Smokin' Hot Nanny Stomps Out the Embers

Received Saturday, December 4, 2010
Opinion 4 To give you a backstory, I took this job about 3 months ago, what was supposed to be a full-time position, and only 10 -15 hours a week have materialized. I'm trying to pay for school at the same time, so my savings account is now depleted and I'm pretty much broke.
Dad gets home and pretty much ambushes me.
- They want me to do more housework
What? I'm doing everything that's been outlined in our contract - pick up after child, do child-related dishes, etc. Yes, there have been some days that not everything gets done - but those were days that I was told I was working until 9pm, so I leave stuff to finish after the child goes to bed - and then mom arrives home at 2pm. If you're not going to give me actual notice on my hours, this is going to happen. If HALF my hours that day are getting cut, it'd be nice to know ahead of time, and not just so I know to get the housework done early.
- They think I'm not being truthful about my whereabouts?!
This one, my jaw literally just dropped. Took the child out to a charity fair the other week, and apparently they CALLED afterwards to see if it actually took place. Um, really? Have I given you ANY reason to doubt me? I mean, I'm taking care of your kid, I can understand a certain amount of paranoia - but this really bothered me. This also plays into - even though we discussed it in the interview and wrote it into the contract - they pretty much don't want me going out with the kid. If you had let me know this when we were discussing it at the first interview, I would not have taken this job. Plain and simple. Don't agree and then rescind later! I'm (supposed to be) having 12 hour days, and I'm not the type of person to stay completely cooped up for 12 hours. If you wanted someone to stay in the house the whole time, HIRE SOMEONE WHO DIDN'T SAY THEY TAKE THEIR CHARGES OUT.
- When talking to mom last week, I talked to her about taking a second job since, hey, this is supposed to be a 40hr/ week position and I'm not even getting half of that. Well, apparently they talked it over and tonight dad tells me that, basically, they give me their "blessing" to take odd babysitting jobs for friends, but they don't really want me taking a regular second job in case my hours with them start picking up. (I'm sure the fact that the large number of times they've wanted me to come in with only 1 - 2 hours notice plays into this, as well.) And, oh hey, only take a job that you find through word of mouth, don't use an actual service like the one we found each other on. What?!
- Also accuses me of being a smoker, which just, HUH? I have not, at any time, nor will I ever smoke. Nor do I KNOW anyone who smokes.

So, with all of that. I've decided to leave this family ASAP. I'm afraid of what I may get falsely accused of if I stay with them any longer. 30 days notice was written into the contract - but am I correct in already considering the contract broken when the specific number of hours written into it failed to materialize? I'm currently planning on giving them notice after the end of the week, 12/3, and tell them I will not be coming in any longer. I truly fear how they will treat me if I have to work with them after I've given notice. Any help on how to phrase my resignation will be GREATLY appreciated.


a mom said...

I agree with you. They sound crazy. You might as well leave. If they've paid you for this past week, do them the courtesy of calling them right now and just say that a full time job just fell into your lap (yes, lie) and that you had to take it and won't be coming in again. If you are in school and want to make $ babysitting, get up early in the morning, take your classes so you finish by 1 pm and put up ads for after school sitting. So many parents need help from 3-8 pm for school age kids and many will pay top dollar for a reliable person. But they usually want the person 3-8 Mon through Friday. I needed this and it is really hard to find, believe it or not. So many college kids respond to my ads saying they can't do this day or that day. The two girls I actually found both never thought of this when they made their class schedule either and each had 1 day where they had a late afternoon class. I ended up working around their schedules for that semester and then at the semester change they both took all morning classes (and several told their friends looking for sitting gigs to do the same).

There are definitely crazy families (and sitters too) out there. This is one of them. Keep looking for a better situation. And don't shy away from a stay at home mom with 2-3 kids who needs after school help. They can be the most flexible since they can get by without you for a day here or there should you have finals/papers due at crunch time. This is my situation and like I said, it took me a long time to find my college sitter.

MissDee said...

Did you find each other through an agency? If so, I would call the agency and tell them what you told us. Perhaps the agency can have a chat with them.

If you found each other on your own, I would let the family know you feel the position isn't working out because the contract has been "thrown out", due to the "changes" that have been made, along with the accusations that are made against you. Tell them how much you enjoying caring for their child, and that you must leave because you deserve better.

In regards to future employers, explain that the last position didn't work out as planned; the contract was not honored.

Let us know what happens, and what M and DB's reaction is when you leave...

In The Same Boat as You Too (!) said...

Omigosh OP. This is such a coincidence because I am having an identical problem with my current family! They are giving me extra household duties, things that I was never told to do during the interview. I do not mind doing "light housekeeping" duties pertaining to child, but they have extended my duties to family laundry, vacuuming the entire house, washing dishes that were dirtied prior to my arrival, etc. And the pay is very low!! I got paid last night and am supposed to be there on Monday morning, but I am seriously considering not showing up (since I already got my money) and calling them today and letting them know I am done.
I am in the same boat. Since they are not upholding their end of the contract, am I still obligated to give the "standard" 2-3 week notice since I held up my end? If I do, things will be super awkward for us, but if I don't, am I being unfair and unprofessional?
I think the fact that they called to see if the event ever took place does show that they are not 100% comfortable with you taking out their charges and if they were not, they never should have agreed to it in the contract. Plus, if they said they would be giving you a certain amount of hours, 40 you say, and are only giving you half of that, then the job sounds like it was misrepresented to me. Like if I agree to sell you a car, but I sell you a bicycle instead.
Why oh why do parents treat their nannies like this? I will never get it.

CuriousDad said...

"OP" and "In the Same boat"

You are not "REQUIRED" to give any notice on quitting a job, unless it is spelled out in the contract.

The "Standard" is there as a curtsey to the employers, so they can ensure your position is covered, before they lose you. For your part this is so you can maintain a decent reputation as a good worker and not leave your employers on a bad note.

OP they broke the contract, start looking for a new job. If you use a service, inform the service you do not want your employers to know, and why you do not. While your pay and hours bite, it is some form of income coming in until you get another job with the hours you require. In the end it is your decision on how you want to leave.

Post Script: I really like "A moms" suggestion for baby sitting in the afternoons.

CuriousDad said...

Sigh wish there was an after publishing edit button.

"curtsey" should have been "courtesy"

imo said...

I would quit on the spot. Nothing in the contract can be held up in a court of law unless you had it notarized. They have broken their side of the bargain, you need to protect your reputation and your sanity. I had similar stuff happen last year with a family I was working for and after 3 months I quit on the spot (after I had cashed my last pay check). Since then nothing has happened, you don't have to use them as a reference, if you wanted you could just say you were unemployed for 3 months. I would get out - quick!

If this is an agency job and you are worried about that, I would call the agency for their support on what you should do.

nycmom said...

Curious Dad - OP specifically says the notice period is written into her contract.

OP, no you do not have to stick to the contract even though the notice period is in the contract. They have breached it and it is void. Imagine if they thought your childcare performance was lazy or negligent, they would be adviced to terminate you immediately. Severance would be a debatable area in that case. In your case, you are not even going for severance or (I assume) unemployment. Call or email today and tell them you won't be coming in anymore. ITA with "a mom" on making up a lie if it helps with the confrontation. If they mistrust you this much, you don't owe them anything. Just leave them off your resume altogether. Good Luck.

CuriousDad said...

Nyc mom;

Second part of my first sentence after. "OP" and "In the Same Boat"
unless it is spelled out in the contract. Yes I did know the OP said it was.

By the employers adding that clause in the contract, if the employee decides to just quit the employers could sue for breach of contract. Attempting to regain what they lost monetarily by having to cover the sudden loss of the caregiver (lost work time, paying for emergency/temp caregivers to cover those hours. Etc...)

Note: I do not actually know if the employers would do that. More likely they would just go, well good riddance, she was a bad nanny and we can find better.

However, the OP can defend the case for breach of contract if her hours are written into the contract, plus her specific duties. If she can prove they are trying to increase her duties above the norm for that position and are not giving her the hours promised.

You do not need to have the contract notarized for it to be binding UNLESS the state law specifically says so. Many people sign contracts for many services that are not notarized. Notarization only states that the person notarizing the paper has looked at certain identification from the signers, that they are who they are and they agreed to sign that piece of paper. The Notary is a legally bound witness to the signing.

Nanny B said...

If you went through an agency, call them and tell them what is going on. You may want to use the agency again so make sure you follow their protocol. That said, I had a job last year through a top notch agency that ended up being the worst ever...I was only there 10 weeks and I gave a 30 day notice. The next day when I went in, at 7 am, both mom and dad were screaming at me and told me to leave immediately and would not even pay me for the hours I had worked that week. If I could do it over, I would have listened to the nannies who told me to cash out the check and call and say I was not returning. Things can get really nasty at the end. Also next time make sure you write a salary guarantee into the contract. ZGood Luck!!

Bostonnanny said...

To be honest I think contracts on bs. Families always have a way out and don't ever truly have to follow it. I say have a work agreement typed up but never sign it. Just use it as a reminder of the terms you agreed a upon in the begining. That way if it doesn't work out, you can just leave. They can always fight you on severance and just bad mouth you. Even if you go to court it would be hard to prove anything.
If they are going to be good employers they won't need a contract to remind them of what they promised and if your a good employee you won't either.

Now I know this contradicts what I've said in the past, but it's not bad to have one but I just thinks a waste of time to actually sign it. Plus if your under the table like many NYC nannies, a contract means crap because your not truly employed.

So op, given that they broke the contract I'd say your in the clear. Just don't use them as a reference and make sure your check clears before you quit. I normally take my check straight to their bank first cash it then deposit the cash into my account.

leave. said...

these people are fucking assholes. you can find better people to work for. trust me.


I am sorry you are going through this, those parents will never find a good nanny because no one would put up with such bs!

I had a very bad situation where the parents thought when the kids were asleep at 7pm,any hours after that didnt count! I got no where with the dept of labor so I sued their asses in small claims court well they settled with me, I guess they didnt want to face me in court! the agencey I came through was no help at all, they dont care once they get their fee they could care less!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Nannies, when giving notice be sure you do so after you receive your last payment. Me and my friend even have a comment for this.."Wait until the check clears.........."
I do this just in case a family gets angry at me for giving my notice. Like the examples illustrate, it can be a power trip for some families and they can use the money to their advantage..esp. if it is under the table. Yikes.
Regarding contracts, I just go by a "Gentleman's Agreement." I know there is a huge risk involved, but unless a large amount of money is involved, I think it would be a huge hassle to go to small claims court, file and then fight a case. Better to take everything as a lesson learned and move on....

OP here said...

I sent in my notice yesterday after leaving, and have not heard anything back. I'm crossing my fingers that I'm lucky enough to never have to hear from them again.
There's about 15 hours this week that honestly, if I never see the money for, I'm not going to pursue. That money is well worth never having to deal with these jerks again.

sharon said...

quote from Han Solo in Star Wars --

"No Reward (Money) Is Worth This!"

scooter said...

OP keep us posted. What were you to do in this situation? Press on.

james@twin air mattress said...

Leave them! You can still find some better work, better family out there. Better work that could preserved your dignity.


@Just My Two Cents Just Now
I dont know what planet you are from but 3600$ is not chump change! It is not a hassle to go to small claims, I didn't even have a attorney. Why should these parents get away with taking advantage of me? I really wanted to face them in court but I imagine they didnt want to face a judge because they know they were in the wrong! These parents take advantage left and right this is why the laws changed in New York!
Strippers get more respect! Working mothers suck, I don't know why they bother having kids, americans have no sense of family they just focus on materialistic gains!


Just My Two Cents Just Now said...


Before you comment on what I said, please read the entire post clearly. I said, "UNLESS THERE IS A LARGE AMOUNT OF MONEY INVOLVED..."

For $3,600 I would take a family to court since that is a huge amount to anyone. But if it wasn't that much, I wouldn't bother filing since I would have to initially pay upfront filing fees and take time out of my day to go to court. Unless I could go on Judge Judy where everything is paid for. ;)

MissMannah said...

Even though CuriousDad and I have argued about this in the past, I'm going to advise you to ask for salary at your next nanny job. That way, you'll get paid for 40 hours whether you work 40 or 15. But make sure you put in the work agreement that you get time and a half for anything over 40 or 50 hours, depending on what the norm is. (I'm starting to agree with Bostonnanny that contracts are crap and don't really protect us like they should.)

Also, I kind of think you were a little hasty to quit this job, but maybe it was worse in real life than it seemed when I was reading your post. A lot can be achieved from just sitting down and having a respectful conversation with both parents. Yes, they do seem really weird, especially with them accusing you of smoking, but maybe they are just paranoid people. If you can find out why a person thinks a certain thing without automatically getting offended, it is easier to come to an understanding with them.

And now I'll get off my high horse and tell you that you most likely did the right thing and good luck with finding something new.

Op here said...

Yeah, I finally got a response from the parents yesterday. As I expected, their response was full of jibes at my characters, threats that seemed oddly suited to an Ebay feedback dispute, and oh yeah - they also think they can deduct the costs of "procuring emergency childcare services and posting for a new nanny" out of my last paycheck. I'm currently consulting with my aunt, who's a lawyer, and trying to decide whether or not the giving up the money is worth not having to deal with them any longer. (I'm leaning towards yes.)


The best job I had for 7 years with no contract! As soon as you mention attorney the parents will freak out! Honestly some of them think Nanny = stupid and they can just screw you left and right! What kind of threats did they make? These parents seem like losers, the last Nanny job I held, I could tell by the personality and development of the 5 yr old, the previous caregivers didnt give a shit. They probally started out with good intenions but after dealing with the parents figured why bother! You could not pay me enough to leave my child with anyone!

bostonnanny said...

Just have your aunt give them a call and I bet that they will mail you your full check asap.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you can breach a breached contract.

The parents clearly want an on call nanny, for FREE. That wasn't in the contract. They aren't providing the hours. TWITC. They don't want the nanny to leave the house. TWITC. They want a housekeeper. TWITC. The contract is already null and void. I wouldn't go back, and I wouldn't give them notice. I agree with the OP. It's probably going to get crazier and crazier, and OP doesn't know what's coming. I wouldn't stay around to find out.

PS The exit should be accompanied by an Email outlining in detail the breaches in the contract that have already occurred. That's why you are leaving. No need to lie about anything, including having another job.

document said...

village is right: also, save a copy of that email to your sent folder.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

OP, do not give back any money. You EARNED it all and it is yours. I have never heard of an employer asking for its money back. That is crazy. Hella crazy.
I would just stick to your guns. They are probably spitting out threats to intimidate you, and as someone said, many people think Nanny = Stupid. Well it does not and they will soon find out.
That is why I strongly advise nannies to not give any notice until after you receive payment. If the family decides to get angry, which they generally all do, then at least you have your money. I don't know how nannies can give notice and then show up for the next two weeks. It must be a hostile environment to work in. If you hate your job, it is better to just leave and give no notice since the remaining weeks will probably be hell. Contracts are no good. How many employers actually take the time to go to court and sue for services not rendered? Never I presume. This is just my two cents....

OP here said...

This was part of their response:
"The contract you have signed states very clearly in Paragraph E, “Position is *expected* to demand 30-40 hours per work week, extending from Monday to Sunday with variable days of duty.” There is absolutely no statement of “minimum hours” and thus, no violation of our contractual obligation."
So... basically, they're trying to say that because they put the word "expected" in there it means the contract wasn't breached which is, frankly, BS.

OP here said...

Oh, and I kept the resignation very professional. This is what I said:
"This is my official notice, effective immediately, that I am resigning. After our conversation last night, I reviewed our mutually agreed-upon contract and have found that you have broken it repeatedly by not providing me with the minimum number of hours outlined. Therefore, I will not be returning to your employment. Consider our contract terminated as of today, 12/3/2010, due to your breach of the terms, and please consider this my final day of employment. I will expect that my last paycheck be mailed to me and received at (my address) by 12/10/2010. If you need to contact me, please contact me by mail at the prior address or at this e-mail address. I'm sorry that I cannot continue in your employ, as I enjoyed caring for [child], but I can no longer work under a contract that has been repeatedly and blatantly breached."

Their reply was full of hateful vitriol, exactly what I expected - and exactly why I didn't want to deal with them again after giving notice.

the truth hurts said...

"If the family decides to get angry, which they generally all do..."

This is a very accurate statement, from my experience. MOST families who employ nannies and sitters DO get angry. As wonderful as they would like to see themselves, as nice as they appear to be, when things don't go their way (i.e. their nanny actually exercising her own civil rights and leaving: how dare they!) most of them do show another side of themselves.

Most of the time these parents, when faced with the reality of having to call in sick to work/make other arrangements/be inconvenienced/ or God forbid take care of their own kids themselves, they get downright ornery.

Anonymous said...

OP, you are still in the right. If the position was "expected" to be 30-40hrs/wk, and never was, then you did not receive your "expected" wages. That is how I see it, anyway. I hope you get your full paycheck! Good luck!

oh well said...

This is ridiculous. As an employer, I would never pay someone for only 10-15 hours if I had advertised for a
full time position. It is very difficult to find good part-time care, but the solution these parents think they have found does not make any sense. I just hope you find a nice family real soon.

Jaqui said...

JMTCJS: You are very right. In regards to nanny jobs, it is best to resign immediately and not give the standard 2-wk notice. In my experience, parents usually get mad and I agree that the work environment will be pure hell.
Nannies, if you are in a job that is not working out, resign and NEVER EVER give a 2-3 wk notice. Unless you want to be belittled and disrespected every single day at work. Nonsense.

TimeClock said...

As an aside, if you want salary, to protect from a low hour week, you can't expect to have overtime for hours over a 40 or 50 hour week as well, as someone above suggested. Why would an employer agree to that? Why should you get paid for 40 hrs for a 15 hr work week one week and then suddenly turn Norma Rae next week and demand time and a half, if god-forbid, you need to work 50 hours? That ain't what being a salaried professional is all about.

Time Crock said...

Time Clock:

If a parent puts a nanny on salary, full time, and GENERALLY only needs the nanny for 15 hours a week, that parent is retarded.

If a parent puts a nanny on salary, full time, and occasionally is late coming home, that nanny should get paid for the extra hours worked.

Lola said...

Just a side note, I believe that if an employer does not produce the final paycheck within a standard amount of time, the employee has a right to collect pay up to the time that payment is finally made. Ask your aunt about it. It could be lucrative and gives the employer a fire under their ass to get things done!

Nanny nanny bo banny said...

Yikes, OP sorry to hear about this situation. They sound like real jerks. its better for you to rid them from from your life! Maybe it will make for a less stressful holiday!

Anonymous said...

good for you for leaving that job. I hate it when parents treat you more like a maid than a nanny. If they agreed to 9-5, they should still pay you for working 8 hours even if she came home early because that was agreed upon. At my old agency, if a parent comes home early, you still have to put in the agreed upon hours in your time sheet so both you and the agency get paid the amount the parents originally set up. And only working 10-15 hours when both you and the parents agreed to 40 hours is infuriating. They didn't follow through with the contract so as far as I'm concerned the contract is void.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I know a lot of nannies/families consider it unprofessional to quit a nanny job effective immediately and not to give any 2-wk notice. But here is why it is okay to do in the nanny profession. In a regular job, if you quit and give a 2-wk notice it is okay since you are probably working for a company and will work alongside other employees. Larger companies can usually find someone to work for them within a 2-wk time frame is if not, I am sure they can cover it until they do.
But when you work as a nanny, you are working in the privacy of someone else's home and it is their turf. They call the shots and only them and usually there is no third party (ex: other employees, etc.) around. They will be mad since it may not be easy, esp. if you are a good nanny, to find a replacement nanny in a short amount of time. That is why the family could be angry, they are angry because you were a GOOD NANNY and they know deep down inside you will be one tough cookie to replace. :) So they will make your next two weeks hellish. They will give you more jobs, less respect, etc.
So not quit until you receive your last payment, if it is by check..wait until the check clears first.

will never nanny again! said...

Just my two cents:

you got it! I agree 100%.

I once nannied for a family (I never nannied again since it was such a horrible experience) for about a year. I got pregnant and decided to do home daycare so I could be with my baby. When I gave my notice (several MONTHS notice) they started treating me like crap!

It is sad but true!

MissMannah said...

Time Crock, that is exactly what I was saying. If it is expected that the hours are going to be very different every week, then of course a set salary isn't going to work. Time Clock, would you like for me to spell it out for you?

In my previous position, I was scheduled for a 35-hour workweek and was paid $350, even though the parents often took days off so sometimes I only worked 20 or so hours. I asked the mother during the interview what she was planning to compensate me when we went over 35 hours because it is bound to happen, but she assured me it would not. But then I said "What about when he is out of school? Will I be needed all day long or will you be taking off work those days?" It was as if a lightbulb lit over her head, for some reason the thought never occurred to her. So we agreed I would be paid $10 per hour for 36-40 hours and then anytime it was 41 hours or more, it would be $15 per hour.

Are you still with me?

CuriousDad said...


Reading your statement of what the family said was in the contract that was quoted to you and without reading the rest of your contract. They are in the legal right, though they did not follow the spirit of the contract. Expected hours does not mean guaranteed hours. It means they may or may not give you those hours, but you should expect to have to work them. However, it does give you a case for leaving without the 30 days notice since they did not give you what is expected as the norm and had effectively cut your hours from what was promised. If your Aunt is a lawyer DO depend on her advice more then what you find here in this blog she will be more familiar with what is going on then the dribs and drabs you have given us. Also she will have access to the actual case law for this and any regulations for where you work that pertain. Do expect to win in court any money withheld owed, as while the family did not technically breach their contract they did also not fulfill the spirit of the contract. I am sure you can give just cause for leaving.

CuriousDad said...

Miss Mannh,

"I'm going to advise you to ask for salary at your next nanny job. That way, you'll get paid for 40 hours whether you work 40 or 15. But make sure you put in the work agreement that you get time and a half for anything over 40 or 50 hours, depending on what the norm is. (I'm starting to agree with Bostonnanny that contracts are crap and don't really protect us like they should.)"

This would be the correct way of going about this. The nanny would be legally a non-exempt employee, while getting a guaranteed salary.

Though I doubt anyone would pay a full 40 hour week at guaranteed rates, more likely you would be guaranteed 20-35 hours of salary pay and anything over 40 is of course time and a half.

UWSmom said...

Gosh, this sounds awful. I can't believe you are still there! They sure aren't honoring their contract. I don't think you need to honor yours...