Nanny agreement about frequent medical appointments

Hi there

i wanted to ask a question for parents that have nannies for their children.  

My daughter has a rare serious condition and often has to go to doctors appointments. Typically when she goes I will take her and I’ll ask the nanny to tidy up her toys or make a meal for my daughter while we are at the appointment.

But sometimes I may need to be gone for 3 or 4 hours for the appointment and the nanny only wants to work for 1 of those hours but wants to be paid for all those 4 hours.

The appointments are crucial because of her significant condition and for me when I run out of sick time I don’t get paid so to pay for the nanny not to work and for me not to get paid during that time is a financial burden especially since the nanny doesn’t want to work during that time. 

if this was my other child that never goes to the doctor I would just pay her for that one time of her not working and call it a day but with my child’s condition and all the help that I need I’m trying to find a fair middle ground.

what do you parents do?  Please only kind responses. This is a sensitive topic as she can’t go to child care because of covid risks and I go above and beyond to make sure the nanny is happy and she is an equal member of our family etc.

im just trying to benchmark 

thank you 

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When we had a nanny, the nanny was very flexible and was willing to help out with toy organization, laundry, dishes, even furniture assembly. Oftentimes she came to doctors appointment with us and sometimes for routine things like dental checkup or flu shots, lab work, she took the child to the appointment instead of us. She also would take the child to get haircuts. I think she should be flexible and I think you need a person who don’t mind being a mother’s helper during those hours that you are out with the child. 

If you don't want to pay regularly for the time, I'd set your nanny's hours to start a couple of hours later on a specific morning each week or month and then always schedule the appointments at that time. This assumes you have some control over when to schedule them (and some control over your work schedule). You might also propose a plan that specifies there will be one morning off at a time TBD each month where you'll provide x days of notice of which day, if the appointments are consistent. Barring a solution like that, though, I agree with the nanny that you do need to pay her for time that she agreed to be available to work.

I would definitely expect the nanny to actually do some kind of work to be paid those hours. Unless, the agreement you had originally is that she would only supervise your daughter and nothing else. Part of being a nanny is helping do whatever needs to be done to support the children and family. At least when I was a nanny it was. 

I am a freelance professional, and I can say categorically that if you book me for a job and take me off the job market, you have to pay me for my time, whether you end up using me for 100% of the time you booked or not. Here are some questions you could consider as you decide what's fair...

Do you employ your nanny full time? Or is she a casual, hourly babysitter? Does she have other clients besides your family? How far in advance do you let her know about these 4-hour doctor visits? Does she have the freedom and capacity to seek out other employment during the hours when you're at the doctor? If you have first dibs on her time, and your situation is such that she is unlikely to be able to replace the lost income from not working while you're at the doctor, you should pay her anyway. If your arrangement with her is more casual, she has multiple clients, and truly is more of a freelancer (e.g., someone who has the ability to decline to work for you if she has a schedule conflict herself), maybe you don't pay her.

It sounds like you have other housekeeping/parent support work that you would prefer for her to do during that time, but she is declining. Is that right? If that's the case, that kind of feels like a separate issue. But I would try to renegotiate a reduction in her hours and then either schedule all doctor appointments during that window when she's not working or agree with her that there will be windows when she doesn't work and you will give her at least a week's notice (or whatever you both agree on) on when those hours will be.

I pay my nanny even when I don’t need her. She Has to pay for her living expenses as well. I understand your situation but you have to also understand that nannies also have to make a living to live and especially in the bay area where it’s very expensive.

You may have to find another situation where you could do drop in care but it’s Unlikely you will find one that  accommodates you.

Remember you are reserving a spot for your child’s care. 

I would pay the nanny, just as you “would do if this was your other child”. Best wishes for you little one’s health.  

I think what you're asking is fair but many nannies don't see tidying or cooking as part of their responsibilities. So, I'd recommend finding a nanny is amenable to your situation. 

If you're looking for fulltime care, our former nanny is looking for a new family. She did cleaning and cooking as the kids got older and played more independently. She's totally good with that and cooks well! I'd be happy to make a connection. 

I have been searching for a part time nanny since May, and they are in exceedingly high demand and getting very very competitive offers. I only mention this to say if you otherwise like your nanny and trust her to care for your daughter, it is not easy to find part time care. Many nannies do not want to do other household work, and feel childcare is their full job. If the additional tasks you are asking her to do were not included in her initial contract, she is not refusing to "work." She is not calling in sick. It is the norm for nannies to require guaranteed hours. I hope you are able to find a solution that you are both happy with, but you may need to find someone who agrees with your stipulations at the onset.

Your question is unclear.  Are you scheduling your nanny for 3-4 of work and only paying for one?  If so, nanny should be paid for the number of hours you scheduled.  Or are you saying the nanny only wants to work 1 hour and you need them for 3-4 hours?  If that's the case, sounds like you might need a new nanny.

Hope the doctors find a cure for your daughter.

This is something you should have negotiated in advance if there will be weeks where the nanny is needed for fewer hours than you agreed on. 

You state that you don't get paid when you run out of sick time which is a financial burden. Guess what, for the nanny not to get paid for all the hours you have agreed on is likely also a financial burden. Could the nanny take your child to the appointment with you (video-) calling in? Can you have the nanny work early or late so that she still gets the full hours? I think if you really need to pay for fewer hours you need to find a new nanny and put the details in the contract.

I think it is pretty standard to pay the nanny, even if she is not needed, like when you go on vacation. Or how would you feel if you boss tells you "we don't need you on Wednesday afternoons anymore, so we will pay you 4 hours less per week going forward"?

I think your nanny should be willing to help support the family for the hours she is being paid - even if that means running errands, light cleaning & cooking when you are at the doctors. You offer 3-4 hours of work for pay, and she should be willing to do that. If she only wants to work for an hour, then she just gets paid for the one hour, her choice. Guess what - work is work. Maybe ask her what else she is willing to do to fill that time, if you haven't already. Maybe she prefers gardening..

I agree with other comments that you could also offer to schedule these appointments at the same time & just not schedule the nanny those times in the future. That would be ideal, not always possible I would imagine. Good luck to you Mama.

It is reasonable for her not to want to do heavy cleaning, etc., but anything kid related is fair game.  Making her a meal, making kid food to freeze, kid laundry, organizing kid books and toys, sorting through kid clothes and pulling out small ones, etc.  All those tasks are appropriate to ask of a nanny since they are child related and would likely easily take the 3-4 hours you are trying to fill. 

Another alternative is to take the nanny with you to the appointment.  She knows about the child and spends a lot of time with her, so might be helpful answering doctors' questions and it might be helpful for her to know more about the condition of the child she is watching and how to best support her.  If you can work remotely, you can even have the nanny watch the child while you are waiting to see the doctor so you can answer emails on your phone or review documents on your phone (if that's part of your job) so you are not missing the whole time.