Free Overnights!

Hey guys. The family I currently work for goes out of town a lot; I get paid my normal rate during this time (AS ONE SHOULD, hello proper nanny etiquette). The only problem I have is that they seem to think that I should be willing to work late, work weekends, and do overnights, basically for "free" since I get paid while they are out of town.

I have had this issue before with a family who agreed to a set weekly rate but wanted to do an "hours bank", they could put "extra hours" that I was paid for but didn't work (like if they came home early) that they could use for date nights or weekend hours. This is clearly ridiculous, right? In regards to my current situation, I don't feel like doing 5 overnights in a row is a fair balance for getting paid my normal rate while they're out of town. The way I see it, you pay me my agreed upon rate regardless if you are here or not, plus an additional rate for overnights and weekends. What do you guys do? Have you had this problem? Unfortunately, the details of overnights and such were not agreed upon at the time of hiring. They just kind of assumed..

Email isynblog@gmail.com.


Anonymous said...

Your employers don't sound like they are familiar with the law. Federal wage and hour law does not allow employers to average the hours their employees work across multiple weeks - meaning they should be paid for every hour they work during the workweek the hours are accumulated. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines a workweek as seven consecutive 24-hour periods. Any hours worked in excess of 40 during a workweek are required to be paid at an overtime rate of at least 1.5 times the employee's regular rate of pay. These laws are in place so employers cannot carry over hours from week to week to avoid paying an employee overtime.

Selena said...

I don't bank hours in any way, shape or form. My contract spells out that my availability is: 7-4(for example ) Mon-fri. I expect to be paid my hourly rate for those hrs regardless of family vacations, cancellations, in town grandparents, the second coming or what have you. It means I make myself available during those hrs and promise not to seek or accept any work during those specific hrs.

If I take off and have no available sick/vacation leave I agree to to forfeit that day's pay.

Any family cancellation is paid thought. And they cannot pay now for future use as my evening and weekend hrs are non interchangeable with daytime hrs.

As a matter of fact, weekend and evening hrs would most likely be OT anyway.

You need to reread your WA/Contract and make sure the guarantee clause isn't transferable.

Do not let them bank hrs!


Beck said...

I had bosses like this early in my career. There were two of us. A daytime nanny - me and an night nanny. The NF decided they were traveling in late summer but couldn't take their kids. They left us access to the household credit cards, two cars and gave us free reign to figure out the schedule.

Well there was really only one thing to do. We each worked 12 hr days and slept at the house. We did a fantastic job keeping the kids happy, safe and engaged. But as you can imagine, we racked up a lot of hrs in three weeks. We were both thrilled and anticipating our large checks.

Well NF came home and praised our work. The kids couldn't say enough nice things. Imagine our surprise when we got three regular checks each. No OT. DB swore up and down, he didn't owe ot since we likely slept the extra hrs.

Moral of the story: cross your t's and dot your i's

Anonymous said...

I am a British nanny and had an employer who thought that because baby was sleeping at night that they didn't have to pay me extra when they or we were away on vacation, even though they had said that they would. They were surprised when I gave them my month's notice ! Sorry guys, we give you 100% to look after your children so play fair please.

Anonymous said...

Hours bank sucks both ways. We did this with our first nanny after she used up all her sick and vacation leave in the first 6 months. We let her "owe" us hours for additional time off that was at HER request so that her income would remain the same. If we took an extra day off or came home early she just got the time off. Thought we were being nice but she quit giving 2 weeks notice and refusing to honor the ~week of hours we were owed. So now if our nanny exceeds her vacation and sick leave we make it leave without pay.

This situation needs a conversation. If they are frequently gone for long weekends maybe they reduce your regular expected salary abd hours with the understanding that when you DO work a full week they pay you for it (as well as overnights abd weekends!)

Kim said...

I feel like that's how it should be. If I were irresponsible enough to use up all of my sick /vacation leave within months, I wouldn't feel like I deserved additional paid time off.

I'm sure there's cases where the nanny got some long term illness or other valid reason for needing lots of time off

Lacy said...

I would never bank hours, and I would and have flat out told parents this.

We agreed to this schedule, I plan personal things on the off time. When the family goes out of town, yes I am paid still, but I can't bank all my "future off time" into that week and get all that I personally need to do in that *paid off week*. Some of my personal things are weekly (gym classes, dates, seeing my mom, grocery shopping, ect) for me to have banked hours and sacrifice a day off to 'give a family what is owed' is not a fair. Banked hours do not work. Banked hours are illegal, federally.

Also when a family needs overnight care-- the nanny is sacrificing her bed, her life, her privacy for the convenience of the family. The nanny should be paid accordingly. I charge normal rate for all wake hours (and over time after 45 hours in a week) for the overnight I charge $1-2 over minimum wage per child in my care. Also in regards to overnights, if a child makes it so I can not get 5 hours of consecutive sleep/rest at night the whole night is billed like a "normal day" (over time after 9 hours)

Anonymous said...

What's ridiculous is that just because NF decides to go on a vacation means you have to work overtime for five days?? That's absurd and unreasonable!! You had nothing to do with them choosing to go out of town, and just because they made that decision to do so does not automatically mean you should have to make up that time of work! You should rightfully get paid for the time they're gone and that's that!
If a business office closes for a week, they would still pay their employees for that week, and not expect them to put forth an 80 hour work week the following week. It's just insane! Additionally, if the NF kids were in daycare, the daycare would still require payment regardless if they showed up for the week or not. And if kids didn't show up to daycare, that doesn't mean they get 40 extra "free" hours of daycare the following week! So bizarre!! Argh!! Talk to your NF and set them straight!

Anonymous said...

WOW.... I guess my employers don't know the law either. I originally worked an average of 35-36 hours a week in the beginning of working for my NF. I rarely exceeded 40 and when I did, it was usually because of a date night I did for them. If it was for that reason, I accepted cash for the overtime because it wasn't part of the normal work week. However, when the mom returned to work full time, I started to exceed 40 hours more regularly even without the date night. I was told that my OT hours could be spread out over weeks because I averaged under 40 hours a week most weeks. I've also never been paid time and a half even though it's in my contract. I'd love to confront this, but I'm afraid I'd be out a job and I love this family. This really is the only issue I have with them.

Anonymous said...

I charge an overnight rate of $150 with my full-time nanny family between 7pm-7am. I also have a minimum of 45 hours per week paid. If they're on vacation, or if I work less because they have family in town or whatever, I still get paid. I depend on this job for my livelyhood, and I depend on my free time and social life for sanity. Luckily they understand that completely.

Your NF is way out of line. I'd bring it up to them and use one of the examples given by another commenter -- if you work for a business office and they were closed for a week, they would still pay you, and they would not expect you to make up the hours by working 80 hours the following week. The suggestion alone is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

When I was a student, I worked for a family that used an 'hours bank'. Eg, if their child was sick, if it was a teachers-only day, if one of the parents just felt like staying home for the day, they would just tell me to stay home and I would still be paid my usual amount. The trade off however was that if I didn't normally work Wednesdays, and once every school term or so, I would be expected to work a Wednesday without any extra pay. I was also sometimes expected to stay half an hour or so late, and as a trade off, I was also sometimes let go half an hour or so early. They were a good family, I wasn't required to drive unless it rained, and it was $18 an hour for looking after one child. I didn't really care about the extra 'free' hours, because as far as I was concerned, they were a family that in every other respect treated me very well and I was sorry to lose them. I would have had an issue if they were doing this AND not paying me for other days they had decided not to have me come when I was supposed to work, or abusing the privilege by asking me to do it too often.

If they had asked me to do a free overnight or really late night, however: If there were enough hours in the 'hours bank', which there weren't, I suppose I wouldn't have minded doing it say once a school term provided I didn't incur any expenses like food, gas, childcare etc as a result, and I was given sufficient notice. If I was asked to do it more than that, or if I was asked on a whim, I wouldn't have been very pleased.