Hello! I just found this blog when searching for advice about my current job. I've loved reading the stories on there and would now like to ask for some advice of my own.
I have worked as a part-time nanny for the past 6+ years while I was in college. I graduated last year and at the beginning of this year took my first full-time nanny job. At first everything seemed to be working out great. I got along great with the parents, and I only had to take care of 1 child -- a few week old infant. When I started the job, we had agreed that I would do chores that pertained to the baby; her laundry and her dishes, and tidy up any toys we use, etc. The baby slept a lot, as newborns do, so I would also occasionally load/unload the dishwasher, vacuum and mop just to be nice. When they hired me, they said that my hours would be from 7:30am until no later than 5:30, but on most days it would be 3:30 (which would be a standard 8hour day) or 4:00. Also, I should note, that I get paid by the DAY, not the hour. At first this was all fine... I typically got off at 3:30 or 4:00, they seemed very appreciative of everything I did, including the extra house work (although never got any extra compensation, but I wasn't looking for that). After a few month "trial" period, they agreed to give me 5 paid vacation days --my only benefits.
As time went on, they started upping my responsibilities, leaving me a list of things to do like vacuum and mop and unload the dishwasher as if it was now EXPECTED of me, with no additional pay. They have me drive the baby to and from doctor's appointments (which is almost an hour round trip) with no compensation for gas. And my hours have gotten longer and longer... it is 5, 5:30 or sometimes even 6 before i get off most days now. Granted, we agreed to no later than 5:30 (and later than that has only happened maybe 3 times), but even when I work til 5:30 it is a 10 hour day and my hourly pay only comes out to barely over $7, BEFORE taxes.
It really all started going crazy about 3 months ago. After 6 months of working for them, I decided to go back to school to further my education, something they had said they would support me in if I should ever decide to do so. I gave them as much notice as possible (about a month) when I decided to take 1 summer class this summer. They seemed supportive of this and were able to get some relatives to watch the baby during my class. The class caused me to take 2 half days per week, resulting in the loss of one day of pay per week, which was tight but I was able to budget for it. When I decided to take a summer class I also knew that I would be taking classes this fall semester. I told the mother upfront, back in JUNE, that I would be taking classes this fall and that I would do everything I could to take them in the evening or online so they didn't interfere with my work schedule but that she should possibly look for a back-up just in case (since the same relatives would be unable to watch the baby in the fall). She still seemed supportive and everything was fine.... until August. Come August when I finally get my school schedule... I guess she didn't really believe it was going to happen or something. Only one of my two classes interferes with my work schedule, but there was nothing I could do about it. It's the only time the class was offered and it's mandatory. Well, the mom throws a fit on me! She was constantly onto me about changing my schedule to accommodate her, asking me to wait and take it next semester (which wouldn't work) even going to far as to ask me "Well, WHAT are you going to do if I can't find anyone to watch my child during your class?" in a very rude and condescending tone, like I owed her something and that it was my problem to fix. Okay, I get that it is an inconvenience, but I gave her 3 months notice to find a backup!!.
There have been all kinds of other just little things that have been happening that I feel are unfair. Like, in the beginning on the days she didn't have to be at work as early, she would just have me come in at 8:00... now when I ask about that, she says that she still needs me to come at 7:30. So, whatever, that's fine, it is our agreed upon start time. I understand having me come in and even if she's not ready to walk out the door immediately, as long as she's getting ready and I'm actually taking care of the baby I can understand it. But on more than one occasion in just the past 3 weeks, she has had me come in at 7:30 and she's still in her PAJAMAS. Doesn't even START getting ready to leave until 8:30 or 9.... during which time I do absolutely NOTHING for the baby. Mom feeds her, changes her and everything. So I basically just sit there for an hour and a half when I could have been at home doing things that pertain to my own life... it just makes me feel very disrespected and taken advantage of. And I bet you a hundred bucks if I was paid hourly this would not happen!!! Same thing happens in the afternoon too, Mom gets home right when baby goes down for a nap but still makes me stay there for over an hour while she piddles around her house. I could understand it if she came home and worked but she doesn't.. she puts on her PJ's and lounges. It's like show me some respect, I have a life too!!!
One more thing (sorry this is getting long!!) With my current class schedule, I watch the baby 3 full days a week at my normal daily pay, and 2 half days. On the 1/2 days I drop her off somewhere else at 12:45... so I have her 7:30-12:45 which is over 5 hours!! However, I only get paid HALF of my normal daily pay, which I don't think is fair. 5 hours is more than a half day right?! Also, I took my vacation a few weeks ago and was only paid for 4 days instead of 5. I was not told beforehand that this would happen. When I asked about it I was told it was because I only work part-time now.. she said, "WELL, ugh, it was YOUR decision to work less right?" in a rude tone. However, even though at a MINIMUM, I work 37 hours a week for them. I know it is not 40, but it is far from part-time!! Even if they were going to take away a vacation day, I feel that they should have given me some notice! I was not able to budget for the loss of that money and at only $6/hr after taxes, every dang penny goes somewhere! The other thing that drives me crazy about vacation days is I only get 5 (or 4)... for everything. No paid holidays, no paid time off if THEY take a day off... and they like to take off a holiday plus 1 or 2 more days, which has left me with 2 or 3 days less pay some weeks which I just can't afford.
I get that they're a family, not a company so I am not looking for health insurance and other benefits like that, but I have to make a living too, right?? Basically, my hourly pay is less than $8/hr right now ($6-ish after taxes), and I want to ask for a raise and bring up the vacation day situation because I feel it was unfair. I have another family that has offered me a job but they don't know WHEN it starts yet. Pay is $15/hr!!! You better believe that I am taking that the second she tells me it's a done deal. I want to bring this up with my current family and tell them I have other families pursuing me offering to pay more, but I'm scared that they may fire me on the spot (although I really doubt she will because she keeps saying she needs TWO MONTHS notice for my spring class schedule so she can find someone good to watch the kid, so it seems like she doesn't have anyone else) but I can't afford to not have a job at all. But at the same time I feel very taken advantage of and disrespected and maybe if they feel like someone else is offering me something better they will treat me better? I just don't know how to bring all of this up without sounding greedy or jeopardizing my job. Any advice??