10 Ways to Respond if Your Mom Boss Cuts Your Hours

During these difficult economic times, a cut in pay or hours can be devastating. If you’ve dedicated years of your life to a post with your employing family only to discover that your hours are going to be cut, it’s normal and natural to be concerned, especially if you’re already living from paycheck to paycheck. When you’re confronted with such a precarious and difficult situation, here are 10 of the ways you might want to respond. 
 1. Ask If It’s Permanent or Temporary – Sometimes a reduction in hours is a temporary one, resulting from unforeseen events that affect your employers’ ability to maintain your current schedule. Asking directly if a cut in hours is supposed to be a permanent change or if it will be limited to a shorter span of time is the best course of action. Once you have the answer, you’ll be able to better assess the situation and decide how to proceed.
2. Ask If Your Performance Level Has Dropped – There’s a possibility that you’re not doing your job as thoroughly as you think. It could be that you used to put in that extra effort to make sure all the clothes were cleaned and put away, but lately you’ve just been folding them and keeping them in the basket. Little things like this could be indicating to the family that you aren’t as invested in being their nanny as you used to be. If this is the issue, ask your employer if you could have a probationary period to show her that you are still dedicated to doing your job well.
3. Offer to Take On Additional Duties – Your employer may be tracking the tasks you handle, as well as how long it takes to get it all done. She could be realizing that you have more down time than she realized you would when you were first hired. It could be that you have simply become more efficient with your time as the nanny for your family. In that case, it should be easy enough to pick up a few extra duties to justify working the same number of hours. Your employer may appreciate having a few things taken off her plate and be willing to keep your hours where they’re at with a few adjustments to your list of responsibilities.
4. Insist on Same Pay with Fewer Hours – Your boss has to realize that you need the same amount of money you’ve been receiving all along to maintain your own financial wellbeing. Even with a cut in hours, you might not have the time to squeeze in a part-time job to fill in that gap in pay. If she decides that your hours need to be cut, there’s no harm in requesting that you get paid the same as you are now with your full hours.
5. Take Time to Think the Situation Over – Hopefully, your employer is giving you more than a day’s notice before this change is supposed to take place. Simply tell her, “I’ll think about it.” This may give her the time to rethink her proposal and decide if it’s worth losing you over. It’s a lot of hassle to find the right nanny. If she’s grateful for the job you do and happy with your performance, she might change her mind.
6. Remind Her of Your Contract – This only works if you have a written contract in place that states the number of hours you are to work each week. If you do have such a contract, bring this up with your boss. The work agreement governing your professional relationship is not open to negotiation unless you’re both willing to amend it. If she wants to change anything, she would need your signature to override the previous contract’s conditions.
7. Present a Counter Offer – Chances are, her decision is not set in stone. Get in there and negotiate. You could tell her you’re willing to work fewer hours, but not as few as she has proposed. Or, you might want to see if she’s willing to give you a slight raise. Don’t expect her to give you as much money as you’re making now with fewer hours if the decision is based upon a sudden change in her own household income, but see if she’s willing to meet you halfway before you give up completely.
8. Resign – As with leaving any position, you’ll want to give notice of your resignation. If this is a change you decide you cannot live with, tell your employer you’ve enjoyed working for them and you wish to terminate your services. Remind her that you have your own finances to look after, and that you can’t continue to do that under the new arrangement.
9. Ask for a Letter of Reference – If you’re sure your performance has nothing to do with the cut in hours, ask for a letter of reference to make it easier to find a new job. You don’t necessarily have to quit on the spot, but it’s wise to start covering your bases as soon as possible. Instead, get a good recommendation and start looking for something new. In the meantime, keep working for the hours she’s proposed so you’re at least still making something.
10. Bite the Bullet – If confrontation is not your style or you really don’t have the ability to leave your current post at the moment, then bite the bullet and accept the new arrangement until it either changes or you become capable of moving on to greener pastures. It’s never easy to hear that your hours are being cut. Before you lash out though, take a deep breath and think about what the change will truly mean for you. Only after serious reflection should you react to this proposal.

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♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

Sorry to be so blunt, however this article seems like it was written by an amateur. Reason being? I think her idea of adding add'l duties to a nanny's daily job is quite unfair to the nanny. She accepted the job status quo and it is very unfair to tack on more responsibility just because the family is having financial difficulties. How can a nanny have "too much" downtime anyway? If a child is napping, then that is the nanny's time to do what she needs to do. I.e., have her lunch, catch up on homework, etc. Why does she need to be constantly doing, doing and doing all day?? Most jobs allow daily 15 min. breaks and lunch breaks since this helps workers from becoming burned out on the job. Why can't nannies take breaks as well?

Also it doesn't make sense that the boss is not supposed to change the contract unless the nanny signs it.
When if a family finds themselves suddenly in a financial bind? Then, when if said nanny refuses to sign the contract amending her hours? What recourse does the nanny have? It's not like she can refuse to sign the amended contract, then sue her family for pay since their finances took a hit.

Again, sorry to sound so harsh, but this article was not very spot on regarding certain situations.

Marissaknowsbest said...

you all better stay where you at. lifes rough and your lucky to have your jobs. by December, unemployment will be 30 percent. true dat.

Boston Nanny said...


If you speak + write like that, it wouldn't surprise me to find you sitting in the Unemployment Office in your town.

Are you gangsta or what??!

Teacher in a Combat Zone said...

Boston Nanny-- LOL!!

Would a nanny/ employer contract actually hold up in court? I've always wondered that. There's so much discussion over having a contract versus not having a contract, but in the eyes of the law is it a legal, binding contract?

I'm honestly asking, I am woefully uninformed about matters like this.

Kristen said...


nenanny said...

I think the only thing I would suggest and that would be only if I thought I could handle multiple children and two sets of parents would be a share. That is highly unlikely.

Most likely I would start looking for a new job immediately and give notice as soon as I found.

MissMannah said...

Teacher, no it does not. Most people call them "work agreements" rather than contracts because they are not legally binding. There is only one state in the country that is not considered "at-will employment", I believe it is Michigan, not sure. As I do not live there, and was fired for the sole reason of not accepting cut hours, I consulted a lawyer to see if I had a case because our contract was not up yet. She said no, at-will employers don't have to have a reason to fire.

So I'll add something to this list of questions to ask if your hours are being cut: "Do I have a choice in this?" because odds are, you don't.

katydid said...

You were fired from your job with baby C?

I'm sorry Mannah!

Have you found something new?

MissMannah said...

No, I quit the job with Baby C. Or, shall I say, I've "retired" from nannying for awhile. The job I was referring to was several years ago.