Thursday, June 26, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
I am a nanny with a big decision to make: should I stay with my current family and honor my commitment until March 2009 or get out of there now?
I can't tell if I am being unreasonable or if I really should leave. I feel as though I am being taken advantage of, but I would like some perspective from employers of nannies. Here's my story:
I have been with the family for one year and three months. I work about 46.5 hours a week and I live out. There are three children ages, two, four and six (who is currently in school.)
Since working with this family, they have taken three vacations. The first vacation was about a year ago, for about ten days total. The family did not pay me while they were away, but luckily I found enough work with another family and earned enough income.
The second vacation was a three and a half week trip out of the country during December and January. I was given one week's pay, Christmas and New Year's Day pay, and earned the rest of my income through other families. I did manage to earn almost my regular pay, but I did not receive a bonus or gift of any kind.
Then, in March I talked to my employer about my financial situation and we negotiated a better deal for me. I received a .65/hour raise and she promised I would be covered for any future vacations the family takes. This meant I should still seek other employment while they were away, but that she would pay the difference between my regular pay and whatever income I found, if I could not find enough. She also promised to give me a $20/week raise this September. At this time I accepted her offer and committed to working for the family until March of 2009.
Now, a few days ago, and right before the third vacation, I had another talk with my employer. Because I commute about 32 miles round trip to get to work, and I don't get reimbursed for gas money while I drive the kids, I asked for a cost of living raise. I explained that I was experiencing financial hardship because of gas prices and other bills going up. She said she would think about it and get back to me.
Yesterday she came home from work exactly at the time I was supposed to leave, and over an hour explained the following to me:
In response to my raise request, she will give me the September raise of $20-25/week early - as soon as they get back from their trip.
Because I was unable to find any work to earn income while they are away on their third vacation (they leave early tomorrow), she said I could just house sit and do things around the House for them. She came up for a two-page list of things for me to do while they are away. They are having their kitchen cabinets painted while they are gone and will need some help preparing. The two page document of my tasks includes:
-bringing in mail, watering plants, general house sitting stuff
-preparing for painting: peeling stickers and removing artwork off cabinets, assembling boxes and removing and boxing contents of all 25 cabinets and 15 drawers in kitchen and downstairs bathroom
-review painting, give feedback, record potential problems and give painters paycheck
-put everything back in cabinets after the paint is dry
-organize and re-arrange playroom including: arranging new art tables and craft closet supplies in playroom, move v-tech desk into close, and sort through all toys into throwaway and giveaway bags and general re-organizing of everything
-spring clean in the bedroom: rinse plastic under covers on beds, sort out puzzles drawer, clean scribbles of the walls with softscrub, clean surfaces of kids playroom and bedroom with lysol
-move one child's clothes from dresser in parent's room into bedroom shelves, sort out other child's wardrobe and remove dressy clothes to put in other closet
After she got done explaining my tasks, the topic of sick days came up. I had taken one on Friday and still needed my paycheck for last week. At this time, she informed me that she didn't feel right about giving me sick days this year. I told her I did have four sick days last year. She said she just couldn't justify paying me for any sick days if she is also paying me my regular income to do part-time work while they are away on vacation. Also, she pays for six major holidays each year. I told her that I felt that all people deserve a few sick days, especially since I rarely call out sick and often the kids get me sick. I also made the point that I work for her full time and rely on her for my full income. She said she understood, so she would let me make up any sick days I take by babysitting evenings for them. I was in shock so I said okay. :( I don't know why I said it but I did.
Now I don't know what to do or what to think. Is this really fair? Am I just being too picky or is this wrong? It feels wrong but I am not an employer. I am ready to look for another job but I have committed for another nine months. Plus I am in love with those kids and would miss them like nothing before.
I am also doubtful that talking to my boss more will help.Through these conversations and other casual ones, I feel like I have exhausted the subject of my financial hardship. I can only wonder why would she be so reluctant to give me paid days off? As someone with a nanny, what do you make of this?
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Honor my commitment or get out now?
Thursday, June 26, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion