Unemployment Benefits vs Misunderstood Finances

opinion 1
I recently started training for a family that I found on They needed someone to start right away and I needed a job right away (I'd been unemployed for five weeks at the time) and that's all I really knew about them at first. It turns out that we had a huge misunderstanding about what I was going to be paid. Mom thought one thing, Dad thought another - and Dad is the one who is in charge of finances. It wasn't either one of their faults. They aren't able to budge on what they can pay me because Dad is a contractor and doesn't have reliable or steady work. I can't live off of what they are offering unless I get a second job - and since it wasn't easy for me to find a first job - I doubt that's going to happen.

The obvious solution to this problem is to quit, before I get too involved and before they do too. But the problem is that they just had a nanny that quit after a few weeks and they were pretty upset about it because they really liked her, and Mom had to take time off of work to show her the ropes, and then immediately after had to take off time to show me. I don't want her to have to take off even more time to find a replacement for me, and I don't have another job lined up - but unemployment finally accepted my claim and they would be paying me pretty close to what she is paying me so I wouldn't be completely down and out. It's also painful because I know that she really likes me, and they've made various references to the fact that they'd like to keep me on with them forever.

I was thinking about explaining what happened with the misunderstanding and explaining that it just won't work out for me and that I'm very sorry, but I'd be more than willing to help them find someone else and show them the ropes before I go - which gives me time to find a new job and they won't be out either. I'm sad because the kids are really great and well behaved. They are my most favorite ages - 3 and 5, and they only go to school a few hours a day so I am still able to work full-time. They have lots of activities so I've never felt bored with them and the time passes so quickly because we have a lot of fun. They are extremely well behaved and have good manners. I think any nanny who could afford what they are paying would be lucky to have them - unfortunately I live in an expensive town with an expensive car and a lot of credit card debt, so that person isn't me. What would you do?


nanny said...

That is their problem and their responsibility.

You do not owe them anything.

Lyn said...

You didn't have something in your contract about what was to be paid to you and how often? I am willing to bet that the same "misunderstanding" regarding your pay was the big issue with the Nanny that quit after a few weeks. I have no reason to doubt that you are a great Nanny, but, the praise and references that they wish to keep you forever, honey, that's just them knowing they are paying an unlivable wage to a good Nanny and trying to guilt trip you into staying. Personally, I think it's very sweet of you to be willing to help find/train your replacement, but it isn't your job or responsibility to do so.
I'm very confused though how your rate suddenly changed from what all of you had agreed on. I hope you stuck up for yourself and let them know what was agreed upon by all party members, the hours you've worked, and what your pay for the week needs to be. I think as Nannys we've ALL passed up chances to stand up for ourselves regarding one thing or another that's come to bite us in the butt. But your salary should never be one of those things.
If I were you, I'd write up a letter of resignation, sit the parents down and tell them exactly why you feel this would no longer be a good fit for you and your financial needs (and please use the words "financial needs", hopefully they'll raise their rates a tad before another Nanny comes along), and the amount of time you are willing to stay on/help/train a replacement. Do not leave this number up for debate and have an end date established. And next time please make sure there is something in your contract before you begin working that says how much you are to be paid and how often. It makes life SO much simpler and helps you avoid getting stuvk with another family who "forgets" how much they are paying you.

NisforNanny said...

I agree with PP - it isn't your fault that the parents miscommunicated with each other on your compensation...and I find it a little odd that the mom was unaware of what they are able to offer - and that she didn't know she was unaware. The problem is that they made an agreement with you that they are not honoring - not your inability to work for a lower rate. Honestly, even if you could afford to work for the lower rate, you shouldn't have to. I also suggest that for your next position you make sure to get a written agreement that outlines compensation - for example, mine includes my guaranteed number of weekly hours, rate, when I am paid, how I am paid, taxes withheld and their handling, and overtime accommodations.

I would make sure to have a resignation letter (in addition to a conversation) so that you have a documented reason for "turning down work" in case unemployment asks you - the reason being that the employer was unable to honor their offer to you. For the time that you work(ed) with the family, your best bet is likely to report yourself to the unemployment office as "unavailable to work" for those weeks. You likely made too much to receive unemployment benefits for those weeks and that is the easiest (and legal) way to keep your claim active and open for future weeks.

It's a nice offer to offer to stay on while they look for someone else, but if you choose to do so, I would strongly suggest that you put a time limit on it - i.e., you can give them two weeks notice, during which you would be willing to train a replacement, if they find someone prior to the end of those two weeks. Before offering that though, I would make sure to confirm that they would be able to pay both you and the person you are training.
Sorry this happened to you OP! Of course the kids are well behaved - try to use this to remind yourself that there are families with well-behaved children out there who are currently looking for a nanny.

Manhattan Nanny said...

If I understand correctly, you accepted the job based on an amount the mom offered, and now that you've started work, they say they will pay you less because the dad doesn't agree to it. That IS their fault, and it is very manipulative. You think they are a nice family. Tell them you will have to resign unless they can pay you what you originally agreed to and see how "nice" they are. Why do you think the last nanny left after a few weeks?

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I agree that something is off if the other Nanny quit after a few weeks. Perhaps it had something to do w/pay as well. I wouldn't just shrug it off.

If there was a misunderstanding about pay and both parents were on different sides of the fence, then that is THEIR bad, not yours.

You need to work to survive. You have bills to pay and that is the reality of the situation here OP. Don't let what they say to you get in the way of advocating what is best for you.

I would go on unemployment and look for a job that pays enough to live off of. It would make no sense to keep this job and get a second job just because this family told you they want to keep you forever. Personally, I think they are trying to con you into feeling guilty about leaving.

ELam said...

I agree 100% with everything Manhattan Nanny said. You are right about quitting before you get in over your head with these people. How do parents not know exactly what they are able to pay? That should be one of the top 3 things they are both on the same page about when looking for a nanny. It sounds shady to me. It also sounds like you have no contract with these people as the pay would have been clearly written out in black and white in a contract.

Quit and don't think twice about it. This probably won't be the firs time they'll dupe you into something.

Village said...

Why on earth in this country do the not rich worry about the rich? The rich sure as hell don't care about the non rich.

OP needs a job that pays enough to live on. Unemployment benefits will allow her time to find a new, good job that pays well.

IMHO, the OP owes the miscommunication spouses nothing. The parents didn't live up to the agreement. Leave before the it affects the unemployment benefits. The OP has absolutely no obligation to train her replacement. That's Mom's job, the one her husband created for her.

Sarah NY said...

If you are working full time you should be paid a living wage. i.e. at least $10 per hour, but for two children should be more like 12-15. Parents who won't pay for quality childcare so their nanny can live need to hire a highschool age babysitter and stop mucking up the nanny sites with their...(ooo I'll pay you $5 an hour for two kids crap!)

You owe them nothing, especially if you were expecting a certain wage (as stated by one of the parents) and will be receiving something much lower. It also sounds like you don't have a contract which means you are completely an at will employee and can leave at anytime with no notice.

Again Nannies are very very heart on their sleeve people which lets them be walked all over all the time....This is not your problem that these people (whom you aren't connect with in any other way nor are you related to) can't afford to pay their nanny a living wage.

MissMannah said...

Honey, grow a backbone. Why do you care about these people? Are they your friends or family? Will they be giving you a reference? I'm guessing no and no. So they are nice, big deal. There's plenty of nice people out there who won't out and out lie to you about finances in the interview. OK, we don't know if they *lied* but they sure weren't 100% honest. You owe them absolutely nothing and if you stay on to train a new nanny (who, by the way will be getting screwed on wages exactly the same way you did and the former nanny did), you will lose your unemployment benefits that you have been trying to get. Leave now before you get even more emotionally attached, get your unemployment checks and start searching for jobs. Oh, and tell the mom to start talking to her husband about hiring policies.

Amanda said...

I'll bet the previous nanny quit after a few weeks because of the money as well! Not your fault!!

NannyK said...

OP here- thanks for all the kind advice.

A misunderstanding here though- they are NOT offering an unlivable wage. It is actually a fair wage but not one I can afford to live on because of where I live (they live outside the city) and my debt (lots of credit card payments a month) etc.

They had a nanny before the one who suddenly quit for over 4 years so I don't think pay had much to do with it. I've only been on with them for a few days and asked about the pay on Friday when I expected to receive a check and didn't.

We are going to sit down tomorrow (it's gonna be so awkward, I can't wait!) and talk it out but I doubt we will come to a resolution because I need about $6 more per hour than they want to offer. I refuse to be taken advantage of because I have at each nanny job I've ever worked.

I will keep you all posted on what happens.

Thanks again everyone!

Truth Seeker said...

So they are paying you a fair wage, but it is not good for you because you have a lot of debt? If that is the case, it is really not their fault you are in debt and as long as they are offering you a fair wage, I do not think they are trying to take advantage of you.

However it is your right to look for a better paying job.

jacquelinemary said...

while no, it's not "their fault" that you're in debt, you agreed to one wage & they're trying to pay another. it's called a bait & switch. you deserve better, and if they expect you to just go ahead and understand a $6/hr pay cut, it's not long before you're working unpaid overtime & running the house for them. move on. you don't owe them anything. also, you should alert that they're trying to pull this. not fair.

Nannyexpress said...

I am so sick of all the nannies asking how best to quit because the family is so nice. Guess what, as long as you are working for them, they will go out of their way to be nice because they need you but when they are done with you, then they show you their true colors. They wouldnt even think twice or wink even when you were the bestest nanny. Think about yourself for once and do what is right.

Phoenix said...

I understand that you don't want the family to feel bad. But what about you? Why are you willing to sacrafice yourself, happiness, sanity, and your life for people you just met? You can't live off what they pay you, so you think that its ok for you to suffer as opposed to them? I think you need to worry about yourself and protect yourself and find a job that is willing to pay you what you can afford to live off of.

You need to explain to them that it isn't anything to do with them as people but advise them they probably wouldn't take a job that they couldn't live off of.

not afraid said...

Ditto what Jacquelinemary said. McDonalds also offers a wage some people can live on, but that person isn't me! And anyone who plays that "bait n switch" game is NOT a nice person. They have totally wasted your time that you could have been looking for a job you actually want. Do not let them waste more of your time training a replacement. And yes, alert!