Justified in Leaving the Contract Intact?
I want to hear other perspectives on this because I'm not sure if I did the right thing... I'm a live in nanny. My contract states my salary plus rates for overtime. My vacation was set aside as 2 weeks of the family's choice, one week of my choice. I have been here for nearly four months and it's clear that my vacation time will actually be about 5 weeks total because of the parents' flexible work schedule and their desire to vacation as much as possible. So last week I had 2.5 days off but was still paid my salary. I have an overnight rate of $50. In my contract, the overnight rate begins at 9pm. Because I am live-in, night time babysitting and overnight babysitting are the same rate (so whether I babysit from 9-10pm or 9pm-4am, whenever they come home, it's the same flat rate).
The other night MB told me she needed to pick up DB from the airport and asked if I'd mind babysitting for 2 hours while the kids were in bed. I said yes, and assumed that I would be paid our agreed upon rate. Then, right as she was about to walk out the door, keys in hand, she asked me if it was "okay if she just didn't pay me" (yes, her exact words) because of the "extra vacation time last week and because it was 10pm-12am, and you'll be home anyway". I was really offended and caught off guard. I do understand her perspective -- she didn't want to pay me $50 to be home while the kids were asleep, but I wanted to put my foot down because I'm always mindful that I do not work for free, period.
It's taken about four years of experience for me to become as assertive as I am with bosses so I intended to tell her no it was absolutely not okay for her to "just not pay me". I told her I was not comfortable agreeing to anything outside of the contract we signed before I started. I said I understood that I got extra vacation time, but that I was always here and ready to work when she needed me, but her decision to take her family on a holiday was outside of my control and I didn't want to set a precedence that it's okay to penalize me for it. She responded that she was not lowering my monthly salary because of the days off but she just didn't want to pay me for the extra babysitting the following week because I had two and a half days off.
In the end, she wouldn't drop it so I said it would be okay for just the one night, but moving forward I want to stick to the contract we agreed upon. I am absolutely not happy with this but I felt really pressured, so I'll cut my losses there. I know I was within my rights to insist that we go by the contract, but my question to you all, parents and nannies, especially live-in nannies -- was this reasonable of me? What would you have done? I have a good relationship with my employers and would like to keep it that way. I am upset that my boss would ever even ask me to take less pay than what we agreed upon in the contract, but I'm not sure if I'm justified in feeling this way. There is nothing in our contract about "making up hours" the next week or anything of the sort and I would never get into one of those arrangements if it's because the FAMILY left and I could not do my job. I value this family and the job, and feel that a follow-up conversation is definitely necessary. - Anonymous
at 7:08 PM