Agreement Unravels with Unplanned Travels

I am a career nanny, household manager, and certified postpartum doula with 10 years of experience in high profile positions. About six months ago we moved to a much smaller town where nannies are not compensated as highly and jobs are harder to come by. Previously in Seattle I was averaging $18/hr for nanny jobs that I brought my daughter to (she was under a year at the time), but prior to having her I was averaging $22/hr.

I recently took a nanny position for a family where the parents work from home. Part of our deal was that I would offer them a reduced rate to work from home and have my daughter with me. I was asking $15/hr but dropped it to $11/hr. They agreed but did mention that for two weeks, three times a year they would be traveling for work and would not need me to watch their son and I would not be compensated for this time, I thought that would be fine and our family would arrange our travel during the same times. The number of times they travel has now increased to a total of six, 2 week trips all unpaid.

I feel that I need to be compensated for this difference because it wasn't in our agreement, but they are not willing/able to pay for this time despite several meetings and negotiations. My concern is that nanny jobs here are so hard to come by, especially ones with the flexibility to bring my now 13 month old daughter. I feel like if I let them go I will never find something else, but I also can't financially support my family with so much lost work. They are not open to a nanny share and they do not want me working for any additional families. I'm used to families treating me with a lot more respect, but do I just take what I can get? Thanks!!


Ms. Vivienne LePeaux said...

and they do not want me working for any additional families
So what? That's none of their business unless there is some sort of clause in your contract prohibiting it.

Susannah said...

I'd tell them to kiss my big ass. You are far more patient than I.
You get another job and you quit.

You have been more than accomodating.

This situation is not working for you. You need adequate compensation and they have not and are not willing to provide it. Move on.

Also you can work for whomever you like on your own time.

Perhaps you can look into working in a daycare, many places have it so workers can bring their children fir free or at a discount.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I think the right thing to do here would be for the family to offer you compensation for the extra three weeks they added. However, by the looks of it, it doesn't seem they will.

Since you have already talked to them about it and they are not willing to budge you only have two choices left.

A) Stay w/the job and try to save enough money so when they do go on vacation, you will have something to live off of.

B) Leave and find another job.

I agree w/you that it is a bit harder to find jobs where you can bring along your child. This is a huge perk and only a limited number of families allow this.

So sorry this family is screwing you over like this. It is unfair and it seems they are taking advantage of you. When if you told them you were not going to work for them for two weeks? I bet they would fire you in a heartbeat.

The way the economy is right now, the parents are at an advantage and it seems many of them are taking full advantage.


Fiona said...

Honestly, this one is on you.
You accepted the lower wages.
You accepted not being paid for weeks at a time.
You've accepted them telling you you can't work for anyone else.

Why should they respect you when you're not showing any respect for yourself?

You've said it yourself there is no way you can support your family like this. When a job is no longer meeting your needs and there is no way of that changing it's time to move on.

I suggest you start looking for a new job right now. Once you find it quit.

You could try standing up to these people and telling them how you will be treated and compensated

Put on your big girl's pants and stand up for yourself.

Aries said...

They're getting such a deal that they should compensate the other three weeks they didnt mention.. Each of them are 2 weeks? Thats 3 months total of no work or pay. Not fair. But that is up to them to decide and then its up to you to quit if they decide against it.

They seem cheap. I bet when the 1 year mark comes up, they will wait for YOU to mention a possible raise, and then try to avoid it.. I honestly think you should start looking for another nanny job. Eventually you will find one where you will be able to take your own child. Maybe not today or next week, but eventually.

Bethany said...

These people have a pretty sweet deal going. I highly doubt they'll have a sudden change in heart if you talk to them again even if you make it clear that unless things change you'll be gone.

They've got you dangling over the pot and use it to their advantage.

I would start looking right away for another job, eventually you'll get a hit.

I also suggest you look outside of being a nanny. Maybe try daycare some places will let you work there and offer free childcare as a benefit.

Good luck!

RahRah said...

Was this a verbal agreement, or was there a contract involved? If it is specifically stated in a signed contract that you will not work with any other families while you are emoloyed by them, then they have no right to try to keep you from doing so - additionally, if the signed contract also states that you will only have go without your regular pay for 6 weeks out of the year then they have no right to throw in additional unpaid weeks, unless an addendum has been added to the contract. And, really, even it was just a verbal agreement it's still pretty crappy of them to not stick to it, but this is why contracts are so important. I completely understand not wanting to give up a job when you feel like you may not be able to find anything else - it would be adventageous to at least be looking for a new job while continuing to work for these people, though. Any reasonable employer would not fault you for wanting to take on additional families when they are going against what you originally agreed upon and you are suffering financially as a result, and any reasonable employer would not go against the orginal agreement in the first place without discussing it with you first and figuring something that everyone that everyone can be happy with. That disrespectful and unprofessional. If you do have a conreact with these people, then hold them to it. Otherwise, what is the point of having it in the first place? These people are clearly taking advantage of you, and will continue to do so if you let them. If, after discussing it with them, they refuse to stick to your orginal agreement then look for another job or, at the very least, if you can't find another FT job that meets your needs then pick up additional families to work with on the side. They absolutely cannot keep you from doing so in this situation - would they fire you if they took on more families, or just get upset? If it's the latter, I say they can get over it. Good luck.

Inquiring Minds Want To Know said...

OP: Where do you live that nanny jobs are hard to come by? (I'm not being snarky, I'm just asking)

Bethany said...

If you don't mind telling me which organization did you train an certify with as a postpartum doula?

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I think Nanny jobs are much harder to come by across the board. The economy still is in the tank, despite what some think and no matter where you live...getting a new job may be challenging.

Good luck to you OP.

Hope you find a new position soon.

nycmom said...

Based on your own words, it doesn't sound like you actually have many options here. Of course they are being unfair. So you are saying your choices are to 1. put up with it and keep the job. 2. refuse to accept, quit/be fired, and be unlikely to find another job.

No good choices there.

Start actively looking for a better job in your current location or moving to a new one. When you find it, quit and move on. This family is not going to change, pay you more, or compromise. Why would they since you have already given into their ridiculous rules and they know you are unlikely to find another job allowing you to bring your child.

ericsmom said...


Look into an organization calle DONA they offer doula training

Bethany said...

Thanks ,ericsmom I appreciate your response! I do know of DONA.
There are others out there and I was wondering if she had experience with them.

Nanny Tara said...

OP, I think you should find a job working in a preschool/daycare center where you can bring along your child. Many centres offer this and they would probably be more fair to work for than this family.

Good luck.

ericsmom said...


I would also check out your local hospitals in your area, for doula training. Some hospitals actually offer this class. I feel if you go thru the hospital, its better. They offer more training. Also, it is easier to find a position thru them. They send people out thru their program.

OP said...

Thanks so much for your responses. In regards to a contract - I requested we draft one up when I was hired, they sent me a bare bones contract which I added to and asked them to review and finalize. Despite numerous reminders on a daily/weekly basis, they have not reviewed my changes. They apologize for being so busy and make excuses. It's becoming a source of resentment and frustration.

In response to your questions -

We live in a small town about two hours outside of Seattle. It is a primarily college aged community and although families do hire nannies here, they definitely don't hold them to the same standards as in Seattle and thus compensation is much lower. It seems daycares and before/after school programs are much more typical for families.

I recevied my Doula training from the Seattle Midwifery School and became certified internationally through DONA and a local agency as well. I've put my Doula career on hold so that I can be with my daughter, which is much more important to me!

We had another meeting this week and I did tell my employers that I will be looking for another family to work for on the side. They didn't seem happy as it will take away from me being able to provide complete flexibility and 100 percent of my time to use at their disposal. In reality, I'm hoping that in my search for other part-time work I can network to find the right family.

My husband put it this way, at least you have a job and you are getting paid to look for a new one. So for all my employers know my ad on Craigslist and Care are simply to search for extra hours with a family, but my hope is that I will actually find a new full time job. If it takes a year, it takes a year, but in the meantime I'm at least making something, which is better than nothing!

Thanks for all your responses, I really appreciate it!

Bethany said...

good job sticking up for yourself and I hope you get that full time job where you can take your daughter sooner than you think!

Thanks for the doula info it's something I really want to get into.

luckoftheirish said...

Twelve weeks a year without income! Im so glad youre lwaving them!