Nanny's Summer Dilemma

Received Thursday, January 29, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I've been a full-time nanny to a 3-year-old boy for the past 18 months. The mother is pregnant and due at the end of May. She will be taking the entire summer off when the baby comes but still wants me to work over the summer. The problem is that she wants me to work part-time hours all summer, on an as-needed basis. No schedule, no guarantee of a minimum number of hours per week.

I really don't want to take a big pay cut for the entire summer, but if I do, I want to have some predictability in hours so that I can work a second part-time job to supplement the pay.

I have no complaints about this family at all; the boy is a pleasure, the parents are great, and I'm very grateful to have a job. I'd like to hear some opinions of others on what they would do in this situation. Would you just bite the bullet and take the temporary pay cut and just work as needed, even though it will hurt financially and you won't be able to make solid plans each week because you're basically working on call? Or would you insist on having a set schedule so that you can fill-in your hours somewhere else? Or are there other options I'm not considering?

I understand how difficult it is to add a newborn into a family and I want to be loyal and supportive, but the reality is that a three-month pay cut will not be easy especially if I won't even have the flexibility of planning my schedule each week.

Thoughts, anyone?


Victoria Anne said...

If you get along with the family so well then just tell them exactly what you just wrote. It really isn't that big of a deal. They will understand you need to be sure you can cover your bills and still live comfortably for the summer. Why not tell her you are going to get a part time evening job and you will still be available all day every day for when she needs you? Assuming this is a viable option for you.

oh well said...

I would never dream of asking a nanny to work on an on-call basis with no schedule and no minimum number of hours, especially if she had been working for me before and was taking a pay cut due to circumstances she had nothing to do with.
Of course you need a schedule and you need to know how many hours they will be needing you each week.

snips and snails said...

Hmm. Sounds like you are going to have to either find another full time job or take a different summer job. It is understandable that you don't want to work on call if you rely on xxx amount of dollars to foot your bills. Only you can make that call. Good luck to you.

Nanny B said...

I think the parents need to realize that should you search for a job elsewhere that you may not be available to them when they need you because you need that income. Explain to them that this is your job and how would they feel if their job did the same thing to them. Maybe come up with a solution together, either set hours per day, set days per week, etc. Good Luck

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NannyInCharge said...

Wow. You say you want to be loyal to them, but it doesn't seem like they are being loyal to you! It sounds like this is your full time income, something we all need to survive and get by.

I strongly recommend you do not go on an on call basis. However if you choose to, you must require a weekly minimum pay, whether you work the required hours or not. I even do this with my full time position and surely would do it for a part time position. I am required to work X hours a week and she is required to pay me X hours a week. If I work over those hours, she pays me more. However if she says she doesn't need me for some of the hours for whatever reason, she is still required to pay me, as I can't just take a pay cut because she made other plans. Obviously on the rare occasion I need to call in sick, I do not get paid for those hours as she has to pay someone else to watch the kids.

My point is, is that they definitely cannot expect you to take a pay cut and be on call. Yes, bringing a baby into the world is hectic at first but trust me, people are still capable of maintaining a schedule. If they are not willing to make some sort of part time schedule for you, so you can supplement your income, perhaps they do not value you as much as you do them. Good luck.

Nanny Taxi said...

Why do parents forget that this is a job for us? We rely on a certain amount of money to run our own lives. If we had a job out in the public sector and they cut our hours, we find work elsewhere. As much as the nanny can feel like family and that she should consider it a privilege to watch your children, we are employees and as employees we need schedules and regular pay. Just move on OP unless the family will continue to pay you what you were already making.

mnanny said...

This happened to me last summer. I told the parents if they wanted me on an as needed basis, they would have to pay me my regular pay because otherwise I would have to look for something else.
I got the regular pay and had a great, pretty much non-working summer.
Be honest and tell them you can't afford to be paid on an as needed basis.
Good Luck

jamie71025 said...

I'd say that I AT LEAST need a set minimum number of hours per week. Since you like the family, and surely they like you as well... and they are humans who obviously know what it takes to live in the real world, just tell them that financially you NEED to work, and that you really love working for them but if they can't provide you with at least a time frame when you would probably be working so that you can get a second job, you will have to leave them for the summer. They should understand that, and if they are as great as you make them sound, I'm sure they will want to work around something that will provide you with at least a minimum number of hours, if not a tentative schedule.

Fernanda said...

Hey there... I've been a nanny for a long time and this happened to me once. The thing is that the family that I was working for forgot to tell me! I got very upset, and had to find another job.
Anyway, if they are a good family you should totally talk to the mom and tell want you think. Maybe you can find and extra job with free time. Summer is great for extra jobs, specially to baby sit.
I hope all goes well for you.

whitewidow said...

if they want you to wait around and be on call then they need to shell out a salary. i would set hours with them and a salary. if they want you back ft in the fall then they need to give you an incentive to stick around. put your feelings aside and realize that its all business, even in this very personal proffesion.

Nanny from Fargo said...

I was in a situation just like this. They settled on a 40 hours per TWO WEEKS guarantee. It was sorta a sucky situation. I finally gave notice this week. They will need to find someone who can live off of that- I couldn't!

One week, they wouldn't need me at all, the next, they would need me the full forty. I never made more, even though they made it seem like I would.

And the hours were so unpredictable, just like in your situation. I began waitressing on the weekends- so five days a week, I was on call, and all weekend I was waitressing.

I recommend expressing your concern, and your need for a set number of hours, or else they will need to find someone who is willing to work according to their proposed system.

Do it quick, though, before you're in too deep!!! I learned the hard way.

DenverNanny said...

I think I would let the mom know you can work on an as-needed basis, but set up some boundaries. Let her know that since she can't give you a minimum number of hours, you will only be available a minimum number of hours...maybe only between 11 and 3? That way, she'll have the flexible schedule she wants, and you'll be able to arrange your own schedule.

Nanny Prints said...

As someone mentioned above, you definitely need to have a minimum wage guarantee, whether they need you or not. You are not the one asking for a pay/hour cut because of the second baby - it's like in many contracts, when a family takes a vacation, you usually get paid for the time off because you didn't ask for them to leave you without work!

It's unrealistic for them to think you don't have bills or a life to lead, and they shouldn't leave you unable to find a second supplemental job.

OP here said...

Thank you for the advice, everyone... it has helped me get some clarity on the situation. My thoughts were leaning toward what a lot of you said, that I need to have a guaranteed minimum number of hours or start looking elsewhere. What sucks is that every other aspect of my job is ideal, if this situation weren't going to last all summer I'd try to just suck it up but I'm going to lose too much money if there aren't some parameters in place that let me supplement my income during that time. Thanks for your help so far!

chick said...

I would say that you need to be able to rely on a certain income level to pay your bills, and that means you can present them with 2 options.

A) You are available to be on call and are paid your full salary.

B) You will find other work and will NOT be available to them.

As a novice nanny I was put on "maternity leave" for 12 weeks. I found other work, and then was able to make my case for a big raise when they wanted me back. It wasn't ideal, and I wouldn't ever accept that sort of situation now, but I was a bit naive back then, lol!

Good luck to you!

honest nanny said...

If you take a pay cut - INSIST on regular hours each week. You say they are a great family and if so they will understand your need to get a "summer job" to supplement. Be honest with them about your financial needs, if they aren't willing to work with that then I think you should start looking elsewhere.

cali mom said...

I think it's unreasonable to ask for a full salary for the likelihood of only working half time or less, BUT, the idea of telling them what YOUR available hours will be, then trying to find other work within your off hours, is great. Seriously, if they agree to pay you your full salary, do you REALLY think they'd end up not having you work FT? With a new baby, it's not like there would be any shortage of child care and child-related tasks to be done. So if they're already paying you full salary, why would the mom break her back to do it all herself?

chick said...

calimom, it's quite likely that OP would be FT if her employers choose the option of paying her FT. Frankly, I think moms who have nannies and yet insist on doing it all themselves when a second child is born are buying into the "supermom" myth.

I'd give it 1 week flying solo with a newborn and a toddler under 2 before OP would be back at least 20 hours/week, and she'd be FT again by week 3.

I think if her employers decide to let her go her way for 3 months they'll really regret it.

truth or consequences said...

You sound like a doormat. No employer in their right mind would try this on a confident, strong nanny. Perhaps you are just too nice. Grow a backbone and tell your employers, "this is what I need to happen to continue on with you".

Have your feelers out for some other job before you open your mouth. Good luck to you. Situations such as this are unfair. And most often, the nannies that are taken advantage of are the ones who are kindest.

night nanny said...

I would just be upfront and honest with her. Tell her you rely on a certain amount of $ per week to pay your bills and so you will need to find something else to help supplement during her maternity leave. You could ask her if she prefers to give you a set schedule or wait until you get the other job and take what days/times/hours/ you have available after that. There is no way she should expect you to be at her beck and call w/o paying your regular salary.

Nanny in Beautiful San Diego said...

I think that they should give you a set amount of hours/days or either have another sitter on call in case you are not available.
Since your hours are being cut due to the new baby, they should be understanding if you need another job to supplement since you, like all of us, need to survive.
You can say that you will NEED to find another job since you need the income, however if you should be free then you would love to babysit for them, but just in case you are not, they should have a back-up sitter in line.

fox in socks said...

OP, I think you should just tell them that in order to support yourself and live, you would need to have a full time pay, that if they aren't going to give it you'll have to look for something else, whether just a temporary summer position or a new full time job. I think your employers perhaps do not realize that you would need to support yourself. So, just tell them and see what happens.

The other thing that comes to mind is this. Are you sure they are fully confident that they will need you full time once again after the summer? It occurs to me that maybe they will continue to want you on an as needed basis, and maybe the mom will decide not to go back to work.

Because of this possibility, it is very important to talk with thm and expla to them that you're very happy with your job, but that you just can't get by without a full time salary, whether from this job or another job.

Please post again and tell us what happened. Good luck.

mom said...

They need to either agree to pay you for all hours they expcet you to be "on call"...because that eats up your ability to make any other solid plans, including working another job, during those hours...which means they essentially own your time during those hours anyway. They can then choose to pay you for a half day (either morning or afternoon, but they should choose one and stick with it) every day and make their plans work into the time you are "theirs," or pay you for a full time job and have you at their beck and call whenever they need you. That seems only fair. Expensive for them if they don't plan to use you much....but its the fair thing to do when you're expecting an adult to remove herself from the job market on your behalf. This is your job and it should be handled professionally...not like you're the teenaged babysitter down the block.