43 Hours

opinion 1
I have a question for all of the nannies and employers out there. I've been a nanny for the same family for two years now. After one year their youngest went to school full-time, we re-organized the work agreement to guarantee me a minimum pay of 43 hours per week. My job-duties changed a bit including "on rare occasions" run errands (buy milk, pick up package, etc), and work until noon every other saturday. Over the past couple of months my "rare
occasion" errands have picked up to 2-3 times per week, and my saturday work has gone to 1:30-2pm instead of noon. The parents now say that I have to earn my 43 hours. I am completely taken back by this because they came to me with this offer so I wouldn't have to get a second job as a convenience for them. They wanted me to be completely available just in case the kids get sick, and when the kids are off of school for the holidays. I feel like they are now hanging my guaranteed pay over my head. How do y'all feel about this? How should I handle it? It is definitely interfering with my personal life. Thanks!


oh well said...

I am not sure I understand your situation very well. Apparently the parents expect you to be "on call" for some hours, and they also ask you to work (Saturday + extra errands) according to a schedule that you are not happy with.
How many hours are you "on call" and do you get paid for them?
You should definitely sit down with your employers and define your working hours.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

Am I understanding this correctly? You are on-call for the hours that the children are in school but you aren't getting paid for those hours? So then the parents are making you work late on Saturday? If that's the case, that is ridiculous. You are on call during that time so you should be paid for it. I think you should talk to the parents about this because, like you said, it is taking a toll on your personal life. Tell the parents that they expect you to be on-call and available during those hours so you must be paid. As fas as the errands go, if you are being paid for those on-call hours, I don't see what's wrong with actually helping the family out with stuff. Besides, what are you doing while the kids are in school? If you agreed to help the parents in that way, you need to do it or discuss it with the parents.

DC nanny said...

I have sort of the same situation so I do know how you feel. I'm paid for 55 hours but only have 50 scheduled. Since I'm a live-in, the agreement was originally that the additional 5 hours would be for evening walks/occasional late arrivals due to date nights, etc. However, now MB has taken the attitude, "Oh it doesn't matter if we're late coming home. She can stay an extra 30 minutes. That's why we set up the 5 extra hours." The only problem with that is, that the 5 extra hours were supposed to be pre-arranged so I (and the other nannies) would have the chance to say no due to previous plans. Instead, I just don't make plans because I know that I may end up staying until 8 rather than my scheduled departure time of 7.
Luckily I don't really have a life anyway, but it does get pretty exhausting never knowing what time I'll get out of work that day.

If I were like you seem to be, (at the end of your rope) I would definitely have a talk with my employers. You should explain that though you're paid for 43 hours, those hours need to be scheduled or planned ahead. You should have a weekly set schedule, and your on-call hours (when you have to be available in case of emergency) should be included as WORKING hours. That is to say, those hours are not "owed" just because the kids didn't get sick. Those hours are paid and counted regardless of whether or not you had kids. On the other hand of that, if the parents want to use you during those hours to run errands, and you're okay with that, you can adjust the contract accordingly.

In my job, my 50 scheduled hours count towards my 55 total NO MATTER WHAT. If all 3 kids are in school I use that time to make schedules, pick up, or run errands. If nothing like that needs to be done, I sit around and relax. If I'm doing nothing, or if the parents let me off early in order to have family time, the hours still count. They can't say "oh well you didn't have any kids for 15 hours this week, so you owe us those 15 hours and we can ask for them whenever we want".

With that set up, you're headed for burn out really fast because you, unsurprisingly, resent that your job is taking over your life.

OperaNanny said...

I once was in the same situation as you. I was guaranteed 40 hours a week and once the youngest went to school, I was not paid for school hours. Then they started giving me extra work "to give me the hours I needed." This meant coming in on weekends, walking the dog, bringing the dog to/from doggy daycare, cleaning bathrooms, prepping dinner, shopping, etc. It was the same situation as you--they gave me the guaranteed hours so that I wouldn't need a second job, but what initially was just a guaranteed weekly pay rate became their constant effort to "get their money's worth" with me. It got to the point where the job took over my life, and they were seemingly never satisfied with my housekeeping skills (NOT what I signed up for). In my situation, there were other major issues with the family and I ended up quitting the job for other reasons, but in your case, I think you need to have a serious conversation with the parents about your limits and fair expectations. If they cannot listen and understand, you need to find a new job. Parents need to understand that you deserve a life and a regular schedule, and that your primary responsibility is their children. You did not sign up to be a house manager/personal assistant (some nannies do! but you did not), you signed up to be a NANNY. Your primary responsibility is childcare. Enforce it.

MissMannah said...

Once again, I am going to say something that will not be seen as popular, but it is a fact. If you go to the parents with your complaints, one of two things will happen: you will be fired or you will be changed from salary to hourly. This has happened to me before. The parents are not going to want to pay for you to do nothing and let's face it, if the children are in school and you are "on call" you are basically doing nothing. I don't see how this interferes with your personal life if in the past you would have worked full days anyway. Of course the parents are going to want to get their money's worth out of you and this is the only way they can figure out how. So you can either suck it up and keep doing housekeeping/errands or you can work part-time. If you work part-time, you might have to get another job, which would interfere with the children's sick days and spring break, etc. So you may find yourself getting fired anyway. Normally I always tell nannies to stand up for themselves, but you have to be willing to leave the job if you do so. It sucks but that's the way life is.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I'm a bit confused. Are you being paid to be available, and when you are "on call" you are doing various household chores, or are you paid to be available and, until now, you have not been working, just available in case of illness or holidays?

Regardless, it sounds as if your job has shifted from nanny (care of kids FT) to nanny manager (PT care of kids and PT household management) - if you are not interested in being a nanny manager, then it's time to move on.

You can try to re-work things with this family to limit your available hours to only those after school and then find another PT job, but if they want someone to cover for illness or school holidays, they'll turn that down.

Good luck as you either work this out or move on to a new position!

Burnt Stew said...

I agree with Ms. Mannah - if you want control over your schedule, ask to go on hourly and be paid only for what you work. Sounds like you have a sweet deal now, unbelievable that a worker today would complain pf PAID ON-CALL time interfering with personal life. What do you think on-call means? I am an R.N. who gets paid $3.00/hour to be on call and only my regular rate when I clock in. Although regular shifts are 7-3:30, i may leave any time from 3:30 until 6:00.

It sounds like the parents want to keep you and want to be able to pay you full-time, and yes they should get full time work from that. They are trying to find work for you to do to justify paying you. If you don't want to run 2-3 errands a month, go hourly. What exactly are you expecting of the parents?

hmmmm said...

If you are being paid to run errands as part of the 43 hours, I don't think you have anything to complain about. I can't imagine paying someone to sit on my sofa and watch TV all day while my kids are in school just in case one gets sick. I'd want that person to be doing something for me during that time (cooking, cleaning, straightening, errands....basically the things I was doing if I weren't working outside of my own home.

Ike said...

I wouldn't fuss too much about the errands unless they are asking you to do outrageous things or drive all over the universe. Do you know how lucky you are to be getting ful time wages for basically part time work ( no kids & no cleaning).
it can be difficult to convince parents that being on-call means I can't take another job , and need to be compensated. In those situations I'm willing to do more household errands.I can understand being upset with the Saturday hours being extended. I would talk to them about that and be willing to take a pay cut.
Be prepared for them to say no and find a new job.
If you don't want to do errands and have weekends, you might want to consider a new placement. One that's only Mon- Fri and only concerns caring for kids.

another nanny said...

I'm a bit unclear as to what your schedule actually looks like. But I would say, if they are adding extra hours to the 43 that they're paying you for (ie, Saturday hours), that's unfair. However, if they're asking you to do things during the time that they're actually paying you, I think that's reasonable.

Phoenix said...

I am sorry but you do have to earn your pay. You can't just want them to pay you and you don't do anything for it. If you are on the clock and they ask you to do something do it. Or tell them no, work only part time, and get another job where you could end up doing worse things than going to the store to buy milk.

Earn your pay