Tuesday

Nanny Negotiations at a Stalemate

Received Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I am an experienced nanny who moved from a full-time to part-time position in January of this year. (The reason that I went part-time is because I wanted to spend more time with my daughter.) The nannying job that I currently have is around 10 hours a week, so I am searching for a supplemental position for approximately 20 more hours per week. I found a family of an infant who seems like it will be a very good fit and we are in the process of negotiating hours, benefits, etc. We have decided on pay, hours, and other details, but we are still talking over vacation and personal days. Given my nannying experience, etc., when I am working full-time, I usually ask for 3 weeks of paid vacation/sick/personal days, as well as national holidays. In addition, I am paid for any days that the family doesn't need me, due to their vacations, family in town, etc. As a courtesy to the families that I work for, I usually try to coordinate my vacation days with theirs, so that they don't end up being in a childcare bind.

The prospective family that I am in negotiations with, gives their current nanny 1 hour per month as paid vacation/personal time in exchange for working 7 hours a week. The mother has offered me 3 hours per month of paid time off in exchange for working 18 hours per week. Although math is definitely not my strong point, I just did some quick calculations and figured out that it would amount to about 4 1/2 paid days off per year. Since the mother is self-employed, she mentioned that she would be willing to be flexible whenever I wanted to take unpaid time off. However, if they don't need me due to family visiting, etc., she either offered me to have the time off unpaid or to work different days in order to make up the lost income --- which isn't exactly ideal for me either way...I would probably have to take the days off unpaid, since my schedule wouldn't be flexible enough for me to makeup the missed work hours. (BTW, her rationale for not being able to give me more time off is that she's self-employed and so it would be cost prohibitive for her to have to pay me in addition to paying for substitute childcare.) Of course, everyone knows that times are hard right now and I know that I should consider myself lucky to have an otherwise great job offer, but the paid vs. unpaid time off issue may be a problem for me financially. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

30 comments:

CuriousDad said...

Not what you want to hear I am sure, but as a part time employee. Very few part time employees get any kind of benefits. Sounds like she has a certain budget in mind for how much she is willing to pay for a caregiver and there is not much flexibility in it. She may feel that paying for caregiving twice, paying you for you time off and another caregiver substitute is out of her budget range.
If anything all the "hard times" are doing is making people become more realistic about their budgets.

pick a name said...

Personally I think taking 3 paid weeks off, in addition to paid holidays off is totally excessive, even for a good nanny.


When I was working full time, I got a week of "vacation" (paid time off) every 6 months. Also, I would schedule one week myself, and the family would schedule the other one. If they took any additional time off, they paid me. If I chose to take any time off it was unpaid (aside from the 1 or 2 very rare sick days.)

I think as a part time employee, you are getting a very good deal. However, it needs to be crystal clear that if they choose to take time off when they don't need you, they will still pay you for your time. This is to retain an excellent nanny, and so you can pay your bills even if they decide they don't need you. It would be nice of you to water their houseplants or feed their pets while they are gone, but that's up to you.

CuriousDad said...

Sorry accidently posted without completing my statement.
If she is self employed that means her income stream is probably not on a fixed basis and has boom and bust cycles within a given week/month/quarter/semiannually and annually. She also may have to balance how much she is earning (after taxes and all other bills) compared to how much she can save by NOT having a caregiver on hand. This may be the wall you are running into.
Her budget and child care requirements versus your work needs and requirements.

Good LUCK!

Jacqueline said...

I have to agree with the other posters here. As somone who works in HR, it is pretty rare that a part time employee getpaid time off at all. At my current position I accrue about 3.6 hours per 80 hours worked. This works out to 2 weeks per year. I do get personal and sick time in addition but again, most part timers don't get anything.

I think your potential boss is being completely reasonable.

DenverNanny said...

Have to agree with the PPs...
I always thought the "standard" was part-time doesn't get benefits--regardless of what benefits you would request full-time.
I currently work 24 hours/week and I get federal holidays off paid. As both MBoss and DBoss are teachers, I have also get paid days off whenever the schools close for weather, but I don't get paid for the 3 weeks they have off at Christmas. So, I'd be happy she's offering you paid days off for only 20 hours/week...

~Night Nanny~ said...

I have always worked PT and have never gotten paid time off, BUT I do ask for (& get) a higher rate than most FT nannies in my area.

TC said...

If she was to have the kids in daycare she would still be required to pay for the days the kids missed due to holidays, vacations ect. SO she should pay you accordingly.

Most jobs offer a week to two each year of employment for FULL TIME employees and part time employees either get half or none. I would stand firm on being paid when they take vacations and such but I would lower your expectations on vacation days. Five paid days a year should be plenty.

TC said...

Forgot to add I work 50 hours a week. I get a week vacation, which I've never used because they take off so often throughout the year that I feel more than compensated. I also get paid sick days. I think in the beginning I was allowed 5 a year but in the 2 yrs I've worked for them I've only used 3 days.

Again 3 weeks vacation is too much in my opinion but you should still be paid when they take vacations and holidays.

Ravenswood Nanny said...

I was about to say that 3 weeks was excessive, but then I realized that is what I'm getting... haha. But I also work 50 hours/week. So if you do the math you are getting a fair amount for the hours you will be working compared to my full time rate.

In agreeance with the other posters, part time employees are lucky if they get any benefits. That's unfortunate, but it's that way with any job.

However, the part about wanting you to take unpaid time off or having you switch days seems unreasonable. I wouldn't accept that, at least not long term. I expect to be paid for a certain # of hours/week regardless if I work that full amount or not (assuming it was the family not needing me).

But, how desperate are you because it sounds like this mom isn't willing to budge, so you have to decide for yourself if that is acceptable to you or not. Generally when I am interviewing for jobs I have a list of negotiables and non-negotiables, where does this fit on your list? Are there other benefits to the job that would tip the scales towards accepting?

Ann O'Neemus said...

I work part-time with my current family.
I get paid for major holidays, and I am paid when my family takes a vacation. Any additional vacation time would be unpaid. I do get a few paid sick days (though I've only needed to use two in the last three years) No other bennies .
This seems reasonable to me since I'm only with them 3 days a week.

OP, maybe you could re-negotiate, reducing some of the other benefits in exchange for guaranteed hours.

I could not take a job that didn't guarantee my hours each week. If the family chooses not to use the hours I hold available for them, they need to pay me anyway - we all have rent to pay and so on.

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

When I worked PT for 3 different families, I got paid 52 weeks a year. That meant I took my "vacation" when the different families took theirs, but still got paid. I also got paid for any federal holidays by whoever was scheduled to use my services on those days.

Perhaps the way to go here is to ask to be paid for your time committed to them (18 hours?) 52 weeks a year, and then ask for paid holidays and 18 hours of paid "leave" to use as you need. Add in that if you do happen to need more than 18 hours of leave, you will gladly make that excess time up for them. Skip the idea of vacation pay entirely, because that sounds like a sore spot for them.

take_it_or_leave_it said...

a) it seems more than fair to me. you're not a fulltime employee. fulltime benefits come from working fulltime.

b) if you're not happy with what they're offering after negotiations, move on. a negotiation occurs to try to satisfy both parties. obviously, you aren't satisfied. you can't just bully them into submission.

Kathrine said...

She should pay you when SHE takes time off unless she gives you a sufficient amount of notice...

I am good at math said...

I just want to point out that at 18 hours a week, your work day is only 3.6 hours/ day, so actually you are getting 10 paid vacation days a year which amounts to two weeks.

That's pretty darn good.

MinuteMuggle said...

Three weeks is excessive for a part timer. It's just not done, and part times often do not get major holidays off paid.

when I was a nanny, I got a vacation week but it was when the parents took their vaca. I had to take it then. that was the deal. of course, that job sucked.

good luck. keep us posted.

Manhattan Nanny said...

You can't expect the same perks and conditions for PT that you would for full time. The one plus is that pay rates are usually higher for PT. Otherwise paid holidays, sick days and vacations are dependent on what you and the employer agree on.

What I do think you can reasonably expect is a guarantee of a set number of hours per week, year round. For the employer, this guarantees that you will be available to her for those hours. For you, it means an income you can count on. If she prefers a casual week to week arrangement, you should point out that in that case, you might not always be available when she needs you. She can't have it both ways.

College Nanny said...

You are a part time employee! Why should you get paid to inconvenience them? I am a college student/part time nanny, and I have many part time nanny friends and none of us get paid vacations. The part time work world is not the same as the full time one, and I think what she is offering is very generous.

You chose to cut down your hours to spend more time with your daughter, with that, you also gave up paid vacations.

I feel lucky when I interview for a job and they tell me they can be flexible and let me take my (unpaid) vacations.

mac said...

I'm not American and do not work there so all I can say is find out what's ' normal' and don't settle for anything less.

Here, part-time work still allows you to get 4 weeks(paid, not including public holidays) off (that's minimum wage). 4 weeks means 4 weeks worth of work. In other words: if you work 40 hours a week, you get 160 hours off. If you work 10 hours a week, that's 40 hours off a year.

As some have mentioned, it's very important that your hours are guaranteed. You need something you can count on every week and no leeway for such 'accidents' to happen.

Cafegirl78 said...

Mac... Where is the world are you??? I need to move there, lol!!

Janet English said...

I would prorate a 2 week holiday period for an 18h per week schedule.

Realisticly, you should get 2 weeks for a 40h week after 1 yr of employement. So she is spot on with 4.5 days a year.
Because 40h = 2 weeks holiday (10 days)
20h = 1 week (5 days)
10h = 2.5 days
1h = .25
Thus 18h= 4.5

In regard to her taking time off and you losing any of your guaranteed 18h- that's inappropriate on her part.

OzNanny said...

I am not American either, so don't understand the dramatic difference in entitlements between full-time and part-time. Here, I would expect entitlements to be pro-rata as Mac has outlined. You are still doing the job, till working permanent hours so why if you are on the same hourly rate should you not have any entitlements at all? If there were no vaction/sick leave etc then I would classify it as Casual work - which here would incur a 25% loading which covers those costs ie Full-time or Part-time I charge $24/hour or as a Casual, $30/hour. I much prefer casual as if you change jobs there is nothing to work out. As I am a contractor however I do still get paid if the family chooses not to use care. That is perhaps the best of both worlds however, though I have only had one family question this agency policy.

mac said...

I'm in The Netherlands. Most people get 6-8 weeks off a year. 4 weeks is minimum and if you work for the government, 12 weeks is possible. Crazy,right?

Taxes are high (17 000 euro/year is 33.65% and anything above about 55 000 is 52%) but you also get heaps back (free tertiary education, an allowance while you're studying, childcare subsidies, welfare, unemployment etc.) though but quality of life (in general) is great.

DenverNanny said...

Wow...
When I get ready to look for a new position, I should really look for one in Europe! Even my dad (a CEO who's been running the same company for over 5 years) only gets 2 weeks paid vacation every year.
I wonder how the differences between countries/cultures affects nannies who work in the US, but are from Europe...?

MissMannah said...

I also agree that you shouldn't expect as many days off as a part time employee. The only real perk I think you should expect is being paid when the parents specifically ask you not to come in, such as when they go on vacation or when family comes into town. That is how I've always done it, whether a full or part time position. It isn't fair to you for them to expect you to automatically agree to not get paid for days you didn't request off.

MissMannah said...

PS: I've also never dealt with the whole issue of paid time off because it is unnecessary. Just schedule your vacations for whenever they have theirs. Most families I've seen take extended weekends off on Thanksgiving and Christmas so you can go out of town those days too. Also, request that the days they require you to take off be given to you in advance so you know you can schedule a vacation. One time I needed a surgery and I didn't want to take time off without pay and I certainly didn't want to inconvenience my family with finding supplemental childcare so I just scheduled it for December 22nd because they were going out of town anyway. Be flexible for the family's needs and they'll reward you accordingly.

chgonanny said...

I work 35 hours a week, so I'm right in between full-time and part-time. I never know what to classify myself. I get two weeks off a year, where I'm paid for my usual 35 hours. I usually take my weeks off when they leave town. I also have gotten the random "Grandma's in town, so why don't you take Thursday off?" which is awesome. I still get paid those days, since it's not my choice to take those days off. I also get two sick days per year. I also get major holidays off.

I've never had a job (nanny or otherwise) where I got 3 weeks of vacation. It's always been 2 weeks.

Mac, can I come live with you?

CuriousDad said...

chgonanny said...
"I work 35 hours a week,"

As long as you work at least 35 hours in a week you are a full time employee.

say it again said...

I'm going to echo other posters here- I have never gotten paid time off as a part-time nanny, so the fact that she is offering any is a perk in my opinion. However, I would insist on a minimum salary per week- that is, if they do not need you, they should still pay you for your regular hours.

mom said...

You are asking way too much for a person who works less than half a day.
At best, you are reasonable asking to have a minimum of 18 paid hours per week, whether they need you or not.
If you really need this job, and if the potential employer was not to put off by your original demands, you might try going back and asking just for the minimum guaranteed hours. That will cover any holidays/ time they may be on vacation but don't need you. If they are offering a week off paid, you have already gotten more than would be normal. If you need additional time off, or more than 3-5 paid sick days, be prepared to have those days docked from your salary.

Hmmm... said...

i wouldn't give my part time nanny what you're asking. no way.