Is this a common theme for Filipino nannies?

Received Friday, November 13, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN We have a Filipino nanny. The first year she took off 6 weeks to go to Philippines said it was an emergency. We made it work but it was hard because the mother in our family had cancer at the time and was not able to care for the kids at all. So, long story .... this is 2nd year. Mother is scheduled for a surgery on Dec. 6. cancer related. and the nanny says she has to leave 6 weeks for an emergency in Philippines. This emergency is supposedly of a legal nature, but she would not provide any details.The nanny is married to an American Citizen so this is not likely an immigration issue. I just don't believe her. Is this a common theme for Filipino nannies-to take Christmas holiday off for 6 weeks?


ChiNanny said...

Whether it's common or not, I wouldn't put up with it (unless that much vacation is in her contract). 6 weeks the first year and 6 weeks the second, both at the holidays sounds like she just wants a vacation, especially since she's shady about the details. There's a lot of good nannies out of work, I'd find one of them.

MinuteMuggle said...

Who cares if it is common or not? Does that have anything to do with the fact that she is not there?

It is up to the nanny to tell you any excuse/reason she sees fit. And it is up to you to accept it or not.

If I were you the answer would be not. You let it happen the first time and that is on you: if it does not work for your schedule (and how could it?) tell her no and find someone else.

TC said...

Do you pay her when she's gone?

I would find someone else because
A) it's inconvenient for you
B) you think she's lying

That means you don't trust her (not that I blame you) and why would you allow someone you don't trust to care for your children?

Village said...

She wants a six week vacation every year, and she probably learned that telling the truth wasn't working for her.

If you get another nanny, and I agree that there are many good nannies available right now, your only downside is you will miss her creative excuse for next year.

If you don't want her gone 6 weeks every year, you have no choice but to replace her.

Sydney said...

Hmmmm....I would never take six weeks off, especially if one of my employers were ill. It sounds to me like your nanny wants six weeks a year to see her family. If that is the case she be upfront about it, and have it in her contract. I don't know anyone in this profession who gets six weeks in a row off. Perhaps this is why she is lying about it??

MissMannah said...

She's taking advantage of you. Tell her you need a legitimate reason as to why she has to take off or she can't have the time off. Also inform her that she needs to assist you in finding a replacement nanny while she's gone. If she still dodges the issue, I'd say let her go.

kirsti b said...

This is a Jamaican thing. Me thinks she travels in those circles and learns from them how to bully her employers into submission, free meals, stilettos, jackets, days off, dental work, etc.

puleese said...


DenverNanny said...

Race/Ethnicity doesn't really matter: A nanny who has two 6 week "emergencies" in two years isn't doing her job. Maybe if the first trip was an immigration issue it *might* have been excusable... maybe.

LaptopMissDee said...

Here's a thought: the nanny lives here, and this is her life now that she is a US citizen by marriage. She misses her family, and only gets a little bit of time with them.

I am not defending the nanny and I do agree that lying to you about it being a "family emergency" is not professional. No job that I know of gives six weeks off unless it's maternity leave. That being said, I would sit down and talk to her about what is going on with the game she is playing because that is what she is playing with you. Tell her you are unhappy about it, because you are without her for six weeks. If you want to keep her, try giving her 4 weeks vacation during the holidays, if possible when her contract needs to be renewed. I'm sure both of you have vacation time to use-each of you use alternate weeks during the time the nanny is gone, that way you will have childcare. If the 4 weeks works for you but not her and she insists on 6 weeks which is a struggle, start looking for a new nanny.

I love my new laptop!

Manhattan Nanny said...

Hmmm, yes, it is quite a coincidence that she has another six week emergency at holiday time.
The thing that really struck me is that she is more or less demanding the time off, knowing this is a very difficult time for the family with the Mother's impending surgery.
This is not a cultural thing, it is an issue of personal ethics. ( A woman is Filipina BTW)
I think you need a nanny who will feel more loyalty and commitment to your family.

UNOME said...

Sad to say but it's likely an ethnic thing and I don't care if it sounds racist because it's not, I'm speaking from my experiences.

When I worked in an office, many of the people of Hispanic, Phillipine and Arabic decent took long vacations to return to their homelands once a year. The extra time is needed because travel is expensive and the trip often long. As a nanny I see this again among the nannies of the same ethnic backgrounds and most of their vacations range from 3 - 6 weeks. In all likelyhood, she will do this every year.

It's not wrong for anyone to negotiate a long break and take it. It is wrong to not mention it ahead of time to your employer or to lie about it. Find another nanny.

NVMom said...

I agree with the PP. It is common in many Asian and European countries for people to have longer vacations. I worked overseas, and even entry level employees had four weeks off every year, it went up from there if you were more senior. (Miss those days!)

Anyway, this nanny probably thinks Americans don't understand this and would never go for it, so she lies. I'd agree, you probably should replace her if you don't trust her. If you really like her work, though, you might try to work something out and offer a compromise.

Repost for anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Filipino here (and it's OK to say Filipino to refer to females). The holidays are big back home, and people who go back for 3 weeks (which is what most can afford to take off from work) come back exhausted and sick. There's a lot of family reunions, traveling to see different people (who will all complain if you don't make the effort to see them).

That said, it's not OK for your nanny to leave when surgery is coming up. It's just not considerate, especially since she took off last year as well.

Nov 14, 2009 8:28:00 AM

Nanny Ellie said...

She most likely has family back home that she is going to visit. When I was working in Canada, the majority of nannies are Filipino and they take 4-6 weeks off a year to travel back home to visit family (and sometimes kids, who they only see once a year).
She should have told you from the beginning that that was what she was planning, but I'm sure she did with some families and they told her that wouldn't work for them, so now she lies. If she was honest, at least you know ahead of time and can find adequate back up for her time off. I wouldn't pay her for that time, since you'll be paying someone else to take her place.
Call her bluff, see what she says. If she's a good nanny the rest of the year and you would otherwise continue her employment, consider keeping her, but have a sit down and get everything out in the open. If not, there are many wonderful nannies out there right now that you could employ.

Orange Snakeskin said...

I received 6 weeks off 2 years in a row, sadly it was unpaid and not at all by choice. The family rarely let me know far enough in advance to plan ahead for bills or my own vacation but that is a completely different story!

I agree with many of the previous posters if you do not trust/believe her let her go. We all wish we had 4 to 6 weeks vacation and 6 months of maternity leave like many European countries but that just isn't the way things work here.

Just because someone wants to go home for 6 weeks to see their family doesn't mean they are able to. I would love to spend 6 weeks in Jersey, where my entire family lives, but that just isn't realistic. This woman made a decision to live and work in the US and needs deal with the way this country handles vacation. She isn't the only person who would like to visit famil

snips and snails said...

If I could get away with a 6 week leave from my job every year to go home for the holidays, I certainly would and I can not blame her for trying. As the employer it might be your time to put your foot down. Something tells me you will be on the market for a new nanny, though.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

You need to sit down with her and tell her that you cannot afford to pay her for 6 weeks of vacation this year, and that you did it last year on the assumption her emergency was a one time issue.

Then ask her if she knows any of her nanny friends who would like to work for her those 6 weeks, since you, her employer, are dealing with an illness in the family and absolutely cannot be without care.

Of course, if she has not had the amount of vacation time scheduled in your work agreement yet this year, you should pay her for the time she has left, but no more.

Either way, I would guess you will soon have a new nanny. you might even want to skip the whole process of discussing her demands and just give her notice.

Not My Kids said...

A six-week family emergency due to legal issues? Is she due in court? Would a background check uncover it if she was? I agree--find someone else. As others have said, you don't trust her so she shouldn't be watching your kids. If she is lying, she shouldn't be trusted, and therefore shouldn't be watching your kids. I would be concerned about what those legal issues are, regardless of her nationality. I would not want a criminal watching my kids.

Lola said...

Anonymous Filipino:

I hear that, when I go home to visit I can usually spend two weeks at the most. EVERYONE complains I haven't spent enough time with them. I go crazy trying to visit with every family member (talking dozens of people). And if I can only spend a few hours, they are mad. If I can only come twice, I should have come three times. If I can only see them for the day, I should have spent the night. I come home exhausted and upset.

So, point being, it is very hard to live far from your family. There is never enough time to visit with loved ones you hardly ever see. BUT that is a fact of life if you relocate from your place of birth. The nanny obviously wants the income from working in the U.S. but doesn't want the inconvenience of short visits home. Too bad for her.

You cannot have it all.

ChiNanny said...

I would also be concerned that she's claiming legal issues but won't give details. A background check wouldn't have brought up things from another country. As her employer you have a right (if not legally, morally since she's in your house with your children) to find out if she's in some type of trouble. Her being shady about it is unnerving in my opinion.

I also think it's fishy that she's had 2 "emergencies" and both needed exactly 6 weeks to be fixed and you got well over a months notice. Aren't emergencies usually more spur of the moment and a little more unpredictable. Hence the term "emergency".

She's lying, untrustworthy, and not loyal to you or your family. You can get a better nanny.

Janet English said...

I would sit her down and ask her if she is in any legal trouble. If she is not then I would ask her what role she will be playing in this emergency in the Philipines/ or how her participation is relevant. If she won't say why, I would follow that by "do you 100% have to be there?" If she says yes, I would think it is safe to ask if she already bought the ticket and if the dates on it are changable. I believe it would be appropriate to tell her that you are also dealing with an emergency. And that this year 6 weeks just won't work for you and that you would understand if she had to quit her job to deal with her 6 week emergency. Tell her you can only give her off 2 weeks over the holidays starting Christmas day or so. I think it's important that you ask her first when she was thinking of leaving before you propose a holiday date that works for you because I bet you once she gets a bonus she'll be out the door and won't return.

You were flexible to her "emergency" last year, now it is your turn. Come on, you know this isn't an emergency. You are being taken for a ride. If she's not in legal trouble, her participation isn't relevant. If she is, she shouldn't be in your house. And how does she know how long this emergency will last?

FYI, if she said she has to leave on say Dec 8th, let's pretend it is a Friday, I would withhold her paycheck until that monday (and give her a little something for the inconvenience) just to make sure she shows up. Only if she agrees to not take those 6 weeks.

Overall I say give another nanny the holiday gift of a job- one that doesn't lie to you.

not again said...

What a ridiculously racist question. Who cares if it's a common problem with Filipina nannies or not? It's a problem with YOUR nanny. Why don't you ask for help with the problem instead of trying to put all nannies of a certain ethnicity in a box.

helaine said...

There are two ways to look at this, and believe me I have dealt with this. First, you will find you Island nannies think they are entitled to lengthy vacations because everyone needs to see them. That's preposterous. My nanny comes from Oregon, and I am quite certain she has friends and family who want to see her, too. However she does not deviate from her allotted vacation time, nor does she beg or cajole to attempt sympathy.

Most people get two weeks paid vacation per year, and most people split it in two. The inability of certain groups of foreigners to comprehend this basic premise is just another reason I don't hire foreigners.

therealreason said...


with all due respect, we all know that is NOT the reason you do not hire "foreigners." We all know it is because you are a racist, uppity snob who thinks her poop smells like a Yankee candle.

Janet English said...

Honestly Helaine, I am a foreigner and I don't take lengthy vacations. Don't be stereotypical. It breeds prejudice behavior. If I had to hire a nanny I wouldn't base it on ethnicity- I'd base it on if they had commen sense, personality, experience, and the ability to communicate effectively and clearly in English.

DowntoEarth said...

OP We just had a friend in San Francisco go thru the very same thing as you. 2nd yr in a row that the nanny has done this. Fortunately they had an agency contact them the week before to see if they were interested in changing nanies..LOL they informed the old nanny that her vacation time was fine and that they were giving her a 2 week notice and she need not come back after her vacation..needless to say nanny was quite upset as they didnt seem to understand that this was an emergency the same as last year. I would be looking for a new nanny right now if I were you and this nanny was also Filipina. She is showing no respect for you and your family especially at this time when you need her so badly.

Anonymous said...

Odd that it is 6 weeks because that is the same amount of time you must return back to your country of origin to not "over stay" and maintain citizenship in that country without penatly. My guess is that she never relinquished her citizenship even though she is now married to an American. Wonder why she just didnt get dual citizenship like many others.