Am I wrong?

Received Saturday, March 28, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I'm a full-time live in nanny for two very prestigious doctors. My hours consist of 7am to 7 pm and I am offered a very high salary, health insurance, apartment, and full use of a vehicle. Their little boy is wonderful, I adore him, I never any have problems with him, he truely is the most loving little boy I've ever met. Although at times, I find myself angry with the parents because they'll roll in the door at 7:45 p.m with no phone call, I really do try to understand and tell myself that they are very busy people. This has happened countless times, and I have not brought it to their attention because like I said, I really try to be understanding. When they are with their child, they are great parents. I do not feel as if they're late because they're out doing senseless things, it is really because they got caught up in a surgery. I have thought from time to time that I should bring up this issue because I do feel as if I should be notified when they will be late, I have had to cancel my plans 3 times before because they were late coming home. Something really topped it off for me though and I'm not sure how to approach it. I do love the job and the child, I just think that this is completely out of line.

Two weeks ago, the family had to fly to CA because the grandmother was sick, I stayed home and cared for their puppy, she had just had surgery to get fixed. It wasn't like I could do anything I wanted for those four days that they were out of town, I was puppy sitting. I did get paid my normal pay which I expected, because it was not my fault that I couldn't work, and I did watch the dog. I had also read online that if an employee shows to work and is unable to work at no fault of his/her own, the normal pay is expected.

On Monday, the Mom asked if I could be 'on call' this weekend because both of the parents were on call. This means that I have to stay home for the entire weekend in case they both get called in to the hospital so I can care for the child. Usually, they pay me time and a half while I am on call because I am unable to do anything those days. This morning I had to get up with the child because the Dad got called in and the Mom had to go do her 'rounds' at the hospital. I was told that the Dad would be home at 9:30, he wasn't. The Mom came home at 11:30 and gave me money for the hours that I had worked this morning. She then went on to say that they were not going to pay me my overtime (I worked 2 hours last week while they went to dinner) or for being on call the entire weekend because I was paid while they were in CA, so they were "calling it even". I was a little suprised that she had even said this because the aunt was orginally coming to care for the child this weekend but she cancelled so it fell on me. I had recieved my pay from them being in CA last Friday, and nothing was said then about being paid those four days that they were gone. I'm more so outraged because I feel set up. I feel as if she should have discussed the pay when she asked me to work this weekend instead of after I agreed. No one would agree to work if they were not getting paid..


TC said...

Hmm well first of all do you have a contract? If you do then it should spell out exactly what is expected of you and them in cases like that (vacation or emergency)

If you don't have one look at the amount of money you were shorted, if it's a lot then I would bring it up, if it's really just a few bucks then I would let it go but I would make sure to clarify with them next time something like this happens you WILL be paid time and a half.

Can you decline the 'on call' jobs as maybe a 'silent' protest? Or are they part of your job that you is required of you?

I won't be working next week and part of the week after that because I have to attend an out of state funeral...I am getting paid my full amount. This week I ended up watching my charge on my day off because she was sick and couldn't go to daycare, I got paid for that and I wasn't told I had to 'make up' days....So yes your employer is 100% in the wrong but you have to weigh the pros in cons when decided if this will be the time you bite your tongue or speak up.

Good luck :)

Village said...

The problem is, she changed the deal unilaterally after the work was performed. That is so not alright. I would stand up for myself. I would say, 'I can understand how you feel, and maybe if this happens again we can discuss it, but I must insist we stick to our original deal unless we mutually change it. How would you feel if one of your patients decided to only pay you 80% of your fee after the surgery was preformed, because the patient thought that was more fair. How would you feel if you weren't consulted in advance?'

I'd also mention that you have been letting 45 minutes late slip by without mentioning it. Tell her you want time and a half after 12 hours, as long as we are renegotiating.

Short story. I once made a deal to buy a car. When I read the papers before I signed, I discovered the car dealership had changed the terms. Substantially. When I told him the papers were wrong, he said 'Too bad'. I got up and walked across the showroom floor. The guy let me put my hand on the exit door before he stopped me. He took me back to his office and told me we'd do the original deal. I said no. You already changed the deal, so negotiations are open again. And I made him change the original terms in my favor for the same amount he tried to cheat me.

You have to look after yourself. It's your job.

worlds best nanny said...

Being employed by doctors myself them coming home late is par for the course. It is rude when they don't call, but maybe they can get their staff or service to call you instead. Mine do. I've had to cancel and/or postpone many plans. But I have also taken my charges with me while I get ready and the parents will pick them up at my place. Sometimes I bring my stuff with me and get ready at their house.
Pet sitting is an actual job and you should be paid for it accordingly. Perhaps not as much as you'd get if you were nannying, but you should be compensated. Being "on call" I hope is something you agreed to in the past My employers have a live in housekeeper who does any amount of childcare over the weekend. Perhaps your employer can get a weekend nanny, or perhaps a relative.

Hungrycollegestudent said...

Wow, this is a tough situation. I can see it from both angles: they are doctors and you can't call someone to tell them you're running late in the middle of surgery. However, I do think they are in the wrong for this "calling it even." You should speak to the mom about this so it won't happen again, but I wouldn't expect her to change her mind.

I guess it's mainly so tough because this economy is not the one in which you want to be making waves...

Lawyer Mom said...

You deserve to be paid for those hours and you should make it very clear to them what you expect. Legally that money is owed to you. If they refuse to pay, consult legal assistance. If they attempt to fire you over this, consult legal assistance.

Assuming you are being paid legally... You have rights as an employee.

kc said...

You are totally being taken advantage of, but you are allowing it to happen! Remember that as much as you love the little boy, he is your charge and this is your JOB. Would you let a manager at a corporate office hold you 45 minutes after clock-out time with no explanation? I hope not. You need to sit down with the parents and tell them that that is not acceptable and that if they are going to be more than 15 minutes late, they must let you know, as you would (if you were a live-out).

THEN, you need to tell them that they agreed to pay you overtime on days that you are on call, without stipulations. Tell them that you have no control over their family plans and if you show up to work you expect to be paid.

If you signed a contract with them (I hope you did!) then bring it with you. If not, it's my advice that you discuss drawing up and signing a contract with them to prevent disputes like this from happening again.

SAY SOMETHING! If you don't, you keep allowing them to walk all over you, and it will get worse and worse. Tell them everything and make it clear that this is not a request. Be polite--don't try to make it sound like you are the boss of them, just make it clear that you will not permit them to keep taking advantage of you.

WhatIsItWithDocs said...

i am guessing that you don't have a contract. if not, make sure that you either get one written up the next time you all sit down to discuss how things are going or get one with the next family you work for.

i worked for doctors that were habitually late and gave no notice most of the time. even when they did, they ended up still being later than they called me about. i let them know that it was important to let me know in case i had to end up feeding the children or if i had plans, etc. it didn't always work, but i let them know that it wasn't kosher with me.

the whole deal with 'calling it even' is not right. you should be fully compensated for the time you worked. if they had planned to 'call it even' beforehand, they should have discussed it with you. you should fully be paid while they were in california because it wasn't your choice to have them go away.

stand firm and talk to them about this. at the very worst, it will possibly make them think twice about trying this again. if you say nothing, they feel that they can use the tactic at another time.

good luck and let us know what happens!

DowntoEarth said...

I agree you have been cheated but is it losing your job over?
Not that they would fire you but it would cause problems I am sure.
I would sit down and tell them that from now one it is time and hlf for certain hours . They may or may not agree and then what do you do? Can you find an oth4er posistion that is going to pay you as much as this one?
I would be upset about them not paying me too but you have to weigh the situation before you speak up.

Chelle said...

Hello guys,
thanks for the wonderful advice.
We did draw up a contract, agreed to it but it has never been signed by the both of us. Strange..I know, I am going to tell them that we should review the contract again and sign it together.
When I was hired, I was told about the 'on call' days, and I am allowed to decline..but I offered to work this weekend because my fiance has gotten layed off we really could have used the extra money.
A lot times, the overtime does fall on me because they've only lived in MD for 2 years and all of their family is in CA. Sometimes family will fly out to help them when they are 'on call' but like I said before, the aunt canceled.

Westchester nanny said...

I would definitely say something. You don't want this to turn into a situation where they try it again. Bring it to her attention, telling her that you are happy to help out but you should be compensated accordingly. Don't let this issue eat at you, just discuss it right away in a nonconfrontational manner. If your employer respects you she will appreciate this.

nyc mom said...

As an employer and a doctor myself, I believe you are in the right here. My hours are stable now, but during training I had an unpredictable schedule also. My approach with my nanny was always to schedule her for the most hours I could possibly be away. If I got home early, I would either let her go or use that time to get a few errands done. But I always defaulted to scheduling her (and paying of course) for longer hours as I HATE lateness on my part or my nanny's. I also set up a "pay for a full hour even if I'm 10 minutes late" system so I would have a strong incentive to make sure I am home on time, which I am 99% of the time.

I know it's easy to say your employers are doctors and deserve flexibility, but I think you are being taken advantage of. As doctors, we generally have a pretty good idea of our actual expected workday after a few months in any job. Since your employers are consistenly about 45 minutes late, I think they have a very good idea of their workday and are just assuming their lateness is fine.

You need to bring up the lateness absolutley. In regards to the recent overtime/on call issue, I would say let it go this time but use this as an opportunity to clearly define the parameters of these events going forward. Do you want OT pay or do you prefer comp time off? As an employer, I do understand how you can feel "owed" some comp time by your nanny if you have given a lot of paid time off. However, I have learned that unless this is outlined and mutually agreed upon ahead of time, then your nanny owes you nothing ethically or professionally. Good luck!

mom said...

I am now confused..did you not get paid for the time work...or just not get paid overtime?

If it's the latter, I would probably just let it go and be sure to have a discussion about the exact terms of the arrangement BEFORE you work extra next time you are asked to work overtime or do any other unusual jobs, like pet sitting.

Don't get me wrong, I think your employer is 100% in the wrong in this. She should have told you up front if the terms were different. HOWEVER, it sounds like you have a great job, make good money and have a nice place to live. That's certainly worth a little extra hassle. These people are doctors and cannot help their hours sometimes...especially if they are in surgery. They probably pay you very well because they appreciate that they sometimes need to be gone during unscheduled hours, or come home late on occasion, and they want you to be understanding and not make a big deal out of it at those stressful times for them. If they are in surgery and it goes wrong, the last thing they want to think about is remembering to contact the nanny so she won't be hacked. AS long as its only occasionally and less than an hour, I'd bite my lip about the lateness if I were you. I really suspect that may be what's behind your good salary...a built in grace for occasional mild tardiness in emergencies...and an expectation that you'll be somewhat flexible and available. In a different economy I might nbe more forceful...but as we have seen here many times in recent months...there are nannies lined up a mile wide that would be grateful for your position right now.

My husband works on salary...and part of the expectation is that when necessary he will work until the job is done. He makes a good salary because this is often a hassle and we sometimes have to drop our plans on a day's notice. He could complain, but they'd just hire one of the multitudes of people who are being laid off from their jobs in his field all across the country and would be grateful for the opportunity to continue supporting their families to take his place.

Chelle said...

I did get paid the time I was on CA...shes not paying me for being on call or working overtime last week because she thinks we should
call it even from when they were in CA

Chelle said...

in regards to Mom's reply..

these overtime hours and not knowing when their coming home is a little more than a teeny hassle.

I do agree..I make great money and have wonderful amenities BUT..

I don't think any money can pay for the time I have wasted this calling it even.

I'm more upset with the fact of the time that I had to give up.
I couldn't leave the house this weekend unless I would be able to get back within 5 minutes...and I wasn't getting paid for this..
She should have told me beforehand..

and so if the aunt didn't cancel does that mean I'd have an I OWE YOU out because I got paid while they were in CA?
It just seems really unfair to wasn't my fault the grandmother got sick and I don't feel as if I should make up the time..

alex said...

Hmm, is it worth losing your job bringing it up? I know you may not agree but since you said you get paid a normally high salary, which you did receive pet sitting I could see how she was calling it even. BUT she should have asked you first and maybe you could have talked about it.

If you have an open relationship with them and feel comfortable why don't you bring it up to her? Just that you felt taken advantage of because you weren't told beforehand. She may have a reason for why she did it as well. who knows.

Wicker Park Nanny said...

It's not right. She should have brought it up that they were going to "call it even" before you agreed to the weekend hours. I have a feeling she knew you wouldn't agree to it if you knew before hand and was being "sneaky" about it. Demand to be paid for that time. Then approach the topic of "making it even." If it is in your contract that you will be paid time and a half for on call hours and also be paid when they go away and you're out of work - then you have a right to make them stand by that.

TC said...

Wait a min.

Did you get paid for this weekend at all?

I was under the impression you did you just didn't get overtime, you got 'regular' pay for this weekend.

Now my opinion would change if you didn't get paid anything and I would think your boss is an ass, though my advice would still be the same. How much money did you actually lose? Is it enough for you to confront them? Or is it something you can 'let go' but make sure never happens again?

Chelle said...

NO, I did not get paid this weekend at all or for the overtime I put in last week.

I got paid normally...but she is saying the are not paying me for this weekend or the overtime because she thinks it's fair that we call it even because I did get paid while they were in CA. Money gets deposited into my account every two weeks..nothing changed when they went to CA and nothing was said that I should make up the time..and then surprise..I have to put in my hours over the weekend..she trick me into it.

I worked an on call weekend before and I was around 400 I'm out 400 bucks.

I work 12 hours a day...the weekends are my vice...I'm not from around here..and I don't know anyone so I usually use the weekends to visit family or friends..I agreed to stay home this weekend thinking I could make great money..but I didn't.

TC said...

What does the contract say about vacations? Or on call weekends? Is there anything in there if you need a day off? Or if you or they have an emergency? Or don't need you one or two days for some reason? If there is anything at all about things like that try to use that to your advantage if you decide to talk to her about it.

Again you have to weigh the pros and the cons of talking to her about it. If you think she will be ok with you talking to her then explain to her that the emergency was no fault of your own and you might add that your fiance was laid off so now you two are down to one income and need the extra money to pay bills.

Otherwise you might look into finding another family to work for.

Chelle said...

Okay, I pulled up the contract and it clearly states that

when the family travels or has personal days the nanny will be paid full salary.

That's my leg to stand on(=

I just don't want the drama, I really want them to understand that I feel it's wrong, and that I'm not a robot and working on my days off without pay because they traveled somewhere is complete BS. I really think they're great parents and great employers they have really gave me a dream job, but just because I have a great job with great pay doesn't mean I have to bite my tounge when I know something is wrong.
My time is just a precious as theirs.

mom said...

OP, if you didn't get paid anything and they expected you to stay home all weekend, then that is really bad.
You might say something, but be sure to approach them in a very friendly way to discuss it like adults. At the very least, you might agree to let it go this time, but let her know that you are very confused by the inconsistency.
My guess is that she has your salary set up on an auto-pay with her bank and did not intend to pay you while they were away but didn't know how to approach you about it after you already had the money. After you worked extra, she saw a way to cleverly reimburse herself. This was wrong of her...100%, don't get me wrong. And it makes her seem cheap and petty...which I personally would not want to do to the person caring for my child (or anybody, really, just on principle and as a matter of decency.)

Still, I am most concerned about you working this out in a way that doesn't cause hard feelings on either side...because it does sound like you have a fantastic job and an otherwise good relationship with these people.

Is is possible you "Over cared" for the dog in question that weekend and the mom doesn't realize all of the time you devoted to it? When my female doggie was fixed last year, we kept her confined to her cage most of the time upstairs in my bedroom(of course, we have other dogs, so it was the only way to keep her still, as she needed to be)and took her for walks on a leash to potty. That's really all we were advised to do by our vet. After that surgery, the dog doesn't feel well and just wants to mostly sleep anyway. Could you have maybe walked the dog and then put her to bed for several hours while you saw a movie, ate dinner with friends, etc., and then come back to walk her again? Is it possible that this is what the mom thinks you did, and so does not want to pay you? Or did she tell you to stay entirely at home all day and night?

Either way, I think she should have paid you something (and if it was going to be less than normal, she should have discussed it with you before), but I'm trying to figure out what may have been in her mind. Sometimes if you can figure that out when a person acts in what seems to be a very uncharacteristically rude way, it goes a long way to understanding their perspective and alleviating potential anger.

I say talk with her, but very nicely. The nicer you are about it, the more likely she'll be very embarrassed at how you percieve her actions and hopefully will be more considerate in the future.

I'd still probably not gripe about the less than an hour late evenings and just start planning that you'll possibly get off an hour later each night when you make oyur plans. as long as you believe they really cant help it though. I think what might run through their heads is, "We pay her a very generous salary. We could pay her less, like other nanies make, and still have money left over if we paid her overtime every single night." Then they might start thinking baout the money they could save...and maybe not have the griping...and...

I just think there are probably a lot of people waiting in the unemployment line on their high horses these days...and, last I heard, they don't have an expidited line there for those who are justifiably in the saddle.

Chelle said...

I wasn't advised by her in any way of how to care for the day.
I just did. There would be no way that I could go out with friends, I'm not from around here and I don't know anyone and she knows that.

The point is that she is breaking the contract.

It clearly states that they will pay me full salary when they have personal days or have to travel.

I have decided to bite my tounge about the late nights coming home but I'm thinking of suggesting to find a way to have me notified.
They both work 45 mins from takes them 45 mins to drive takes a minute to call me and tell me that they are on their way. They know if they don't leave work until 7 they will be 45 mins late.

mom said...

Especially if you don't have any friends in the area and do not leave the house in the evenings, I would not bother them about the lateness....especially just 45 minutes. It's rude, but the nonpayment for the weekend of work is the much bigger issue at hand right now. It's just one child. Sit down and read a book fro yourself (as long as he is safely playing by himself and within your sight) when your workday is up if that helps you feel better. Kids don't need entertained 24/7 anyway, and if you have kept him active during the day, he ought to be pretty sleepy and low key by 7:00pm anyway. Watch a t.v. show you like...start in on your "me time" to the extent you can and it won't seem so bad. It would be different if you lived out and had to drive home...but you're already home, so start your evening as best you can.

Chelle said...

I still feel the lateness is a issue within itself.

Although my family and friends live an hour and 20 mins away I have arraged to meet them after work 3 times and I've had to cancel.

We planned to meet at the halfway point...
they have driven to that place only to have me tell them I can't make it...three different times..that to me is a big deal!

mom said...

I don't mean to imply that people need to let their employers walk all over them. But it is a new (dark) day for our country and our economy.
Unfortunately for employees, for employers it's a "Buyers market." People who are still trying to operate as if things haven't changed are losing their jobs in droves. It's no different than selling your house in a glut as opposed to a scarcity. Employees are at a real disadvantage right now.

If somebody has a truly rotten employer who is taking royal advantage of the situation to abuse an employee, I would have a different opinion entirely...but, as I said, your situations sounds overall pretty ideal. If it were me, that's just how I'd proceed because I would not want them hunting for a bargain nanny and risking my position...especially since it sounds like this might be resolved with a mature, adult conversation or two.

Chelle said...

I understand where you're coming from completely..
thanks for the advice. (=

mom said...

Cool. Of course it's YOUR life and you get to do whatever you want to. Ours are just suggestions and opinions from well meaning strangers ;)

I'm just saying to you what I would say to my own daughter.

Maybe next time you have plans with your friends you could, in a friendly way, ask mom if she has a late day planned, and ask her to call if she runs into a snag because you have plans for after work. Then, mention that your friends (your very limited number of semi local friends)are growing weary of driving for 45 minutes to meet you, only to have you unable to show and unable to tell them in advance so they can avooid the long, unnecessary trip. Tell her you're afraid of them not inviting you at all anymore if it keeps up. If she's a nice person...and it sounds like she probably is overall...she ought to get it. Then try to breezily ask her if she plans to be late from time to time as you have plans. Then you don't sound pushy (even though you may have a right to be about this in a better economic time), and she might start making a mental note to try to be on time, or let you know if she won't be. Hopefully that will also help her more appreciate the times you do stay late for her without complaint. She'll realize what a gem she has an not take that for granted.

Let us know what happens about the unpaid doggie sitting.

DenverNanny said...

Lateness is definitely a big deal! 45 minutes a day may only add up to a hundred bucks extra bucks a week, but the added tension of never knowing when they'll actually be home, not knowing whether you can make plans, CANCELLING plans repeatedly-- not okay!

Address the weekend and overtime pay but I think you should re-do your contract since you have this opportunity...just my opinion. Make sure you get paid a full extra hour if they're late... paying all that extra overtime might motivate them a little!

I know we are in a recession, but that's not an excuse to take advantage of one's employee. I haven't noticed any dip in available nanny positions in my area... I've actually been getting phone calls from nanny agencies because they don't have enough well-qualified nannies!

the original gimmeabreak said...

Well, here in NY I am seeing lots of ads from soon to be former employees stating 'due to financial reasons, we have to let go of our nanny (or cut back on her hours days)". I am seeing these ads every single day.

So, yeah, while being 45 minutes late a couple of times a month is annoying, i wouldn't make a big deal out of it considering the state of the economy. JMO

Wicker Park Nanny said...

Its true that in the nanny market you have to make yourself invaluable to them. My boss and I just sat down last week to discuss her (my) job security and thankfully they want to keep me so much they've saved so no matter what happens I don't have to go anywhere.

Word to the nannies: go above and beyond! It's crunch time.

ChiNanny said...

The lateness thing is annoying. I hate when it happens. They should at least call. Especially if they work so far away, it's not hard to pick up the phone and call/text that you are leaving now.

I wouldn't make a big deal about it, but I would mention that you'd appreciate a phone call. I did that with my employers letting them know that I understand "things come up" but need to rearrange my plans as quickly as possible if it happens. I also told them their kids are asking for them and I like to be able to tell them when their Mom and Dad are coming home. Ever since we had the conversation I get a call every time they're even 5 minutes late.

cali mom said...

As far as the lateness and having to cancel plans with your friends, I'd just schedule the meet-ups for hour later than you have been, so if the parents are late, you're still on schedule. Worst case scenario, you are ahead of schedule and have more time to get yourself ready, get a cupof coffee, etc.

cali mom said...

*1 hour later*, I meant to type.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
you need a moniker said...

Working for 2 surgeons myself (in MD as well), they can call you even if in surgery. MomBoss has called me (or had a nurse call me) many times because she's in surgery and is running late. I would mention it to her, as she probobly has no clue it bothers you. Tell her you understand why she's running late, but ask that she notify you. If she doesn't leave the hospital at 6:15, she already knows she'll be late.

I will also often call MomBoss (or have the kids call her) around the time she should be getting ready to leave, just to see how it's going.

As for the weekends oncall, have her call a local agency, they can help her out. Or...have her call me, I could use the money :)

May 3, 2009 6:19:00 PM