Approach or Quit?

I've been working with the family I've been with almost 5 months. I'm now on the 
fence about quitting because I feel it's a little to late to approach her with 
these things. Im honestly tired of being nickeled and dimed and treated like an 
indentured servant. I deserve better. Dont get me wring they aren't rude or 
disrespectful to me. Don't leave me with a long list of chores and are nice 
people. I feel like sitting down with her could resolve my issues with the 
position but I feel it's a little to late of both parts. Ilove her kids but at 
the end of the day I have needs. 

I get NO PTO (Paid time off) or sick days- I've been sick a few times since I 
started this position and have never said a word about it and still came to 
work. I've never wanted to call out because once it hits me its mostly the night 
before and I think that's to short of notice. What should I do. I still need to 
be paid. NO Paid vacation- they are planning a week long vacation and I believe 
they are planning on just not paying me for the entire week. For me this will 
not work out. I have a monthly budget and this will set me back if we do do so. 

When i sat down and talked to MB about a similar topic (Guaranteed hours) and it 
somewhat got resolved. It works for them, not so much for me We came to the 
conclusion that if there was ever a time she didn't need me she would calculate 
the hours and I would make them up. For example if she came home early or 
decided to stay home. Now that I think about this a kinda feel like an 
indentured servant and that she should be paying for my availability on the days 
and times she stated she would need me. I have decided to let this go and go 
with the flow because I should have added what I wanted in the contract in the 
beginning and went over this at the interview. So I know for next time. 

Pretty much I'm ready to quit and find something else but the smart way. Since I 
don't have my license yet I already know this puts me at the low end of the 
nanny jobs basically people want someone who drives. Is it a smart idea to wait 
it out in this position until I get my license and then find something else. It 
will take me about eight months. Or should I just quit now. I also have drawn up 
my own detailed contract addressing the issues above. I really love this family 
outside of these issues. What should I do????


Belle Vierge said...

Honestly, some of this you should have figured out when you agreed to your contract. That said, I think you have some ground for renegotiation. Ask for a six-months review. Bring up your concerns. Prioritize what you want because your MB probably won't agree to everything.

Good luck!

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I am not sure if you are part- or full-time. Considering that you have worked for this family for only 5 months, it may be too early to ask for paid days off. Even more so if you are part-time.

If they ask you to be available for certain days/times, then decide later on they do not need you, then I believe you should be compensated since you depend on that income to survive. If they take a vacation, they should still pay you for the same reason stated above.

Anyway, as for quitting this is a tough call.
Can you really afford to be unemployed for a few months or longer? Do you have $avings you can live off of? If not, then I would advise you to keep your current position and search for another one in your spare time. If you do get another position, then I would take it. Make sure in your next position, you iron these issues out sooner rather than later.

I wish you the best of luck!
Keep your chin up! ☺

Rosemary Wells said...

This is an excellent post on this issue on the motherlode blog in the New York Times. The comments are excellent as well.

I particularly liked one that said a verbal agreement is binding, that the intent is as important as a detailed contract or agreement. I believe when expectations on the Nanny's part are clear, it is easier to relay this to an employer, and no matter what is written, if there is a lack of consideration, the position is untenable in the long run. You feel as if you are not being considered. It is not to late to mention it. If you do, and the response is that they are not willing to pay you for sick time or vacation time, then I would move on. You are now more experienced, and with each job you gain insight into what is acceptable (or not) in an employer.
Best of luck and let us know what happens.

HobokeNanny said...

This sounds like my previous job. I wasn't with them long because of these reasons, but after two months, I asked them about getting paid on days that I am expected to be there. They were fine with it. I was PT, but I told them that I expenses and that if I'm supposed to be there on every week on those days for those hours, I expect to be paid. In that talk, we discussed days off since I was only part-time. It's an uncomfortable conversation, especially because it was brought up before I started, but if you love them, they will understand. If they don't, time to start looking for a new gig.

nycmom said...

If you are full-time, you should definitely have basic benefits including paid vacation, sick/personal days, and agreed upon holidays.

I agree with Amy Darling exactly -- if I expect a sitter, full or part-time, to set aside and guarantee me hours weekly, then I expect to pay for those hours. However, I have found in pt arrangements that often sitters do not want to set it up that way because it would also mean that they are guaranteeing me those hours every week and limit their flexibility for travel, etc. So most often we set up something like we can give each other two weeks notice and not be obligated, but without notice both parties are obligated (to work and to pay).

I have definitely setup arrangements with part-time sitters where I offered pro-rated benefits based on % of full-time, but again I agree with Amy and have specified that this goes into effect after 6 months as pt positions are less likely to be long-term commitments ime.

I do think it would be frustrating as an employer to have you come to me with these desires 5 months after hiring and shortly after I just agreed to resolve another concern (and presumably your employer is under the impression the Guaranteed Hours resolution was mutually satisfactory). However, it sounds like both parties are inexperienced and it is a learning process on both sides.

I did not know all the standard rules with our first nanny and, although I offered vacation, she kept declining to take it. After 2.5 years, she requested back pay of 2.5 yrs of unused vacation at two weeks a year (the standard). It was very frustrating, but she was a great nanny and I realized it was also my error in not making it clear how much vacation she had and that it did not carry over year-to-year. So I paid her for the vacation and used that as a chance to draw up a contract addressing everything I had learned. That nanny stayed with us full-time for almost 5 years, then part-time for another 4-5 years for a total of 9-10 years. So it is definitely possible to resolve these issues in a way that works for both sides if there is mutual respect and, most importantly, if your employer recognizes that that their inexperience also contributed to the issues.

Keep in mind that if you quit now, you likely won't have much of a reference, so you will be starting over with more knowledge, but probably not a stronger resume. So be smart about how you approach things and consider giving notice (if you are fine with quitting anyway) and perhaps you can part amicably. I know it is often said on here to get a letter of reference first. But as an employer I have to say I would not place much stock in a letter from a family I could not also call. I would assume you could not provide their number because something unpleasant happened later in employment and it would actually make me more, not less, concerned than hiring someone without a letter of reference.

kimberstea said...

Paid time off goes into my contract from day one for all jobs that I work 25 or more hours a week.

Generally speaking these benefits start after 30 days of employment and no more than after 90 days of employment.

As other have said you can and should be expected to be paid for all hours you have set aside for them and not be required to "make those up" . Some families do flex time ,but that is different from making up time.

If you think they are reasonable, talk with them about this at your 6 months review, if you don't have one scheduled request one.

As for quitting, before you quit any job ( save situations that are dangerous to you) make sure you have a new job lined up, contract signed, and start date set. Give a minimum of two weeks notice, and if possible get a positive letter of reference from them before you tell them you are leaving.

I hope everything works out well for you.

kimberstea said...

As for your driving situation, if you do decide to leave, maybe you can work daycare for a bit while getting licensed.

If you work for a great daycare, it can be a way for you to gain childcare skills and also network for potential future nanny families.

MissMannah said...

I think you have some room to negotiate. Maybe try to get one thing at a time, with their impending vacation probably being at the top of your list. Explain that you will be available to work so you must get paid for that week. If they refuse, you should probably see it as a non-negotiable and start looking around. Most people will understand that since you have not budgeted for a week off work, you still need the money. Then if they agree to that, then at your 1-year anniversary talk about PTO.

Sara said...

I won't kick you while you're down. You learn from mistakes and gain experience for next time. Honestly, I would begin looking for another job before I quit. And, be clear on your next employment.

liberal arts nanny said...

I had a really similar issue, complicated by the fact that I'm an off-the-books nanny (worst decision I ever made) and a personal assistant combo (second worst decision). You'd be surprised what a pow-wow about your hours and pay will achieve. I was scared to bring it up because I thought I was so replaceable she would just fire me on the spot. Not true! It never even crossed her mind that I would quit, let alone that she would fire me! The conversation we had was really awkward and ventured into petty territory, but I left feeling better about and with a fatter paycheck at the end of the week.

I also felt better about it because I realized she would have been absolutely blind sided if I'd just given her notice. Some people, particularly ones accustomed to a certain lifestyle, just don't think about these things. We all benefited from a little chit chat and I feel more comfortable bringing up and setting other boundaries now.

Anonymous said...

I think that a lot of families have great intentions and they just don't realize how things should be for professional nannies. I agree with the poster who said 6 months is a good time to sit down and review everything. Also agree that MB might not be able to meet all of your expectations, but let her know the most important.

Our first nanny got 3 weeks of paid leave (vacation or sick). Two weeks (in the summer) were our choice, the other week was hers. She used her leave about 3 months into the year so when she got a bad cold in the fall she has no sick leave left. We gave her a few freebie days but then asked that she make up sick hours. Lesson learned for us that in the future I would ask the her "choice" week really just be used for sick leave. Wish I could afford to give more than 3 weeks paid....but I only get that myself so it's really challenging to find/afford coverage!