Nanny Would Prefer to Work During Vacation

Received Tuesday, February 15, 2011
opinion 1 I'm in a bit of a strange situation with the family I work for and I feel like I'm losing out on hours but not sure if I should bother bringing it up. So I've been nannying full time (live out) for this family for 8 months now. The job has been very intense (kids are currently 10 years old, 20 months, and 7 months), with watching the three kids and for a long period being expected to do a large amount of housework. Not to mention 60 hours a week most weeks. I'm leaving the job in a couple weeks, but on good terms, because I was already planning to go teach English abroad when I took the job, and my employers were aware (and accepting) of that. The family loves me and wishes I could stay, but despite loving the kids I'm ready to get out of there!

Anyway, they treat me like one of the family (and I get the good and bad ends of that!) and are taking me on a ski vacation for 5 days from saturday to wednesday. They recently hired a new nanny to work alongside me so there would be a smooth transition (which I think is a good idea), and she will also be coming to the ski trip. The parents just informed me that they want to 'treat' me and that this would be a total vacation for me and I wouldn't actually be working, they just want me to enjoy a trip with them before I leave and the new nanny will be caring for the kids.

Now, to get to the point, because I won't be 'working' (so they say....I find that hard to believe and it will be strange to be around the kids and not help out), I also won't be getting paid. Now, they are paying for the hotel and ski lift, etc (of course!), and if it were just a weekend, I would be flattered. But I'll now be missing out on 3 days pay (36 hours!). I'll be moving abroad soon and was expecting that money. I know they see it as a nice gesture, and I'll only have 2 days of work left after we get back from the trip.

So, should I bring it up? I don't expect to be paid for the whole time I'm there, and I'm glad I won't be working the whole time, but some hours would be nice. I have a feeling the new Nanny is going to end up working tons of hours (the parents have good intentions but aren't so good about giving free time even when they're around) and feeling burned out. Should I perhaps offer to work 2-3 hours a day to give the new nanny a couple hours off? That way the parents don't have to end up paying anything extra total? I don't want to seem ungrateful, but really, I'd prefer to spend the weekend with friends and family before I leave the country for several months, especially if I'm not getting paid... although I wouldn't consider turning down the trip altogether. I would really appreciate some advice and I hope I was clear. The trip is this weekend so feedback asap would be fantastic. Thanks!


Nanny L said...

I think you should just be honest with them. Tell them that you are so excited for the trip, but that you are concerned about not working that week, for financial reasons. I am sure if you even hint that you cannot afford to take a week off, they will try to come up with some way for you to make some money. They probably just assume (which is annoying) that you don't need the money. They are also probably trying to get around paying two nannies, but once they realize that they will be putting you out while trying to "treat" you, they will probably feel bad. I know it is awkward talking about money, but they really can't expect you to be out of work for a week right before such a big trip. Good luck!!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

OP, you have wonderful employers and that is a lovely thing they are offering you..a paid ski vacation!! I truly doubt that they will ask you to "help out" with the kids at all. I think they are sending you off the best way they can.
Unless you REALLY REALLY need the money, I would say nothing and just enjoy the vacation. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
If you truly need the money, you can gently explain your situation to them and see what they bring up. Perhaps they can give you a few hours. From your post, it doesn't sound like you really need the money since you stated that you would prefer to spend your last days with family/friends if you didn't have to work. I think you don't trust your family and think they may make you "work" during your trip and it really won't be as "free" as they are leading you to believe. I hope I am wrong and that you have a blast.

Hippiechick24 said...

I think that sometimes employers don't get the needs of their employees. Sometimes they don't understand how crucial those 2-3 hours can be to use nannies working out buts off for this money to survive! I would definitely say something to them. You should be sweet and let them know how much you appreciate them and what they are doing but you were counting on making some money and throw in the idea you had about giving the new nanny a few hours off each day so that you could earn that money. If they truly are these amazing, wonderful and understanding people then they will be happy to work with you!

Nannycaroline said...

It is a great idea to offer to work a few hours a day to give the new nanny some time off. If she gets burned out, she might quit and the parents would be stuck and you would feel bad leaving. Also, when you are on the ski trip and not working, go ski far away from the family so it really is a vacation for you. And give the new nanny all the advice and tips you can (if she wants them)so there is a nice smooth transition.

another nanny said...

I can definitely see where you're coming from, and I think you're right that the family is trying to be nice, but just not understanding. I also know that if it were me, I would feel really awkward trying to bring this up.
I think you should acknowledge that they're making a nice gesture, but then just state that it would be "better for everybody" if you planned to work x number of hours per day (maybe half days?) so that the kids have consistency, the new nanny gets to break in slowly, the parents have a tried-and-true caregiver to give them peace of mind, and you get your counted-on income.
Although your trip is coming right up, try to pin them down on at least a range of hours before you leave, so that you'll have some idea of that income. (on another note, did they specifically say they weren't going to pay you? Might they also be planning to give you a parting monetary gift?) Good luck

MissMannah said...

I disagree with Two Cents when she said not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Yes, a ski vacation is a lovely and generous gift, but the parents must be totally stupid if they think they shouldn't have to pay you for time you normally would be working. They probably won't ask you to look after the kids like you suspect, but if it were me, I'd likely work anyway because I don't think I could just hang out with my charges without feeling responsible for them.

Also, you said the parents will pay for the lifts and hotel, but is it all-expenses paid? Seems they ought to also be paying for all your meals and maybe even letting you buy some extras like a souvenir or something like that. Otherwise, they wouldn't really be "treating" you. I think you definitely need to sit down with them and tell them that you really can't afford to miss 3 days of work, regardless of if you'd be at home or on vacation with them. Your idea of offering to share the workload with the new nanny seems like a great one.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but this is nothing more than free new nanny training, IMHO. Of course she will be caring for the kids, or telling the new nanny how to do it, which can be even more stressful.

I'd tell the employers I can't afford to go; I need the money, and imply that I have others to work for instead.

I can't imagine five days with three screaming kids will be much of a vacation. If they need a smooth transition, they need to pay for it.

Lila said...

From a parent's point of view, I would agree with Village that it does appear like they want you along to smooth the nanny transition but don't want to pay double. The kids get used to the new nanny while having the security of you there, giving tips and extra hands if necessary because you are the type that would pitch in. I would just be honest with them and say you appreciate the offer but must use any precious non-work hours to prepare for your move.

Anonymous said...

I, too, left a job to go overseas for a period of time. Personally, I needed every penny I could make up until my departure date. If you need the money, you need the money. It sounds like a nice offer (benefiting the parents as well, as others have mentioned), but if it doesn't work for you, just nicely tell them that. Good luck in your travels!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Gosh..I thought your family was doing something nice for you..but maybe they have ulterior motives??!
Keep us posted please OP.

Nanny L said...

OP where are you? :-)
We want to hear the outcome!

cali mom said...

I agree with the "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" comment. It sounds like they really mean for you to have a great time on a ski vacation and I don't think there's any appropriate way to mention that you'd rather earn some money than accept their gift. Just my opinion.

Kourtney K'shian. said...

I agree OP. Do not look a gift horse in the mouth.
Have a great time!!

Shelley (yup that's my real name guys!!) ... said...

Perhaps this family just appreciates all you have done for them and wants to give you a nice little parting gift. Do not assume..you know what they say about assume...(Hint: It makes an ass out of u and me...LOL.) I know in this day and age it is hard to believe there are some truly nice and ethical folks out there, but there really are some and it sounds like your bosses are pretty nice. Take the trip since sadly it will be your last chance to create special memories of your charges. And take lots of pictures too!~

Elena B. said...

OP Here! Thank you so much to all of you for your advice!!! Sorry I hadn't commented but the week leading up to the trip I was working extra hours and during the trip I had no internet :(
Anyway, it ended up working out great, although not how I had expected! The parents decided that they didn't think the new nanny was the right fit, so she didn't come with us after all. Which was great, because then they needed help and I probably worked about 5-8 hours a day (usually work 10-12 hours)! They also paid for everything (food, ski lesson, lift tickets, etc), and really allowed me lots of time to ski (although most of it was with the 10 year old, it was still tons of fun!). I did have to share a room with the 10 year old (fine) and 1 year old (was in my bed every morning at 6:30 while parents kept sleeping! I also had to drive the 6 hours there and back since we took two cars. But, it really turned out far better than expected!

I'm glad the new nanny wasn't there because I really think I would have been basically giving free Nanny training, like people said. And it's not that I don't appreciate them taking me skiing, but come on, it would have been super unfair to take me for 5 days without pay. Luckily, that didn't happen. I have yet to receive my paycheck and we weren't totally clear on how many hours I worked becuase they originally said they'd pay me for 6 hours a day, but I ended up working more than that for 3 of the days, so I'm hoping they take that into account.

Now i just have to enjoy my last day with them tomorrow!

Debra said...

Great OP!! I love how in life things just fall into place by themselves!
It was a blessing the new nanny didn't go and it enabled you to work and earn some money. I hope they do pay you for more than your six hours per day. Do you think they will even though they also paid for your lodging, meals, etc???
Good luck in the future.