Tuesday

Burnt Out Nanny - Update

Received Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - Rants and Warnings
I am the Burnt Out Nanny who works 65++ hours a week, I am a m-f live in. I had a talk with my employers, apparently they are not counting any hours after 7pm (the kids are asleep by then) I am still in the house and can't leave to do anything and they never are back before 8:45-9:00. Mom said she is not paying someone when there is nothing to do but hey it is my time. I start at 7am, so they figure 7-7 about 60 hours a week. My contract says it is their their expectation and intention to maintain a 55-65 hour work week with an average work week of 60 hours. Is it me or am I being flim - flam-med? This is my first live in job. Any words of wisdom? I think I know the answer already!

52 comments:

slb3334 said...

This gets me. How do you get a 5 year old to sleep at 7? Won't be long, they won't be doing that. I would ask them, does that mean I'm off and I can leave. Needless to say, the answer is no and they need to pay you.

Becky and Mike Mooers said...

Oh good grief! I agree with slb - if you're not being paid then technically you are off work. I would start making appointments and letting them know that you have plans and need to leave and 7:00...and then leave! If a 65 hour work week is what they want then they can add one hour to each night to make 65 hours and they should STILL be home no later than 8:00. So at 8:00 you should start calling and letting them know you are off and have plans.
Ask them if they work for free??

MissMannah said...

I can see why they would think you are not technically "working" when the kids are asleep. But since you are the nanny, not the parent, you still deserve to be paid after-hours. Any time when you are required to be in the house for the welfare of the children, you are on the clock. I agree with the previous posters that you need to bring this to their attention.

Momkat said...

Yes, they are flim-flamming you. You're not off at 7:00 if you're still the one and only adult in the house. They need to be home by 7:00--period! Or, they need to ask you if it's okay for you to stay longer, and you're paid for those additional hours. These parents are taking HUGE ADVANTAGE OF YOU!!!!!!!!! Don't let them.

lynn said...

First, you should never have agreed to a work week of 55-65 hours...that is a 10 hour difference btwn minimum and maximum hours and I bet your pay was calculated on the 55 hours and they are obviously working you 65 hours. And I've never heard of someone not paying a sitter because the kid(s) are asleep. You need to quit, period. They are taking advantage of you and it's not going to change

CuriousDad said...

"A live-in won't qualify for overtime but they are entitled to be paid for all hours worked."

A live in Nanny qualifies for any overtime over 40 hours as time and a half. The law is pretty cut and dried on this. There have been enough successful lawsuits to prove the Labor relations boards take on it and state/federal judges interpetation of the law.

It's simple said...

You're either working, or you're not. If you're not working, you're free to come and go as you wish. If you are working, you get paid for it--period!

another thought said...

This is similar to someone who's required to carry a beeper on certain nights/weekends for their job. When they have the beeper, they're working--whether they're sleeping, out to dinner, etc. and get compensated for it accordingly. That is usually with pay, or with comp time off.

doesn't matter if they're sleeping said...

My teenage daughter is paid for babysitting--even for the hours the children are sleeping. She doesn't work for free and neither do you.

Village said...

If you leave at 7, you better call Child Welfare on your way out. It is illegal to leave children that age alone. The parents are crazy. They get two free hours a day because the children are asleep?

You are being taken advantage of. NO DOUBT. What they are doing is illegal. You need to tell them you are leaving the house at 7 each day, and do it. Even if you go to the park and sit. (This is just me, but I would be tempted to get a new job, and on the last day, leave at 7 and call Child Welfare. That would be a memorable goodbye.)

This isn't a good match. They will never find a good match. You need to get a new job, and let them abuse another nanny for a year. There are some parents out there that just want to take advantage of a nanny till they can't anymore, and then move on to the next one.

If it makes you feel any better, there are some doctors' offices run this way. The staff is abused till they leave, so they can be replaced with new workers at the bottom of the pay scale. I call it the Walmart syndrome.

Springmoon said...

That is ridiculous. When I worked as a live-in, even if the kids were asleep, as long as I was the only adult in the home and the kids were present, I was on the clock, end of discussion. There is no question that you are being taken for a ride, and if the parents would like you to just walk out of the house as soon as the children are down for the night, then they should be liable when CPS comes knocking too.

I feel for OP said...

Your time is your time, OP. You need to tell them that you need to get paid for all of the hours in which you are not free to leave the premises.

These people are jerks, plain and simple. If they have down time at work when they don't have clients, etc, do they expect to get docked?

Just another set of parents who are unwilling to parent or to give any credit or respect to the person they have hired to raise their child.

Don't give up: you will find a better match for you: not all people are such idiots. I do not have a nanny, I am a nanny who works out of my home, I care for another child plus my own. But when I do pay our babysitter (who is amazing) she gets 15 an hour, plus tip, regardless of if my child is sleeping or not. Any less is disrespectful in my opinion.

Shannon said...

I agree, I feel. I work at nights in a job that allows for a lot of down time. Since I can't leave the desk unless someone is there to watch it, I get paid for 8 hours although I spend about half of it reading.

nyc mom said...

This is not open for debate. If you are not free to leave, you are working. Tell mom that if the hours are not counted, you need to be able to leave the house.

These confrontations can be difficult so if you need to, set up an evening activity you want to do at 7:30pm - even if it's meeting a friend for coffee. Obviously, you don't need to have somewhere to go, but it might help you feel more confident in the confrontation. But whatever you do, do NOT accept her line of reasoning. This is not standard in any childcare situation I've ever heard of. Sometimes, people pay a reduced rate for sleeping hours, but they don't pretend those hours are nonexistant!

chick said...

Yes, they are taking advantage.

You can either suck it up and work for free 10+ hours a week, or you can tell them that if you are unable to leave the house you expect to be paid for your time. If they don't wish to pay you, they can find a sitter to cover the hours between 7pm and their return.

If they refuse to pay you, report them to the local labor department (work without pay is against the law) and to the state DFCS for endangerment, since they plan to leave their children home alone.

shel said...

I agree with everyone else. And whatever you work OVER what you guys agreed on is OT, plain and simple.

Keep track for a few days of when you actually "get off" of work and then go to them with the log of times and let them know that the contract isn't being abided by. Tell them you are looking into taking a night class or joining a group and need to be off at 7.

If they change and let you off, cool. If they hem and haw or if they screw it up in any way, get out of there. You are not their slave.

lynn said...

here is an alternative. Tell them that for your own tracking purposes, your work week starts on Monday at 6 am. Keep track of your hours (including when you are home and parents aren't and kids are sleeping). When you reach 65, tell them you are off until Monday 6 am rolls around again- and you tell them that you are counting hours where the kids are home asleep and they are not as part of the 65 hours.

Nanny in San Diego said...

This is a problem I have encountered by working as a nanny many times and I am so fed up w/it. I am tired of parents claiming that just because a child is asleep, I should not be paid. I have heard the line, "I refuse to pay someone who is just going to sit on the couch, watch T.V., read, etc..while my child is asleep. I am not going to pay someone to do nothing!" Well, like the previous posters said, if it is on your time, then you are on the clock. Imagine if a fire broke out, or an intruder broke in...since you are not being paid should you just flee the home alone since you are not "working" anyhow? Of course not!! My childcare philosophy: RESPONSIBILITY IS RESPONSIBILITY...NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!

cali mom said...

You're being screwed. They need to understand that you are either ON duty and getting paid or OFF duty in which case you are free to leae the house, meet a friend for drinks, go to dinner and a movie, or whatever you want. You should seriously just LEAVE one night before they get home, and just hide where you can make sure the kids are safe, and once the parents start to seriously freak out, come out and ask them if they understand now why you ARE still on duty when the kids are asleep. If they still try to say they won't pay you for that time, pak your bags and leave in the middle of the nigfht, then take them to court for all the hours they have refused to pay you. f

another nanny said...

I'm trying to think of ways that would drive the concept home to them, but I doubt anything non-dramatic will do.
-Get super intoxicated so that they can absolutely tell when they walk in the door- tell them you're not working so it's cool (downside: your hangover the next morning)
-Walk out the door at 7 pm even if they're not home (downside: your guilty conscience)

-Hire a babysitter (someone you know) to come at 7, and just don't come home till after the parents are back and have already paid her ('cause really what would they do?)
-Honestly, I think Lynn has the best idea- just work up to your 65 hours (including sleeping hours) and then tell them you will be back Monday morning.

Village said...

Where's the update? Color me confused?

Just Me said...

A basic question for the OP:
If one of the kids wakes up sick or just wakes up in general while the parents are still out, do they acknowledge the time spent with the wakeful child as time on the clock?
It's not like kids never have nightmares or get sick!
Aside from all arguments that you shouldn't have agreed to so many hours and that they need to have CPS and the Dept of Labor called on their asses, of course!!

dadiswrongonthisone said...

Unfortunately, all of these suggestions, while humorous, are not going to work.

A parent who uses the line: "I not going to pay someone to do nothing" is a parent who is an elitist, stuck up idiot and will never learn. Additionally, they will NEVER come to respect people in the childcare profession. As long as you continue to work for them, you will have employers who see you as beneath them, as their slave.

Get out of this job with dignity and grace. You will never "teach them a lesson" because they are idiots.

The only "lesson" I would teach them is to send a link to the responses of this post so that they can at least see that everybody else thinks they are a freaking idiot.

Good luck OP: you are worth more than this.

MissDee said...

I hate to say this OP, but I think you may have brought this on yourself. The reason why I say this is because of the contract. If your contract states you are to be finished with work at a certain time and day, or you are to be paid for additional hours that the parents aren't there and you are the adult in the home, by signing that contract the parents acknowledge and understand the terms and conditions setforth as indicated by that contract. The problem is that not always do parents abide by this, and that's where nannies, like yourself get screwed. And you got screwed the first time it happened after the first time time it happened, meaning that the first time it happened, ok, things happen, but the second time it happened, you should've have been firm with them, reminding them of the contract. If that didn't work, then I would've been even more firm and put my foot down. I don't think you put your foot down and weren't firm enough with your employers, and that's why you are in the position you are in.

Being that you are a live in, are you allowed to have guests with prior approval? If so, do you have any nanny friends? If yes, invite one of them over, let that person get to know the kids and parents. Tell your employers that you have plans. Call and remind them early in the day so that they remember. If they are not home within 30-45 minutes of the time your plans start, call and leave them a message and say something like this: "Hi, I was just wondering if you were leaving the ___________ yet. It's now ______ pm, and since you are not home yet, I asked ______ to stay with the kids until you arrive, because I have plans, which you said were fine. I hope you understand, and I will see you when I get home".

Momkat said...

OP: Now that you've gotten unanimous feedback that confirms what you already knew--what are you going to do? Please let us know =)

Momkat said...

Also, those poor kids. If mom and dad aren't coming home until they're in bed--they're not seeing them at all during the week.

Candi said...

At Nannies4hire.com, we recommend a nanny and family signing a contract and listing specific work hours - and the rate of pay for any overtime hours. Then, if there are any questions, you can always refer back to that contract. There is a sample contract available to registered members at Nannies4hire.com.

original poster said...

I am looking for another job as I type, the dad went off his rocker monday when we were having a talk about the contract, he mentioned as did the mom about 7-7 being 60 hours,because the kids were asleep. I realized that there is no getting through to these people, they are cheap and they don't get it, oh they are both attorneys. I was nickled and dimed when I first took the job, in all my 20 years experience as a nanny, these are the worst people to deal with and the agencey I got the job through is useless! I am sure I have a good case for the labor board, I feel really bad right now and I don't even want to look at them in the face I am so discusted by them, how do you take advantage of a nanny and look her in the face everyday? anyway I am still tired and words can not explain how pissed of I am, I hope a find a good family soon. I might just quit, I don't need them for a referance.

cali mom said...

OP, if you don't need them for a reference, and you can hang on a bit finanncialyl, then LEAVE in the middle of the night, then take them to small claims court for all the time they are trying to claim they doon't have to pay you for.

cali mom said...

I am 100% serious about this. You owe them *****NOTHING***** and they owe you for a great many work hours. Time to get sweet revenge, if you can afford it.

Just Me said...

I agree with calimom on both ideas, leave in the middle of the night and take them to small claims court. It doesn't matter that they are both lawyers. Just tell your lawyer everything that has happened and they'll take care of you. Try to throw it in there that they have to pay your legal fees too since they've been leaving you high and dry on so much else.
They've been screwing you, time to nail them back!
And keep us updated!! I'm furious at them for you!

chgonanny said...

Wait.... before you take them to small claims court, have you been paying taxes? Because if not, taking them to court could blow up in your face. I mean, they'd have to pay too, but it might break your bank.

I find it appalling that your bosses are treating you this way. I am so sorry.

dadiswrongonthisone said...

I would hope you have been claiming your income, because if you have not, taking them to small claims court would be more trouble than it is worth.

If you have been claiming your income, by all means leave leave leave!!! Go! For the sake of your own mental health, go!

As far as the posters who are saying "it's your own fault" well, bahh. Maybe so but that's a moot point: one thing that is NOT your fault is that these people are losers.

Get out, sweetheart. You are worth so much more.

Momkat said...

Quit...NOW!!!!! Those parents are awful!

Momkat said...

I know this sounds awful, but wake the kids up by being loud...then when they wake up, call the parents and tell them they have to deal with it...you're not working after 7:00PM. And what the heck would they do if you needed to leave the house at 7:00PM. Did you ask them that? What could their answer possibly be?

Nicole said...

i had a situation somewhat similar to this... former boss would ask me to do things such as chip ice off and shovel the front and back stairs, stay at the house for upwards of 4 hours waiting for packages to be delivered, waiting for repairmen, exterminators etc... all while the kids were in school. She didn´t pay me for my time and at first was angry when i brought it up, but luckily she was a lot more reasonable than your family is now and stopped asking me for these favors...

I´m glad you confronted your bosses and I definitely think you should get out soon...

Good luck!

nyc mom said...

I usually say if a nanny has been paid off the books then alerting the IRS isn't worth it because the tax burden on the nanny, while less overall, will be proportionally more damaging than the employer's back taxes. This presumes the employers have a greater financial reserve and can pay the back taxes. However, in a case like this - where your employers are attorneys - they have MUCH more to lose than you do. They can be disbarred or professionally damaged significantly. This is why lawyers (alone with high profile folks) tend to always pay on the books. If they have been paying off the books, then OP you have the biggest bargaining chip you could imagine.

Seriously, raise this issue and you will get any and all back money you are owed, and can negotiate a glowing written reference. No attorney would risk this getting out. And while I normally advocate remaining professional (for both sides) regardless of the other's actions, I think your circumstances warrant extreme action.

cali mom said...

Good point NYC mom!! And OP, even if you agreed to what you understood to be the contract, any illegal item in the contract is null and void and you are NOT required to honor it. In other words, if they tricked you into "agreeing" to work 2 hours every day for NO PAY, it's their tough shit, that's an illegal requirement and they certainly DO owe you for all the on-duty hours they are refusing to pay you for. No judge is going to say "oh well, if the kids were asleep, then of course you were off duty and shouldn't be paid". No, if a caregiver leaves the house while children are there, it is NEGLECT and they can be arrested and have the kids taken away from them. Your employers are counting on you to bend over and smile why they keep screwing you. Don't let them.

MissDee said...

NYC Mom:

BRAVO! If I am correct, Breedlove and Associates, who specialize in nanny/household employee/domestic worker taxes, clearly state on their website that if any employee in tha domestic sector, such as nannies, housekeepers, etc. earn over x amount of dollars per month, they are advised to file federal, state and local taxes. In addition, it clearly states families and individuals who employ these people in their private home are to take out the above mentioned taxes. There is a list of reasons as to why this must done on the website. In past interviews, I would casually mention taxes to gauge the family's reaction-many times I was met with a look of disinterest. Do families not understand what can happen to them legally if they are not following laws?

OP: This is what I would do. If you are not being paid on the books, contact an employment lawyer ASAP. Tell them what you told us and don't leave anything out. If you do end up taking your employers to court, I hope you find a new family who will treat you like platinum. This family isn't for you. They are "delightful, considerate" people with Oscar the Grouch personalities and the common sense of shaving cream and jelly beans.

ContractsAreYourFriends! said...

OP, if you've been doing this for 20 years, shouldn't you know by now to get a very specific contract written out? In your other posts, I had assumed you were a newer nanny and needed some guidance. But now I really don't feel sorry for you, because you should have known better from the beginning. The only way someone can take advantage of you is if you let them.

Harsh, but needed to be said.

Momkat said...

She has a contract that says she's working from 7AM to 7PM. She probably always worked for reasonable people in the past, and never had the need to spell out that she doesn't work for free when the kids are asleep. Don't attack the OP. She's working for crazy people...and just needs the support and impetus to get out. And it's a shame that going forward she'll need to somehow specify to new employers that she doesn't work for free when the kids are asleep. Most reasonable people know that without needing that to be spelled out in a contract. I guess the appropriate wording is that after X time she is off, and is free to come and go as she wishes. And if she's needed for additional hours after X time, she's paid $X.

oh well said...

Contracts, this is her first live-in position. Don't you ever make mistakes?

ContractsMakeLifeEasier said...

Yes, I made mistakes when I was just starting out. I don't anymore. You have to expect the unexpected BEFORE you start working. My current contract has a ton of seemingly unnecessary details in it. If OP's scheduled hours are specifically stated as 7am-7pm, then she shouldn't have anything to worry about. She shouldn't be expected to be paid after 7, just like the employers shouldn't expect her to remain in their house after 7. I thought the issue here was nanny not being paid for hours worked, not nanny having to work extra hours.

Momkat said...

The problem is the only people who don't understand that she's being asked to work past 7:00AM for no pay are the people who are paying her. Their definition of "not working" is different than most people's. It would be like my boss saying to me that I'm not working after 5:00PM, but I always have to be directly available after 5:00PM to immeidately come into the office at a moment's notice. If that was the case, I couldn't go out to dinner, go to a movie, or even sleep without being immediately "on call." But not getting paid for being on call.

original poster said...

I am on the books. I am starting to work 4 days next week, the parents want to work this out with me. the father is at home, when I started the job last july, he was supposed to start a job and that fell through, so starting next fall he will be working out of state for 3 days out of the week, the they want me to work m-f and I will be able to leave 9 am on friday and I will get paid for the whole week, I asked why not do this now, and the mom told me that her husband helps with the kids so in the fall I will be paid for a whole week because her husband won't be around so it will be more work for me. I took the job believing the dad would be working, so now he is helping me, I didn't expect this when I took the job, these people just twist everything to their benefit, I have never dealt with such bullshit! so anyway, at the end of the month we are going to discuss if I still wanted to keep the job and my answer will be no! this morning the dad told me that if I really wanted to stay, they would buy a new treadmill for me to use, they know I am done and I can't wait till the end of the month!

Rachel said...

Ugh! I'm seriously to the point where I just can't stand people anymore. I thought getting out of the nanny business and into teaching would be better... no such luck. I hate parents even more (not all parents mind you... just the ones who warrant my deepest hatred).

I would seriously stop letting the children go to bed at 7:00. I know, more 'work' for you, but then at least when the parents get home you can say, oh, well I'm working so now you owe me.

And to the people who were having trouble getting what is going on here -- momkat had a good analogy with the 'on call' thing, except, you're not on call at all... you're straight up still at the office.

It would be like your boss calling you at 5 pm in the evening and saying "Well you're techinically no longer on the clock so you won't be getting paid for this, but I absolutely forbid you from leaving the building for the next 2 hours because the printer repair guy is coming and someone has to be there to let him in... and you know I would come, but I have to have dinner with my wife."

No way.

If those children are under your care, meaning you cannot leave the house without them being by themselves, then you should be getting paid for it!

Another idea would be to tell them that you won't charge them for being a nanny after 7 pm, but you're going to start charging them for babysitting.

Nannycams4ever said...

Dear OP,

I am really sorry you have to deal with this.

I hope you find a new job with employers who will respect you. I would never treat someone like this. They are being really mean, offering to buy you a treadmill. Exactly what are they implying? As if taking care of their kids all day is not enough exercise. I do wish you guy luck. Persevere, and you will find employers you can trust.

P.S. I hope you can find peace with the children before you leave.

NervousNanny said...

Jeez! Do they also dock you for the times the kids are napping? You know, since they're sleeping and all...

It's ridiculous. I currently work a night job where I drop by a family friend's house for only an hour and a half from 11pm-12am because she works 2nd and her husband works 3rd. Even though it's a hassle to go for such a short time, at least they understand that they can't just leave the baby in the house alone.

And I am paid well for that hour and half!

Good luck OP, and get out.

Nanny Services Guide said...

Dear OP:

I applaud you for maintaining your professionalism under difficult circumstances.

A more vindictive response on your part (to leave in the middle of the night or take the family to court) might be tempting, but would likely hurt you more than them in the long run.

Use the "end of the month" time frame to your advantage - do everything you can right now to secure a better job with a more considerate family. That will be the most satisfying outcome you can hope for. Good luck to you.

Be A Parent!! said...

The father "helps" with the kids? What the hell happened to the father parenting his own children. Why would he ever be considered as assisting the nanny? Or assisting the mother, for that matter.

These people are ridiculous. Hope you can hold out to the end of the month. I'm fed up with them already and I'm not even there!

Carol said...

You are not playing with the child when they are asleep BUT you are still CARING for the child.

at 7pm Hire a babysitter and leave the house until 10. let the parents know that I didn't know you would have to pay. after all isn't the child asleep?

If they don't want to pay you after 7 then they need to be home.

MissMannah said...

Carol,

I'm sure you're being facetious, otherwise that would be a really good way for OP to get immediately fired.