Occasional overnights and extended hours...

Received Friday, January 15, 2010
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I'm hoping to get some ideas from all of your great experience. I began a new job in December which, so far, has gone very well. I care for newborn twins. My hours are 6:30 am - 6:30 pm. The family has been very thoughtful and welcoming to me. The babies are sweet and so far easy (keeping in mind they are twins though, so consistently labor intense for my whole shift!) I also offer them great qualifications and they know it and tell me how grateful they are everyday.

So my question is this: If my hours are 12 hours per day, with "occasional overnights and extended hours" because one parent travels for business, what would each of you consider fair regarding overtime pay (if any at all). The parents have others that would stay with the at home parent and help out, but they have made it clear that they would prefer me and will always give me first choice. I think they are assuming I will be paid my regular hourly rate. Maybe that is fair, I'm too close to the picture to see clearly. I do know I am pretty pooped after 12 hours. I also know I need the money, but I am not one to sell myself short just because I need money. I am asking myself if I should just be grateful to have a job and take my regular salary of $17.00 per hour for the extra hours. I haven't talked about this at all yet, and the first trip is coming up the end of February. There is nothing in my contract about overtime, but we are still negotiating my contract after a month of experiencing the situation. As of last night I now have my contract to review and sign.

Any experience/wisdom would be appreciated. I'm very happy here, just trying to be clear in my original negotiations so I continue being happy and so do they! Thanks!


J said...

I'm glad things are going so well during the first few months! Sometimes they can be the bumpiest during this time, so it's great to hear that you got a well paying job as well as employers who appreciate your work.

You need to check the state laws for overtime where you live. Someone here will likely have a better explanation of that, but look up on it. Some states require that employers pay overtime after 40 hours of work a week, so even in your regular workweek you would be getting paid more, if that's something you'd want to pursue.

If the parents are going to be gone overnight, and if they want you there, whether you have extra help or not, you SHOULD get a flat overnight rate for every night they're there. Even though the kids may be asleep, you're still not free to do just anything you want. Say, go get drinks with a friend or have a late dinner out.

For the record, I live in the NYC metro area and my overtime is $15/hr, and then between the hours of 10 PM and 7 AM I get $75 because my kids are in bed by that point.

Make sure you talk to your employers and clear this up before they leave on their trip! It doesn't sound like you're trying to screw them over for more money, but you DO deserve to be paid for anytime you're required to be at the house, whether the kids are awake or not.

Good luck! Let us know what happens!

J said...

I meant you SHOULD get a flat overnight rate for every night they're NOT there, just to clarify!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

If you're making $17 per hour, not a weekly salary of $1020 for UP TO 60 hours per week, your employers have set the contract up poorly.

ALL nannies are entitled to OT pay for hours worked over 40 per week, so if your hourly is $17, you are now owed OT for 80+ hours, which would be an additional $680+ (based on half time for your total hours worked).

Because of this OT issue, most nanny employers now are savvy enough to set a weekly salary for a certain number of hours per week, and then pay "OT" for hours worked beyond that amount.

If your employers do that, your true hourly will drop to ~$15. So, you'll earn the same amount as you are now, but they will be paying you as follows: ($15 * 40) + ($22.50 * 20) = ~1020

However, none of that fun math answers your question!

You should absolutely be paid OT for hours worked beyond those contracted, and that would include all night hours as well. I would suggest an "OT" rate of $25 per hour round the clock. IMO, that makes it worth it for you, considering the amount of work invoilved, and it's still fairly reasonable for your employers.

Of course, they may choose to not use you for "OT", in which case, you'll be refreshed and ready to get to work in the AM and relieve whoever came in when you left the evening before.

Congrats on having a great job, and HTH!

nyc mom said...

Similar to Bella, we also pay extra hours at $15/hour and $75 for overnight (10:30pm-7:30am). Our reasoning is that the offered overtime hours are a choice for our ft nanny and if she does not want the hours, I have several other sitters who want to work. I can't financially justify paying my regular nanny 1.5X hourly rate when I have other sitter options at $15/hour, but I am glad to offer her the hours first at the regular rate.

In regards to legality, it's easy to parse out a 60 hour $700 salaried workweek into 40 hours at $10/hr and 20 hours at $15/hr (for example) and still stay within the parameters of the law. At $17/hour I'm sure your salary meets those requirements.

Finally, it's a bit unclear if your original work agreement means that the occasional overnights and extended hours are included in your salary, or if you are truly paid hourly? Either way, I would say if you want to work the extra hours, decide what the rate is that it would be worthwhile to you and tell the family honestly. Since they have other options for childcare, that seems a fair way to approach it to ensure you both are happy.

one plus one said...

12 hours is already a long day. Although the family is great now, it could be that 12 hours will eventually creep up to 12.5 hrs and then up to 13, etc. If they're paying you overtime, they are going to be more aware of the hours you are there and the hours you are contracted to work. That to me is enough of a reason to ask for overtime. Maybe ask for $25/hr to make it easy to calculate. As far as overnites, I guess it will depend on how the babies are sleeping.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your considerations, they were all helpful. I've decided to not ask for overtime, and only work the extra hours I feel I can handle at any given time (like weekend days OR nights in addition to my regular 4.5 days). Yes, it is already a long day and I want to continue to be my best, which means too many extra hours would have me wiped out. So I will work overnights on my days off and a whole day instead of half on Fridays. basically, I've decided to only work one shift a day, be it day or night. Funny, I made this decision but we have yet to discuss it; and then yesterday when I was paid there was also a giftcard for a one hour massage with my check. I don't think they will do me wrong. I count my blessings!