Sunday

Two weeks notice?

Received Sunday, May 2, 2010
perspective and opinion I recently gave notice to my current employers, whom I have been with just shy of three months, that I would be leaving for a new job. One of the (many) reasons I left is that the parents are completely disrespectful of my time; they would give me "days off" with NO notice and then not pay me for them and they would often make me stay late (15-20 minutes) without pay but if they told me to come in a half hour late (because the baby had an appt, or mom was going to work late), they would deduct that time from my pay.

Then I heard from a nanny up the street that my family was going to Disney World in May (heard this the last week of April) but only found out from my employers when I asked. Even then, she "didn't know" the exact dates but said it was "around Mother's Day." I knew that I would not be paid for this.

I'm not a selfish or greedy person and I don't think anyone goes into childcare for the money (because even in great positions, the money- even in the affluent NYC metropolitan area- is still less than what I could make using my degree elsewhere). But, I'm a professional, and though I chose this field for the intrinsic rewards of working with kids, I still have bills to pay! It was impossible to budget to pay my rent and expenses when the family would constantly cut my hours or give no notice about unpaid weeks off, so when I was offered a better position, I took it without hesitation. The day after being offered the new position, I talked with my current employer to tell them that I would be leaving and that I'd be happy to offer them two weeks notice. They said that was insufficient; they couldn't find someone new in two weeks, especially because they were leaving for Disney the second week of my notice period. Well, this was the first time I'd even be given the dates for their vacation! She wanted at least a third week, but that means I'd need to delay taking the new position (which really requires me to start NOW, as mom is going back from maternity leave) for three weeks. I told her I'd see what I could do, but tell me: what's the etiquette when your second/final week of notice falls on a week when you're not due to work anyway? Does it make a difference if you were never given adequate notice of being off that week in the first place? I want to be fair...

23 comments:

nycnanny said...

I think that 2 weeks is sufficient and it is not your problem that they are taking a vacation that you did not even know about!! You need to put yourself first and do what is best for YOU. You don't want to have your new employer to have second thoughts and maybe hire someone who can start when she needs them to. I wouldn't worry about your current boss-there are plenty of nannies out there looking for work, she will find someone in time. Good luck!!

Whatgoesaround said...

Two weeks is sufficient and hopefully will teach these parents to be more considerate of their future nanny. Wish them well and move on. Best wishes to you!

TC said...

2 weeks is sufficient. If you could give her 3 weeks that would be wonderful but it doesn't look like you can so hold firm and tell the mother you can't.

Anonymous said...

OP here. Thanks for your insight, guys. I thought I was being fair. I do want to say, though, that other than getting stiffed financially, the parents are actually pretty cool and, before I told them I was leaving, they would shower me with praise for all I did for them. But, I think I'll be MUCH happier in my new position (I get a newborn! Wheee! :)) where the parents have promised to pay me salary- even when they don't need me one day or let me go a few hours early if mom or dad gets home earlier than usual- and pay me for the two weeks that they go on vacation.

I did get paid for all of the time I worked for my previous family, and since the first week is up and they're out of town, I'm all up to date. Probably can't use them as a reference because they're not at all pleased that I left so soon. I truly did/do feel badly about it- I HATE doing that to the kids who DID get really attached to me, and I to them- but I simply couldn't budget if I was constantly the one thing in their life that they were cutting corners with.

Agreed said...

OP, please don't let this family lay the guilt trip on you. You already decided you're leaving, and the new family needs you asap. Hopefully the parents can learn from this experience, so that the kids will not have to experience this again.

no moniker said...

Anonymous said...

The first family doesn't care about you, and doesn't want what is best for you.

Seriously, from my own past experiences, I'm telling you to do everything you have to to get the money they owe you-even if that means promising to stay even if you don't intend to. This would be a very likely point in which they would stiff you again.

Start with the new family ASAP, lay all the cards on the table expectation-wise (theirs and yours). Make sure these people never learn to trample on you.

no name said...

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about it. You have been with them for only 3months and have a new job lined up. The new job is what matters forget about the current family. I would also leave a note on your last day stating all the reasons why you are leaving. Hopefully that will teach them not to do it again. I just wouldn't use them as a reference no matter what. Good luck with the new family and make sure you get a signed contact.

Understanding Nanny said...

Since you have a new position, I guess it is not really that important that you do not have the previous family as a reference. It was only three months and I would just not worry about it.
Think of the three months as a "trial period" because that is what it was after all. I would just move on. It is true, there are many nannies out there seeking work due to the bad economy and she can find someone soon. It's not like there is a shortage of nannies around. Sheesh.
Good luck in your new job. I hope this one works out, the family sounds great and lucky you...you get a new baby! YEAH!!

No Guilt said...

I agree with everyone else-2 weeks notice is adequate. I would let the Mom know you can only give her 2 weeks notice and tell her you understand they will be out of town for one of them. I would say something along the lines of you can work for one week and be done or give the full 2 weeks but you expect to be paid while they are on vacation for that last week. Why should you give up a weeks worth of pay for a job you are leaving?

Dribs said...

I agree with PP that two weeks is fair, given the situation - mostly that you were only with them for three months and I am assuming that you do not have a written agreement requiring more notice than that. (If you do, you should honor what your agreement states.)

If you do end up giving them a third week for whatever reason (say, your new position's start date is changed) I would suggest you only do so if they pay you for the week they are at Disney. I agree that they should have been doing so all along, but (as far as they know) you should not delay starting a position where you will be paid to not be paid for a week while they are away.

That being said, if you don't already, I would encourage you to get a written agreement stating things like your salary and vacation payment with your new family. Good luck with the new family! I hope it goes well.

needs a moniker said...

Anonymous said...

I am a mom and I think 2 weeks is extremely fair considering the way they have treated you. When I had a part-time nanny I still paid her for any extra vacation time and days off my family took, as well as gave her 3 weeks of her own paid vacation time. If I let her leave early she still got paid for the total hours. If she stayed late she got paid overtime. I did this because I wanted her to be happy and comfortable and to honor the incredible job she did helping to raise my son while she was working with us. Why someone would stiff one of the most important people in their child's life is completely beyond me.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Come on, people. STOP posting anonymous!

OP again said...

There is no agreement (written or verbal) about notice, so I went with the standard two weeks.

Question for those who have repllied: Would you feel differently about the situation if I was leaving for personal reasons and not because I felt cheated? What's the etiquette on this from a neutral perspective?

same difference said...

OP- If you were leaving for personal reasons and had the option to give more time (like 3-4 weeks) notice, and you had good rapport with the family, then I think it's always nice to give more time. However, as other posters have stated, it wouldn't make sense in this situation for you to give more notice (regardless of why you were leaving) only to be stuck "working" for them for a week without pay.

TC said...

I'm going to agree with same difference

If you COULD give more notice that would be nice, but if you can't then you simply cant.

It doesn't matter why you are leaving. You are giving them two weeks which is sufficient to find a nanny. There are agencies out there and they can get a temp nanny if they need more time.

cali mom said...

You're free to leave the job anytime you want, unless you have a contract stating that you agreed to stay for a certain period of time, which it sounds like you did not, so tough patooties for them.

IF you need a good reference from them (and I doubt they'll give you one anyway from what you've said,) you could try and accomodate them to whatever degree possible, but since they blew every chance to do the right thing by you, I'd say you owe them no more than 2 weeks. And again, I'm willing to bet they'd give you a bad referenec even if you gave them 6 months noticem so you should gve priority to your new employers now.

Dribs said...

Had you been leaving for personal reasons, I still think two weeks would be appropriate in this scenario. If they were in the middle of a major issue, longer notice might have been appropriate and/or courteous. However, since they are going to Disney for a week, I'm assuming things are generally going all right for the family.

I based my response on:
1.) Your (lack of a) formal agreement
2.) The length of time you have been with them

As far as references go, I worked for a family briefly (let's call it a "poor match") and when I was last interviewing for a nanny position, the people with whom I met were much more interested in talking to the families I'd been with for two, three, and five YEARS - versus the three month gig. I do not list the three month one on my resume, mostly due to space. When asked about that gap, I'm honest but don't give too many details. I think this is acceptable. How did your week when they were home play out? Had you talked to them about the money issues before or was this a shock to them?

Also, keep in mind if they are really concerned about finding a new nanny/childcare situation, they could always reschedule their trip.

monkeyshines said...

I am glad you found a new job, 2 weeks is plenty of notice, I am sure if they wanted to get rid of you, you would be out the door with no notice. they sound like a cheap family

Ravenswood Nanny said...

2 weeks is definitely sufficient notice, that's what is stated in my contract that my employer wrote.

it's their problem they can't find a new nanny in that time, not yours - at least you're giving them notice, I'd quit on the spot!

note about future jobs: have a contract that states that you get paid when the family takes vacation time or gives you days off due to their own desires... you shouldn't be cut because they decide they don't need you. push for a weekly salary that you get paid regardless, unless you take the day off for your own reasons.

nanny's 2 cents said...

I also agree with Dribs.

Last fall I quit a position I'd only been working for 3 months due to differences of personalities with the parents. I didn't give any notice.

When I was interviewing with families they didn't care about the details of why I left the previous family, I was always honest, but only gave them the information they asked for, which generally wasn't much. I just explained that the parents and I didn't agree on much and so I quit - that seemed to be enough for them. Obviously I didn't use them as a references either.

You could just not mention them at all as well. But since you have a new gig lined up, who cares?

2 weeks is plenty, it's generous considering.

Manhattan Nanny said...

In your new job, get a written CONTRACT!
Duties, hours, weekly salary, overtime, vacation, sick/personal days, holidays, travel with family, length of notice.

Two weeks is plenty of notice given the way they took advantage of you. If I were leaving a job for personal reasons, and they had been good employers, I would give as much notice as possible, at least four weeks, and offer to help orientate the new nanny.
I hope that is the way you will feel about your new work family. Lucky you, a newborn!

Janet English said...

Darling you are simply to innocent and sweet. 2 weeks is sufficient for people who you have no written contract with. Especially after only 3 months. Your 2 weeks are very generous.

I read your post half asleep- are they asking that you stay for more than 2 weeks but one of those 2 weeks they'll be gone and you'll be unpaid? And to risk the possibility of a new job?

I would simply respond with a " X, there are many people looking for jobs at the moment in this economy. You should have a full inbox of applicants in 24 hours."

The problem they are facing is that no other sane person would accept such inapproprite pay hours. (No offence.) And that is likely their concern.


Move on to a family with a contract.

Janet English said...

oops *too

Seattle Nanny said...

I'm giving my two weeks on Friday because the family I'm working for is doing the same exact thing.

It is enough. You shouldn't let them guilt you into shooting yourself in the foot because they obviously won't hesitate to dump you for whoever they find the second they find that person, whether your waiting around extra cost you the new job or not.