12 May, 2012
I started nannying pretty young, but what I thought to be a great job when I was in highschool quickly turned into a nightmare. I was hired by a very rich family to be one of four nannies that cared for their 5 year old (K) I was only 17 at the time, and was paid $9 an hour, which seemed like a good deal to me, as a kid in highschool. I worked for this family for two years before I decided I needed a break, it was a difficult position for me because the parents were very absent from this child’s life and it distressed me to see K upset over rarely seeing her parents. About six months later they had baby number 2 (O) and asked that I come back to work for them at a higher pay rate. I agreed, I missed K and had been pretty broke without having a job the last few months, so I began working for them again.
I was asked to take full responsibility for both children, care for the dogs in the home, keep the kitchen tidy, do their dishes, do the laundry of the entire family and change the sheets on all beds, along with some other things that would be added here and there. It became extremely stressful. They had multiple nannies who worked in shifts for up to 14 hours a day, every day. I would usually come in around 4pm and leave at 10pm, but if I left any of the chores undone my boss would be angry at me for not staying past the time my shift ended. I accompanied them on one vacation, where they brought along three nannies and three children, the schedule was very unorganized and I ended up working between 10-14 hours a day, every day during the trip. I was not paid for any hours, because my boss claimed that paying for our hotel, food, and plane tickets was like giving us a “free vacation.” My boss liked to give gifts to her nannies, which was very sweet of her, but she often denied up extra pay or raises based on the fact that she gave us other things, things we had not asked for. On top of all this, my boss put us down as independent contractors on her taxes, instead of employees, which lead to me paying an immense amount of taxes.
In the end, my boss entered a nanny share with another woman who had an infant. I knew I would be caring for three children at this point, and asked for an appropriate change to my hourly rate (it was already quite low, for all the work that I did.) My boss told me no, claiming the gifts and vacations as a reason not to up my hourly rate. We argued and eventually I gave my two weeks notice. Later I learned that this woman was giving my boss $5 an hour to have the nannies watch her son, but my boss was keeping it to subsidize our regular hours, rather than adding it to our pay. Here, I must point out, this woman is a millionaire, and she was keeping $5 an hour from the people who are dedicated to care for her children! I loved those kids, I practically raised them for four years, heck I even got along very well with MB sometimes, but the stress and complete lack of concern for my rights and well being were not worth staying in that job any longer.
This was a few years ago, now I work under a contract with a wonderful family that is very fair, appreciative, and understanding of my needs. I did the correct homework and educated myself on my rights and the way a family should treat their nannies. I wanted to share my horror story of a work experience to make sure everyone out there understands that any of the behaviors addressed above are not appropriate from a Boss Family AT ALL. I wish someone would have told me that, despite being young and somewhat inexperienced in the world of nannying, I was being taken advantage of for YEARS. If you are new to nannying please do your homework, understand the laws in your state, and find a wonderful family that understands your needs and rights. If anything less than that is offered to you, run for the hills and never look back.
at 7:15 AM