoxious and is something that nannies do not usually have to deal with in our profession. Also, if you have an office, keep the door closed!

Maggie's Mommy said...

Just Anonymous:
It doesn't sound like your employer was really "working" from home then! I can understand not wanting to work for a stay at home parent who did not have professional obligations during the day; in fact, I struggle with why a person like that would need full time child care! My major issue with these nannies was the bold blazing statement that I should not bother responding if I was going to be home. I didn't like the feeling of not being welcome in my own house. The only thing I disagree with on your list was the parent making time to play with the child once in a while; if I had the opportunity to be home and take a break to engage with my daughter, I would love that! And my nanny could feel free to do whatever so wanted during that time, unsupervised, unafraid that I was going to straddle her with a list of chores that were not her job or her problem!

Anonymous said...

$10 for one baby is fine. I am also in CA (LA).

Anonymous said...

Just Anonymous and Laura--I agree completely. When I work at home I try to be respectful of my nanny, keep to myself and don't interfere and I my children are not allowed to play me against her. Working at home has been a real eye opener to how hard she works everyday. But it's funny how things get misinterpreted and magnified in the nanny/employer relationship when you're at home sometimes. For example, our household schedule is very tight somedays and alot of times my nanny doesn't get a chance to clean up the kids and her plates from meals before they have to be off. She always gets everything neat and clean by end of the day. But, I started to make a point of cleaning up the dishes and wiping the table now and then on days where she didn't get to it before going out (often while on conferences calls) just to lighten her load a tiny bit. At one point she came to me and told me it was bothering her that I thought she couldn't do part of her job. I was very surprised and I explained I never thought that, and it is because she is so good at a really hard job I was just trying to help out. I've also made a point of telling her she should take breaks and enjoy what little downtime she gets during the day. The crying is hard. As much as I sometimes want to come out of my office when a child is crying I've forced myself not to (after all the tone of an I want something or I'm tired or not getting my way cry is different than a cry of genuine pain or anguish). My nanny knows how to recognize and address my childs needs and how to deal with a temper tantrum (as in don't give in even if they are making a fuss) and me being there often prolongs the noise.

Calanna said...

The dynamics of SOME parent-child relationships make it very difficult for a nanny to do her job with the parents around.

If the parent lets the child play one off the other, or tries to undermine the nanny's routines and [appropriate] expectations of the child, or interrupts just when the nanny has gotten the child calmed down and transitioned to the next activity, or if the child knows that the parent will always trump the nanny... etc.

It all depends upon the age(s) of the child(ren) and the dynamics of the parent-child relationship. Not all nannies who avoid WFH moms have nefarious motives, and not all WFH moms are hellish to work for.

mom said...

Maggie's Mom-
I hope you meant "saddle" her with a list of chores...because if you were to "straddle" her with a list of chores (or even withour one, for that matter) not only would that be truly obnoxious, but very probably illegal as well. (hehehe...just yankin your chain...my posts are full of typos all the time!)

☼mpp☼ said...

Mom,
You never cease to put a smile on my face. ☺

Anonymous said...

No matter how good the relationship with the mom is, or how easy and cooperative the children, it is harder for the nanny when the mom is home. It just is.
If a nanny prefers a WOTH mom, it doesn't necessarily mean she is lazy, or locking the kids in the broom closet. Maybe she likes to plan her days activities, host noisy play dates, set up elaborate messy art projects etc. without interruptions. I can't imagine an experienced nanny, given a choice between two identical jobs, one SAHM, one WOHM, would choose a SAH!

Anonymous said...

Yeah really, a stay at home parent can be a real pain in the ass!!

Maggie's Mommy said...

Mom -
I laughed out loud when I saw your response - I caught straddle right after I posted and then thought, what are the odds someone will notice? Apparently pretty good!

Anonymous said...

Part Time rates are higher...$15 up and hour . I am a nanny and that's the going rate for Part-Time.