We discuss some problems and possible solutions when it comes to discipline and guidance of older kids (ages 8 plus) and even teens. This age group can be tough for a nanny especially over the summer as you often have more time with them.
Over the past few years as more and more employers include paid holidays in their benefit package, the confusion over how paid holidays work in the real world has grown. With July 4th happening this week, it’s a perfect time to tackle this challenge. So let’s look at two big questions.
How many hours are nannies paid for when they receive a paid holiday?
It’s standard that paid holidays are paid based on the nanny’s typical schedule. But since “typical schedule” can be confusing in our industry let’s look at some examples.
If the nanny normally works 10 hours a day Monday through Friday, she should receive 10 hours of pay for each paid holiday.
If the nanny normally works 10 hours a day on Mondays and Tuesdays and 6 hours a day on Wednesdays and Thursdays, she should receive 10 hours of pay for holidays that fall on Mondays or Tuesdays and 6 hours of pay for holidays that fall on Wednesdays or Thursdays. If the holiday falls on a Friday, the nanny wouldn’t receive any extra pay because it’s not a regularly scheduled work day.
If the nanny works a variable schedule, the employers and nanny need to agree on how many hours define a paid holiday as part of the contract negotiation. Some split the difference; for example if the nanny typically works 8 to 11 hours a day, a paid holiday is defined as 9.5 hours. Others look at the past month and calculate the average number of hours worked in a day and use that number to define an upcoming paid holiday. It doesn’t really matter what formula you use as long as both sides agree to the same formula and the details are clearly spelled out in your nanny contract.
Now I know for many your next question is “Is paying based on the typical schedule legally required?” Since providing paid holidays isn’t legally required, there aren’t any legal requirements for defining the number of hours a nanny should be paid for that holiday. However industry standards – what the majority of employers provide and what the majority of qualified nannies require – say the nanny’s paid based on her typical schedule. I’m seeing more and more employers defining a paid holiday as 8 hours, a typical workday for most outside the nanny world. That’s shortchanging the nanny unless her typical schedule is 8 hours a day. A nanny should never lose money by taking paid time off.
Do paid holiday hours count towards the week’s overtime threshold?
This one has two answers, the legal requirement and the industry standard. Let’s start with what’s legally required. Legally employers don’t have to count hours from a paid holiday towards the overtime threshold because those hours aren’t actually worked. However the industry standard is that hours from a paid holiday do count. Why? Again, a nanny should never lose money by taking paid time off.
Let’s look at an example. A nanny works 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. Her regular rate is $15 an hour and her overtime rate is $22.50 an hour. In a typical week she earns $825, $600 in regular wages and $225 in overtime wages. That nanny gets Tuesday, July 4th off as a paid holiday. If those 10 hours are counted towards the overtime threshold, her weekly pay doesn’t change. She’ll still earn $825. If those holiday hours aren’t counted towards the threshold, she’ll only earn $750. ($15 an hour for the 10 holiday hours and $15 an hour for the 40 hours actually worked.) A loss of $75. This comes down to basic fairness. Let’s say it all together now – a nanny should never lose money by taking paid time off.
For families that are fighting against industry standards and want to save money on holiday pay, let’s expand on the last example above. Let’s say the employer provided 6 paid federal holidays a year and paid the holidays based on an 8 hour day and didn’t count those hours towards the overtime threshold. That would save the employer $630 a year. And it would cost the nanny $630 a year. And each time that nanny received a check with that loss, she’d take it as a reminder that she’s being unfairly docked for taking a paid holiday, she’d feel her work and dedication isn’t valued, and her overall satisfaction with the job would take a hit.
On the other hand, let’s say the employer paid those 6 holidays according to industry standards. The nanny might not even realize it could have been done differently. She’d simply be grateful that she can enjoy holidays with family and friends without having to worry about making up any lost income. She’d feel valued and appreciated and her overall job satisfaction would grow. And if she’s one of the ten thousand plus nannies who are part of a facebook nanny group, she’d read about the employers who cut costs at their nanny’s expense and chime in, “This makes me love my family even more!”
We discuss with our new friend Martha from Chronicles of Nannya the ability of parents to review a nanny online thru sites like Care. Is this good or bad and why. This is the first part of the episode and the other half can be found at www.chroniclesofnannya.com
Pretty much everyone in the nanny world talks about how important it is to create a great nanny / family relationship. I repeat that advice often. Then someone last week asked me “How exactly do you do that?” What a great question. Here are my top ten strategies.
1. Start with a fair and balanced contract.
Yes, yes, I know. I always suggest a nanny contract. But there’s a good reason for that. At its core, the nanny / family relationship is an employment relationship so before you try and build anything else, the smart move is to make sure the fundamentals like wages, benefits, responsibilities, and work environment are fully defined. Once you have clear expectations on all the work-related issues, the rest falls into place pretty easily.
2. See the other party as a person, not just a nanny or employer.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of just seeing the other person as “the nanny” or “the employer”. When we narrowly define her (or him) by her role, we lose sight of the truth that she’s human with all the normal human limitations, frailties, emotional baggage, and shortcomings. By seeing the other person as a full being, we recognize our similarities, not just our differences, and we’re able to connect and communication in much more supportive and effective ways.
3. Follow the Golden Rule.
This one’s really simple, treat the other person like you’d want to be treated. Generously give respect, appreciation, consideration, kindness, loyalty, and the benefit of the doubt.
4. Make communication a priority.
Like every relationship, regular and effective communication is essential in the nanny / family relationship. Each party is responsible for sharing their needs, wants, concerns, and possible solutions to problems that come up. Of course regular family meetings are the industry’s recommended practice but in the real world, that often doesn’t happen. Busy schedules and other things (like work and sleep!) take priority. Find a way to stay connected to and communicating with each other. That could be a call during the evening commute, a Saturday night dinner every other month at a favorite neighborhood restaurant, or even a daily journal. There is no right or wrong here. Whatever works for you is the right choice.
5. Ask questions.
Rather than make assumptions, jump to conclusions, suffer in silence, or do any of the other things we do to sabotage clear communication in a relationship, stop, take a deep breath, and ask a few questions. By staying present and taking a genuine interest in the other person’s perspective, we’re much more likely to handle challenges like the adults we want to be.
6. Fulfill your role’s responsibilities.
When a caregiver and parents enter into a nanny / family relationship, both sides are agreeing to do certain things. The nanny’s responsibilities center around providing quality care to the kids and support to the parents. The parents’ responsibilities center around providing a fair wage and benefit package, a reasonable job description, and a safe and comfortable work environment. When both sides make consistently fulfilling those responsibilities a priority, a good relationship automatically happens. When either side slacks on their responsibilities, things fall apart.
7. Understand your nanny’s or family’s love language.
Love language may seem like an odd phrase to use when talking about the nanny / family relationship but it’s surprisingly spot on. Every nanny and parent has a nanny love language, the way they express and experience caring, respect, appreciation, and support. By understanding the other person’s love language, you’re able to connect with them in a way they can truly feel in their bones. And by sharing your love language, you allow them to connect with you in the same way. It’s a powerful thing.
8. Participate in a written performance review.
Even for the most informal relationships, it’s important for both sides to know how things are going. Remember, at its core this is an employment relationship. I always recommend a written performance review because having a framework and an expectation of feedback gives people the freedom to more easily express what’s working and what’s not. Too many simply use a quick “Things are good on my end. They’re good on your end too, right?”” which makes it really difficult to step up and disagree.
9. Take the long view.
Study after study has shown that having a long term, quality caregiver is key to a child’s healthy attachment and development. So investing in the nanny / family relationship is really investing in your child or charge. Like every other relationship, it’s often harder to stay and make it work than it is to walk away. But unless there’s a real flaw that makes the relationship unhealthy or unworkable, it’s a good investment of your time and energy. The kids will thank you for it.
10. Remember this is like no other relationship you’ll ever have.
The nanny / family relationship is a unique hybrid of personal and professional, and the line that divides the two is always shifting. The rules that apply to other relationships often don’t apply here. This is both a blessing and curse. It means you often feel like you’re figuring it out on your own and as you go. But it also means that you’re free to plot your own course and find a path that works for you.
Hope these ideas help you create a great nanny / family relationship. And I’d love to hear what’s on your list!
Lora and Sue discuss tools and methods we can do to help kids be more resilient.