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Do you think you should pay babysitters if you cancel?

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Why You Should Pay Your Babysitter -- Even When You Cancel

by Julie Ryan Evans

check bookYou're all ready for date night. Your nails are painted, your outfit picked out, reservations made, and you can't wait to get out with your spouse and relax without filling one single sippy cup for a few hours. Then you hear the dreaded words, "Mommy, I'm going to be sick" ... and just like that, you're stuck at home cleaning up puke with those freshly manicured hands.

Sigh. It happens; it's part of parenthood that we all just have to accept from time to time. But what about your babysitter? Do you pay her (or him) anyway? The question was recently raised in a New York Times column, and I was surprised by how many people who said they don't or won't.

I think it's a given that you should, especially if you want to keep your babysitter. If you've scheduled her ahead of time, she's likely turned down other jobs or activities to keep this time set aside for you. She's probably counting on that money. To just say, sorry, thanks anyway is no way to treat someone -- at least someone you want to come back.

Some comments on the Times article pointed out that all sorts of freelancers work with such risks. If a client doesn't need the work, they don't get paid. And I get that, but a relationship with your babysitter is -- or should be -- more personal.

Now, if you know weeks or maybe even days in advance that you're going to need to cancel, that's different. It at least gives them a chance to fill that spot, and then I probably wouldn't pay them under most circumstances (I also would try not to do it often). But for last-minute, day-of cancellations, I don't think there's any question you should pay the sitter what she would have made had you kept your original plans.

It sucks, believe me I know, to shell out cash for a service you're not even using, and babysitters aren't cheap. But it's the right thing to do, and if ever you're going to err on the side of generosity, shouldn't it be with the people with whom you're entrusting your children's care?

Do you think you should pay babysitters if you cancel?

by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:03 PM
Replies (171-179):
by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 6:56 PM
I used to baby sit and pet sit eons ago.

One woman wrote me a bad check to pay me for my services! On purpose!

I never babysat for her again.

Treat your sitter well or they will fire you as their customer.
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by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 4:52 PM

It was in my verbal agreement with ALL my parents  that any canellation would have to pay-not necesarily in full-but something. I babysat kids for 5 years and only came across one family who got mad about having to pay. The deal is, you booked the babysitter and the sitter could have turned down another job for you. Usually, I would set a $20 cancellation fee.

by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 6:13 PM

I guess it would depend on how much of an inconvenience it is.

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by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 8:30 PM

I do think that one should pay if they cancal less the 24 hrs.  You reserved that time and should honor your commitment.

by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 8:21 PM

This has never come up for me, but thinking about it, there should be some kind of agreement that if you cancel within 24 or 48 hours, you have to pay. If there were other kids in the family, I would have the sitter come over an play games with the other kids and put them to bed so I could spend my time with the sick child. When my kids were little, a few times I hired a sitter to come over while I was tackling a big project, like stripping wall paper or painting a room.

by on Apr. 3, 2013 at 1:22 PM


Quoting fullxbusymom:

Depends on the amt. of notice given!!  If more than 24hrs no, if last minute most definitely.  Especially if it is a teenager relying on the money.


by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 8:27 PM


by Member on Apr. 4, 2013 at 9:10 PM

I've never had a paid babysitter, so I have never thought about this before.  I suppose that you probably should give them something because they could have turned down another job expecting they would be working for you and now you've left them high and dry.

by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 11:24 PM


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