Legal advice? By anonymous

Legal advice? By anonymous

​I am an OFSTED registered, professional nanny with over 15 years experience working with children. There has been lots of challenging nanny roles but non as stressful as the following:
After 18 months of working for a family, the dynamics of my job description changed. After months of being project managed (and feeling less like the sole charge nanny originally hired), I handed in my notice in search of a position more challenging.

Handing in my notice was the easy part. My then employers (Mr & Mrs S) were very understanding and supportive. That was clearly shown in the glowing written reference I got 5 weeks before the end of my employment.

Communication and professionalism remained solid between myself and Mr and Mrs S. 

One morning a week after I handed my notice Mr S was confrontational and his whole persona was that of a bully. He was right up in my face, invading my personal space and raising his voice. This all happened in front of the children and his wife.
After this Mr & Mrs S left me with the children to go to work, I called a well known nanny agency for advice. They told me to contact Mr & Mrs S to request an emergency meeting. This meeting ended with an immediate dismissal for me.
The following morning I wrote an email to Mr and Mrs S asking them to explain why they dismissed me with immediate effect. I also requested to say goodbye to the children.

I contacted ACAS (http://m.acas.org.uk/), presented my case and read them the emailed reply from Mr & Mrs S. 

ACAS assured me I had a case and I should contact Morton Michel because I had a nanny insurance policy with them.

Morton Michel asked me to forward all relevant information, including a copy of my contract and the last email communication with Mr & Mrs S. After 4 weeks of initially contacting Morton Michel, they confirmed what ACAS had said. I had a case I just needed a legal to argue my point.

I was told that my nanny insurance covered me to have a legal representative look at my case but not defend it! What exactly was I paying this company for?
In the Intrum I was applying for permanent and temporary jobs. Mr and Mrs S were withholding my final pay, holiday money owed, over time and expenses. I had bills to pay and no money for legal fees! 
 I contacted the citizens advice bureau (CAB,  https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/). To say they were extremely helpful is an understatement!! The government cutbacks and lack of funding left limited time for me to present my case. I was juggling temporary work, whilst still trying to secure a permanent nanny position.
 What was going on? Despite having years of childcare experience, being OFSTED registered and having good written references, job offers were retracted. I was honest and open about the Mr & Ms S situation.
 I went against the advice of the well-known nanny agency who suggested that I remove them from my CV. They said I could pad out my CV with temp work through their agency. Why wouldn’t I disclose it? 18 months of committed and good work was supported with the written reference from Mr & Mrs S. However, I was informed by a potential employer that Mr and Mrs S’s verbal reference was: “no comment, it’s a legal matter”, before hanging up the phone.
 After a lot of exchanged emails between Mr and Mrs S and the CAB, who were acting on my behalf, a resolve could not be met so the case was brought before a panel at the employment tribunal. 
The CAB had little funding so a solicitor could only be assigned on the court date. I wouldn’t have had time to brief the solicitor of all the case details, so I decided to represent myself! This meant I would have to present my case as well as plan my defence and apply for court orders for the two professional nannies I asked to be my whitenesses. 
The financial stress was hard enough to bare but I was also emotionally exhausted. My reputation was being tarnished, this was defamation of character!
 I was forced to sign on which was the only way to get the payment protection on my credit cards paid and on top of all that I was dealing with a family bereavement!!
 It’s funny how it takes a situation like this to show you who your real friends are. 
 After 6 months without a permanent job and waiting for a verdict from the employment court, I was awarded all monies owed!
The well known nanny agency won’t put me forward for any positions because “parents just don’t want to hear that”.
This has not prevented me from gaining employment as a nanny! I am always honest when asked about this part of my carrier!
So what do you think about that?

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Wages

Wages

​I have spent the last 20 years working with children in different settings mainly under the age of 6 years. I lived the life of an au pair and done the nanny share.

Living and working in London in the best job in the world doesn’t always come with a fat pay at the end of the month. I don’t think nannying is well regulated regarding qualifications and pay! It seems to me not just the nannies but also the families are uncertain when it comes to wages! 
What we all need to consider (and please add to this if I forgot any points) is experience, qualification, job description, hours.
Looking at the gross-net debate. Personally I believe if you want to be seen as a professional know your gross. No other self-respecting profession deals in net!
For the new and younger nannies out there check out the minimum wage: https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage/what-is-the-minimum-wage
Personally I used to think: as long as I can pay my bills I don’t have to ask for more money- I don’t think that was a very professional attitude!
Remember that family you interviewed who was just the best? All the boxes on your job hunt list were ticked apart from THE WAGES!  It’s a hard decision! I have been there and accepted the job. We all have to make a living and pay our bills but if you don’t believe in yourself then why do you expect others to?
The “going rate” must be a fantastic fairy story! There are rates ranging from £8 to £13 and beyond!!! Mostly £10 is being talked about but who wants to start back at that rate after years with a family, personal development, experience and confidence gained? Let’s call £10 net an hour a starting wage in our profession for a live out nanny!? And no that is not for part time job! This is where it becomes even more confusing! “Going rate” for a part time job? Anyone? “Going rate” for a temporary position? 
All I can say is set yourself a minimum GROSS ANNUAL income you need to live and pay your bills and don’t undersell. Here is the website to check it out: http://m.thesalarycalculator.co.uk/
We all know there are plenty of afternoon jobs or term time only jobs but nothing to fill the rest of your hours.
The annual pay rise is mostly forgotten about in our profession and a thank you bonus at Christmas has bought a few nanny friends of mine a nice meal out on their own!
Some have however found a predetermined quarterly bonus sweetened a financially sour deal!

I want a survey!
I want to collect anonymous details about area working in, years of experience, qualifications, years been with family, how many families working for at the moment, how many hours a week, how many children, live in/out, mothers help, au pair+ (please add if I forgot any). Perhaps then we can speak about “going rate”!

Unpaid sick leave by anonymous

Unpaid sick leave by anonymous

I am a nanny of 28yrs experience and never in my career have I ever experienced a job like my last. I have now moved on so have put it down to bed. 
My contract was originally rushed through with only two days paid sick leave then statutory sick pay would commence as part of the deal. I was coerced by the agent in signing this as “I was getting so well paid”. I was in an awkward personal position so needed better pay and longer hours-I took the job. 

After my first year I came into work after the Christmas break a little croaky and coughing slightly, nothing I couldn’t  work through, afterall all nannies work through pretty much most illnesses . I had no idea one of my charges had been ill with a chesty cough over Christmas so wouldn’t have given it a second thought. I didnt feel ill.

 I was asked by my employer to go to the doctor as she really couldn’t bare if the 14 months old was sick again. I was diagnosed with viral tonsillitis and told by my GP that I could be infectious for 10 days!!! 

My initial thought was I will just work through as I felt I could but I was asked not to return or EVER work with anything potentially contagious. I didn’t get paid as I had used my two days sick allowance on a previous bug. 

How was this fair?

 I was in constant contact with bugs/germs and their coughs and runny noses so it was going be nigh on impossible to avoid everything but then be forced to stay home unpaid.

A while later I had a horrid chest infection and did take a week off as I felt awful, no pay but I expected that. I was offered the chance of weekend work to recoup my lost salary- over my dead body!!! 

As I felt able to work and was taking prescribed antibiotics, surely my bosses were being unreasonable when they sent me home. 

They continued to withhold pay for the duration of time I was on medication.

They were adamant about the matter and told me in no uncertain terms via “tag team” text messages. 

I would have been out of pocket and struggling again and again if I had stayed with them. Every germ the children caught was a potential salary drop for me. 

Never again!

I genuinely feel that if we are able to work and our employers reject that offer they should pay full salary. It is their choice not ours. 

Anyone else experienced this?

Who is the boss of your career?

Who is the boss of your career?

Discussions need to be started!

Nannies need to be educated about what’s right and what isn’t!

Agencies need to understand that they have no product to sell if there are no nannies ready to take their jobs!
Not being put forward for a job because I ask for a higher rate is not correct.

Agencies need to inform their clients about different rates for nannies and let the prospective employers make the choice regarding my wages!

Agencies are not in control over who pays for ofsted. They are simply there to encourage negotiations!

Agencies should not have a say over what goes in my contract. They should refer clients to the ACAS or Voice The Union website for the correct guidelines. Agencies are there to connect a family and a nanny, to aid negotiations and to advice either party.

Regarding the aftercare that nanny agencies offer: what “aftercare”? I don’t recall ever having had a follow-up call or email asking how I am in my new role.

Nannies will not ring their agency when they encounter a problem with the job because they don’t trust the agency: agencies are known to place a new nanny without hesitation into a family where the previous nanny has warned them about the family’s “problem”.

I know agencies have a “black list” for nannies. These nannies have been judged and executed without their knowledge and without proper investigation.

To raise awareness we would like to hear and publish your nanny story, anonymously if preferred.
Please, send us your story via email!

A nanny’s life

A nanny’s life

I work long hours, filling many positions during my working life. I will cook, wash, clean and organise the day, making it interesting, fun, educational and stimulating for the appropriate age of the children. When the kids rest I will write a record book, cook meals, prepare any art or activity, organise outings, parties or meet ups. I need to be on top of my game regarding communication and the developmental stages and needs of the child in my care. I need to be adaptable to the family’s routines and ways. If all this is a good match the rewards are a happy working environment in which the child can develop into an amazing young person! This is what I find the most rewarding in my profession! Children are unpredictable little explorers. Given the right opportunities and settings the working day is fun and entertaining for everyone! I think the joy of new achievements and sense of unconditional love can not be matched in any other profession.
A little appreciation goes a long way, my coffee made when I come in, a bottle of wine or flowers after a particularly difficult time, unexpected time off while mum and dad or even the grandparents take over. All nannies appreciate it! In return I will stay past my time to talk about the day and the children or have regular meetings outside my working hours with the parents to update them about progress, ups and downs of my daily life and guidance about how to help development. For this I spend a good amount of my weekend reseaching and writing up a comprehensive range of lists of activities to do with the children and perhaps an overview of what my working week is like to assure everyone my time is used wisely during the day.
Some parents are stunned by this amount of information, some show appreciation, some don’t want an update at all!
I am rewarded with a Christmas bonus, a gym membership or perhaps a nanny car. These perks sadly are not very common anymore.

Every possible employment starts with THE INTERVIEW!
This is where I can show off who I am, what I believe in and what I can do. This is also the time when I listen carefully to ascertain if the potential family has the same values! Any distortion of the truth at this point in the process will ultimately lead to an unhappy and most likely short working relationship.

I firmly believe there is a great nanny for every family!
Providing everyone is honest, family and nanny will create the base for a long and happy working relationship. This honesty is not just about the basics: pay, hours, discipline but to a large part about the relationship between employer and employee. There is no right or wrong way! There are nannies who want to be a part of the family and nannies who prefer to keep the relationship strictly professional. That being said the most common problems between nanny and parent are undermining nanny in front of the children, micromanaging by dictating the structure of the day/week to Nanny even after a reasonable settling in period, nanny has to ask for petty cash to be topped up weekly, wages are not paid on time, no pleasantries in written or face to face exchanges, constant late finishes without apologies.

To raise awareness we would like to hear and publish your nanny story, anonymously if preferred.
Please, send us your story via email!