Before I get into this list, I understand that this is not everyone’s experience. Some nannies may relate to all of the issues listed, some may relate to a few, and some may relate to none. Some parents will read this and think “Wow, I’m totally guilty of that” while others will know they absolutely do not do these things to their nanny. As this blog progresses, please keep this in mind for each post. My posts are in no way claiming to be representative of all nannies or parents. However, in my experience, these are the most commonly heard complaints, which is why I feel it is necessary and appropriate to address them. These issues are the main reasons nannies feel undervalued, unappreciated, and taken advantage of. These issues are the quickest way to lose a nanny. This post in its entirety is quite lengthy so I've broken it up into two parts. Here in part 1 I will lay out 5 of the top 10 reasons a nanny feels taken advantage of.
1. MONDAYS. This one might be my favorite. It’s my favorite because I am constantly shocked that parents actually do this and aren’t embarrassed about it. Almost any nanny will tell you how much they loathe Mondays. Why? Because for some reason, parents don’t do a thing over the weekend, and leave their mess for their nanny to deal with come Monday. I’m talking a weekend’s worth of dishes, messy playrooms, sippy cups/bottles with rotten milk sitting in the minivan, etc. Even if you have just left out dishes from Sunday night’s dinner, it’s not ok. Your nanny should never come in and be responsible for the messes from the night before when she wasn’t even at work. Let me break down how this feels for a nanny. A nanny has the weekend off — yay! But oh wait, all she is thinking about is how much of a mess is being made and how much she’s going to have to clean up when she comes in Monday morning. When a family does this, it doesn’t feel like the nanny was even off. She is suddenly responsible for messes she wasn’t even a part of! Messes she wasn’t being paid for! I think it's fair to say a nanny shouldn't be responsible for messes that didn't happen on her watch. I understand that there are rare occasions where a weekend really is super crazy and in those instances, most nannies are happy to help. I’m talking about the chronic, lazy (ya, I said it) parents who simply rely on their nanny to do the adulting they should be doing themselves over the weekend. If your nanny can do it on her own every single day while watching and spending time with your kids, you certainly can too. No excuses. If you don’t like this and cannot be an adult over the weekend while your nanny is off, then you should consider hiring a weekend nanny or cleaning person.
2. OVERTIME. Okay, this one might get me more angsty than Mondays and that’s simply because not only is it so cheap and so wrong, but it’s also illegal. There will be a separate post on this issue entirely because it is much too detailed and involved to get into for this post. But in a nutshell, nannies are protected by overtime laws. If you have a legally employed nanny, in other words, you are taxing her, you are required to pay overtime. Nannies who are being taxed are non exempt hourly employees. This means they CANNOT be paid a salary. Let me repeat, they cannot be paid an annual salary. Sure, you can say their salary is X per year, but that salary is made up of her hourly rate. Anything over 40 hours in a 7 day period qualifies as overtime (please note: this only applies to live-out nannies). I don’t care if your contract says you pay your nanny $40k for 50 hours/week. It doesn’t work like that -- you have to break it down hourly. Anything over 40 hours in a work week must be paid as time and a half. People get in trouble for this all the time. If you are a parent who has not been paying overtime, your nanny can come back at you and sue you for unpaid overtime. And she will easily win. Avoid the possible future legal and financial implications and just pay your nanny what she deserves and what she is legally entitled to. And if you don't want to take my word for it, check out a few of the many resources on this very issue: 1, 2, 3
3. MILEAGE. I’m surprised this is something I even have to address, but so many nannies have reported a problem with this. If your nanny is using her own car for transporting your kids around or running errands for you, you should be reimbursing her mileage. In fact, in several states you are legally required to: California, Washington D.C., North Dakota, Oregon, and South Dakota. While it's not legally required in all other states, it is the industry standard and the right thing to do. Parents, think about it for a second. Would you ever be okay with having to travel all around in your own personal vehicle for work and not be reimbursed for mileage? I bet the answer is no. So why is it okay to expect that of your nanny? I highly recommend using a mileage tracker app. I say this because in the past, families and I have agreed to a flat rate per week for gas — usually around $15. This sounds great at first, but it’s actually not. Most likely a nanny is driving more than $15 worth of reimbursement in a week. The current rate for 2016 is 0.54/mile. At my current job I only drive about 4-10 miles/day and my weekly reimbursement is around $30 at the 0.54 rate. You have to consider it’s not just gas you’re being reimbursed for, it’s the wear and tear on your vehicle. I use the app MileTracker (it does cost $2.99 but there are free apps too) which even allows me to export the weekly expense to a pdf and I simply email it to my boss at the end of each week so she can add it into my paycheck.
4. LATE. Late parents. Oh where to begin. Parents, you do realize your nanny has a life outside of taking care of your kids, right? Again, I’m not talking about the occasional “getting stuck at work late” or “hitting bad traffic” or heaven forbid, an emergency comes up — I’m talking about the chronically late parents. This is going to sound harsh, but a parent who is habitually late doesn’t respect their nanny’s time. They value their time more and feel their time is superior to their nanny’s. Period. What if your nanny has plans? Some nannies have to very intentionally disclose they have plans after work so the parents will hopefully not be late. This is not okay. Unless a nanny has agreed to a completely flexible schedule, she should be able rely on when she is getting off each day and make plans accordingly. Even if those plans are just to go home and watch TheBachelor. Oh and parents, please don’t text 15 minutes before your nanny is supposed to get off to say “I’m running late. Is that okay”? Honestly, how is your nanny supposed to respond to that? She can’t just say “No, it’s not okay” and then leave your kids unattended. She’s forced to say it’s okay and stay late, possibly missing plans or simply causing her frustration because her time isn't being respected. Parents think about how you would feel if this happened to you all the time at your job? Imagine you have your kid’s recital to go to, but suddenly you have to miss it because your boss says you have to stay late without warning. It’s disrespectful and it’s selfish.
5. VACATIONS. Okay so here’s the deal — this one is a bit more of a gray area because it truly can vary from nanny to nanny and family to family. That being said, this is my general opinion on the issue and the opinion of other nannies I have spoken with. If a family decides to take a vacation and not take their nanny, their nanny should still be paid for those days. I personally believe this applies to all regularly scheduled nannies -- including part-time nannies. A regularly scheduled nanny relies on those hours as a part of her income. Even if it’s only one day/week. She blocks off those days and hours for her nanny family, and therefore cannot suddenly pick up another job when you decide to take a vacation and don’t need her. I feel simply shifting the situation is the best way to illustrate what this feels like. Parents, imagine you are told you will not be needed at your job for a week and therefore are losing a week of pay. Not by your choice, you are happy to work — the decision is simply made for you and now you might be a little tight making your mortgage that month. It causes you some anxiety. It also probably makes you feel frustrated because it seems unfair. This is how the majority of nannies feel when this happens to them. There are nannies who are willing to agree to not being paid when families take vacations, but I personally don’t think they should. Nannies are not freelancers who work for themselves. Yes, they choose who they work for, but they are not self-employed and file a 1099. They are employed by the family they work for and file a W-2. The parents are the employers and the nanny is the employee. It is a legitimate job. And just like any other job, the employee relies on consistent income to pay their bills. And if a family really feels uncomfortable paying their nanny when she isn't working, they can offer for her to do housesitting, dog sitting, errands like dry cleaning, etc. However a family and a nanny figure it out is up to them, but the nanny should to be paid no matter what.
Thanks for reading and I greatly appreciate your feedback!