Tuesday

Losing Pay When a Child is Sick...

Received Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I have a question. I am a nanny for a family with one child. I love my job and the family I work for treats me very well. However, there is one area of concern. The child has been sick with a mild cold and MB wanted to stay home with him. Ok, no problem. But now I'm being told that she wants to stay home with him all week and that I will not be compensated for this week. This leaves me with zero income for this week. I have been a nanny for several families over the past 7 years and have always been paid for things like this. Things that are beyond my control. We do have a contract but it only covers my sick days. Any thoughts on this matter?

25 comments:

ericsmom said...

Wow. I can't believe they are going to do this too you. You are counting on a set amount of hours and pay. How are you supposed to pay your bills??

I don't know they can't be that great to work for. If this is what they are going to do to you.
I would look for another job.

ericsmom said...

Why does the parent want to stay home the whole week? If the child has a mild cold that seems weird to me. I can see a day or two. But you shouldn't have to lose wages.

Maybe, I am wrong. But it sounds like they are getting rid of you. Don't be surprised in the middle of the week she calls and tells you not to come back in.

Ravenswood Nanny said...

I'd dispute it and have it added to the contract ASAP! Learn from your mistakes, put EVERYTHING in the contract. I even have the amount of time they need to tell me before letting me go (no fault of my own situation). Contracts should be thorough.

MissMannah said...

Maybe Mom Boss doesn't know that it is customary to pay the nanny for time she tells her not to come in. Rectify this immediately! Tell her you can't afford to miss a week of work and you don't see how it is fair for her to demand you miss it. If you are willing and able to work and she tells you not to, she owes you for the time.

op said...

Eric's Mom, I highly doubt that she is letting me go. I just got a raise last week. I do know she is very overprotective of her son. Like crazy overprotective. So I get why she wants to stay home with him.

Ravenwood-I will definitely ask her to add it to the contract. I too have a clause that says they have to give 2 weeks notice before letting me go unless there was abuse or other wrong doing on my part. It's hard to remember everything to put into the contract! Thanks for everyone's advice thus far.

you need an income said...

I have to pay my family daycare provider if I stay home with my sick son....she can't keep him if he's sick because of the other children. Your boss doesn't have to stay home....you're there. You should be paid regardles....this is your job and it's not your sick days. You could offer to clean or something so you are "working" for her, but if not....you need to get paid. It's right before the holidays and we all count on our salaries. When it's a snow day in school, the teachers still get paid.

Black Orchid said...

I always have a clause in my contracts that reads something like this: "When Family travels or has personal days, and does not need the nanny to work, the nanny will be paid full salary." That takes away the stress of any unplanned days off that are out of your control.

Adria said...

You shouldn't have to take the loss of income for the week that she has decided to stay home. Any days that you are given off, that were unplanned by you personally, shouldn't be taken out of your salary. It isn't your fault the child is sick and a main reason people have nannies is to not have to worry about having to keep your kid at home while still having to pay the caregiver.

Be honest and tell her you don't think it's fair that you should have to miss an entire week of work unpaid because she's at home. That you wouldn't be missing otherwise. Plus nearing the holidays.. having an entire week of income taken away is a big deal.

N is for Nanny said...

I agree with PP; you should be paid for the time. I think it's nice that the mom has the flexibility to stay home with her child, but you should not be penalized for that. In a similar situation, I have done errands for the family - car in to get an oil change, grocery shopping, etc. I doubt the mom wants to take her son out if she is that overprotective. Maybe you could also offer to do "support" tasks - e.g. cleaning toys, cooking, errands etc - basically whatever tasks you are comfortable with and would have some benefit to them. (For example though, while I maintain the areas my charge frequents and clean his things, I do not take on the adult areas of their home and that's a boundary that I like to keep - I am upfront about this from the start though and work for a family that employs someone else for that.) Regardless if you shift all of your hours or not, you should still be paid for them. (I am paid hourly, but my contact stipulates that I am "guaranteed" pay for at least forty hours per week, unless I ask for time off. Maybe you need a clause like that.)

nyc mom said...

You should be paid. Period. Discuss it directly and calmly and explain that you would like to add it to the contract for the future. FWIW when I first employed a nanny I did not know a lot of issues I now consider obvious. I shudder to remember that I didn't even know annual raises were standard (neither my husband nor I get an annual raise). If they are great in other ways, I'm guessing they just don't know they need to pay you. I also like the idea of offering to do other child-related tasks that are included in your job description. I would appreciate an offer like that and also might not have been comfortable asking when I was new to being an employer.

dadiswrongonthisone said...

oh my god: they need to pay you. they suck and are cheapskates.

ItsTheHolidays said...

Well, this should have been in the contract, but, standard operating procedure around here is that people pay when their child is sick.

It's not your fault the child is sick and mom is choosing to stay home with him. I say anytime you are ready and able to work and it is the parents choice not to have you work, you get paid.

i_think said...

OP - If you are salaried, you should be compensated for the week. If you're an hourly worker, you're kind of SOL. You're not working those hours, so you shouldn't be paid. Again, this kind of thing should be put into your contract.

ericsmom said...

Well it sounds like you may be out of alot of money this winter. Kids get sick alot more at this time of year. So do you think everytime her son is sick, she will be taking off??

Bloomfield babysitter said...

You need to speak up and now! Calmly explain that you cannot afford to lose a week's pay because he is sick and MB wants to stay home. If MB can't understand that you can't afford to be be put in this position, use the week to start job hunting and spell everything out next time in a written agreement. Best of luck!

Manhattan Nanny said...

It would be clearer if your contract specified that you are to be paid if the employer goes on vacation or for any reason doesn't require you, but it really isn't necessary. There are some things that are not spelled out in contracts because they are obvious, or common practice. If your employer works, she counts on you to show up every day as she needs you for the length of your contract, and you should be able to count on being employed every week for the length of your contract. For a contract to be legal, it has to be balanced. It can't protect one party and not the other.
If I were you, I would assume, as NYC Mom suggested, that your MB doesn't realize she should pay you. Explain to her that you expected to be paid for the time she was home, as that is the norm, and that a contract for one year assumes pay for fifty two weeks.

Andrea said...

You work for idiots. Find a family who understands that you rely on a weekly income. Apologize to them and state that you simply cannot work for ignorant clowns.

i_think said...

manhattan nanny - "For a contract to be legal, it has to be balanced. It can't protect one party and not the other."

that's just wrong. (you only need an offer and acceptance, capacity, mutual assent, and consideration.) a contract can say whatever you want it to say. it can later be found void or voidable, but anything legal can be written into a contract.

you also say, "There are some things that are not spelled out in contracts because they are obvious, or common practice."

what's the point in creating a contract if some things are assumed? a contract is made to spell out every detail. what is obvious or normal to one party may not be to the other. contracts should be clear and cover all possible situations.

eNannySource said...

I've been in the nanny business for many years and this has come up several times. Many nannies don't get paid for sick days. I don't think it's right, but the nanny is told this in advance and the nanny is missing work.

In this case your being told not to come to work for an entire week without pay. It's rather outrageous, but of course your job is to present an unemotional, level headed explanation of your feelings to your employer. I think that someone that could be so thoughtless might not accept your point of view too easily. Good luck!

Manhattan Nanny said...

I_think,
"it can later be found void or voidable, but anything legal can be written into a contract. "

Yes, it can be void, if it is not balanced. You can write anything you want in a contract, but if it isn't balanced, the courts won't enforce it, ergo it isn't legal. You are agreeing with me.

As for some things being assumed, I have never seen a contract that specified that the nanny must arrive for work sober for instance, or that she can't drink on the job. If she sued for wrongful termination on the basis that her contract didn't require her to be sober, she would be laughed out of court.

CuriousDad said...

An addendum to enanny’s comment.
"Many nannies don't get paid for sick days. I don't think it's right, but the nanny is told this in advance and the nanny is missing work."

Nannies are not the only ones who run into this. Anyone who does not have "paid sick days" or "paid days off" in their contract end up with this problem. The only reason for a Company or Boss to provide either of those benefits is to attract and retain employees for the long term. Same with health insurance benefits which were actually started around the first half of 1900’s for companies to give more money to their employees, without an increase in the employees income taxes.

Nannies are in the same boat as many carpenters, boilermakers, electricians, HVAC repair men and so forth. Unless their Company/Boss offers it, they do not get those kind of benefits. They also do not get paid for not being able to show up for work. Boss calls them up on a rain date and says stay home I have no work. They do not get paid. Many service retail jobs are also be like that. The smaller the business the more likely that will happen.

So after a longwinded reply, the short answer:
If an employer offers it; its because they really want to keep you and can afford it. Same with pretty much any other benefit outside of those required by law.

i_think said...

manhattan nanny - i stand by what i said. a contract does not have to be balanced.

i_think said...

manhattan nanny - i'd also like to add that you might want to look up a few legal vocabulary definitions (ie legal, illegal, void, voidable, etc) before you start spouting off legalese and advice.

brokelawstudent said...

Actually, I think...is right. Basic Contracts class in law school has taught me at least that much. For a contract to be entered into, you must have mutual assent and consideration. Mutual assent is a.manifestation of an offer and acceptance, while consideration is a promise for a promise. If these elements are there, then a contract does exist. You may be thinking wrongly, Manhat, of an illusory promise or the circumstance of having a contract in which one party only allows for a binding contract at their whim. However, it sounds like a valid contract to me, which does not require balance.

m said...

This is plain wrong. contract or not.
This is why I opt of automatic deposit so no one messes with my money.
For a parent to even think this is ok says a lot about them as a person. I could never do that to anyone.
Do unto others...
How could you not be resentful after this.

I_Think
When I got my contract I redid it and sent it along. If you don't agree with it don't hire me, plain and simple, but it needs to work for both people- period