Out of Town Trip Causing Nanny Hardship

I have been at my current job for almost a year, and everything has been going great. I don't have a contract, I know I should have, but I don't, and it's too late now. I am looking for advice other than, "You should have a contract!" MB told me that when they don't need me, she will pay me anyway because she doesn't want to lose me, and thinks I do a good job. A few months ago, they didn't need me for a week. MB gave me a check for my normal weekly pay, minus $60. This was acceptable to me, I wasn't going to raise an issue over $60.

Now they are going out of town for TWO weeks. Again, MB gave me ONE weeks pay minus $60. This was a huge slap in the face to me. I have always been on time, always followed MBs instructions, and I take really really good care of the little girl. I feel insulted, taken advantage of, and more than a little panicked about making rent! I am so bad at bringing up difficult subjects, and I feel that if I say something to her about it, I will seem ungrateful. However, if I say nothing, that sends the message that it is OK to take advantage of me. Everything else has been going great in this job, I can't understand why MB would do this to me. There have been no conflicts, no arguments, we get along very well, and I always thought she was happy with me and the job I am doing. I don't know why she would suddenly treat me like this. I love this job, but I simply cannot make ends meet unless I am paid every week. I am not going to see her for two weeks, should I send her an email? I don't want sound like I am setting an ultimatum, however, I cannot let myself be taken advantage of like this. What should I do?


pro-nanny mama said...

Did the parents take the trip yet? Maybe she will pay you the second week in a week. I remember a couple of instances where we were stretched thin and i needed my paycheck to pay the nanny's paycheck, I didnt have enough to cover two weeks in a row of vacation.

I would ask her, politely, when they return from their trip. But you have to do it right away, like end of the day of your first day back at work,or the start of the second day of work.

EastBayNanny said...

I see a difference between paying you for your normal shift (regardless of whether they need you) and paying VACATION time. Your MB should have been proactive and talked to you about this issue, and the fact that she hasn't is bothersome. However, it does not sound to me like you have discussed vacation pay, and she is assuming you will go with the flow, or she doesn't care. You need to bring it up. I personally would wait until they return to initiate discussion based on the info you give.

HonestTea said...

Ask for the $120 immedietly. Say to her what you said to us, that you're worried about paying rent & must be paid. Include that you feel taken advantage of. Say it like this(if it helps), "When you......_______, I feel..._______." Such as, "when you short my check $60, I feel under apreciated & panicked about making rent." You could add, "I'm sure you didn't intend this to be." GL. Please update us.

Lyn said...

I would definitely NOT use the words "taken advantage of" when talking to your MB about this.
If they haven't yet left I would wait until the day before they leave, my last day working, and say "I realized we have never really sat down and disscussed how payment would work for your vacation time. I know/appreciate that you've agreed to pay me for times when I am available to work but you do not need me, but in the past I noticed my check was $60 less than it would have been if I worked and I was curious why that is? Also, you've never been gone for 2 weeks in one stretch before so I'm unsure if you were planning on paying me for that time. However, with how my bills are I would need both weeks pay prior to you leaving. You can post date one of the checks for next week (whatever day you would have been paid again) and I'll deposit the second amount then if that would be easier for you."

Also, 60 bucks is 4 or so hours of work that you are entitled to. The only logical reason I can think of MB subtracting it from your check is maybe she will only pay you for hours up to 40 when they are away. As $60 could be overtime pay you usually accrue.

Good luck OP!

MissMannah said...

"I cannot let myself be taken advantage of like this"

Uh, you already are being taken advantage of. First when you didn't get a contract and second when you allowed MB to short-change you on pay by $60. I understand the concept of "don't rock the boat" but not demanding the pay you deserve is just foolish. And it is absolutely NOT too late to get a contract!

Rhiannon said...

I know you are looking for advice other than 'get a contract,' but I really don't think it's too late.

Here is my suggestion. Sit down with them and say, "I think we had different ideas about vacation pay. I'd like to discuss it again and have it put into a contract."

Explain that this is to the benefit of both parties. This way neither of you can feel taken advantage of. Include everything, holidays paid and unpaid, sick days, vacation, paid time off, job duties, etc.

I don't think you a foolish and I don't think you're bosses are taking advantage. I just honestly think you weren't on the same page with this and that a contract will clearly define these things.

katydid. said...

You've been given some really great advice.

$60 makes a huge difference when you're living on a typical nanny income.
So I would ask for that right away.

It always boggles my mind when parents do this sort of thing.

As far as a contract goes it's really not too late for one. It's actually the perfect time to ring one up.

Since you are at almost a year I would wait until that time for a sit down and request a contract. Especially if you plan to work for them longer. Contracts protect everybody involved.

Good luck!

JT Nanny said...

I think that some of you didn't quite get this post...OP isn't just out $60, she didn't get paid for an entire week. She is out a full weeks pay PLUS $60. I hate when people do this to their nannnies, why do they think we can survive not getting paid??

EastBayNanny said...

Many parents think it is ridiculous to request vacation pay for a paltry nanny job. Who are we anyway for thinking we're as deserving as they are in their 6 figure jobs? Just last weekend at an interview in an SF high rise on the bay dad says: "we couldn't believe one of our candidates asked about vacation pay? that's ridiculous!" ok, well he made much more clear to me than just his vacation policy.

MissMannah said...

Just wondering, how did you respond to that dad?

EastBayNanny said...

I responded by gloating about the fact that my fiance has two degrees from Cal and is a ferry captain doing what he loves best - I think he got my message (your money ain't everything and you're a sucker for thinking it is)- definitely a class war moment and I believe this dad understood my message.

I also stated that while I did not "expect" vacation pay from the get go, I did expect that as our partnership built, such things would be negotiated

EastBayNanny said...

pretty positive he works for the Federal Reserve- just two blocks away- enough said!

EastBayNanny said...

as I think about it more, my taxes may be going to his new multimillion dollar mortgage as we speak! who knows?!

but hey! at least those welfare moms and nannies are getting put in their place right?

curious said...

I have to play devils advocate here, guys. OP says there is no contract, therefore NO agreement on pay for unworked/vacation days. Sorry, but the fact that MB gave her ANY money at all was a nice thing to do and what's happened here is OP is now assuming she will always collect that check. That seems a bit presumptuous to me.

If we didn't have a contract with my nanny (being a new mom) and we went away for a week, I'd probably feel obligated to give her something, just like MB did, because it was unplanned, I wouldn't want her to lose any income, and because I wouldn't want to lose her.

OP needs to sit MB down when she gets back and draw up a contract, even a simple one involving pay when the family has to go out of town. Then ask for a review of some kind the next major date in your hiring (say you've been there 10mo, ask for an evaluation at 1 yr) - and GET THAT CONTRACT.

Until then, no offense OP, but you've taken what was originally a nice gesture and become greedy about it.

Tashina said...

Look, regardless of you being worried about appearing ungrateful, and I completely understand your concerns but...your relationship with their family is still professional. You are an employee and need to view yourself as such. That said, nicely talk to them about what you need and kindly let them know that when they go out of town, it unfortunately effects you financially. Maybe even tell them that you are willing to help out around their home on some days they are gone on vacation. Let them know you would like to create a win win solution for all involved. (:

Susannah said...

It is not greedy or ungrateful to expect to be paid for days you are available to work, but your employer decides to go on holidays.

A nanny is not your teenage babysitter you can simply use and pay at will.

You've been given good advice by the majority of nannies and parents in this post follow it.

Scttygrrl said...

I have never understood the thought process that allows a parent to skip out on paying a nanny when on vacation, when a day care center gets paid every day until the child is withdrawn. Parents are enjoying their employer paid vacation, in most instances. I say this as I care daily for a friend's grandson, my retirement job. The mother does not pay me when they take a day off, which I could not put up with if this were my only income stream. She will figure this out when she hires her next nanny!

Jessica said...

I had this exact thing happen to me but I had a contract that stated that I get paid my regular salary for 52 weeks regardless if my services are needed or not. Well my MB planned EIGHT WEEKS (yup 8 weeks of vacations for a year) she thought that it wasn't fair that I got so much vacation time (THAT I DIDNT ASK FOR.) I calmly explained that I would like to talk to her at a convenient time that worked for both of us without the children around. (funny how MB/DB ALWAYS have very important things to tell you when they are running out the door in the a.m. with no time to talk) When we had our talk I told her the truth. I am a professional Nanny who needs steady pay because I have bills, commitments, and financial goals. If she could no longer offer to pay the agreed upon salary I could no longer work for her and needed to start looking for someone who understand that this is my livelihood. I then went on to explain that ALL CHILDCARE is paid 52 weeks. I offered to go on these 8 vacation as long as I had a contact that outlined expectations, hours, and pay. It was a very uncomfortable conversation but you are your own advocate when you are a Nanny. There is no human resources you are own your own and YOU MUST SPEAK UP!!! It ended the way it should have I got 8 weeks paid vacation plus TWO weeks that I got to pick per my contract.

Traveling nanny said...

Please keep us updated !!!!

nycmom said...

Of course you should be paid for 52 weeks a year and you need to bring this up directly.

I think Lyn had a good thought that perhaps your employers feel vacation pay should be for regular hours worked, not OT. Another thought might be if your regular pay includes a stipend for transportation or other costs that you are not incurring during vacation weeks. Obviously, we have no way to know this but I have thought about such things when doing vacation pay (though always ended up just paying the normal gas stipend, etc as it seemed a petty thing to cut out).

Respect for nannies said...

Ok, to all those parents who don't have a contract and don't pay your nannies when you go out of town:

You don't sign a contract with your cable company either, but you are still expected to pay for service for the entire month whether you go out of town or not. You still have to pay for your insurance every month, whether you have an accident or not. Why does your nanny deserve less respect than them? This person cares for your dearest, most valuable people, why don't you want to treat her as well as possible?