Received Sunday, February 21, 2010
I am a huge fan of this blog. I know what kind of comments are coming (I'm a pushover, grow some balls, you should quit, etc) but I would also appreciate some feedback regarding the negotiations. I will try to give you as much background info as possible.
I am a live-in nanny for a five year old autistic boy and his 23 month old little brother. Mom owns own business and Dad "works" for business by fixing broken equipment and buying/ordering supplies. I am paid $400 weekly on the books, no benefits. I work anywhere from 50-55 hours per week with Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday off (supposedly). I had 2 years experience as a live-in for one other family before I took this job March 2009.
I feel that the parents are taking advantage of me, mostly in the areas of working hours and personal time. In my contract I agreed to include date nights and anytime that the parents had meetings or appointments as part of the weekly salary. Stupid, I know. I am now working minimum of 5 hours every Thursday and the parents decided Saturday morning if they are going out that night. When I first started the mom had filled out a calendar of what days and hours I would be needed to work extra, but that didn't last more than 3 months. I also agreed to pick up their son from school (40 minutes away) on the days that dad was too busy. Verbally discussed how dad loves to spend time with his son and that he would do everything he can to pick him up on a daily basis. Me picking him up would only be a last resort, backup plan. Since Christmas vacation, dad has picked up him 4 times. I am in the process of getting my master's degree and most nights and weekends I am at the house studying. I really do not have any time left after working and studying to go out. If the parents have something "come up" and they need a babysitter, I am asked if I'm going anywhere. Of course the answer is no because I had plans on studying, but yet I find myself watching the boys. The times that I have said no to them, they call grandma to babysit. Every time I have come back she is asleep on the couch and there is drawings on the wall, one of the boys is hurt, or (this happened the last time she came over) the autistic boy was giving his 2 year old brother a bath. Since then, I have sacrificed the schoolwork to watch them when their parents leave.
Before I started the job, I asked for a higher salary and health insurance. The parents were shocked that I had asked for more money and they said that health insurance was too expensive. Now a year later, I know that I have job security and I'm more confident that they really do need me and that they would have a hard time replacing me. (I heard the horror stories about previous nannies and the interview process to find me).
What way have worked for you (nannies) or you respected (employers) when it came to contract negotiations? How would you go about addressing these issues and still maintaining a good, working relationship with the parents?