Train Trip Derails Nanny

opinion 1
Hello, I am a young 20s female nanny in manhattan, nannying for a 2 month old and a 20 month old. I need some help with traveling compensation.

When I took the job, I agreed to travel with the family on their various trips. I had never traveled with a nanny family before and didn't know how much work it actually was. My family and I are leaving for a week long trip this week and I am not looking forward to it and feel like I am being taken advantage of. Here is the situation-

We are traveling by train because the parents think its fun and what not, but it is a 30 hour train ride. I will not have my own sleeping room but rather will be sharing a room and bunk bed with the 20 month old. It's not a huge deal, but I am married and privacy would have been nice. Then yesterday when I asked a bit more about the hotel situation (we are staying in a three bedroom penthouse) I found out some shocking news. They are having company stay with us the whole week and I am expected to share a bedroom with the 20 month old the entire trip! Which means that I will basically be working 24/7 with no extra compensation. They don't seem to find it a problem at all. They claim I will still be working my normal 45 hours and that I will have time to myself. They also haven't told me if they will be paying for my food and other expenses. When I expressed concern about sharing a bedroom and not having privacy I was simply told not to worry about it because the hotel is pretty big. And when I expressed concern about the train ride they said that it would be fun. I don't understand why they think this is a vacation for me too!

I will be away from home and my husband for seven days and sharing a room with the child for six nights. So my question is how much extra should I ask for? I feel so frustrated that these things were never communicated to me and that I am just expected to go with the flow. I am so nervous with how exhausting it will be- I feel like I won't have any time to recharge myself and or I won't have any privacy. Help please!


Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

OP, if your gut is telling you that something is wrong probably is.

I do not have any travel nannying experience so I can not help you out there, but I do not think that a thirty-hour train ride w/two young children will be a walk in the park. Nor do I think sharing a room w/a toddler.

I hope you get compensated fairly for this.

Lauren said...

I think you need to make, *AT MINIMUM* $100-150 per night additional compensation for the overnight with a toddler in your room.

As for the food, they are responsible for paying for all of your meals, while on AND off the clock. It's not like when you are at home and can just cook yourself a piece of chicken. You have to eat out, and should not have to pay for that yourself.

As for the "fun" 30-hour train ride, tell the parents if they expect you to be working, you need to be compensated for that time... which leaves only 15 of your 45 hours to use that week. If you are "off" during the train ride, then plug into your headphones, bury your nose in a book - and let them watch their child.

Good luck!!

LametonotPlanAhead said...

This needed to be sorted out beforehand. Firstly you say you're married as a reason for why you want your privacy from a 20 month old as if he's Zac Efron you'll be sharing a room with. Are you upset because you planned sexy Skyping sessions with your husband and having the baby there will derail your plan?

I hope that 20 month old sleeps through the night. If he wakes at 5:30 you march him right over to his parents' room and have him knocking on the door since they are claiming you get your own time.

ELam said...

Oh yikes...not good. All expenses should be paid for on this trip: food, outings with the kids, etc. Sharing a room with the 20-month-old is complete crap! I would keep a log of every second that child is awake and in the room with you when it is supposed to be your "private time". You should be compensated overnight if the child is in the room with you. That is so bizarre. And a 30-hour train trip? Gross. I'm sorry, girl. Keep track of your hours this week, every single second, something tells me you will be working well over your 45 hours and you need to be PAID.

m said...

My advice to OP is this: of course you should tell them you want more money, and fair compensation for your time travelling.

However, expect this family to let you go soon after. They are not dumb and they know exactly what they want, and how little money they want to spend. they are not going to magically respond to your request for more money by saying "oh, wow, you're right! You should be making more!"

If they did give you the extra and take you on the trip, I would bet its because they cannot find anyone on short notice. Yes, tell them you want more, but I would start looking for another job.

m said...

To lame: I too thought it was weird that she said she was married. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything. Being asked to sleep in the same room as a child is a real imposition for anyone, single or married. And you should be compensated duly or I would walk.

Village said...

It's amazing what employers think is fun.

If the kid is in your room, you are working 24/7, not 45 hours a week.

I would ask for at least $150 per night. You can negotiate down to $100, but no lower. That is still a great deal for the parents. If they don't want to pay, don't go. Tell them this is your profession, and you don't work for free. Would they work for free? I think not.

MissMannah said...

I don't think she meant "Oh I'm married, I can't share a bedroom with anybody." I took it as "I'm married, I can't stand being away from my husband for so long." Because that's how I would feel about the situation. She probably doesn't want to share a room with the baby because she will end up being the one putting him to bed, getting up with him in the middle of the night and getting up with him first thing in the morning. She will not have any privacy, contrary to what the parents have claimed. Unless she wants to flee to the workout room in this huge hotel. (rolling eyes)

OP, this sounds like a royal nightmare and you need to ask for a hell of a lot of compensation and that is ABOVE AND BEYOND paying for all your meals. However, you did agree to travel with them from the very beginning so you really should have sorted all this out in the contract instead of waiting until now.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I get the feeling that this family thinks you are going to have SO MUCH FUN on this little trip and you won't even think twice about the money. Yeah right! With my first nanny job, I got the feeling that the parents thought I was having the time of my life when I was with them and that I just loved being at their house. I did love their child and they were a great family but at the end of the day I just couldn't wait to get the hell out of there and go home, like any other working person does. They would ask me to stay for dinner sometimes and at first I felt obligated to say yes because they were generous but then I started to politely decline because I didn't want them to get the idea that I loved hanging out with them. I think your family is under the same impression; that you like spending time with them.

Even if that is the case, as a PP said, this is your profession and you should be compensated. First off, I am wondering why you have to share a room with the 20 month old? Why doesn't he/she sleep in the parents' room? I am guessing they have the 2 month old in their room but surely they had the 2 children and should be able to handle both of them in their room for the 6 nights. You should not have to share a room with the toddler, I even find it weird they would suggest that, as if you are another one of their children.

I suggest you talk with MB and either A) come up with your hours for the entire trip and don't work a minute over the agreed-upon hours or B) inform MB that you will keep a log of every hour you work while on this "vacation" and will be paid x amount of money per hour. Be sure to define what "working" is, aka if the children are in your sight, you are working. Aside from that, the child sleeping in your room warrants you to charge them for overnights. Maybe suggest half your normal hourly rate for the hours that the child is sleeping? I do not have experience with overnights but you definitely need to be compensated. And lastly, your food and other expenses on this trip should be paid for by the family. In my opinion, you should not be spending a dime of your own money unless you go shopping for yourself or something like that.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

If you will be "sleeping" in the same room as the child, you will be working overnight, and you need to be paid your OVERTIME rate. I think $100 - $150 is a ridiculously low amount.

Frankly, it sounds as if you will be quitting this job sooner or later. Any employers who would force the nanny to share the children's room is not an employer one would work for long term. So, to me, the issue is more:

Do you request fair compensation (pay 24/7 starting when you leave their home and ending when you return) and risk being let go as soon as the trip ends or even before they leave, or do you ask for a little bit of extra money ($600), and then resent the hell out of them until you quit at some future point?

Oh, and so the other people staying with your employers have children also? Because if they do, you know darn well that YOU will be caring for those kids too.

You need to write up a travel contract ASAP. Include the issues of food and other expenses, include your OT rate for overnights with your charge, and include space for them to write down how they plan to divvy up your "45 hours" of work. If they have the audacity to not consider the train trip work, gently correct them, and then tell them what your total pay is expected to be for the trip (hint, you need to multiply your hourly rate by about 214 hours, which will account for OT) - if you make $15 per hour, you''ll be asking for more than $3000.

Good luck!

Manhattan Nanny said...

If your normal week is 45 hours do you work 5 days, 9 hour days with 2 days off? So they expect you to be available for 7 days for the same salary. That is already taking advantage of you, even if you don't work more than 45 hours, which of course you will.
Here is what you should be getting:
Keep a log, and be paid overtime for all hours over 45 that you are on call.
All meals and expenses paid for.
An overnight fee. In NYC this is usually $100-$150 per night.
As for the shared room, really! Point out to them that after you are off in the evening you will be going out, so the 2 yo will be alone in a hotel room!
Taking a nanny with you on vacation is a luxury. It is expensive, and since they live in Manhattan surely they must be aware of this. If they don't want to pay for it, they can use the hotel sitters.

Seattlemomma said...

Ok...just to play Devil's advocate here...And probably get flamed....

If the 20 month old sleeps all night (both of mine always did), it's a "penthouse" meaning there's a big living area aside from the bedrooms and the nanny can relax/watch tv/read/use computer outside of her room or explore the hotel (the "room sharing" is just for sleep), and when kid wakes, she's not on duty unless that was the plan...then I would say no extra pay for that part.

Train journey...totally should have extra compensation for that.

All meals and expenses should be paid. Plus some "extras" (we paid for things like massage/spa visits, horseback riding, and a day trip to make it vacation-like for nanny too)

Any hours she is expected to care for the kids (that she can't just "pass them over") should be paid at an OT rate.

I feel like when you travel with a nanny, they become a bit part of the family during the trip and that means you help a bit more "off the clock" (but should not be solely responsible unless part of salaried hour or getting paid OT). The situation described certainly sounds like she deserves extra compensation, just not so sure about the overnights costing $150 to the family if the kid sleeps well and nanny can pass her off if she wakes...

Seattlemomma said...

Sorry, I meant any EXTRA hours over her normal number should be paid at OT rate.

mamadawn said...

I have traveled with 2 different nannies for my baby - who was 2 months at the time (it was a long trip - one nanny came for 2 weeks, then the other one). I paid them for all travel time - from the moment they got to the airport til the moment they went into their rooms and were off for the rest of the night. They were guaranteed 8 hrs a day, like at home, and were given a $50 "inconvenience fee" (my term) for a per diem. If I ate out and brought them I paid. And the work day was defined - whether they came with me to the beach or stayed with the baby at the rental house, the work day was an 8 hour stretch - not a few hours here, a few later on. When they were off they used my rental car to go explore (we were in Martha's vineyard) or went up to their room. It was very clear when the work time was and when their free time was. On the return, traveling wasn't 8 hours but I counted it as an 8 hour day. It's still a day they csn't be working for anyone else so I owe them for a regular day.

Megs said...

When I have vacationed with families we have made a clear plan before we have left. Generally this means that the parents had the child until nap time. Then I would take over in the afternoon and usually did dinner and watched the child until the parents returned home. I was paid a different rate on vacation as I worked more hours. However, the families always have made my time my time and it is understood. I think since this is your first trip you are a little unsure of what to expect. That is totally understandable. I would sit down with the family and explain this. The family I worked for did pay for all of my food and I got about $100 extra dollars a day for my time. I think if you say why don't we keep track of hours and for every hour over the 45 I get paid my hourly rate or you can figure out how much extra you think you will be working. Generally at night when I sleep over I charge and the kids are sleeping I charge $11-15 and hour so if you are sharing a room from 8-8 you should be getting at least $100 extra. You will be helping overnight that is just a give in if you are sleeping in the same room as the child. Good luck! I bet it will be more fun then you think.

Anonymous said...

OnceANanny says:
Oy! Traveling with short people! Buck up, it's just a week. I know these trips can be awful, but it IS just a week. Keep telling yourself. And if your 20 month old is a good sleeper, you will be okay. The time to discuss any issues will be when they are planning the NEXT trip and you have concrete examples of how things went well or went awry. And don't forget to mention the trip's "adventures" as you come close to the annual bonus time. All that being said, NO, don't pay for your meals. Charge it to room service if you must! (Let them know in advance). Take a few snacks for yourself, some extra treats, and plan an itinerary for your personal time that will allow you to recharge. Is there a jazz bar or are there a few nice shops near the hotel? Bring your laptop, knitting, camera, walking shoes- whatever it takes. And check in with the parents every day and a half or so to see how it's going. I know these kinds of trips are hard, but this family is counting on your skills to make their vacation work. Of COURSE it's not a vacation for you and your comfort, beyond the minimum, is incidental. That is the nature of travel for business, I suppose. Best of luck to you and I hope it turns out well!