What's my job?

Received Saturday, June 21, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
First off I would like to give you some background info . I have been with this family for 3 yrs they have two great children . We get alone great . Sometime I think to great .

What is our job as a nanny? Should we only be there when the parents work ? Or should we be there so they can go out and do what they please during the day in example: : nails , hair , massages and a long list of other things ????

Here's why I asked . I am salaried based , I am suppose to work 50 hrs a week my hrs are M-F 700-500 . My issue is the parents are later a lot , I mean anywhere from 15 minutes to a 1hr or more . Sometimes they ask me to stay when they have meetings etc. Which can run into the late night . Now here's where I run into the problem Dad will get off a lot half of days or Fridays the whole day . But they still keep me there intill the time I get off , I do not get paid over time for the extra time I am there . It is suppose to be time off which I never get . They do take at least 2 weeks off threw the year and I do get paid because it is in my contract . So what do I do ???? I am lost on how to bring this up ? I don't want to be there all hrs of the night and then he has the next day off . I am still there . Please help . I have a family of my own and i am getting to the point where I don't know what to do .

Dad also got orders out of state for 3 yrs . So during this time everything will fall on my shoulders . Also is alright to say in my new contract when dad or mom gets home . That I can leave . Or if dad is home a day I get that day off ???? He will be coming home when he cans .

Also what happens when the kids go to school . the youngest is starting preschool this fall , He will only be there from 9-12 , But the parents want me to pick up more housework so they can keep me on full time . Should my pay go up or should it stay the same ? What is full time ? I always thought 40 hrs where full time . Thank you.


Anonymous said...

40 hours is full time, and when they arent home you need to tell them that you are to be paid time and half for the extra hours. dont let them walk all over you like they already are.

seattlenanny said...

Most people I know on salary receive comp time (days off) for any hours over 40. They are taking advantage of you. You mentioned a contract. If your renewal is coming up I would ask to be paid hourly from here on out. As for bringing it up, I know it's hard when you're not a confrontational type of person. I always feel best about confrontation when I schedule a meeting (away from children) and come prepared with notes and reminders about what I want to bring up. Don't let them bully you about this. You are working too many hours and are entitled to a life as well. GOOD LUCK!

One Fabulous Nanny said...

I'm also salaried, but I get paid overtime for anything over 40 hours a week. If you're being paid under the table, there's not much legally you can do about this, aside from demanding that you get paid on the books lol; if you ARE on the books, then you can look up what your states regulations are on overtime and what have you.

I don't charge anything for when the parents are home and I'm home. The only time I get overtime is when my 40 hours are breeched, and they are always overly fair about the money.

It's your choice if you want to do housework next year or not. Granted I don't think any nanny should be subjected to it, but if that's the case, it's more labor intensive and I'd ask for a raise.

You should definitely have a new contract written for when the father leaves; this will change the entire work situation for you, and you need to be protected.

Casey said...

If you are salaried, they can have you work as many hours as they want, unless it specifically states 50hrs in your contract. If you are an exec at a company and salaried, you will work more than 40 hrs a week.

You need to talk to them about it, even if it is hard and voice your concerns. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I am paid on the books . I recieve a w2 every year .
my contract states the hours i am to work . It also states anything over that will be comp time .
But i do not recieve that time off . I could be there 2 hrs over one night .Then the next day one of teh parents are off of work . I am still there till the time i should get off.
Should it be when they walk in the door i leave or do i wait intill they tell me to leave ?

nyc mom said...

I pay my nanny a weekly salary for approximately 45 hours a week of work. I give her a written schedule every Friday as her hours vary somewhat each week. I think it is irrelevant what I am doing during the hours she is working. Of course, if I had an emergency at work and had to stay late, I think she would do everything possible to accomodate that. However, if it went beyond her scheduled hours, I would either pay her overtime or give her compensatory hours off on another day. But if I had that option and chose to spend 45 hours a week getting pedicures, that should have no bearing on her schedule or pay as long as I stick to our work agreement. I often arrive home and shower, pay bills, or do other non-work related things that I cannot do once my nanny leaves. I work half time, but have a full time nanny specifically because I have plenty of other things to do to maintain our household that I cannot do well at the same time as caring for my 3 kids.

It is common for nannies and families to renegotiate duties and hours once the youngest starts preschool. It is common for nannies to agree to pick up some extra household tasks in order to maintain a full time job with the same family. However, it is still your choice whether you choose to continue in this position with revised duties. If you simply do not want a job with additional housework, that is understandable and you should make that clear and give notice. It will likely mean you have to change jobs more often than someone who was willing to do more household tasks, but still, that is your prerogative. The key is communication and honesty. Don't agree to something you will resent later as that is a set up for unhappiness on both sides.

Finally, you should personally decide what work situation you can be happy with when taking a job and spell that out clearly in your contract. Many nannies simply do not want to work for WAHM, SAHM, or pt WOHM. The key is to know what you can tolerate and be happy, and find a good match in a family. I do think it is unfair to assume that just because a parent arrives home, their (and your) workday is over and you are entitled to leave. I often have work related calls and paperwork, bills to pay, and extensive work to do on a house remodeling. Just because I am home has little bearing on whether I "need" my nanny's help.

N is for Nanny said...

Have you asked for your comp time? Do you log your hours? As your contract is for fifty hours, it sounds like "full-time" for your position is fifty hours. A lot of nanny positions tend to run around fifty hours/week. Not that it's all right for your family to be taking advantage of you (which it sounds like they are) but you don't need to make it easy for them. Make it easy for them to compensate you.

For your next contract, I'd suggest that you state 50 hrs/week, standardly M-F 7a-5p, with nanny expected to show flexibility for late meetings with x notice. Hours worked beyond 50 in a M-Su week will either be compensated at $x/hr (overtime rate) or comp time, within x time period, unless otherwise requested by the nanny. If the long hours are too much, you could request x hrs between shift start and shift end or state a maximum number of hours (barring emergency) you are available to work in a week. If you are going to do that, you might want to also offer to help them find back-up care if they do not already have a list of babysitters.

In my position (8:30-7), my MB/DB are home or taking care of personal things at times - sometimes working, sometimes hanging with one child, sometimes chatting on the phone with friends or relaxing. It's their time and I think they can do what they'd like with it. I'm not bothered by the fact that after a rough night, MB might take a nap while we're at the park and then go out for lunch, a haircut, and a manicure. You know why? Because she's always home by 7, so it doesn't impact MY time. Is the problem how they spend their time or how they are spending yours?

Anonymous said...

It drives me crazy because they are always late . Anywhere form 15 minutes to hrs late . When the parents they are off they dont give me my comp time . I feel if i am there over they need to make sure to make up for the time not go off and do what ever . I Have 1 child of my own and this effects my time with him . I have been keeping track of all the extra time i am there and some weeks i am there 6 hrs or more over the 50 hrs .

When i am off i have my child . I am sorry but i dont believe in other people having my son when i am home . Why have kids if you can not give them the time they need ,

CT mom said...

work half time, but have a full time nanny specifically because I have plenty of other things to do to maintain our household that I cannot do well at the same time as caring for my 3 kids.

Thats funny i see families with 5 or more kids that do not need nannies so they can get things done at home . You made the choice to have 3 kids and be raised by you not someone else . You learn how to do things with children . I feel sorry for your children .Single parents , military families etc raised thier kids and learn to do everything on their own . And if you can't do things with your kids there maybe you should of thought about that before you had 3 ..........

seattlenanny said...

If you want to use your comp time you should ask for it in advance. It sounds like communication isn't happening. They might just think you're saving your comp time and that's why they're not letting you off early when their home. I know it's hard but you need to let your voice be heard.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it sounds to me like you are a bit judgmental. What does it matter what your employer does so long as you are on the clock? If she comes home early and stands on her head for three hours, who are you to say anything? I think some of you nannies have chips on your shoulder the size of Kirstie Alley. You need to realize the natural order of things as an employee, you don't rule the roost, you don't make the rules.

UmassSlytherin said...

I rather like kirstie alley, especially in that olsen twins movie with that guttenberg guy.

nyc mom said...

ct mom,

People can and do many things that I choose not to. That does not mean it is right or wrong. People make choices that are best for their families. I am up at night every 2-3 hours with a baby. I am also an ER doctor and work 12 hour shifts with a schedule that varies every week. I am not capable of working a 12+ hour shift on 4 hours sleep, then staying up again all night and the next day. Maybe when I was 20yo, but not anymore! I am a much better parent if I am not sleep deprived. Plus, I love the luxury of being able to help my older two kids with their homework at night occasionally and actually teach them things myself. I can't do it every night, but I really value the times when I have someone to help with my baby and can spend extra time with my other two kids.

Raising children well is hard work! Fun, rewarding, but also hard at times. I'm not someone who is going to minimize the work involved. I'm also not one to judge other people's choices in raising their kids. It's great that some families with 5 kids can raise them with no additional help whatsoever while also working. I'm just not that talented! I spend all my free time with one or more of my kids and love that we are financially able to have extra help so I can spend 1 on 1 time with each occasionally. I truly hope whatever situation you have is working for your family. Sometimes the need to judge and criticize others reflects an subconscious dissatisfaction with one's own life. I hope that isn't the case for you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but the nanny should be able to go home early if the father is home early on Friday. Afterall, she is working over her hours during the rest of the week.

One Fabulous Nanny said...

I've been reading your updates, and it sounds like you're pretty bitter towards your bosses. I could be wrong, but you do sound a bit harsh. How they spend their time doesn't really affect you or your job; now how MUCH time they spend does. I agree that you should be rewarded your comp. time, but you have to make the effort to find out when that time is allotted. Maybe they're planning on adding it to your vacation time, or giving it to you at the end of the year. You won't know til ya ask! I'd suggest talking to them this week and wording it as a totally non offensive question, something along the lines of, "I know I've been building up quite a bit of comp. time, but we never really discussed when I can actually use it. What are your ideas?" Word it so that they don't feel attacked, and therefore are more likely to work with you on it.

And as for Anon at 10:24, employers like hers tend to cause those chips. Sure, I don't think OP has the best attitude, but her employers are taking advantage of her. You need to back down a little and realize that employers aren't angels and that is why we have so many overworked, underpaid, pissed off nannies out there.

Good thing I'm not one :) haha

Anonymous said...


You sound very sweet, and I am sorry your employers are douchy and put you in this uncomfortable position. I, for one, am glad you felt you could turn to this site. I hope some of the advice posted here will help. Best of luck!

toolonghours said...

As a nanny, I think you are working too many hours overall. 50 hours is a lot. I work 46.5 and it's too much.

It sounds like you are resenting not having enough time to spend with your own family, regardless of whether or not you are compensated for it. I would discuss with them shortening your hours and making sure you leave at a certain time every day. (Except for special occaisions or emergencies)

I would not negotiate about overtime pay or vacation time unless you are really okay with that trade for your time. In my heart, I believe the root of the problem is that you just don't have enough time for yourself and your family.

If you are a good nanny, I believe the family can find a way to accomodate your reduced hours to keep you happy and keep you with them.

Anonymous said...

As many posters have said, this is not about how they choose to spend their time, this is about your hours.
Do you know in advance which hours your are going to work? If not, or if you find them too long, you have to bring it up with them, which is perfectly understandable. Ask them for compensation.
But what they do with their time is none of your business.

Anonymous said...

As many posters have said, this is not about how they choose to spend their time, this is about your hours.
Do you know in advance which hours your are going to work?

This is about my time . I have never been been a issue in what they do on thier time . But now they dont try to make up for the time i am there they cont . to keep me late . Then they will take a day off to do these things . Which is not right . I feel bad when i have to have a day off which isnt very often . My husband just came back from a 15 mth depolyment and i didnt even take off the day after he got home . because th dad was out of town and the mom always says she so busy . But then they will take days off for these things and basically make me feel bad when i need to take a comp day . It wasnt a problem at 1st it used to be they were home they would do whatever then send me home a few hrs early and it would make up for the time . It seems like the older the kids get they just dont know what to do with them . The older one will play alone for a bit but the younger one wants attention every minute fome them . Where when i am there the younger one will quiet play also if i making lunch , switching clothes etc ......

Anonymous said...

It is common for nannies and families to renegotiate duties and hours once the youngest starts preschool. It is common for nannies to agree to pick up some extra household tasks in order to maintain a full time job with the same family.

I have no problem with housework i do way more than i am suppose to now . I always have in some way i think i do too make that they depend on me too much .I do the children clothes , bedding , moms & dads clothes , i take out the trash in every room , .I mean i do everything that i can do to help them so they have more time with the kids . I have decide i will be sitting down and talking to them this week . Some changes need to made .

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it sounds to me like you are a bit judgmental. What does it matter what your employer does so long as you are on the clock? If she comes home early and stands on her head for three hours, who are you to say anything? I think some of you nannies have chips on your shoulder the size of Kirstie Alley.

I am not bitter or anything i love these kids and it hurts me to think i may have to leave them . I can not have some one walking all over me . I have lots of nanny friends and they keep telling i am too nice i can never say no . and evern moms i met that know me syas that i have too big of a heart , maybe that why they think i never leave . but there comes a point in your life where you have to decide whats more important in life . I just worried this is going to keep getting worse and worse with dad moving out of town .

Anonymous said...

In my heart, I believe the root of the problem is that you just don't have enough time for yourself and your family.

If you are a good nanny, I believe the family can find a way to accomodate your reduced hours to keep you happy and keep you with them.

I dont have enough time with my family . we will have plans that i will have change them because they are running late which is not fair to my son or husband .
I came in knowing it was 50 hrs a week .But there was suppose to be a back up sitter for anything over . I seen a back up sitter one time in 3 yrs .thats there jobs as parents to have a back up sitter not mine . I have one for my son for when he sick etc , I did the interviewing etc .....

Anonymous said...

Well,coming from my perspective as a fellow nanny and a mother, sounds like you need to find a different family to work for with less hours so you can spend more time with your own family. I know it's hard, because you are very attached to their kids, but you also sound like you are more comfortable working with parents that don't stay at home. I know I am. So, go for a fresh start and make sure you specify exactly what you want in your contract this time around. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I don't think OP is complaining about what her bosses do but if boss is late because boss wants a manicure causing OP to work extra FOR FREE ,then yes, she has the right to mind. I would mind too.

OP's employers are taking advantage. Just because you're salaried does not mean you work extra for free regularly. Salaried means no one's counting if either one of you are 10 minutes late or if a parent comes home early and you're off for the rest of the day of if a parent has an EMERGENCY at work and you have to stay back.

I'm sure it's stated in your contract that you are paid X amount for X amount of hours. Any extra means you either get paid for those hours or get time off. It's up to YOU to demand for them. It is your right. Once they realize you're not a pushover, they'll probably come late less often (as it directly affects them).

mpp said...

I think these Parents are counting on you being attached to their kids, and it's making it way too easy for them to take advantage of you.

I would sit down and ask them to draw up a new contract. Tell them that you really would prefer to keep a set 40 hrs. - it shouldn't be too difficult for them to work it out with you because you've stated that at the most, they've gone over approximately 6 hrs.

Good luck. Let us know what happens.

Anonymous said...

CT Mom
Rude rude rude. Every family is unique. The fact that it is possible to manage with a large family and no help doesn't necessarily mean it is the best situation. An extra pair of hands can mean a child spends time in the playground getting exercise and socialization, then home for story time and an art project, instead of being confined to a stroller all afternoon doing errands.

Anonymous said...

You work 50 hours a week...that is your contract. Anything other than that is OVERTIME.
If they are home, that doesn't concern you once it falls in your 50 hours.
You still get oyur two weeks paid vacation.
When the kids go to school you can keep your job by houskeeping etc within 50 hours.
Bottom line work around 50 hours, anythhing after that is overtime and should be compensated. I fyou want to contine working there when kid goes to school, you will be houskeeping...thats what usually happens, but its not so bad when you pace yourself.


cali mom said...

nycmom and onefabulous nanny, VERY well said!

OP, if 50 hours and no more is acceptable to you, I'd state in your new contract that your weekly MAX is 50 hours, and that if they are to run more than 1 hour beyond that in any week, THEY MUST make the arrangements with a backup sitter AND give you minimum 1 hours notice. An occasional emergency may arise, so you could say that one such incident in 3 months (no notice, OT required) could be negotiable, 2nd time in 3 months would constitute your 4 weeks notice. And ANY hours over 50 per week must be paid at $x/hr, should be approximately time and a half.

It really sounds like lack of communication is the problem, and that if you are able to initiate a professional discussion with reasonable terms laid out, both sides can continue happily.

The contract MUST take into account any changes in job description due to the dad being away, and if they can't meet YOUR needs with that in mind, you need to find a new family to work for. More housework while kids are in school sounds perfectly reasonable IF the other terms of hours and salary are being met as agreed to.

Yes, while salary DOES mean that they don't dock you if you're 10 minutes late on occasion, I HAVE worked MANY corporate jobs on salary putting in well over 50 hours a week as required, but it was usually pretty forseeable, due to an ongoiing deadline, not just due to someone showing up to relieve me whenever they felt like it, 2 hours late or more with no notice.

Anonymous said...

The most common arrangement for nannies is a salary based on a set number of hours, with any extra hours paid at an agreed upon rate. It may be what the salary breaks down to hourly, or if the weekly hours are long, as yours are, time and 1/2.
If you feel the hours are too long, you might negotiate to have time off when the dad comes home early in exchange for the late hours. Otherwise, what the parents do at home or abroad during your hours is irrelevant.
Since your contract is coming up for renewal, you need to make a list of issues you want to discuss, and decide what you need in order to stay in this job and be happy. You should get at least a cost of living increase (about 3%) and hope for more as a merit raise. I think whether or not you get a raise for taking on housekeeping for the time both children are in school depends on where your salary falls in the range. If on the low end, definitely. If at the high end, probably not.
Stand up for yourself, and good luck.
A Nanny

Anonymous said...

I would track your hours for a month (if you haven't already) and then show them that you are consistently working above the agreed upon average hours for your salary. Then propose a higher salary to cover when they might be late, etc. Otherwise, tell them that for every minute late they are, it is $2. Seriously, daycares charge that, why shouldn't we? I can't stand when employers are late because as a nanny there is nothing we can do about it. We can't just leave, we are at their mercy.
As far as when the kids are in preschool. You will most likely do drop off and pick up, which leaves minimal time in between. You would use that time to run their errands, do laundry, etc, and get paid the same as you would if you still had the kids with you.
Good luck!

burbsnanny said...

What the parents choose to do while they're paying you to take care of their kids is completely up to them. I have exclusively worked for SAHMs (it just happens that they're the ones in my area looking for nannies!). If they're paying you to be there, even if they're home, expect to be there during your scheduled work hours.

I work for two SAHMs now. Mom 1 is never home while I'm there- she shops, gets her hair done, manis & pedis, sees movies, etc. Mom 2 is home with me most of the time I'm there, and I don't get paid any less. I am also not expected to do any type of cleaning. When it happens that I get both of the kids down for naps at the same time, Mom 2 makes sure to let me know she DVRed one of my fav shows. Do I run the dishwasher, throw some laundry in, etc? Yes...but it's not expected.

I would suggest you go hourly. Get all the details hammered out in the contract. If they also want you to do housework while the kids are at school, ask for an increase in pay during those hours, and stipulate the type of work that's ok/not ok. Laundry, cleaning the kitchen, scrubbing their toilets...if you don't say you won't do it ahead of time, they'll probably have you do it!

As for the times they are late, getting paid hourly should help with that. They probably won't be as inclined to come in 2 hours late if they have to pay extra everytime they do. If you stay with a salaried position, make sure your contract addresses extra hours worked, and how that will be handled...comp time for you to use at your discretion, leaving early Fridays, whatever. And yes, 40 hours a week is full time. If you stay salaried, knock down the hours or ask for an increase in pay.

Nanny B said...

OP, I think it comes down to you needing to talk to your bosses. No we don't have the right to worry about what they do during our working hours, as that is what we are there for,but I do believe that they need to make it home on time or compensate you in some way, either more pay or time off. I know I get upset when my bossmom sleeps in and goes to her appts and goes shopping when I've worked an additional 5 hours that week and was up half the night studying because I had to work late the night before. But in the end, its what we get paid for and I can't complain to her...just my friends. There was a time when I was working a date night and a late night, per my contract every other week and it totaled 80 hrs for one week, i had to put a stop to that, there was no way I could do that and stay sane. Parents need to realize we need downtime to ourselves to be fresh to work for them. I would suggest speaking to them and standing up for it.

Anonymous said...

Cailf nanny here..I too work for a stay at home mom, and dad is home too right now (hes an athlete)its the off season. One or both parents is home most of the time Im there. The little one mostly hangs out with them at those times so I busy myself with dishes, laundry etc. Its not my job but I do it just to be helpful. If there isnt anything to be done we all end up hanging out together. If they plan on being home more than an hour or so together they pay me daily rate and let me leave early. They are very fair with me, so if they are a bit late once in a while no problem.

Anonymous said...

It must be nice to be a SAHM and have a nanny during the day. It strikes me as weird. I can understand a day or two to do your own thing. But SAHM's that have a full-time nanny and are always out doing their own thing, shouldn't be called a SAHM. Its called being a lazy uninvolved mom

Anonymous said...

I am not talking about the O.P. just one of the comments I was reading on here