23 November, 2008

What Is Your Weekend Worth?

Received Sunday, November 23, 2008. - Rant
I work for a nice family with three kids in Manhattan. I started about 6 months ago and I work 50 hours a week for $18/hour.

The family has a wedding in Maryland in two weeks and they've asked me to go with them on the trip. Just like the mom in the Thanksgiving post, my boss asked me "what I thought was fair money wise" for the weekend. I didn't answer right away, I said I'd think about it and get back to her the next day. I talked to my mom and one of my friends about how I should calculate a weekend rate. I ended up with this equation: 4 hours for Friday evening (starting at 6:00, when my normal work day ends), 2 x 10 hours for Saturday & Sunday (at my rate of $18/hour) and then 2 x $50 for Friday & Saturday nights. That equals $532, so I rounded down to $500 because that seemed like a figure that would make me feel good about losing my whole weekend.
So, the next day I went to my boss and told her that figure and how I came to it. She didn't really say much at first but later that evening she came to me and said she'd discussed the weekend with her husband and he thought that $500 was extravagant. Apparently they were thinking something more around the $250-$300 range. I reiterated how I came to my figure and I told her that I didn't want to give up my weekend for such a small amount. She said they didn't want to start some kind of precedent with paying that much.

At this point I kind of got annoyed. Why did she ask me what I thought was fair when she already had an idea of what they wanted to pay? Why does she think my time is worth less on the weekend than during the week?

Basically, I've stuck to my guns on this issue and I think that they're just going to give in, but this whole thing has left me with such a bad taste in my mouth. Was I unreasonable? I feel a little guilty for being so inflexible, but I feel they brought this on themselves by not naming their price when they asked me to commit to the weekend.

38 comments:

ryan said...

I totally agree with you. I think you should ask for at least $600 for the weekend. Your employer needs to realize that you are giving up your weekend to be with her children. I honestly don't know what some of these parents know what it means to be a Nanny. Don't feel bad!!! It's your right!!! You are giving up your personal time for her to feel at easy and not have to worry about her children. A lot of "moms" are going to disagree with me and blast you for being'greedy' but stand your ground.

Jenna said...

I think you are being completely reasonable with this!!!! You're not even asking for more money hourly on Saturday and Sunday (when technically that could be considered overtime). And the overnight rates are totally fine (if not less than you should be getting actually). You're only asking for your normal hourly pay during 10 hours each day Saturday and Sunday... so that's 14 hours each day that you only want $50 for!!!!!! Stick to your figure! They're lucky to have someone they trust (and someone the children trust)

Kate said...

As a mom/employer, I see no reason why your figure is unreasonable. In fact, most employers would be relieved to not be charged an overtime rate for additional weekend hours.

NotaNannybut said...

I think you're absolutly right about the amount you've requested. She ASKED you what you thought was right, you told her. I would stick to my guns...and explain that you're not doing it to set a precedent, just to be fair.

Nanny B said...

I am so glad you are sticking to your guns and not giving in. I don't understand how parents feel they can get away with paying their nannies less on the weekends. If the parents come back and say that is unreasonable and want you to lower their price, I would tell them that they can hire a babysitter at the hotel they are staying at who probably doesn't have any real experience and has no connection with the kids for that price. Good Luck

TC said...

You are not being unreasonable in the least. I think 500 is fair for your time and hassle.

Manhattan nanny said...

I think you are offering her a bargain. Everyone I know charges $100-$150 for overnights. On top of that, you are giving up your days off, and will be on duty round the clock, so only asking for your regular hourly rate is very reasonable.
I'd love to know how they arrived at $250-$300, for some 48 hours, when your regular salary for two ten hour days comes to $360!
I think it is very important for you to stick to your request. If you don't, you will be feel taken advantage of, and as your employer said, this will establish a precedent.

a texas nanny said...

My old agency's fee was $100 for an overnight (12 hours), and the hourly pay was much lower than what you are getting. You could ask $100 for the overnight hours and that would still be fair, imo.

The fact that you make so much more hourly and were offering to charge ONLY $50 for each night, and only charge hourly for 10 hours of the day is beyond fair to the family.

I am guessing if you are full time that you make between 250-350 in two days during the week, so why they think you would be willing to accept that for 24 hour care over the course of an entire weekend is beyond me...

I think the mom's reaction is a bit unreasonable, especially considering you didn't just throw the figure to her but explained how you calculated it!

Even if she agrees to your rate, I doubt that will make up to you for her initial reaction. We can always hope she will also offer you an apology!

NJ NANNY said...

I think what you said you want is mroe than reasonable. Do what others have suggested and stick to your guns with this. Don't give in.

Marypoppin'pills said...

I also agree that your rate is reasonable. I hope this Mom understands that the precedent she is setting will cause resentment if she doesn't do the right thing.

NannyMN said...

OP -

I think that what you are charging for your weekend care is WAY WAY WAY more than fair. I think 500 dollars for care for more than 48 hours, after you have already worked your regular work week is actually pretty cheap!

If your MB had only wanted to pay you such a low amount then, she should have stated that from the start, and then you could have decided if it was worth your time.

Even if she called an agency for overnight or weekend care, I highly doubt she would get away with paying such a low amount.

I mean, if she pays you 250 for 48 hours... thats only 5.20 an hour. Thats over TWO THIRDS less than what you are making per hour now.

I too would be highly upset if my bosses ever, made such a low offer for my off time.

cali mom said...

As everyone else has said, I agree that you are being COMPLETELY reasonable on your pay and how you have handled it with the mom. DO NOT let them guilt you into working for half-price on time that really should be OT. The ONLY area of negotiation I can see is, if the parents had thought you'd only work a few hours each day of the trip, and have the rest of the time off for sightseeing or whatever. But this seems far-fetched, and I think they just figured you'd do it for 2 more days of your regular hourly rate, which is NOT fair to you and YOU also don't want to "set a precedent" for them to take advantage of you like that.

nannyneedsanap said...

$500.00 is a deal. They are crazy to think they can pay you less for the weekend thanthey do during the week. They are lucky you aren't charging them overtime. Hopefully they'll come to their senses and realize that your figure is more than fair. Otherwise, they will need to find some other sap to do it for $250-$300. Stick to your guns on this one. You are 100% right!

Holz said...

I think your rate is totally reasonable... though I don't necessarily think it's awful that the parents wanted to pay you less.

What made me cringe reading that was the fact that she doesn't want to establish a "precedent" of paying you that much... I can't even put my finger on what's icky about that, but... yuck.

Pink Nanny said...

I would say my weekend is worth a decent designer purse. (Not a clutch)

Take it from someone who is a complete pushover. It is better for them to feel like they paid you too much than for you to feel taken advantage of.

They will eventually have to realize that you are worth what you ask for. And your rates can only go up from here.

Alex said...

I don't think you were unreasonable at all. Basically it was just $100 more than your normal rate because it was all hours you would be watching the kids and then $50 a night for the two nights. I don't see where they got $250 from. If they were going to pay you $250 that would be 13 hours total (or a little more) for working.

If it really bothers them tell them that you would like your normal $18 an hour for every hour you are working. I don't know how old the kids are but say they wake up at 8 (at least) and go to bed at 8, then that would at least be 10 hours. But if they wake up at 6 and go to bed at 8, then that is 12 hours. And then $25 for the nights.

Honestly, I think they are being unreasonable. $250-$300 wouldn't even cover your normal hours. So I have no idea why they thought that. You will at least work 24 hours probably (10,10 and 4). That is a minimum of $432. Why don't you point that out to them that is the normal rate and well over the $300 they wanted to pay you.

Or you could say you would charge $19 or $20 an hour since you are giving up your weekend! Good luck!

Maybe you should send her to these comments? haha. Let us know how it turns out!

NotANYNanny said...

Are the children going to be with you or the parents at night? The only thing I can figure is that maybe she was thinking about only paying you for the time you're around the kids, which still isn't right, but I can't think of any other reason why she'd offer so little. Will you be in charge of the children all the time?

shel said...

weekends=overtime first of all. that's a given. i think your rate is totally fair, seeing that you are giving up your weekend.

if they didn't want an approximation, they shouldn't have asked. are you still going to do it? did they agree to pay you what you deserve?

shel said...

i should read the responses before posting, dangit. like NannyMN said, if you break it down to what mom was wanting to pay, it is nowhere near what you normally make. perhaps if you let mom know what it breaks down to, she will see it differently. still curious as to what ends up happening!

Anne said...

Paying you 150-200 more than she expected vs. trying to find someone else she doesn't know to take care of her children?
If I was on the fence when I first read your post I certainly am not now. Paying more, but no anxiety? Priceless.

lovesthegirls said...

that's what my equation is! You are being TOTALLY fair! :P
Good Luck-- don't give in!

momma2731 said...

Is your employer missing the fact that she is asking you to work 12 days straight??? (I am assuming you work 5 days a week, 10 hours a day?)

I wonder how she would feel if HER employer asked the same of her- for an hourly rate that is less than her normal pay?

Good for you for sticking to your guns.

K said...

gosh some of you must be working for the wealthiest people in the states that you live in. I mean,I know how hard nannies work & they should be paid and treated wonderfully but $500.00 for a weekend? I just am shocked. Who can afford that besides celebs and the wealthiest of the wealthy?
I am not commenting that the op should not be making that amount ***or more or less*** just shocked that so many people expect the average family to be able to afford such prices..do nannies who work for the average middle class really command that much for over time on a weekend or is it what they think they should make? I am just curious?

stilltryingtothinkofagoodname said...

The "average family" really shouldn't be able to afford a nanny. A nanny is a luxury. If you need full-time care, the most cost-efficient thing to do is to send your child to daycare. There are many excellent daycares, both chains and in-home, and they are SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than one-on-one care.

It's like saying, "OMG I can't believe how expensive first class tickets are! How is the average family supposed to afford that?" - when, of course, they AREN'T, because first class is a luxury, and the "average income" option = Coach.

I'm not a nanny or a nanny employer, BTW, just someone who found this site randomly. I don't even think that on average nanny care is really superior to a high quality daycare. But the fact is that it is a luxury option and there is no reason the average Joe *needs* to be able to afford it - since there are other perfectly good childcare options out there.

Most folks don't hire childcare for a weekend trip, btw. They either haul the kids with and watch 'em themselves, or they don't go. Full-time childcare on weekends when neither parent is at work is, also, a BIG luxury.

stilllooking said...

And so I guess my point is, that a person providing one-on-one care to a child for 50+ hours a week should be paid what the market will bear, and I'd guess that in general the more you pay the higher quality care you get. I don't think $500 is excessive at all. Being the sole caretaker for kids-not-your-own 24/7 without a break is hard work, and the employer is also paying a premium (or should, IMO) because the weekend work means the nanny, who is *already* working 10 hours of overtime a week, will have no time off. If my boss wanted me to work 24/7 over the weekend you bet I would make sure I was paid a fair wage for such a sacrifice! No matter what my job.

(When I was a legal secretary I was sometimes asked to come in *for a few hours* on weekends and was paid *double* my hourly pay, or $40/hour. For my trouble! Because most people don't want to work on weekends, so if you want them to, you cough up. It's the way of the world and I don't see why childcare workers should be exempt - especially as it's such hard work with few breaks if you are watching really little kids.)

Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington said...

I don't get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day.

Manhattan nanny said...

K,
Most of the families I know who take nannies along on weekends have two or more children in private schools at $25-30 K apiece, and easily spend more than $500 on an evening out, with theatre tickets and dinner. They can afford $500 for a weekend of child care. There is a huge income gap between the middle class, and the wealthy.

NYC mom said...

just for a data point, weekend babysitters in the hamptons (when a babysitter/nanny goes with the family out of nyc for the weekend to stay at summer house) get paid $400 to $450. maybe you could compromise?

N is for Nanny said...

I think your number is fair, as is the way at which you arrived at it. I travel with "my" family a fair amount. I make the same hourly wage as you. While our formula is a bit different (It takes into account the hours I actually work, as some trips I am "on" 24 hrs/day and others it is more like 8 hrs/day) what you are asking would be on the low-end of a weekend away.

You don't mention what they are thinking in terms of your expenses, but please make sure that in addition to covering your transport and lodging, they either provide food or an allowance to purchase your meals. Like PP said, traveling with a nanny is a BIG luxury. It's expensive, but it's also a huge convenience.

Assuming you are salaried, you could suggest to your boss that they pay you $200-300 for the weekend AND give you a paid day off the week before/after the travel. It's not the same utility as a weekend day, but it would at least give you some time to yourself. Either way, I think your number is fair.

Anonymous said...
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The OP said...

Thanks for everyone's great support!

On Monday evening the dad came to talk to me about the weekend. He told me that there must have been some miscommunication and that they thought $300 for the weekend would be fair because they would only need me for a few hours each day, otherwise I'd have my day to myself.

I explained to him that even if I wasn't working all day that I wanted to be compensated for the hours I'd be sitting in a hotel room in (practically rural) Maryland and have nothing else to do. I said that I would not have agreed to go away with them if they'd let me know that I wouldn't be paid for all my time.

He said he'd discuss this with the mom and get back to me. The next day she told me that they would agree to paying me $500, but that in the future when travel was on the table, they would tell me ahead of time the hours I'd be needed and how I would be compensated for them. I said that sounded great and that I welcomed having all the info before making the decision about whether it was worth my time to travel with them. She kind of screwed her nose up when I said that, but she said she was glad we'd resolved this.

It's sad that the whole thing kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I feel like the don't entirely respect my time, even though I've never felt that way before, as they're pretty much always home on time and stuff like that. I'm just trying to put the whole thing behind me.

Not Anonymous said...

Four years ago I hired a nanny I knew to take care of my then 2 children for a weekend. I paid her $650 four years ago--and I'm in the burbs, not in Manhattan where pay is higher. Your employer needs to ask around and find out what is reasonable you were MORE than generous with the amount you offered to take.

Not Anonymous said...

And by the way, I do not consider myself wealthy and at the time it was before we had hired our first nanny and both my kids were in daycare. Every parent makes their childcare decisions around what works for their family and cost is one of the factors. Having done both daycare and nanny care, there are pluses and minuse to both. I can't say that I think good nanny care is superior to a high quality daycare (emphasis on high quality--like nannies, you have to screen your daycares), even though I have an excellent nanny. She is one person and there are limits to what one person can do. But, you pay what the market will bear for whatever childcare choice works for your family and expecting a nanny to take significantly less than the going rate is a good way of damaging your relationship with someone very important to your family.

stilllookingforagoodmoniker,ideasanyone? said...

OP, that would irk me as well...your employers' perspective seems a little off. You didn't sign up to be available to them 24/7 at whatever pay they decide they want to offer, so they should not be screwing up their nose at your totally reasonable response.

Good for you for having a backbone but remaining polite. They're lucky to have you.

ho ho hold the mayo said...

That was wicked awesome of you to word your response in terms of 'evaluating whether it was worth your time'. Entitled Richies don't know how to react when they are confronted with resistance to their god-given richie-rights.

saasaa said...

I think you handled it perfectly. They don't want to set a precedent by paying you so much? Well, YOU don't want to set one by accepting less. That's much more important...

nanny liz said...

Well done for sticking to your guns.
They would not have considered working a weekend themselves at the rate they suggested.
well done again. :)

kiki said...

Stilltryingtofindagoodname, you hit the nail on the head about nannies being a luxury, it is quite obvious this having a nanny thing has gotten out of hand. Apparently everybody thinks they have to have one, well then if you must you must but don't whine about the money you have to shell out- no, not for your nanny but for your kids.
Exactly what is the price on their heads these days.
We all can't afford everything.
People die because they can't afford health care, now that's wrong, not fair, but it's a reality, how about getting incensed about that.