No Pay for Travel Day

Hi, I'm on my last night in Cancun with a family that my friend babysits for. I'm a grown woman and an experienced nanny who has 3 month old twin charges that I care for 40 hours a week back in Chicago. We were hired to take care of three young children each. I spoke to the grandmother of the family about my expectations early on in July. I asked the family to outline some kind of itinerary and let us know a day in advance of what the schedule would be.

What developed was that we would be up with the families and go to breakfast at random times. Sometimes we went with them at 7 or 8. Then we were by the pool or beach with them until 1 or 2 and then asked to come back at 5, 6 or 7 every night until anywhere between 10-1. We had one evening off and that was Thanksgiving. We got to order room service, while we were watching the kids and were included in some good meals, we didn't really have time to ourselves. The siesta during the day, while it was a chunk of hours, we usually used it to shower and nap from the exhaustion of running after all the little kids or holding and feeding the baby.

In the end, we got paid for seven days and are not being paid for the 12 hour travel day on the last day. The family is not traveling with us on that day because, as they informed us, buying direct tickets for us to travel back with them would cost and extra $400 a piece. We were paid $150 a day. I feel that this is unfair. I thought that this would happen, though. As the week unfolded, it was obvious that the family my friend has been babysitting for 6 years was pushing back on her. The mother was getting passive-aggressive and so was the father. My friend is hurt because she has been loyal and devoted to this family for years and when she asked to be paid for the travel day, she was told that he doesn't get paid for travel in his consulting job. Apples and oranges, I think. But, what do you all think? - Kate


♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

Apples and oranges indeed.

If you are traveling w/your charges in tow and are continuing to be responsible for them, then you SHOULD be paid because it is still work. It's not like you can sleep the whole time.

This would be a deal-breaker for me OP. ~

If they are not going to pay you for the 12-hours mentioned, then you have no other option but to count your losses and move on.

What a jerk this Father sounds like.

Best of luck to you.

MissMannah said...

I am not really sure what you're asking, your post was a little all over the place. I think $150 a day is pretty low, but if you agreed to it beforehand then you can't complain. As for the travel day, are you or are you not travelling with the children? If you're travelling alone, why should they pay you? You aren't working. If you have the kids with you, then yes you should be paid the full $150.

Megan said...

This is crazy, and although I know it's difficult, I would definitely be having a very serious conversation with the family.

I traveled with my previous family when they moved out of state for work. MB was a single parent, and unfortunately had little to no help from family. I was basically the second parent, and was more than happy out when extra help was needed (I LOVED this family!!). MB and the kids flew out to get settled in the new home, while the movers drove their stuff. I was responsible for driving the car of MB to the new home, as well as the pets. For the duration of the entire trips (two days driving there, three days staying with them in the new home to help the kids settle, and flying back home)ALL of my expenses were covered. I didn't even so much as pay for a soda for myself, and that is the way my MB wanted it. Since this was the end of our time together, she decided to pay me four weeks additional pay. Which means instead of getting paid some random amount for the trip itself, she just continued to pay me for the four weeks following the time I no longer was employed by her. To put it more simply, I was paid $1,200 ($300 per week) for my "trouble".

Ann O'Neemus said...

Sounds as though this family ripped you off.
It is unclear from your post whether you had an agreement with them prior to the trip as to what your hours/duties/remuneration would be.
Since these people are not your regular employers, I would say just write it off to experience (and don't work for them again)
I feel sorry for your friend who has worked for this family for 6 years and is not being treated well.

melissa said...

I have to agree with Miss Mannah- if you were traveling with the children, of course you should be paid. But if you're traveling alone, they shouldn't pay you. I don't think it's apples and oranges. A job is a job. My brother travels for his job all the time, but why would they pay him when he's not working? Like you, his travel expenses are covered, and that's it. I don't think it's unfair.

VA nanny said...

Not trying to derail here, but how would you all feel if you were driving rather than flying? I ask because I'm relocating with my family for the winter this weekend. MB and my charge are flying, and I'm driving. I'm driving my car with all of my stuff in it, as well as some of baby's stuff that wouldn't fit in the car that they shipped. I'm also driving their dogs. It is a 17 hour drive. I typically don't charge for travel while not with kids, but this feels very different. Flying alone vs driving many hours with their pets feels a LOT like work.

Time is money said...

I get paid for all my travel hours, whether or not I am with the kids. It's not my regular commute to work; I am traveling to a place that the family has chosen and I am traveling for them. The next time you travel without kids, at least negotiate some kind of fee for your time.

Nanny X said...

I travel frequently with my employers. Whether or not the children/parents accompany me on travel days, I am paid door to door for the hours that I am traveling. In addition, I am paid a per diem for each day of the trip. However, my hours are not agreed upon beforehand. Some days, I work 16 hours per day on their vacations, and some days it is shorter. I can request hours/days off and they are good about letting me take them...or I can just take the massive amounts of money that accrues quickly during their trips! Whatever the scenario, you would be wise to negotiate compensation that you feel is fair before any future trips, and discuss - in advance - what will happen on travel days and days where you are needed more hours than were previously planned.

nycmom said...

I would not pay for travel time if you had no work responsibilities. In the case of VA Nanny above, I would expect to pay you because you are providing transport of employer items and pet care. I would not nickle and dime and would pay whatever our normal rate was for the entire time.

I believe a nanny generally works harder while traveling with a family and assume I will be paying for this. On average I pay roughly double the normal daily rate and assume our nanny is working/available for 12 hours a day and pay hourly for all hours, though she does not work all. I have done both a flat rate and hourly tracking, but it almost always ends up being about double pay for our nanny. Luckily, our kids are finally old enough that I feel comfortable using childcare services at our destination which is much less expensive and gives our nanny more vacation!

Kate said...

Thanks for your responses. I have definitely chalked it up to experience. I confronted the family after we returned and I was paid for that last day and for the travel expenses to and from the airport. I know consultants who get paid for travel time and travel expenses. Those are my standards and I won't work for less.

After experiencing the type of days I worked on their vacation, I will definitely charge more for other families in the future. These people were all drunk the whole time and there was no negotiating then. I also won't work for drunks again. I requested an itinerary and never got one. They just told us what they wanted everyday and we did it.

Lesson learned. Priceless.

Anonymous said...


I am way late in the game, but am sitting here on a Friday evening and reading through months of old posts. Good stuff! I wish I had found this website sooner. I was so surprised to read how many people think its normal to not pay for travel hours. I am away from my home and traveling FOR the family. We have had many times where I have had to travel separately. Example- everyone was on the family jet, but they flew me first class for logistical reasons. I absolutely expect to be paid for that day of travel. I'm thrilled to not be watching kids, but it is still my time. And my time is very valuable. And honestly, I expect to get paid pretty much the same for a trip whether I work 24/7 of if they only use me 3 hours a day. It is my time. I am away from my home and my husband for that entire time and my time is no longer my own. It is not my fault if they choose to give me a day off. I would rather make the money. It's not like I can make dinner plans with a friend or run some errands when. Am in a foreign country. My employers know that. Am happy to travel with them as often as they need me, but I have made it very clear that my time is valuable and I expect to be compensated accordingly.
I have been shocked to talk to nanny friends who go away with their family to Hawaii and don't get anything more than their usual paycheck. This is insane to me! "well, they did lay for my ticket and my food..." Well OF COURSE!!! Am I thr I ly one who feels this way?? And if your family cannot afford to compensate you properly for a trip away, then they need to. Or bring you. I cannot reiterate enough-- THIS IS NOT A VACATION FOR ME. my bosses made snarky comments like that a few years ago when I first started traveling with them and I addressed it right from the get-go. Ok. Off my soapbox...