Nanny Trying to Make a Living Wage Getting Swindled

opinion 2 Hi, I want to pose a question to the forum: I'm sure you get a lot of questions about pay and rates.

Currently, I work as a part time nanny. When we first negotiated pay, they wanted to pay me less than my normal rate. In fact, less than the rate that I started at 4 years ago. We settled on what my last family way paying me, but they ask me to do a lot of deep cleaning chores: the whole family's laundry, cleaning the kitchen, scrubbing the gas grill, organizing the pantry/fridge, sweeping/mopping the floors, cleaning the fridge, some times vacuuming. They only ask me to get this done when the kids are having quiet time (homework time) 'if I have time' but it feels like it's kind of expected, and met with disappointment when it is not done. I feel as if I am spending less time playing with the kids and more time doing chores, but I do them and I am a hard worker. So that's obviously a problem, but it nan be worked around.

I make about $200/wk + gas reimbursement (when I am there, not the 30miles/day I drive to get there). This is NOT a liveable wage for me. I accept govt. assistance to buy food and have to put a lot of my expenses on CC. Finding another p/t job is out of the question as I am in school one day per week and they often need help randomly during a different time of the day than I am normally scheduled. You know how it goes... kids get sick, stuff happens, bla bla bla.

But I work around it because now that summer is approaching, they will obviously need more help. Summer is the time for us part time nannies to pay off bills, put away some savings etc. This was supposed to be my financial saving grace. They have been kind of wishy washy on the hours, and their vacation time. I assume they will not pay me for vacation time. They haven't really got it figured out on their end though. They have asked me to be in a nanny share for a few hours of the day half of the summer, and I agreed at a higher rate (more work for me, but it is really a deal for them). I have told them I expect to work at least 35hrs/wk at my normal rate. Now MB has approached me with the idea of working a set 40hrs/wk during the summer... but at a weekly rate that is less than my normal, already being stretched rate. I kind of expect to to be doing more housework, too. I told her that didn't seem standard (I've never worked summers that way, and neither have my other nanny friends) and I felt more comfortable working hourly. She said, "okay, but if we do it that way, it will be less hours, they will be more sporadic, she wasn't trying to gyp me and if I wanted to make money I might as well accept their offer of a weekly salary" - (hourly it calculates to be less than my normal rate).

Her argument is that nannies that work full time get paid less. Now they are offering twice my weekly rate, full time, maybe for two months (and most likely no work for me when they go on vacation). I don't know, maybe they think it is excessive and wonder why I need to get paid that much, but really I think it's only fair to pay a nanny regular rate full time during the summer if you want them to stick around 15hrs/wk for 10 months of the year. What do you guys think? Suggestions on how to negotiate this? Thanks in advance.


Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Start job hunting right now, and be sure to ask them for a letter of reccomendation ASAP - say it's for school, or a babysitting gig, or whatever. If they don't write it within 3 days, write it yourself and ask/tell them to sign it.

Why do the above things? Because when you tell them you will not accept their summer work offer without:

1) Guaranteed pay all summer long, i.e., vacation pay

2) Fewer chores, so you can actually spend time with their kids and be a nanny

3) A raise, effective right this minute, to a pay rate that doesn't require taxpayers to buy your food for you. Get rate info on-line or via agencies for nannies with your experience/education doing your job, and stand firm. Insist also that you will allow a 20% cut in pay for the hours of the nanny share ONLY IF the other family pays a rate that equals 50% more than you would make without the share. (They pay $10 per hour normally, $8 per hour for nanny share time, and the other family pays $7 per hour or more, depending on how many kids they have.)

Of course, they will let you go as soon as you ask to be paid a living wage, or rather, they will find another slave and THEN let you go.

There has to be a job out there that will allow you to attend school and also buy your own food. Find it, and get out of your current situation.

unicornsparkleprincess said...

DO EVERYTHING tales from nannyhood said.

GET A NEW JOB. what you are making now is embarrassing, and your employers should be ashamed of themselves.

good luck, my dear. there are plenty of other jobs out there that WILL appreciate all that you do for them.

another nanny said...

I think this has not been a good match from the start. They are not in a position to pay your going rate, and you are not in a position to accept less than your going rate. If you move forward with them, you are always going to have this tug-of-war, which has nothing to do with how much you are "worth" but just how much they are willing to spend on childcare. I would recommend looking for a new family that will pay your going rate, and also pay you for time when they expect you to be available. If you can't get another job because the family expects you to be available for other hours, they need to pay you to keep those hours free.

Nanny Laura said...

While I agree that you should be reimbursed for mileage if any driving is required for this job, I do not think they should pay you for driving to the job. Remember if they reimburse you for actually driving the kids around, you are entitled to more than gas money. You should also be reimbursed a mileage rate since more driving equates add'l wear and tear on your vehicle that you otherwise wouldn't have to deal with if you didn't drive on the job. (Engine and tire wear, etc...)

Yes, your rate sounds very low to me. I am so sorry that you have to work and accept Food Stamps at the same time. :( This is a sad fact of being a nanny, many times us nannies are not being paid fairly and need to use "other" resources to survive. I remember I was on Food Stamps when my kids were younger for six months when I got divorced, and it was so humiliating paying for food with what looked like Monopoly money. I sympathize with your situation OP and hope you find a better job where you don't need to rely partially on the govt. to make ends meet.

This family is trying to nickel and dime you to death. They are the type of family that does not value their nanny and never will. They are only concerned with getting the most out of their dollar and not with the welfare of their child. As a nanny, you should only be caring for the children. I can't believe they are asking you to clean during "downtime." You should be entitled to rest yourself vs. doing chores. And for such a small paycheck!! I would look for another family to work for and make it clear upfront that you only provide childcare services. Let potential families know that you will wash any dishes used, pick up any toys played with and clean up any messes made during your stay, but are not responsible for anything else. If they had chores they need assistance with, let them hire a maid on the side.

Wow said...

Unless you plan to continue to be taken advantage of, get another job. But this time, research what nanny duties are and refuse to do anything beyond that. It really is as simple as letting potential families know that certain things are not nanny duties and saying no up front. Period. Get ur reference ahead of time as Nannyhood suggested, find another job, and be on your way.

Chinanny said...

Honey they are lying to you, The lowest I've seen a full-time nanny's salary is $500 a week and the job duties did not include scrubbing the grill.

Nanny from the Block said...

So listen, I'm going to be straight with you. When I read this: "Finding another p/t job is out of the question", I knew there was no hope for you. You've decided you're going to accept this mistreatment and not pull yourself into something better, so what can anyone say that will make a difference?

I've been a nanny since 98, and have been there. It is only when you change and grow, deciding you're no longer willing to be taken advantage of, that things improve. I've been down this long, hard road, but it's worth all the work. Now I freelance childcare on my (fair) terms and if people take advantage, I stop having room for them in my schedule. They can p*** off and I'll work for people I enjoy who treat me well.

Don't expect your current family to change along with you. Work on yourSELF, and as soon as you can, drop them like a hot potato. Trust me, when you give yourself better terms and improve your situation, you won't miss all you endured with them. In time, you won't even miss the kids.

But again with the no hope. If you say improving your situation (via new job) is out of the question, then you have boxed yourself in to a situation that dishonors you as a person, and you are also saying you don't love yourself enough to give yourself something better. Don't expect your current boss to treat you with respect - they are not the type. I have worked for that type many times over the years. They'll just find someone else to use and abuse. That's their style. The only way up is OUT. Mark my words.

Tip: if you're willing to work hard and do all this deep cleaning, moonlight as a housekeeper. You'll make gobs of money by comparison to what you currently make, and only have to work about half the time to make the same wage.

Finally, in future situations, when asked about "light housecleaning" (isn't it funny how they all say light when it's anything but?), be upfront and say you manage whatever happens during YOUR shift that is relevant to the kids, meaning, any messes you and the kids make, whether food or toys, etc., but you leave all of the messes from times you're not there to the parents. Tell them you'll return their house in the same condition or slightly better, but your interests are in caring for kids, not being a household manager (which pays far greater, like $20/hour or more, depending what region you're in). Then in reality, be slightly better than you offered, but this way you've set the expectation at a fair level, and anything extra is a bonus to the parents, when you feel like it.

Reese said...

@Nanny From The Block: I agree that a nanny's duties should ONLY include any messes made during the nanny's shift. A nanny should not be responsible for messes made before she arrived. I get lots of flack from nycmom and Tales From The Nanny(Hood) over my personal beliefs, but I always stick to my guns. It saddens me that in the nanny profession, many parents do not feel like doing "just childcare" is sufficient. Many people view childcare as a free ride (boy are they wrong!!) and think no actual work is involved. So to make the job an actual "job" in their eyes, they make the nanny do add'l duties such as dishwashing, laundry, taking out trash, mopping, vacuuming, grocery shopping, etc. to fill the void.

Parents need to understand. Childcare is WORK PEOPLE!! It is a misconception that just caring for a child is not worth paying $15/Hr for and that a nanny should also do "light household" tasks...which are rarely light and are usually taken for granted. If a nanny agrees to do "light household" tasks then she is setting herself up to be used later on since most families expect more and more from the nanny as time goes on. Besides, isn't "light" a subjective term when applied to housework. I may think mopping is a small and easy duty, however someone else may think it is a strenuous task.

Nannies should only provide childcare and clean up any messes made during their shifts. If a family needs someone to wash last night's dinner dishes or the family's underwear, they can hire a maid. Funny how things work against a nanny? I.e., a housekeeper is never expected to care for a child while she is at a client's home polishing the silver, yet a nanny is expected to fold laundry and vacuum while she is there.