Nanny needs advice about Employer's Maternity leave and adding another child

Received Saturday, June 28, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
I currently nanny for a 3-year-old girl whose mother is pregnant and due in January. I am very satisfied in this job right now, love the little girl, the parents are a dream to work for, and no complaints from me. We do have an employment contract between us, however, it does not mention anything about how maternity leave will be handled (the parents didn't think they would be having another at the time they hired me). So my question is, do most nannies just keep working full-time through a maternity leave? Or do they work part-time? Or not at all? Also, what is the norm when it comes to a percentage raise for adding a second child to my care?This mother will be getting three months off and I cannot afford to take three months off, or even three months at a part-time salary. But I'd like to know what the norm is before we have this discussion. Another question is, the little girl will be starting pre-school in the fall, three mornings a week. Do most nannies get paid for that time even if the child is in school? I do no other work for them such as housework, cooking, or shopping -- I only do child care. But, again, I really can't afford to take a pay cut because the child is in school three mornings a week. So I guess three questions: 1. What is the norm for handling pay during a maternity leave? 2. What is the average percentage pay raise to expect for adding a second child to my care? 3. What is the norm for handling reduced child care responsibilities when the child is in school?
Thanks for any input on this!


emily said...

Unless this mom is ignorant of the world or horribly insensitive, she realizes that you can't simply not work or work part-time for three months. If she's going on Maternity leave from her job, she's most likely being paid at her full salary, so it shouldn't be a hardship to continue paying you at full salary as well.

I've worked for two different moms who went on Maternity leave, one for 3 months and one for six. I kept up with my normal work with the older children and gradually took over caring for the baby as well. Usually I did not receive a raise until after the mom went back to work and I was the main caregiver for the baby as well as the other kids.

As for the amount of your raise, it varies, at least in my experience. The first time I did not get a raise at all, but that's largely because I'd only come on board 3 months before the baby came, so my salary was set with the baby in mind. The second time, I received a $200 a week raise, but that may be more than the average.

The absolute most important thing for you to do is talk to the mom about what's to come. Don't sit and speculate and don't let there be any surprises, especially financial surprises for you.

Laura said...

i think its about $1-2 raise an hour for adding a new child.

Anonymous said...

You have to sit down and carefully plan a new contract, one that obviously includes the baby. The easiest way to approach her is right before the baby is due, and explain that since there will be a new addition, you need to know what your new hours and pay are going to be.
Please don't under estimate your worth, because this is where things can get sticky if you do, and you'll end up resentful .... you've been happy up 'til now, so do what you can to keep it that way.

Anonymous said...

calif nanny here..I have worked with several moms to be. One mom didnt give me a raise when the baby came stating that she was going to be taking care of him herself (she was a work at home mom), well of course that didnt work cause I was doing the extra laundry and being handed off the baby when mom needed to answer phone or what not. I ended up quitting that job because of it. The next mom had triplet boys (18 months old) and got pregnant...she was a "not working mom"...she gave me a 50 cent raise..big whoop.Though she did take the little girl with her alot on errands but there was still feeding and laundry extra. The next mom who I now work for gave me a dollar an hour raise once she went back to work. While she was home I worked my regular hours and was paid my reg rate. There is no way that even with the mom home your rate of pay or hours should change. When the older goes to school you still have the little one now to tend to. This mom will actually need you more now as she will be needing rest and now there is two kids who need feeding bathing and laundry done.

Anonymous said...

Wow, even $2 per hour raise sounds kind of crappy to me. An extra $80 per week (assuming a 40 hour work week) to do all the work involved with caring for an infant? That doesn't sound good enough to me.

Anyhow, I do agree with the other posters that you should sit down with them and draw up a new contract, but I think you should do it immediately. If they refuse to or cannot afford to give you an appropriate raise, that will give you some time before the new baby arrives to find a new job. Other than that I can't really offer any advice. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

If the mom wants you to be there when the baby arrives, she won't cut your hours during her maternity leave.
The usual raise for an additional child is $1-2 an hour.
Since you will have the baby when the 3 yo is in school, that shouldn't be an issue. You will have to go back and forth with the baby in tow to pick up, even if the parents drop off, and that can be quite a chore in bad weather if you are in a city and stroller it.
I would ask your employer for a sit down to discuss the new arrangements as soon as possible. GL

Nanny B said...

I was watching a 2 year old girl full time when mom gave birth to the second child. I worked full time and then some because mom was so tired and dad was not home from work when I was supposed to be off. Just because mom is home doesn't mean your job is going to be easier. While the older one is in school mom will ask you to take care of baby and it will be more busy. Good Luck.

N is for Nanny said...

1.) You should receive the same pay and "similar" hours until your raise goes into effect. I've always received my baby raises once the baby is born because there's more to do around the house (laundry, bottles - I mean, if I'm doing laundry or emptying the dishwasher, I'm completing those chores) and the older child(ren) may have slightly changed needs. My MBs have also liked having the option of leaving me with just the baby (to spend time with the older child) or both kids (even if just to go for a walk alone, spend time with someone who came to meet the baby, doc appts) right from the start and we don't differentiate whether I have one kid or two for my rate. I have one rate. I have been asked if I can tweak my hours - usually come in late and stay late to help with bedtime/dinner - but always with advance notice. Some families give the new baby raise when the mom returns to work. I think a lot of it depends on the family's needs during the maternity leave and how much the mother if receiving.

2.) If you are salaried, I'd say 10-30%. If you are paid hourly, $1-$3/hr. In lieu of or in addition to additional salary, some families will offer "big" perks, like health insurance or additional paid vacation.

3.) It sounds like you have a period of four months between Charge 1 starting school and Charge 2 being born. Once MB has the baby, the logistics of getting everyone ready and out the door will likely be horrific and she will need you for school drop-off and pick-up. One thing to remember is that even though there is school three mornings/week, there are a lot of vacation weeks, schools sometimes close unexpectedly, and kids get sick. If your charge has not been in daycare/school setting before, she'll probably get sick a fair amount at first. One mother I know worked out that between days off and days out, her son attended an average of four days/week (out of five) for his first two years of preschool. If your charge misses a similar amount, we're talking about, what, six hours of "free" time? Add in drop-off and pick-up...
Before broaching this with your employer, I would encourage you to think of things you could do during these hours. Ideally, they would be project based (washing baby clothes/linens/toys? organizing your charge's outgrown things?) or things you could continue to do after MB's maternity leave is up, such as errands or grocery shopping. I would not try to take on cleaning or any heavy household responsibility, as between vacations, sick days, and new baby, it is not realistic for you to continue with them and would be exhausting to you. I mean, we're talking about four months. I've heard of nannies volunteering with their charge's classes or elsewhere, which might be another option. If you have not recently worked with infants, maybe some of those hours could be spent/shifted to an infant care course or reading a book, if their is one that the parents are firm advocates of.

I think the advice to renegotiate a new contract for two kids is fantastic. Good luck! I think you're wise to be working this out now.

Anonymous said...
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cali mom said...

I haven't read all the comments yet so sorry if this is repetitive, but Emily...I'm afraid your astounding ignorance regarding jobs OUTSIDE the nanny world is showing again. It varies by state but in California, a company is REQUIRED to *ALLOW* 12 weeks of UNPAID Family Leave (no longer referred to as "maternity leave"). To clarify, they don't have to pay a single red cent to a mother or father who uses the time off to bond with a new infant, and many don't. So it is very wrong to ASSUME that this woman is getting her full pay for her time off.

OP, you need to discuss it with her ASAP. You need to know what her plans are for continuing YOUR employment, and on what terms. You have 7 months to work it out, so even if she says she has decided to stay home FT with both kids, you should be able to find a new job, though it sounds like this one is great, so hopefully that WON'T be the case.

Anonymous said...

I currently get paid for time when my charge is in school/some activity, whether I'm physically present or not, so long as I am working with him right before and right after (days when his mother drops him off, I get paid as of pick up). If I drop him at school and then he gets sick and needs to come home early, I'm on call for that, and I can't use the in-between time very effectively for my own purposes because I can't go far. Some activities I sit and watch or wait in the waiting room because it makes the most sense.

Then again, the family I work for really values hiring me to care for him and him only, not the home... so I don't have any other "duties" I'm paid for in the meantime. Although when I offer, I sometimes will run to the groecery store (like on a day where they've just come back from vacation and have no food), things like that. But not often.

JustMyOpinions said...

My overall impression is that they are changing a lot about the job and you really need to go over this all with them. I agree with the person who says to revise your contract to include the baby and other changes.

But here are my answers to your questions:

1. What is the norm for handling pay during a maternity leave?

I would say you get your full pay because you are depending on that income and it's not your decision to take the time off.

2. What is the average percentage pay raise to expect for adding a second child to my care?

I would expect about $1/hour to start with, since the baby will sleep a lot and the work will be mellow at first. Plus the girl will be in preschool. But then I would want another $1/hour raise when the baby starts to be more active in a few months to a year.

3. What is the norm for handling reduced child care responsibilities when the child is in school?

Normally nannies just help out with other childcare-related things around the house while the other child is in school. The mom will be very tired so you can help with the baby, do childcare-related housekeeping and errands, things like that. Just make sure it's all in writing. You don't want to end up ironing their clothes (unless you like ironing).

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

I think you should get paid normally and full hours until mom is back to work- even if the older child will be in school for a few hrs- those days take the baby at that time. When it is time to have both I think a $2 an hour raise is fair for the entire time you are needed- keeping in mind that part of the time you will just have the baby (so instead of $3-4 raise I think it equals out) assuming that $2 is at least a 10% raise.

Trust me, that mom will be BUSY while on leave and also you MUST state that you will have the baby while she is at home for no more than x hours a week until full pay goes into effect as it's safe to assume she will be trying to hand it off to you OR leave with you ear as the baby will be asleep. Explain to her that even if the child is asleep- if you are responsible for it then you should receive full pay for 2 children.

nyc mom said...

This is coming from an employer's perspective, having just had our 3rd child 9 months ago.

I mostly agree with 7:44 and 9:18.

1. You should continue to receive full pay during mom's maternity leave. I would insist this is nonnegotiable. She will need you plenty I'm sure so it shouldn't be an issue. The raise can either come when baby is born or at end of maternity leave. I've seen it done both ways and see arguments for both. We did when baby was born. But if I were you I would be flexible on this point if maternity leave is short and save your bargaining power for other issues.

2. Average raise for adding another child (albeit, in my experience on the ues in nyc only) is $50/week for a full time employee or $1-2/hr for pt. I could see an argument for raise of $100 for full time IF both children are young and neither will be in school, but usually that is not the case. For us, both my older two are in full day school so 80-90% of my nanny's hours are with only one child (so in many ways her workload has actually gone done now).

3. Duties while older child is in preschool and before new baby is born are well explained above. Do kids laundry, organize rooms, sort old clothes, label toys, etc. I also agree that you should not pick up extra housekeeping as you will not be able to maintain this later and it might become "expected."

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

OP here -- thank you all so much for the great advice! I appreciate you taking the time to go into such detail, it will be tremendously helpful to me as I move forward with this. Again, many thanks!

mnanny said...

I was upfront with my bosses. They had expressed to me that I would be work only a few hours a week during her leave. I told them that I would not be able to live on that (with a mortgage and other bills) and if they wanted me to be available whenever, I needed my normal pay or I would be getting a temporary job and would be totally unavailable. They agreed. I got my normal pay and at the beginning of each week she would tell me what days to come in and for how long. It was the best summer of my life.
Ask for AT LEAST $3 raise with the addition of the new baby. Sleeping or not, it is still a ton of extra work!
Good Luck

a texas nanny said...

Many of the nice posters have had great advice but missed the fact that the current child will start school in the Fall... and the baby will be born about (I'm guessing) four months later in January. Many of the responses are giving advice under the impression that the current child will be starting school at the same time or after the new baby is born and OP can just take on extra baby duties, but that is not the case.
Just wanted to throw that out there in case the posters who have already given advice want to revise said advice based on this information, because I'm sure they have great ideas!

mnanny said...

While your charge is at school, maybe you can pick up some other duties in the house. When my 3 1/2 yo charge is in school, I run errands and straighten up the house.
Your charge going to school should have zero affect (pay wise) on you.

emily said...

Cali Mom--perhaps I'm being oversensitive, but I'm beginning to think you're just jumping at the chance to correct me lately.

I did not speak to what the law requires--I was talking about what is LIKELY the case. The OP is a nanny, and therefore she's most likely working for people who can afford a nanny. Of course it's not a blanket rule, but generally in the corporate world, a short time of PAID maternity leave is standard. Not everyone gets it, of course, but many do.

Why is it you keep reading so much into my comments? Most everyone else manages to take them at face value.

Anonymous said...

Oh cali mom, do I love you!
But emily was only relating her experience. I don't think she was intimating that that's the way it is, or should be.

Anonymous said...

Well, Emily, I agree with Cali mom on this one. The FMLA info she related was correct and here in CA. , maternity lv through unemployment is only 55% of your regular take home PAY.

I too was paid my full salary while my employer was on maternity lv, however, not all families can afford to pay a nanny when they are bringing home 50% of what they are used to.

Just something to think about.

Anonymous said...

I've never not worked when a mom was on maternity leave with a new baby. If anything, they need MORE help dealing with the newborn and the sibling who is trying to figure out where this new little creature came from.

You should definitely sit down with them and rework your contract since there is another child. Make sure it includes pay increase, hours, duties regarding both the children, etc.

Even though one child may be going to school in the fall and mom will be on maternity leave, there is still going to be lots to do: laundry for the baby, errands, feedings, giving mom a break here and there, keeping older child happy and such....

kate said...

Even parents who don't get paid maternity leave understand that if they want to keep their nanny they have to continue paying her at 100%.

One thing to consider, however, is that a sibling raise is not something that you should expect. It's nice, and lots of parents will pay it, but lots won't. They've hired a nanny and don't feel that the pay is contingent on how many kids they have. If you're doing a good job, however, you can probably negotiate one, but don't act like it's your due just because 22 posters said you should get $1-3 more an hour.

Anonymous said... you ever give it a rest!! Why are you so damn mean?

"outstanding ignorance is showing once again"
I hope you don't pass this uglyness onto your child, that would be very sad.

Lv Emily alone. Lv people who are different than you alone. It's fine to state your opinions but you just outright call names and antogonize! Grow up already!
There are ways to disagree while remaining civilized . Could you possibly figure one of them out and knock off the crap that you keep throwing everyone's way!
You are spoiling the site for many posters.
This is not high school, lets act like adults!

cali mom said...

Emily, you may indeed be oversensitive to other poster's opinions, but the very simple FACT is that, if you are assuming (or guessing, if you prefer that term) that this mom is receiving full pay while she is on leave, your chances of being right are 50% at best. Seriously, tell me...if a nanny wants 3 months off of pregnancy/medical/family leave, do most employers pay her salary 100% just to be nice, even though they aren't reqired to? WHY do you think employers at companies are so different than nanny employers? Employers are employers, some appreciate their employees and go above and beyond what is legally required for their employees, many don't.

cali mom said...

12:15, unlike high school, YOU are free to leave at any time. You are also free to skip over my posts since *I* always put my name at the TOP of them, and if you took a vote to speak on behalf ov everyone on this site, I missed your announcement. Do you also stick your fingers into a blender and hit all the buttons to see which one hurts the most, so that you can have fun complaining about that?

emily said...

Cali mom: I've never pretended not to have a bias. I've been a long time poster to this site, and a lot of the other regular readers know that I'm a New York nanny. I work for very wealthy people. I'm well educated and so are all of my friends. I live in a world where everyone (myself, my friends, my employers) gets 2 weeks vacation, sick days, personal days and paid holidays (minimum!). We get our health insurance paid at close to 100%, gym memberships, bonuses, and yes, we also get paid family leave.

When I leave a comment for someone like the OP, I don't necessarily assume that she lives in a world that's like mine, but I do assume that my imput might be at least mildly useful or interesting to her. And I don't think I need to make this kind of disclaimer each time I leave a comment . . . but I do understand how it might be useful to someone such as yourself to put my comments in context, so I think about it for the future.