Rebecca Nelson Lubin
I was reading the comments to my “Sick Days” posting last week as I lounged late under the covers and one caught my eye, as it has been a topic of discussion between my boyfriend and myself. As many couples do, we like to “talk shop” on our time off together. He works as an architect / carpenter / contractor, and is usually employed in people’s homes, as I am, so even though I work directly with children and he with hammers, we find a lot of common ground to discuss in our respective careers. The comment that gave me pause was from “Petra” who did not offer her Nanny sick days, but felt that the numerous other benefits she provided more than made up for that, because she offered her Nanny lunch every day. I thought, Lunch? Really? As a benefit? As a reason not to provide sick days? I do not think of lunch as a benefit. I don’t think eating lunch is anywhere on par with staying home while seriously ill. I actually don’t think eating your employer’s food should be an option to a professional Nanny. It’s always a great debate – I’ve seen it here on ISYN before – should the employer provide food for the Nanny?
This is the very topic that my boyfriend and I have been talking about. Should Nannies eat at their employer’s expense? He thinks, yes, within limits. My vote is no.
I’m one of those nannies that feel it is important to bring my own food to work. And as I stay over night three times a week, I make sure to stock my breakfast, lunch and dinner away in my little section of my employer’s fridge upon arriving at work Monday morning. I don’t have anything against tossing a tator tot in my mouth as I serve dinner to the kids, and just last night when my employer urged me to try one of her lamb chops I did not decline, I just feel as a general rule, it’s best to provide my meals for myself. I think otherwise, the employer ends up spending a great deal of money on their employee – and for something that the employer is really not responsible for. Give me sick days, give me paid holidays, provide me with health insurance and toss me some paid vacation. These are true benefits. I’m an adult. You do not have to feed me. I am not your child. I’m your employee.
I once knew a cook who was told she could buy what she needed from the store on her employers dime. It started out with small items being added to the family-shopping list. A liter of cola. A deli sandwich. A box of tea bags. Within six months it had escalated to approximately $500.00 a month in her personal groceries – on her employer’s credit card - and included trips to markets where the family never shopped. Of course this is an extreme example, but where does the line get drawn? My personal feelings are that it is best to keep the food boundary a rigid one.
“When I was a line cook,” my boyfriend told me, “I lived on BLT’s. I made them in the kitchen every day. I think you should be able to eat at work.”
I partially agreed with him. You should be able eat at work, but as I am not a line cook, but a professional nanny, I think what I eat at work should have been paid for out of my own pocket and purchased on my own time. But that’s just me. I’m sure not everyone here will agree with me.
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at http://www.abandofwives.ning.com/