Overpaid in Stamford?

I have a salary question for you. I have a nanny who works from 7-810 AM and 2-7PM, five days per week. It is a split shift. When looking to fill this spot, it seemed impossible. Those who would accept what I thought fair did not seem fit for the job. Those who I thought fitting for the job asked for what I thought too much. I ended up going with the individual I thought was the best for the job. I am paying her $800.00 off the books per week. She takes the train in from Pelham every day. She has only been with us a short while. On days when I need her to work straight through, such as school being cancelled for snow or a school recess, she is demanding to be paid extra. I think that $800 is a fair salary, especially since she has so much free time on her hands. She says that I told her hours would be free during the day and she can work for other families and make money during that time so that this is not fair to her.

Who is right? We live in Stamford, CT. I have two children in school full time.


melissa said...

Honestly, I think you're paying too much as it is! She's only working part-time for heaven's sake. That being said though, if at the last minute you need her to work all day, I admit I see her point that she should be paid extra. The $800 was originally agreed upon for the hours she already works- if she works more, she should earn more. Like I said earlier though, I think you're getting ripped off. $500 would have been more than sufficient I think. Good luck!

Noelle said...

I agree with Melissa. I nanny full time in westchester and only make 550 a week for 2 kids under the age of 4. I would keep looking for someone else.

VA nanny said...

I guess it really depends on what the description of the job is. You yourself described this as a "split shift". I have done the occasional split shift during travel or brief periods of time. Whenever I was on a split shift, I was OFF during the middle. I was not on call or doing other household things. I was off, able to leave the premises. As far as I understand it, that's pretty much the definition of a split shift. However, I have also worked jobs where I worked from 7-5 and all 3 children were in school for at least 5 of those hours. I was not off during that time. I was not free to leave. I had other duties to perform during that time- organizing kid stuff, shopping, etc. I was there for sick days and school holidays. I did have some down time, but I was PAID for those hours because I was expected to be there and be available whenever needed.

It seems to me that your expectation of the specific job and what you wanted to pay are very different. When you talked about the job description, what did you say to her about those middle hours? Was she told that she was "on" from 7:00-8:10 and again from 2:00-7:00, and "off" during the middle hours? If so, then she isn't be unreasonable. If that's the case then she took this job on thinking that the hourly wage was much higher, and that she had almost 6 hours in the middle of the day to take other work.

It's really all a matter of expectations and not communicating clearly. She thought she was off during those hours, you thought she should be available and was making plenty of money for the work needed. Obviously you two have different expectations. You should have been more clear with her about the fact that she was being paid $800 per week to be available from 7:00-7:00, but with down time in the middle. You're making it seem like she's paid $800 for 6 hours when in reality she is setting aside 12 hours for you where she can't make other plans.

If you need her to be available during all of the middle hours than she needs to be paid for those hours. If that means $800 for 12 hours 5 days a week, fine. As long as she agrees to that, there's no problem. You can give her things to do (if they're agreed upon by both parties) such as grocery shopping or kid related house stuff. I've also heard that parents consider those hours to be on call, and pay the nanny half time for any on call hours that aren't used, but that would need to be worked out between the two of you.

redrosebeetle said...

If you told her that she's off from 8:10-2:00, then she's off and she should be compensated for her time. If you want to pay her to be on call, then you need to pay her to be on call.

The fact of the matter is that the Nanny is under the impression that she is free to make other plans from 8:11-1:59 (going to school, working a second job, taping Jerry Springer, the list goes on).

I can't answer whether or not the Nanny is overpaid. Looking at rough math, it looks like you're paying her about 25 dollars an hour, which is off the books, so she's also on her own for taxes, healthcare, etc.

Are you paying a teenager straight out of high school or are you paying a 10 year veteran of the child care industry with a four year degree and stellar references? Are you paying her to watch special needs children? How many children? Do you also expect light housekeeping? Without more information, we can't tell you.

NYC Work At Home Mom said...

I agree generally with many of the above posters. The problem is: you are paying her a full time salary to work part time. I think you're overpaying and it seems reasonable to expect her to work when children are sick or when school is cancelled. But that should be agreed up front and it should be clear that the salary covers those hours. If you agreed with your nanny previously that the hours in between would be hers, and that the salary only covered the split shift, then you do have to pay her extra to work extra hours. However, if you have a contract you can try to renegotiate at contract renewal, or if you don't have a contract you can try to renegotiate the terms now. If she says no to new terms, then you can decide whether you want to look for someone else. I think you're being pretty generous.

alex said...

I know the other posters above have said they think you are overpaying her etc. and I don't really have anything to compare with that besides knowing that 1. it is a nice area you live in, 2. she is (hopefully) paying her taxes and health insurance and so after all of that I don't think it is too incredibly high but....

She took the job with the expectation of a split shift and if you require her the additional hours then she is not being unreasonable to be paid for them as that would not be a split shift. You may be better off getting someone and having them on call all of those hours if that is what you are expecting.

Nay The Nanny said...

I completely agree with you, OP. $800 per week sounds very generous, and that is considering that she is more or less "on call from the hours of 8:10AM-2PM. The most certainly does not mean she should be free to book other jobs during that time. You are not paying her that rate for 30 hours a week for goodness sakes. It sounds like and incredible deal, allowing her to have most of the day to herself and I do not necessarily believe you are paying too much if she is actually making herself available for that entire time. I would write up a contract explaining that she is still on call during that down time should an emergency come up, and maybe include an hourly maximum per week of actual working hours (say 50.) It goes over that (say one of your children gets sick and you need her 7-7 for multiple days) you will pay OT. If she doesn't accept that, I would either keep the pay as is and find a qualified person who understands the on call thing, or start looking for 2 people, one per shift because that sort of huge gap in the day could be really tough for one. Good luck!

Nay The Nanny said...

Yikes, sorry for all the typos!

SAMMY said...

I am from Stamford, if you are looking for a replacement, let me know, I am looking for a position

Snow said...

I don't think this is a matter of who is right.
FYI you will be in for a long road if you approach your nanny relationships with the attitude of who is right. Treat this is as a business relationship where both parties negotiate and come up with a mutually satisfying agreement.

ericsmom said...

She is right. Maybe you are overpaying. I have no clue on rates in your area. But you did agree to a split shift where she can leave and come back. If you don't like it hire someone else to work a full day. Or hire one person to work a few hours in the morning. Then another person for the afternoon shift.

Snow said...

Here is what I see in your post:

Issue #1

Nannies of the caliber you desire are not willing to work for the wages you offered initislly.


Were you not offering enough for your expectations.

Find out what the nannies of the caliber you desire make on average in your area and offer that much.
Bottom line you have high expectations you pay top dollar.

Issue #2 Failure to clearly negotiate terms of the job.

You agreed to pay her the $800 a week with the understanding she would have all those free hours. Those were the initial terms. $800 without expected to be on call.

To now go back on that because you are having salary remorse is unfair on your part.

Here is what you can do.

1. If you are willing you can agree to pay the nanny additionally to be on call for you at a lower rate say minimum wage just to be on call and up to $10/hr if she actually works. This is a fair offer.

If she turns this down you can

1. Let her go completely.

2. Hire someone to else to be on call for you. Keeping in mind you will pay more if you want a higher end nanny so you may have to add on more to what I suggest below. In this scenario ( for an I would go with a minimum of $10/hr to be on call and $12 to $15 per hour if the nanny comes in to work

Keep the nanny you have now for the regular hours.

If you end up hiring one new nanny to do this job you need to be clear that you expect them to be on call for you. Receiving $X per hour for on call hours and $X/hr for all hours actually with the children with X amount of hours guaranteed paid a week. Be willing to negotiate here to find the kind of nanny you want. Finding a good fit for the family both personality and monetarily takes time, so take your time next time you are searching for a nanny and you will hopefully not experience "buyer's remorse".
Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

I think it is too much as well. As a live-in nanny for 5 days a week (35 hours in total/ almost same schedule as yours) I make 200$.

Maybe I should look for a new job :)

bmw1235 said...

You should look for a new job.

Even as a live in you are being taken advantage of.

$200 a week? Come on?

Who will respect us if we don't respect ourselves?

Rachel Ermert said...

$200 a week is way too low pay...but $800 is very high for the hours..that is good pay for the full 12 hour days though, and to have her on call for those extra hours if u you need her!

nycmom said...

Hiring for split shifts is extremely difficult, said as someone who has and is currently dealing with this issue.

Despite my very poor past experiences, this is one of the few times I would actually consider an au pair.

Think about the options from a nannies perspective:
1. $800 for 60 hours a week, on call or doing errands, her time is not her own. $13/hr simply isn't much for an experienced nanny to work that many hours. If she is "on call" she cannot reliably commit to another standing position in the interim hours. Unless she lives very close by, it's a pita to go back and forth to home. And arriving at 7:00am, only to not be able to leave til 7:00pm 5 days a week is very draining.

2. The afternoon position is easy to fill. But barring the occasional student, it is very, very hard to find a sitter who is willing to work and get paid for only one very hard hour in the morning. You would normally pay a premium for this -- something like $25/hr in any big city or burb.

3. Not all nannies want to work with school age kids. The job is very different and is inherently somewhat unstable. Parents inevitably want the nanny to assume some other errand type tasks that they may or may not mind. The caregiver who can work well with older kids is also often of a different skillset. You need someone who can do a lot of transport, often driving kids which rules out off the books and means you are paying more (as you should) and assuming the difficulties of gas/car issues. You need a nanny who is capable of helping kids with homework which may not be too hard in 1st grade, but becomes increasingly challenging as the kids get older.

So your choice is either buck up and pay for the full day so you have backup coverage for sick and holidays. Or hire two separate people and understand you are going to scramble occasionally. I've done most combinations of this and find it best to simply pay up. Hire and pay someone for the full day (though I never want a caregiver working more than 45-50 hours/week). It is worth the peace of mind and the increased quality of the caregivers.

Oh, and yes, you are most definitely in the wrong to expect the nanny you hired to work specific hours to work extra hours without pay.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

Wow OP:

Your nanny is making lots of bank. If you are not happy w/her, I am sure there are 50 other nannies in your area who would LOVE the position. I would just move on....

I see both sides here and both sides appear right in some way.

youngatheart said...

A very brief nanny search for your area seemed to show that the going rate is $15-20. I’m guessing for a typical job, $18/hour is considered perfectly acceptable. I think the best thing to do would be to attempt to place two nannies, and join a service for emergency childcare in the event that a child is sick and neither nanny is available to cover (at my old agency, the nanny wage plus agency fee was $13-16/hour and a $25 extra charge for a last minute request).

For the morning position, I would extend it to 2.5 hours a day- certainly there are things around the house or errands that you could delegate to make it worth it for you? Groceries and children’s laundry are fairly standard duties that need to be done consistently. When someone is driving out for a very short time, it is customary to pay a higher hourly rate. I’d say $50/day for her. If you could find the right person (say a college student who has late morning/afternoon classes or maybe even a mom with an infant who is looking for a few hours of work a day where she could bring her child), it could work very nicely.

It seems that it would be easier to fill these two positions than find someone who is willing to finish work 12 hours after starting 5 days a week… you could get more value for money spent (if you have the morning nanny/assistant run errands and the like), you wouldn’t feel resentful for paying someone for hours not worked, and you would be saving $100/week.

d said...

Why in the world would you go online and tell everyone that you are paying your nanny "off the books", and then complain about her salary? People like you make it difficult for real nannies to get real jobs.

d said...

Why in the world would you go onto this forum and tell everyone that you are paying your nanny "off the books", and then complain about her salary? It's parents like you who make it difficult for real nannies to get real jobs.

neva_eva_always said...

Nannies need to go back to real times when the REAL nannies started and knew what work was. Most now a days nannies expect too much for way too much pay. Nannies are there to take care of children and $800 is more than generous. OP needs to contact me. I'll babysit no problems and be available around the clock for 800 a week. I'll throw in housework too :)