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Sensitive nanny hygiene issue, how to I deal?!

(21 Posts)
MtnBikeChick Fri 04-Jan-13 16:45:53

Need some advice about a bit of a sensitive nanny/babysitter issue. We have an after school babysitter who cares for our toddler 3 hours a day. She is quite high maintenance/needy (gets upset at minor things) and also is quite often ill. Our daughter loves her and she is a great help to us (e.g. if she is too sick to go to nursery she has come to do a full day’s childcare at short notice – she always needs the money.

A couple of things are bothering me and I am struggling to know how to address them:

Hygiene – she is a bit ‘grubby’ and is not the tidiest person. Often doesn’t wash up, wipe table, etc. I can live with that but the other night I got home from work and she was in our downstairs loo with door open and DD was outside. Not prudish about this but she then came out of the loo without flushing or washing hands. I am a bit of a stickler for hygiene (esp with noro around and my DH had a bad flu and tummy bug last month). It is absolutely critical to me that she washes her hands after loo, nappies, preparing food for herself or DD. How do I tackle this with her?

She is quite often sick and we always pay her when she is off. She is quite a grabby person and often asks for advances of pay, etc, spots things in our house she would like to have. My DH and I are very generous but I am starting to feel like she thinks we are rich and can afford to give her money all the time. I am starting a record of her sickness now. I could reduce her hours a bit but am a bit scared to as she seems to totally rely on the money from us to get by – even though she could easily look for additional part time work as a mother’s help.

We don’t have a formal contract in place because the work has always been casual (few hours a day, evening babysitting). She has been working for us for 18 months.

maisiejoe123 Fri 04-Jan-13 17:20:00

A few years ago we had a cleaner like this - often wouldnt turn up, asked for holiday pay and was always spotting things that she liked the look of in the house! She did the cleaning with a friend and often they would bring their children with them during school holidays - the last straw was when she asked me for a DVD by coming into my office at home for her child to watch and whilst I was clearly on the phone she insisted on trying to talk to me and then waited by my side until I had finished. Eventually they fell out with each other and tried to drag me into their argument.

I dont think this lady will change. Being off sick, asking for your 'stuff', low levels of hygiene is pretty annoying especially as she is being paid to look after your children..

I think its time to change tbh....

IslaValargeone Fri 04-Jan-13 17:26:51

I know you say your dd loves her but to be honest I'd be getting rid.
You don't paint a great picture, poor hygiene, messy and eyes up your stuff?
Nah, get someone else.

Bonsoir Fri 04-Jan-13 17:28:00

Gosh, you don't make her sound very engaging! I wouldn't leave my DC with someone like that.

SamSmalaidh Fri 04-Jan-13 17:32:58

Sounds like you are leaving yourself very exposed by not giving her a contract - you are her employer and you are legally obliged to give her a written statement within a couple of months of employing her. Are you deducting her tax correctly?

I don't think you can just sack her for this or she will have a claim for unfair dismissal as she has worked for you for over a year. You need to give her verbal notice to improve, then a written warning etc.

HecatePropolos Fri 04-Jan-13 17:36:47

Your daughter will quickly forget all about her.

some of what you describe is really bad.

Does she actually ask you for stuff from your house? That's outrageous! I hope I have misunderstood that.

I would get rid.

You say your daughter loves her - In a year's time she won't even know who you're on about if you mention her.

I have lost count of the number of people who my children have had closely involved in their lives and who are now long forgotten. I really wouldn't keep someone who sounds that bad in the job because my toddler loves them.

Your toddler will love someone else just as much.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 04-Jan-13 17:41:07

legally you need a contract think within 3mths of employing her

i also assume she is paid in cash (apologizes if not)

but why on earth do you keep her?

the non washing hands/flushing toilet would be a HUGE issue to me, though weeing with door open, if not expecting you means she was prob keeping an eye/ear on your children - sure most of us nannies/cm's have done that

she may 'like' things in your house, does that mean you give them to her?

stop paying her sick pay, sort out contract,instruct her over general hygiene or find a new nanny

MtnBikeChick Fri 04-Jan-13 18:00:25

I have been giving her the benefit of the doubt. She genuinely likes interior design and furniture so often comments on how much she would like something we have. It could just be a complement!

As she only works 10-12 hours a week and does work for some other people (so is self employed) we do not employ her. I am hoping to get PG soon and then it will all come to a natural end. I think I need to have a meeting with her on all these issues and follow up in writing. Not sure what to do re sick pay - up to 5 days per year paid? And keep a record? We pay her when we are on hols so she gets a very good deal.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 04-Jan-13 18:11:54

self employed dont get sick pay or holidays

Shesparkles Fri 04-Jan-13 18:18:57

I think you may have got yourself into a sticky position legally by paying sick and holiday pay, as this may infer employee rather than self employed status, and could land you in an employment tribunal situation if thanks went awry. I think it would be prudent to seek proper legal advice before you raise anything contractual with her at this stage. Don't be caught out by thinking that because she also,works for other people it means she's self employed, you can have more than one employer.
But big eeeeewwwwwww to the lack of hand washing and general grubbiness!

SamSmalaidh Fri 04-Jan-13 18:31:32

Only working 10-12 hours a week doesn't make her self-employed I'm afraid, and neither does working for other people. Nannies are very rarely self-employed. This is the HMRC checker for self-employed status:

Can they hire someone to do the work or engage helpers at their own expense?
Do they risk their own money?
Do they provide the main items of equipment they need to do their job, not just the small tools that many employees provide for themselves?
Do they agree to do a job for a fixed price regardless of how long the job may take?
Can they decide what work to do, how and when to do the work and where to provide the services?
Do they regularly work for a number of different people?
Do they have to correct unsatisfactory work in their own time and at their own expense?

It doesn't sound like your nanny meets any of those criteria - if you have been employing her regularly for the last 18 months, setting her hours, paying her for work you tell her to do, paying sick/holiday pay, then it sounds very much like you are her employer. This means you are also liable for any tax that should have been deducted from her pay in the last 18 months, and also that if you sack her she can claim unfair dismissal against you. I would tread very, very carefully.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 04-Jan-13 18:32:35

sure there some law about working for someone more then 6mths then becomes perm work

perm jobs as a nanny cant be self employed - only employed

as she has worked for you for 18mths, you need to check out your legal rights

SamSmalaidh Fri 04-Jan-13 18:33:57

This is the criteria for employment by the way:

Do they have to do the work themselves?
Can someone tell them at any time what to do, where to carry out the work or when and how to do it?
Can they work a set amount of hours?
Can someone move them from task to task?
Are they paid by the hour, week, or month?
Can they get overtime pay or bonus payment?

Presumably she has to come to work personally, you tell her what to do and how to do it, you set her hours, pay her etc...

I was going to say the same as the others, she most likely shouldn't be self employed. My employer tried to get me to be SE as I have two jobs but working set days that I couldn't turn down meant that he was my employer whether he liked it or not! Thankfully he as fine with it. Be very careful how you tread with it though. She doesn't sound too amazing though! The hygiene would really concern me, unless she's washing her hands in another room? I do that sometimes because the kids drain the sodding soap every day then don't tell me so I have to replace it before washing hands

MtnBikeChick Fri 04-Jan-13 19:06:45

Yes I understand the self employed issue. Am treading very carefully.

MtnBikeChick Fri 04-Jan-13 19:07:59

Ps I don't necessarily want to sack her!! I just wanted some advice on how to broach the sensitive hygiene issue! If and when we do ask her to leave she will have at least 8 months' notice!!

SamSmalaidh Fri 04-Jan-13 19:22:18

You can't just give her notice to leave either - will you be making her redundant? You will need to pay her redundancy if she is with you for more than 2 years at that point.

MtnBikeChick Fri 04-Jan-13 19:25:18

Ok thanks everyone for the legal advice! I am ok on that front, got it covered wink

nannynick Fri 04-Jan-13 20:19:31

Talk to her about it. Maybe approach from the viewpoint of preventing your child from getting ill.

fraktion Fri 04-Jan-13 23:06:58

Definitely talk to her about it, either directly or in a roundabout 'oh gosh did you hear about the huge rise is noro cases?' way.

Personally I'd favour the direct approach. Sit her down and say 'I appreciate you're busy looking after DD but it's really important to me that you wipe the table and surfaces. Hygiene is really important and I any you to set a good example etc.'

If she takes it personally then you risk her resigning which may be the easiest way out bar the headache of finding new child are

bickie Fri 04-Jan-13 23:16:21

I think a lot of us fall into the trap of thinking - DC loves the nanny so I'll put up with all sorts of crap. I know I did - and I couldn't believe how happy I was when I took the plunge - dismissed my old nanny and found a new one who not only keeps the house in amazing condition, is great cook, a huge support to me ... Guess what the children love her too. If y are trying to get PG - may not be worth doing it - but if you do need to keep on a nanny - my advice is don't settle for second best.

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