Single Mom is Also a Professional Nanny

Mary Jane - posted on 10/26/2013 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I have a question for you mom's with nannies and I also welcome the opinion of those who don't. I just went on my second interview for a part time nanny position that is a special position because it is a co-op position between two families and I would be nanny for two baby boys. In all my thirty years I've never done this before on a long term basis so I'm excited about this new adventure but have one issue that is nagging me. On the days when I am not needed or able to work, ie sick kids, vacation days, etc., these two families only want to pay me half of my normal hourly rate and I know from experience that it is standard etiquette to pay in full but these families are thinking that because this job is just slightly under thirty hours a week that paying me half is acceptable. I don't feel comfortable with this but I also want this job very much. Yes I will have to discuss this with them but does anyone have any opinion on the fact that this is part time and according to one mom, "part time jobs don't get all the benefits full time jobs do". This is a very personal job and I will be working very, very hard and I just want to feel taken care of and I'm feeling like full pay for days they don't need me is justifiable, anyone agree, disagree? Thank you!

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Mary Jane - posted on 10/29/2013

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Thank you so much Roxanne! I needed to hear that! I spoke with one of the mothers tonight and they have extended an offer to me for the position and they are drawing up a contract (which some families have some don't, more don't than do but this situation is unique so it's a good idea to have it all on paper and all parties in agreement) and I'll go over it to see if it's acceptable and fair for both of us. One mother I know understands where I'm coming from and agrees that I should feel taken care of and that there should be no room for resentment down the line but the other I'm not so sure about. When I spoke with her I got the feeling that this contract was going to lay out what they want which is to not pay me in full for the days they take off and if that is the case then sadly I will have to walk away. It is a deal breaker, I can't accept a job without the security of knowing I will always be paid the same every week. I should add I will also make myself available to them on some weekends so they can go out, which as a single mom I never get to do but I'm happy to do it and it'll provide extra spending money for me and my daughter. You made a very good point about the fact that when your child is in day care you must pay even for the days your child isn't there, I'll use this point if they resort to negotiating with me. In an effort to create balance for them so this isn't so hard I told them they do not have to give me sick days though some would be nice but not necessary and I don't need any paid vacation time, I'll be paid while they are on vacation. I really hope they offer a contract with my request built in otherwise we will all be missing out terribly and I'll have to continue looking for work at the worst time, near the holiday's! All my fingers and toes are crossed!

Enna - posted on 10/29/2013

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I totally agree with what you're saying. This isn't just a part time job for you. I've never had, nor been, a nanny, but even with a daycare they expect you to pay, even for the days your child isn't going to be there, including their holidays. We got 1 week of vacation where we only paid 1/2. Granted, a daycare is in some ways more dependable because if someone gets sick there's another person to take care of your child. On the other hand, you can't depend that the same person is going to care for your child every day.
I think these people are getting a deal and they shouldn't expect you to have to live not knowing that you're going to get paid next week if they decide to go on vacation. I do think it would be acceptable for them to give you a number of sick days, then if you need more days off they would have to be with reduced or no pay. I'm not saying you would necessarily need all the sick days, but it would be good to know that you have the right to take a certain number of days off without being penalized, just like any other full-time job.
Having an agreement like that protects everyone.

Mary Jane - posted on 10/28/2013

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They could also each pay me my normal minimum which would enable me to make a whole lot more money, then I may consider half pay on their off days, as long as their off days are within reason, not all the time. They are getting a fabulous deal in being able to each pay me under my minimum, it is unheard of for me to accept what they are offering individually but because those two together are actually above my minimum I'm happy to accept. It could just as easily be a family with two children paying me above my minimum, only difference is that the babies are six months a part which will make the job quite a challenge and all the more reason to make sure that their nanny is a happy one and one that feels taken care of too.

Mary Jane - posted on 10/28/2013

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She sounds wonderful and she sounds just like me. I do the same as she did for you, everything picked up and never dishes or laundry in sitting, unless a child needed to be tended to first. I am a loyal nanny as yours was and also go the extra mile to make sure that not only are the children taken care of but the parents too. I feel when the parents come home there should be nothing for them to do so that they can spend their time with their child or children. The half pay won't work for me because I'm a single mom and I can't have my pay stop or go down by half, it's got to remain the same. These parents are getting a deal in that they are each paying me $5 less than my minimum charge but when you put the two together I actually get $5 more than my minimum and it could just as easily be a family with two children anyhow. Only difference are the ages which are six months a part, infant and almost toddler which will be very challenging and making me even more worthy of being paid my normal amount on their off days.

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We had a live in nanny when J was little. I paid her an annual salary--she got paid the same each week regardless of how much or how little she worked, which was very flexible because my husband and I both had very demanding jobs. If I needed her 60 hours one week, I tried to make sure the following week was an easy one.
That said, she worked even on days I was "off" as well. I usually used at least part of those days to catch up on time with my husband or projects around the house. (I didn't ignore my kid, I made sure we had time as a family every weekend).
Her contract included 2 weeks paid vacation as long as she took it when we were taking vacation; however she was a FABULOUS nanny, and if she needed to take vacation days during the year, I always made it work. We ended up usually taking her on vacation with us anyway, it was just easier. Her contract included 8 sick days per year, I don't think she ever used all 8 of them, so she usually added them to her Christmas vacation.
That said, she lived with us, she was almost always "working" even if she was supposed to be off. She couldn't walk through our livingroom without picking up toys, she wouldn't go to bed with dirty dishes in our sink (we had a weekly housekeeper, I didn't expect her to clean, but she was responsible for basic "living upkeep" as we called it--that day to day stuff), and if J wanted to play, she would always play with him if she was home.

Not sure if this is relevant or not, but when my husband was younger, before he became a partner in his firm, he was a contracted engineer, but he was "retained" by his firm. This meant that when the firm had work for him, he was paid his full salary, but if there was no work, he was only paid 1/2 his salary and he was free to take on freelance jobs. The work was sporadic--sometimes he would have work 3 days a week, other times he would be swamped for months at a time, then see 3 months with no work. It was frustrating because the work was so sporadic that it was difficult for him to take on extra freelance jobs because he never knew what was coming, plus it takes time to get freelance work as well. On the plus side, getting at least 1/2 pay for no work at all was better than not being paid at all.

I'm not sure where your job falls in this. I've never shared a nanny. Our former nanny still babysits for us sometimes, but I pay her by the hour now, and only for the hours she works.

Jodi - posted on 10/27/2013

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Ah, ok, then that is more understandable. I misunderstood your posts. I would have a problem with that too. Unless they are paying you a higher than usual rate, I think it is an unreasonable request.

Mary Jane - posted on 10/27/2013

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I am unemployed today, the families contacted me today and asked me to come tomorrow for a five hour trial run and then hopefully they'll offer the job to me. It's not for the sake of one or two sick days which I'm perfectly fine not being paid for, it's every single time they take a day off, go on two or three weeks vacation or we have a national holiday, I need to be paid the same, not half price. As a professional nanny I do not factor in anything other than what I charge for my services and it's my call if they offer a certain price and I'm comfortable with it, everything is negotiable.

Jodi - posted on 10/27/2013

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I must ask, for the sake of only one or two days off sick a year, you would knock back a job? I am assuming you are not unemployed at the moment. Sometimes the cost of sick pay and holiday pay is factored in to the hourly rate/wage.

Mary Jane - posted on 10/27/2013

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Thank you for sharing. I may use one or two sick days a year and they are usually because my daughter is really sick and in the past I just didn't get paid those days unless a family gave me sick days but I don't expect them. I also plan my vacation when the family does. I've been thinking, reading and praying about this and this is the first time in more than twenty years of child care that a family is offering "half pay" for the days they are off and I've decided that is just not acceptable. My last boss used to complain that if she wasn't working she wasn't getting paid so why should she pay me but I just told her this was standard nanny etiquette and she did paid me, because they had it, because her husband was a successful doctor. These new families will most likely be calling me today to offer me the job to start tomorrow and I'm going to tell them that I do not want to resent them for only paying me half and not being able to meet my families needs and share with them how much they are saving by doing this co-op nanny job and also that it is standard in the nanny world to be paid in full for days off that we don't want off in the first place. I am one of the best, it is well worth the investment and they will have a happy nanny and their children will be getting the highest quality of child care available.

Jodi - posted on 10/26/2013

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By the laws where I live, you should get paid the number of hours you would normally be working (so if you normally worked for 5 hours on that day, you get paid for 5 hours). However, there would also be a limit to the number of days you can have off for sick kids or sick yourself or vacation and be paid for.

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