Debit Diss-Card

opinion 1
I'm a 22 year old full-time nanny to a 14 month old boy. I was hired just over 6 months ago to a great family with two working parents. When I was interviewed and hired, the family and I had verbal agreements regarding pay and responsibilities, but no formal contract was ever written. I agreed to $400 per week for 45 hours (when baby was napping 4+ hours per day) with promise of a raise and 2 weeks paid vacation, with compensation for any days the family takes off. During my first month, my set hours were 8:15-5:30, and I was compensated at $375 for the trial basis. Shortly after that ended, a heap of new responsibilities and 5 hours more per week were added, with no change in compensation aside of being given the $400 I was originally promised. That brings my hourly rate down to $8, and we live in a state where minimum wage is $7.70. My Christmas bonus was $100, and I was promised some clothing from the company MB works for, which never happened.

Here's a run down of my current situation: I work 8:15-6pm Monday through Friday (MB/DB are typically late or arrive at 6 and want to change clothes/make a phone call/etc, and I don't get to leave until after 6:15/6:30. I'm not being compensated for the extra time). Baby is on a new schedule and naps 2 hours per day, which I use to do chores and have a break. I am responsible for 3 meals and a snack for baby, running and unloading the dishwasher, keeping common areas (kitchen/living room/playroom) clean, let the dogs in and out, baby's laundry, and occasionally running an errand related to baby (Dr's appointment, picking up more diapers, etc.). The family has also asked me to begin preparing dinner for MB/DB, but leaves me in a house with no groceries to do so. I've asked that either they leave me $ or have a debit card in my name added to their account so that I can grocery shop for meals, and am always met with 'make a list and we'll pick up whatever you need'. It never happens. Aside of that, they agreed to provide me with a few groceries of my own, but have recently dropped the ball on that as well. I frequently walk in on a Monday morning to find a disaster zone of clutter/dishes from the weekend, and am expected to pick it up. It's also expected that I will feed the dogs twice a day, take out any trash, make MB/DB's morning coffee, and handle the compost bin and recycling, even though these duties were never discussed. I've been told numerous times that we would work out a deal for gas compensation and outings for baby, but DB has never actually followed through on any agreement. Any activity outside of the house, or learning supplies that I bring for baby come out of my pocket. DB also talks frequently about the family restructuring their budget, which makes me nervous about bringing up additional compensation.

Because I'm at the 6 month mark with this family, I'd really like to bring up the idea of creating a formal contract to address my concerns. I just don't know how to bring it up, or what fair amount is to request for a raise/gas and supply compensation. Ideally, I'd like to have a work debit card with an allowance for gas/activities for baby, that they could add money to for things like grocery shopping (which I'm happy to do). I'd also like some sort of 'late fee' for nights that I'm unable to leave when my day is technically supposed to end. I don't want to come across as unappreciative or negative about my position, as I love my nanny family VERY much and really value the relationship I have with MB/DB. What's the best way to approach this? Thank you so much for your advice!


Sinda said...

If you are doing this much for $8 an hour, your best bet would be to find a new job. These people are taking advantage of you, and promising things they never deliver. I know how hard it is when you feel attached to a family, but they clearly don't value you enough if they keep treating you like this. They probably won't want a contract, because they want to keep piling on the work and giving empty promises.
Dump them and get another job, and make sure you have a contract in place before starting work.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I think you should look beneath the surface w/these people. Yes, you like them and all, but look at how they are treating you. Even the dirt in my garden gets treated much better than you are. Sheesh.

They are promising you things, then not following through. They sound flaky at best and do not have your best interests in mind. It's all about principle here. They are also underpaying you big time.

Since you love this family so much, you can try to talk to them and ask for a contract. But since they are so flaky, they probably will not follow through w/whatever terms you all agree on.

It's best to find a new family and move on. You deserve to be treated like a human being that matters and you are most definitely not getting that from your current family.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I sincerely hope you find a nice family who keeps their word. You do not deserve this at all.

Anonymous said...

OnceANanny says:
It can get frustrating to feel that they always drop the ball where your interests are concerned. Your only defense is to be proactive- YOU design the contract and present it at your six month performance review, which you will have requested, along with a written list of "must haves, nice to haves, could do without but nanny down the road is getting". This meeting may also give you an opportunity to explore whether this family is short term (they can't really afford you but need you for the moment) or long term. Ask them open ended questions prior to the meeting and write the answers down to help you reflect. While you are meeting with them, you can begin screening other families for a replacement fulltime gig. You could also consider doing some information interviews with other families and nannies to see what the market in your area will bear in terms of pay and benefits. Be proactive, very matter of fact, and punctual about collecting on ANYTHING they promise you going forward. It's the only way you might reteach them how to interact with you. Good luck!

ELam said...

I can't understand how you value the relationship with the MB/DB when they clearly don't value you and all you do for them.

Propose the contract, if they say no, time to find a new job! On a Friday at the end of the day let them know you'd like to set up a time to discuss writing up a contract together that outlines all of your duties and pay. Let them know you enjoy working for them but to avoid any confusion on either side, you'd feel more comfortable having a contract so you both know what is expected of the other. Don't be shocked if they say "Oh yea, that sounds good!" and never set up a time to do this. If that happens, you gotta get out of there.

Dakota said...

I feel for you OP. I make $475 a week (plus a bit for gas money) and I only work 25-30 hours a week! They are WAY underpaying you. And they expect you to make their coffee and start dinner for them!?! You need to find a new job unless your current family is going to double your salary, which I highly doubt. Good luck OP!

Bethany said...

Wow! you sound like a great person. I would like to tell you quit and find another job, unfortunately the nanny market is slim pickings right now and the vast majority of people looking are people just like the family you are working for now.

You can try talking to them , but I doubt they will change there ways. If you decide to leave have a job nanny or otherwise lined up first.

Good luck!

MissMannah said...

And...why do you like these people? I suspect they know exactly what they are doing, which is why they are piling even more onto the poor, unsuspecting nanny. Time to learn how to say NO!

Manhattan Nanny said...

I agree with the others, these people are taking advantage of you. Also keep in mind that as the baby gets older, he will be napping less and require a lot more activities and attention. You will find it harder to do all the shopping, cooking etc. If you don't set limits on what you will do now, you will be overwhelmed.

Village said...

It's time for the OP to shop for another job, and get a contract up front this time.

Some employers have a generous spirit, and some have a nanny creep position from the beginning.

Negotiating a contract is a good way to figure out which is which.

Phoenix said...

well. they sound like they don't follow through on anything. Now If it were me, i would also not follow through. They don't really seem very nice. And if you cook some nasty awful dinners for them, they won't ask you to cook anymore. Like in my house, my family has kindly asked I never cook, only bake. So if they think you suck at cooking they won't ask you to do it.

If you value your relationship with them then it is your responsibility to be honest with them. A good relationship means both sides are happy and prosper. Right now they are happy and you are miserable. That is not healthy and to me that seems like they do not value the relationship as you do. That is a lack of character on their part. But you need to make your opinions known. Its like pulling off a band-aid. Do it fast, it has to be done or you will begin to resent them and then it can start to get really ugly

christine said...

Not a nanny here but I am a professional assistant to a woman who has her office in her home, so some of these issues do happen to me. She also has a personal assistant who cleans and does some cooking and packs her suitcase before a trip.

While I am primarily responsible for administrative work, I am not beneath cooking her an egg for breakfast or taking out the garbage. I have grocery shopped for her (I have my own debit card) and helped the personal assistant by moving laundry from the washer to the dryer. There isn't much I would refuse to do for her because SHE PAYS ME $20 AN HOUR!!!!!!

If these people want you to do all of this extra stuff, they need to pay you the amount of money it would take for you to do it without feeling like you are being taken advantage of.

And, after all of the posts I've seen about "job creep" it really does boils down to NOT what you are asked to do but how much (or little) they want to pay you for doing it. It isn't fair to hire a "nanny" and then expect her to be a houshold manager, personal shopper and cleaning lady without compensation. Parents reading this- shame on you if you don't pay your household help fairly!