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3 Bumps

How do I pay my part-time nanny?

My 2 children are in elementary school. I'm a single mom, and work in senior management. I KNOW I have to work late the first week of every month, and sometimes other days thrown in. I hired a part-time nanny (family acquaintance) to take care of my kids when I have to work later than after-school care closes. I told her I would guarantee her $250 per month, sort of as a "retainer" to make sure she is available when I need her. I know my monthly schedule a year in advance and can tell her the exact days/dates that I will need her in the evening during my busy weeks. I also call on her other times I need a sitter, but I can never use her for night-time babysitting because she has a 2 year old that goes to bed at 8:00.

Anyway, I had her work for me over Christmas break. I told her I would pay her $100 to watch my 2 girls (ages 7 & 9) for 2 days while I worked. One of those days, I ended up staying home so she only watched them 1 day. I paid her $50. She asked why I only paid her $50 when I said I would pay $100. I patiently explained $100 was for 2 days, so $50 was for the 1 day. She got all uppity with me and said we needed to work out a payment plan because that came out to only $5 an hour for that day, etc. and she can't live on that. I can empathize with her. But, I have helped this girl with references, wrote a letter helping her get her own apartment in subsidized housing (her rent is only $50 per month), given her things to get set up in her apartment, etc. So I was really put off when she complained about what I paid. I already "guarantee" her $250 per month and anything else (like the $50) is gravy on top of that.

I really don't know what to do because I need her, and I know her and her family and I trust her with my kids. But I couldn't believe the balls she had to complain about me paying her $50 to watch my kids for 1 day! My kids are in 2nd & 4th grade....not infants. I feel as if she thinks she's found a gravy train, and is trying to milk it for all she can. And that pisses me off.

Any suggestions on how to handle this situation?

Answer Question

Asked by reniecpa at 10:24 AM on Jan. 3, 2011 in Money & Work

Level 3 (17 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • Well, if you are NOT specific about how you are paying her then the misunderstanding is your fault. If you trust her with your children then you need to figure out a payment plan in advance and put it in writing. A good reliable sitter is not easy to come by. All you have done for her in the past has nothing to do with you employing her now. Business is business. You do things for people to be nice, not to be paid back in the future because it never happens that way & bad feelings will arise. That's my opinion. Apologize for the misunderstanding & make a payment plan.


    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 10:32 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Pay her an hourly rate. When she works she gets the money when she doesn't, than write a contract and tell her how many free days does she have, etc. I don't know how it goes in your state but in England there are strict rules what should it be in a nanny contract. If you have one than no misunderstanding. Stop thinking about her like she wants to get all of your money. You told her you will pay 100 USD and you weren't clear for how much work. You are the employer you have to take care of these stuff. So write a contract, agree with her for an hourly pay. This is the best thing it can work out. And be really clear every time you ask something or you promise to pay extra money. And pay what you tell you will. Being an employer is not too easy but you have to learn how to do it if you want to employ anyone. Your choice:)


    Answer by adriennfaklya at 10:33 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • I don't think $5.00 an hour is enough to pay a nanny even if your children are older. You trust her with your children and you have to put a price tag on that. Perhpas in the future when there is that "bonus" time state that payment is in terms of days and $$. That way you are not committing to a week.
    Keep in mind daycares charge even if your kids aren't there so maybe you should consider an amount to pay her if you cancel on her. I understand you are a single mom but you need to take of the people that are caring for your kids! If I cancel on my sitter at the last moment I pay a portion of the day and if she won't accept payment I get her a small gift or gift card to show my appreciation.

    Answer by melissasue38 at 10:37 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • I think how you handled it was just fine, she needs to get over it and realize you don't get paid for work you don't do and it wasn't part of the guaranteed payment, like you said it was extra. In the future just make sure it is clear. Lets say this happens again tell her you will pay her a 100 for two days, 50 a day. And if she doesn't work one of the days she doesn't get paid that extra. Start writing receipts for her and yourself to keep confusion down, you can pick a receipt book up from office max pretty cheap.

    Answer by Gnomeofmyheart at 10:38 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • also, I'm a nanny and agree with how you handled it.

    Answer by Gnomeofmyheart at 10:39 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • I never said I thought $5.00/hour was enough to pay her. The $50/day was extra, above & beyond what I already pay her. Yes, I guess it is my fault for not being clear. I will tell her I'm going to pay her on a per hour basis.

    Comment by reniecpa (original poster) at 10:50 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • I think you made it clear you’d pay her $100 for 2 days of work. A company won’t pay you when you don’t work. Do have it written down so that is no misunderstanding on her part and signs that contact. Handle her like a business transaction and nothing more.

    Answer by musicmom08 at 10:55 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • I would not watch 2 kids for $50. I would be upset if someone offered me $100 and only gave me half. She may have wanted to buy something for $100 and couldn't buy it then. How would you feel if your employer offered you an amount (even a bonus) and only gave you half? Next time say $50 per day with a possibility of two days and see if she wants to accept that.

    Answer by admckenzie at 11:01 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • LIke I said, the $50/day was ON TOP of what I already paid her. I would not expect someone to Nanny for $5/hour.

    Comment by reniecpa (original poster) at 11:13 AM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Since you pay her well to keep her, I think you should explain that THIS time the mistake was yours for not making your payment clear, and that you'll give her $75 for the one day she did work. She could have canceled plans in order to be available for both days, so consider it a cancellation consolation. :o)

    I know having worked as both a day and residential nanny how important it is to treat those you trust to watch and care for your children fairly and appropriately.

    I would also write up the various pay scenarios so there is no confusion down the road.

    Answer by LoriKeet at 8:58 PM on Jan. 3, 2011

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