Sick Days...

Received Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Opinion 4 I was just curious as to on how everyone handles sick days. I know as a nanny if you aren't at work then your employers can not go to work but where do you draw the line between "oh just relax on the couch as much as you can" and "stay home!"


Anonymous said...

Speaking as a former employer of a nanny, our policy was to give paid sick days. We had the understanding that there was no specific limit, but that if there was going to be long-term illness/disability we might have to re-visit our arrangement. I either got in a temp nanny or took the day off work myself - luckily my employer is willing to give paid days off within reason in childcare / child illness emergencies. We also gave paid personal days for funerals etc. One time we had to give a week due to a death in the family and the nanny offered to not be paid for a little bit of over-time she had worked as we had to hire a temp nanny for that period. That was a kind offer, but as an employer I think you have to realise that you will incur extra expenses in such circumstances as would employers in businesses.

I think it is only fair to give paid sick days if you care about your nanny and want her to be happy. To me it is part of a mutually respectful working relationship. On a purely selfish point, you don't want an ill person looking after your children, and the faster they recover the better able they will be to do their job.

ChiNanny said...

As a nanny, I call in when I know that I'm either extremely contagious or that I truly won't be able to keep up with the kids.

If I'm throwing up, have a fever of 101 or over, or have been up all night sick, then I definitely call in.

In the past, if I'm unsure, I'll call the parents and let them make the choice if they want me around their children knowing I'm sick and that it will be a lazy, slow, day. A lot of times they have appreciated this and made sure to come home early or get some sort of back up for at least part of the day.

I do always feel bad for calling in, though, because I know they rely on me to be able to work.

Lila said...

We give generous paid sick days. Our nanny calls early in the morning if she doesn't feel well and we discuss whether or not she should come in based on her symptoms and the day's activities/appointments. My kids have asthma so most of time, if my nanny sounds like she's coming down with an infectious respiratory illness, we decide she should stay home rather than infect the kids.

observer said...

I've always given my employers a heads up on any sign of illness and left it to them to decide whether I come, with emphasis on my ability to still come. Now if I was particularly ill, I'd say I'm unavailable, but in all my years that hasn't happened.

As for pay, I've never been fortunate enough to come across employers who give formal benefits. At best I've had employers who still pay when they've canceled a day for whatever reason. Usually I still get paid for a sick day, but owe the time.

Bev said...

It depends. If the parents get sick at work and come home early and would let me go home, then I wouldn't mind to come in sick and still work as long as they were okay with it. If they come home sick and expect to lay down and recover while I still have their children in my care, I expect the same courtesy when I am sick as well.

TC said...

IT really just depends on the situation.

I've been with my family for 3 yrs and have probably called in 3 times. I feel horrible when I have to call in because I know they depend on me so I don't call in unless it's really really bad.

A few months ago everyone came down with a cold, for some reason I just got hit harder than everyone else but since everyone else was sick I along with the mother figured I really couldn't get anyone sick and I came in

The only thing I don't like is the mother discussing my illness with the other mothers/friends in the neighborhood. I'm usually candid with her when it comes to what the doctor said because it's always something like a 24 hour bug or bad cold or sinus/ear infection but for some reason the mother loves to tell the other ladies in the neighborhood what's wrong with me. It irritates me to no end because it's none of their darned business that I'm sick or what I have. Yes it's nothing embarrassing but they don't need to know those things and it invades my privacy. I know the other mother's know because I will either get text messages from them asking how I am or they will see us out about the neighborhood and ask me how I'm feeling.

Ok sorry for my tangent I feel better now :)

I've always gotten paid for my sick days though it's never been formally discussed, I think she pays me because it's so infrequent. If I called in more often I have a feeling she would make me make up the hours.

Lila said...

TC, you should tell her that you would like to keep your health information private and to please not discuss it outside the household. Confidentiality goes both ways.

Someone's Nanny said...

I have unlimited paid sick days. I really don't stay home unless I'm throwing up, or the parents decide they don't want me around their children, though. Usually we all get sick together anyway.

TC fan said...


I am surprised that someone as strong-willed as yourself would put up with that! Your health is confidential, and I can totally understand why that bugs you.

If you like your job as much as you say you do, I would not mention it to her, but I would FOR SURE stop telling her anything remotely personal about your health! She is so wrong to gossip.

nycmom said...

I have adjusted our nanny's sick policy over time. What I have settled on that works best for all is 5 days sick or personal, paid out if unused. This gives an incentive not to call out sick last minute. It also reduces the unconscious "use it or lose it" thought that drives folks to use unnecessary sick days. Finally, it allows our nanny to take them as planned personal days if she prefers.

All the great nannies and sitters I have had have taken minimal sick days: 1-2 a year maximum, usually zero. Once I had a nanny get a major medical problem which kept her out for 10 days. Since we had built up trust and she was generally honest with a great work-ethic, I paid her for all the days. I think having a set policy is important and you can choose to be flexible about it later. Ambiguity in any part of the Work Agreement generally leads to problems if you employ someone long enough IME.

My job does not allow much flexibility with sickness for our nanny, unfortunately, so I generally need her to be here unless she is in the hospital! I also have the same need to be at my job unless so sick I'm getting urgent medical care. I know to some that sounds callous, but it is my work reality. I am very direct about this during hiring. My current nanny has a family member who can substitue if needed and I'm fine with that too.

TC said...

I have a fan!

I have decided not to tell her anything anymore, just that I'm sick when I have to call in and just be generic when I tell her anything.

I was just in shock when I got the text message and then another mom stopped me on our way to the park.

Nanny Brenda said...

I think it is every parent's responsibility who employs a private nanny to have a back-up (or two) that they can call if their current nanny is too ill to work. As a nanny, we work with small children and therefore are very susceptible to many different types of illnesses than other jobs are. So I think it is the parent's responsibility, not the nanny's, to find back-up care.

scooby doo said...

my current employers have 'back up' nannies who work on call when I can't.

you see, I go to school tues and thurs and nanny mon, wed and fri. They have a 2, 5 and an 8 year old. the 5 and 8 yr old go to school 5 days a week all day long, the 2 year old has daycare tues and thurs all day long. But if I'm ever sick or if the kids are ever out of school on the days i'm in school they have a back up nanny.

they found her, not me. It is the parents responsibility to address that nannys are people and also get sick and to cover their own butts when that day comes when they too have to stay home because they have no child care that day.