Contract Conversation

opinion dec
I have been working for a really great family for the last two months. I enjoy the children and the parents quite well. I only have two issues at current. 1) It was stated in my contract that each month I am given one full weekend off. I have not had this in the two months I have been here and was basically told I won't receive any time off until the new year. I have time off during the day, yes. But never have I had a full day or enough time to even leave the city I am in. 2) I planned to stay for a year (pretty certain it is not a contract situation) but things have come up that require me to leave two months early. To sum it up, I have a hard time actually talking to MB/DB. They are almost never around and when they are there is never room for conversation. Sometimes they get upset over small things so I feel as though they may get upset over me requesting time off or discussing the possibility of me leaving early. How can I go about this the right way?


Manhattan Nanny said...

You have to speak up for yourself, NOW. Tell MB you need to talk about scheduling your weekends off as PER YOUR CONTRACT! In addition to those coming up in the future, you want to set when you will make up the two you have coming that you haven't taken.

As for leaving two months early. That is a bad thing to do if you signed a 1 year contract. Your post isn't clear about that. Does you contract say anything about giving notice? If not, one way out would be if they are not honoring the terms of your contract, for example not giving the weekends off.

You need to communicate with your MB and clear the air.

MissMannah said...

I really don't understand what you mean by this: "pretty certain it is not a contract situation." Does that mean that you don't have a specific end date written down in your contract? Because generally speaking, most contracts are valid for 6 or 12 months and it says that the parents and nanny will revisit the contract at the end of that time period. But if you guys didn't put any end date in the contract, you'll be off scot free and should be able to leave just whenever, provided you give proper notice. Technically, you'll can leave whenever you want, you're just more likely to get a good reference if you stay the full length of the contract.

As for the weekends off, I'm assuming you're a live-in? And I'm also going to assume you and the parents did not write down specific work hours. I don't understand how they can say you won't have any time off for a full month, wouldn't that more or less put you under house arrest? My advice is to sit them down and rewrite this contract, put your end date (when you actually have to leave) as an expiration and write down very specific hours. Tell them you are not going to work outside those hours and if they need more help, they need to hire a part-time nanny to help out. How many hours are you working a week anyway? To be perfectly frank, I doubt any of this is going to work out so you might as well start looking around for other work unless you want to continue working every day.

Well I think said...

As a former nanny who HATES confrontation, I know exactly where you are coming from. I would rather complain to my friends and family about not getting my time off rather than confront the parents about it. I know it's wrong but I am always awkward about things like that.

Anyway, I think you should try your best to be the most mature about the situation as you can. By this I mean you should approach the parents about the time off in a professional manner. Tell them that both parties agreed that you would have one full weekend off per month and the past two months you have not received the time off. You post was not clear as to whether you specify the time off or the parents do but in the future, YOU need to inquire about it. If they can get away with you working more, why would they pass that up? You need to approach them and say "I would prefer the weekend of the 10th off" (or whatever weekend you want). You are entitled to this time! Again, if you don't stick up for yourself, they will just have you work and not say anything.

As for the leaving early issue, I am assuming at the end of the ten months (twelve months minus the two months you need to leave early) you don't want to return to this job. Am I correct? If I am, that is a tricky situation because if you tell them now, they will know you don't plan on returning and it could be awkward because they know you don't like the job and just want to get out ASAP. I would suggest telling them as soon as you can but it could get weird. If you just need those two months off then plan on returning to the job, I would tell them ASAP so they have more time to plan what they will do.

another nanny said...

I agree that you should go ahead a request a specific weekend off. "Would it be possible for me to take off the weekend of the 28th? If not, please let me know which weekend would work better for you." If they are not responsive to this attempt, pull out the contract and ask to sit down and address the issue.
Did you agree to 12 months in the contract? As others have said, it's not clear. However, generally I would not advise telling them more than 1 month in advance.

Wow said...

I suggest you google labor laws and look under "household employees". There, you will see that what they're doing is illegal. By law, you are entitled to one 24 hour day off every 7 days, if I recall correctly. It doesn't matter that you are a live-in. Make a copy of the law and give it to them. Showing them that you know your rights will cause them to either start respecting you or fire you. Either way would be in your best interest because if they're not going to respect you, you'll be better off not working for them.

Ruby Claire said...

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Original Poster said...

Thanks for the advice everyone! It is a non-contract situation so I can leave whenever. I took Sunday off to head into a nearby city but I was home that night. Basically, everyday I am up with the children when they wake up and put them to bed as well. EVERYDAY. The work during the week is dishwasher and laundry during the day and then about two hours of babysitting (or less) in the evening. The weekend varies, it could be a few hours of childminding or the whole day.
Another issue arising is money. I often am asked to run downtown to grab bread, milk, dog food...items like that. With no reimbursment. I am paying for it out of my pocket 3 out of 4 times. As well, pay is late this month. Only two days right now, but still. It's late.
I am trying to work up the courage to talk to MB. I was going to tonight, but just like every night, "OK I'm going back to work." It gets frustrating but I'm just going to have to speak up for myself. I'm thinking of finding another family to work for, but I'm just worried about the bad blood it will cause.

susieparker1972 said...

A few thoughts:

First, be sure you're tracking your time. You should be paid for every hour you work, and overtime for more than 40 hours/week (depending on your state).

Second, if you stay on, you should really ask to have a written nanny contract in place. That will help avoid the issues you're facing, and it will be easier to point out the parents' mistakes.

Third, if you don't plan on staying, you might have to fend for yourself until you can find a better job. I wish it were otherwise, but sometimes you have to do what you can to get by.

Good luck.