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Nanny who is always off sick!

(51 Posts)
llamallama Fri 07-Dec-12 07:03:47

Is there anything we can do?

We have had our nanny for almost three months now and she has had 12 sick days already!! It's starting to get impossible with my work taking the time off to cover her!

Her contract is sick pay for first week so she is being paid but this rate of sickness is unsustainable for our family. I know we probably can't fire her or anything because she is off sick but this is meaning that a nanny is simply not working for us. Tempted to change arrangements to a childminder or nursery.

My DD has not been sick all year so if she was at a nursery we would have had childcare.

Any advice? I know it's awful and I do feel sorry for her but its really getting difficult! At this rate my annual leave will be gone in 6 months and I won't have actually had a holiday!!

ginmakesitallok Fri 07-Dec-12 07:09:33

You can fire her for being sick - assuming that it's not disability related?

HECTheHallsWithRowsAndFolly Fri 07-Dec-12 07:13:34

I thought you could terminate someone's employment without any reason during the probationary period / in the first year?

HECTheHallsWithRowsAndFolly Fri 07-Dec-12 07:14:00

excluding disability or on grounds of race/gender/etc of course.

llamallama Fri 07-Dec-12 07:15:32

No it's not disability related just sickness

GotMyGoat Fri 07-Dec-12 07:16:39

If i took that much sick at work, I would definitely be in trouble. 3-4 days a year seems to be acceptable at work, anymore and you get pulled into disciplinary meetings. As far as i'm aware, you can give the sack - especially as shes only been with you 3 months - but I would recommend a meeting to give her a warning, to find out more about the sickness, and say that you expect her to come to work, even with colds etc.

A nursery might be more reliable for you though, and on the bright side it's cheaper and less hassle! Though your dd might get ill more often.

FlourFace Fri 07-Dec-12 07:18:11

I'm not a nanny//self employed but we have a policy at work which means they can fire us eventually.

Something like you can have eight days or four periods of absence in 12 months. If you reach that within 12 months (could be over just 3) you get a warning and the same thing kicks in again. If you reach it again you get a second warning. And so on. Number four or five would be dismissal or something.

I'm guessing your nanny would be on warning 2 or 3 now!

ArtigeneAuberchoke Fri 07-Dec-12 07:19:59

This doesn't help you now but we have always offered contacts that pay statutory sick pay only after the first two days of sickness. Plus we give an incentive: for every 3 months without a day off sick she earns £100 bonus. In 4 years our nanny has had two days off. It is that reliability that makes having a nanny worth it for us.

I would find a reason to terminate the contract in your situation.

llamallama Fri 07-Dec-12 07:27:39

! Contract says we can proceed to disciplinary measures for "unreliability in time keeping or attendance" so I'm guessing I should call a meeting, give her a warning, then written warning then dismissal? But I can also just give her one months notice? I'm guessing legally I have to follow disciplinary if we will get another nanny or she could claim unfair dismissal but if we change childcare (ie nursery or childminder) then I'm guessing her role would become redundant and we could just give her notice? It's a bit tricky this time of year, especially as we would only be looking for 6 months childcare now!

llamallama Fri 07-Dec-12 07:28:27

Only looking for another 6 months as I'm pregnant and will be off on mat leave again soon - should have added that at the end!

llamallama Fri 07-Dec-12 07:30:59

I like the bonus idea! That's a good plan for next time! Though I must say this is putting me off having a nanny!

Ebb Fri 07-Dec-12 09:33:52

12 days in less than 3 months is shocking! I've had less than 12 days off in 15 years! Definitely give her a warning and change your contract to statutory sick pay only. It's then at your discretion as to whether you pay her or not. Parents need reliability. Of course nannies get sick - we're only human - but most nannies I know drag themselves in even when not well - bar D&V etc - and have a quiet day at work.

Snazzyfeelingfestive Fri 07-Dec-12 09:39:40

I would look for a nursery place for the next six months and then terminate the contract. Has she acknowledged that this is not good and made any attempts to explain why she has been off so much?

ScarfHatSunglasses Fri 07-Dec-12 09:42:01

We had exactly the same situation with our first nanny. Kept texting hmm in the morning to say she wasn't coming in that day. We basically had a conversation with her about this (and a couple of other minor things). Her attitude was "well if I don't feel 100% I shouldn't have to work". When we pointed out that we had to go to work even when we didn't feel great and that every time she called in sick I had to take the time unpaid she just shrugged. 5 minutes later we had ended the employment. We paid her one weeks notice but were not required to.

Our next nanny never had one single instance of sickness in two years. There are great nannies out there. I remember reading once that a good nanny should make your life easier. It sounds like yours makes it harder. Get rid.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Fri 07-Dec-12 09:56:55

Are you asking her for doctor's notes? I would.

Also, are you sure that it's not related to a chronic condition she didn't disclose at interview because she was afraid she wouldn't get the job?

You still have options if this is the case but I am wondering if that is what is really up.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Fri 07-Dec-12 10:00:27

What did her references say about attendance?

Snazzyfeelingfestive Fri 07-Dec-12 10:09:57

LadyHarrietdeSpook I wondered that too which is why I asked if she has made any attempt to explain it. I can imagine a situation where someone doesn't declare a chronic condition at interview but if this was me and I had had to take 12 days off, I would feel I had to go to my employer and say 'Look, this is the situation, really sorry, this is what I'm going to do to try and improve things, and I hope you'll bear with me...' If the nanny hasn't done that then I would be a bit suspicious that she is just taking them for a ride. She must surely know that this doesn't look good.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 07-Dec-12 11:31:50

12 days in 3 mths is a lot -what is she claiming is wrong with her? ie days off for colds, s&d, etc or is there an underlieing medical problem

thats 4 a month, roughly once a week, does it ever happen to fall on a friday?

wasnt sure what you meant by first sentence,as in is she being paid for every day off, most contracts/nannies i know have a weeks sick pay, though in my last few jobs i asked for a 4 weeks (12days as was a 3 day jobs) just to cover my back as my oh is self employed and if i was really ill then needed to know i could cover my back

ssp i think only kicks in after 3 days and is £80ish a week, that doesnt even cover a days wages for me

in 21 years of nannying ive only had 3 weeks off work and that was nearly 6 yrs ago and was in hospital with a blood clot in my lung shock and what i call proper ill iyswim

i have never taken days off for a cold, i am a healthy person generally.

i would look at cm/nursery esp as only need childcare for next 6mths and mae nanny redundant

ArtigeneAuberchoke if only i worked for you, i would be £400 better off every year grin

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Fri 07-Dec-12 11:36:53

Try posting on the employment boards- the fact that she is a nanny is a red herring in terms of the legal position. You certainly can dismiss for lots of absence unless disability or pregnancy related.

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Fri 07-Dec-12 11:40:18

If you get a new nanny I'd put in statutory sick pay only. This doesn't stop you paying someone who is actually ill but if you've got a scenario like you have now it disincentives a skiver from taking a couple of days off whenever they feel like it knowing they will still get paid.

hermioneweasley Fri 07-Dec-12 11:41:09

If she's only been with you for 3 months, then she has no unfair dismissal protection. Just give her her contractual notice and get someone more reliable. If someone is off that much in first 12 weeks they are clearly not reliable

Dozer Fri 07-Dec-12 11:43:34

You can fire her, no need for much process, as long as the absences were not disability or pregnancy related.

racingheart Fri 07-Dec-12 11:48:01

Get rid. She's either genuinely very sickly in which case she's in the wrong job, or she's pulling a fats one and unreliable. Really, I'd sack her while you still can, legally, without needing to explain or compensate.

CelineMcBean Fri 07-Dec-12 11:58:09

She needs two years service or to have been discriminated against as per protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 or for exercising a statutory right in order to claim unfair dismissal.

Give her notice and next time do not pay for sickness absence other than statutory sick pay. You are mad to be paying her for 12 days off sick in 3 months. Are you sure the first week paid doesn't just mean the first week in a year? Not the first week of every sick period?

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 07-Dec-12 12:07:25

what happens if she came back and said she was 6/8weeks pregnant

CelineMcBean Fri 07-Dec-12 12:11:34

Doesn't matter if she hasn't said before. She only has protection from discrimination. If the employer did not know, or could not reasonably have known, she was pregnant then the employer cannot have discriminated. Same with disability and other "hidden" conditions.

CelineMcBean Fri 07-Dec-12 12:15:58

I would give notice now to avoid any complications of a condition being revealed later as that's when protection would kick in. Not that we should discriminate against people but because the nanny is currently not fulfilling her contract to come to work in exchange for pay... and there's nothing posted by op to indicate any kind of pregnancy/disability.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Fri 07-Dec-12 12:17:05

12 days off sick in 3mths is ridiculous, I've been a nanny for 14yrs and until recently had only had 5 days off in that whole time which was for an operation, I've never taken a day off because of colds etc I just curl up on the sofa with the children and have a dvd day.

This year I've been very ill and had 8 weeks off and a few odd days BUT like blondes I consider that 'proper' illness since I was incapable of getting out of bed and have been in and out of hospital, I've been with my current family for 4yrs so thankfully they know me well enough to know that if I could have worked through it I would have.

I think you need to have a meeting with your nanny and give her an official warning.

I would also say your contract means the first week of sickness in a year is paid not the first week each time she's off, mine states first 3 weeks (12 days as only work 4 a week) but that's it for the year, my bosses are great and when I've had the odd day in the past few months its always been paid

llamallama Fri 07-Dec-12 13:02:13

Thank you all

I have the feeling her sickness is genuine but she has quite a low threshold for being off if she is sick. One week cough/cold, one week vomiting, today is sick again. I have told her I'm more than happy for her to have "lazy days" if she is not 100% and wouldn't expect her to do swimming/loads of activities etc but she claims she isn't well enough to work. She isn't very apologetic.

I partly wonder if she is annoyed that I'm pregnant and knows the job will end and won't be long term?

I put one weeks sick pay in contract as thought this was fair obviously didn't expect her to be sick this much! I have only ever had two weeks off work ever (in 12 years) once for chest infection when early pregnant last time and once for wisdom teeth out!! I generally go to work! Unless I can't get out of bed then I go in! I guess other people have different thresholds?

I'm going to re-look at the wording of contract to see if its a weeks pay in 12 months or each time. So far I haven't docked any pay. I can see now that I should have said stat only but was trying to be fair.

She has also had a weeks holiday in last 3 months so it's not like we hasn't had a rest!! So in less than three months she has had over 3 weeks off work!

SamSmalaidh Fri 07-Dec-12 13:38:10

I would just give her notice and use a nursery.

ScarfHatSunglasses Fri 07-Dec-12 13:48:40

You must get rid of her! A low threshold is fine for her but not acceptable for you. My nanny was exactly the same (you're not in West London are you?wink) in that she felt that she was completely entitled to be off if she felt anything less than great. She needs a wake-up call. People employ nannies to be a reliable source of childcare, she is not being. Mine was also not apologetic and this was what made me crazy. She never offered to work a different day or babysit to make the time up. And we had a rule of paying the first day of sickness only in a rolling 12 weeks which meant she was missing out on pay each time herself.

A week off for a cough/cold???? Really, this will not get better. She has a poor work ethic. You could try to have a last chance saloon type conversation and remind her that in any number of other jobs she would be dismissed by now (especially considering that most jobs have probationary periods of around 3 months where almost ANY absence would end your employment). You could see how this goes and then get rid anyway

CelineMcBean Fri 07-Dec-12 13:54:07

I would never give an employee a contract with first week of every instance paid. It is a licence to take the piss IMO. Sick pay should ideally motivate the work shy to come in but give a little protection to the genuinely sick. So common wording for contracts I have issued is statutory sick pay only but with any extra paid at the discretion of the employer (ie you'll get the minimum and possibly more but if you swing the lead you'll get nothing off us and no pay for first two days).

For my own nanny it's statutory sick only but with extra at my discretion and capped at no more than 5 days in any holiday year (holiday year because it's a nanny share with differing start dates but the holiday year is fixed and runs Jan-Dec).

Ebb Fri 07-Dec-12 13:54:32

I would get rid too and use a nursery or childminder until you have the baby. Hopefully your contract will say one weeks sick pay ( as in total ) rather than the first week of illness. Definitely have sharp words with her though. She's taking the piss!

CelineMcBean Fri 07-Dec-12 13:58:41

I would be wary of putting her into nursery or childminder at this time of year because it's likely she'll come down with every bug going. I'd get another nanny but one with a good reputation and attitude. When referencing ask about reliability and attendence.

BobbiFleckmann Fri 07-Dec-12 14:06:39

CelineMcBean gives excellent advice. Personally I'd serve notice right now. Our nanny had 3 weeks off sick this year and I was horrified to find that contract provided for unltd full pay when sick - difference between ssp and salary. We have been bloody lucky htat our nanny isn't a p*ss taker (she was actually sick). The agency who provided the contract said it was a mistake and that she'd never had a day of sick pay in 20 years as a nanny - having talked around, it seems that most nanny contracts provide for SSP only and people then top up by discretion. Our previous nannny used to have a day or so every month off sick until I stopped paying sick pay, then she never had another (her contract was SSP only)
It's quite a good time of year to be looking for a new nanny, seems lots change around in September and in January.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 07-Dec-12 14:08:15

def check your wording, where did you get contract from? would be very surprised if says sick pay is paid in full for every first week off - sure would say would pay for one week off (which tbh i think is very fair on both sides)

maybe think about hiring a temp nanny till you give up for ml - again im assuming the nanny started her job then you found out you were pregnant, or did she know at the interview - did you discuss what would happen if you have another child/would you keep her on etc

Karoleann Fri 07-Dec-12 15:16:11

Never, ever pay sick pay (above SSP), I've never had any myself and paying someone when they're not doing the job they are supposed to is ridiculous.
12 days!
I think you are perfectly justified to fire her. If its only for a few months anyway I'd just stick your daughter back in nursery, then you have the option of still using the nursery for a couple of session when your new baby arrives.

JustFabulous Fri 07-Dec-12 17:29:32

I used to be a nanny and in 10 years I had 1 day off sick. I would have days where I didn't feel great but wasn't infectious so the mum was quite happy to have a quiet day and if I managed a walk to the park they were happy.

A genuine nanny realises that in order for the parent to be able to do their job then the nanny needs to do theirs. It has a bigger knock on effect than in some jobs if the nanny doesn't show up.

You need to consider your options and pick one.

Have a talk, give a verbal warning and explain that sick pay is X not X every time.
Give notice and use alternatives. Some nannies would be happy to take on a 6 month job.
If you decide on another nanny then rethink your contract. It is nice to be fair but if you get another chancer then your kind nature will be taken advantage of, as it has been this time. Generally nannies earn their little extras when employers see how well they have worked. So for example, with a brilliant nanny you are happy to consider changing days when needed, paying sick pay more than the SSP, letting them have early finishes where possible, as they have proved themselves.

This nanny has no work ethic. She is off with every sniffle. Isn't sorry about the inconvenience and probably decided she may as well take sick days as much as she can as she gets paid anyway!

JustFabulous Fri 07-Dec-12 17:31:36

BobbiF - why were you horrified? Hadn't you read the contract before signing it?

llamallama Fri 07-Dec-12 19:14:23

Contract says first week off sick is paid then SSP after that, it doesn't explicitly say within 12 months or each time. So not sure where that leaves us, it's open to interpretation I guess?

To be honest this has raised some larger trust issues for me. I don't think that she has a good work ethic and thus I'm now finding myself questioning what else she doesn't bother with in the day or if she has a lazy attitude in general. I mean I think her care is good but she isn't fantastic on nursery duties or cooking, kind of doing the minimum and any extras that I ask of.

Thank you for all your comments, you have been really helpful.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Fri 07-Dec-12 19:31:43

That's a fairly standard phrase in a nanny contract and ime is usually interpreted as 1 week a year

ScarfHatSunglasses Fri 07-Dec-12 19:32:51

Well - one of the other issues we had with our nanny was that we discovered that she was recording tv programmes and then watching them on our time. And no, not Peppa Pig but America's Next Top Model and Jeremy Kyle shock.

I do think it all points to a certain kind of person really. Honestly when you find a good nanny you'll realise what you've missed - I certainly did.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 07-Dec-12 21:06:29

I've been known to record trashy Jeremy Kyle programmes and have then watched them when dc is in bed and ironing if any - tho blondes hates ironing ;)

Op - contract is normal and yes you have been conned in paying each time - did you ring references and ask about time off ill? Always worth checking up in the future

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Fri 07-Dec-12 21:44:26

I also record stuff at work homes under the hammer and watch it whilst eating my lunch, now both my charges are at school.

MarshmallowCupcake Sat 08-Dec-12 00:30:33

Wow! I've not had that much time off in my entire 22 year career! I like the bonus idea, wonder if I can drop hints then get it backdated ;-)

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Sat 08-Dec-12 00:43:11

Don't let it put you off having a nanny - most aren't like this at all and will come in even when they are feeling completely rubbish, to their own detriment most of the time!

If she has been with you less than a year, surely you can fire her without impact?

Definitely do not pay any more sick leave.

Start looking for a nanny for the 6 months you need, there will be nannies out there who will want that.

If you want to say what area you are in 'roughly' then you will get MN nannies offering their sevices I'm sure!

Heiderose Sat 08-Dec-12 01:18:12

I've been off work 4 times (4 different families) in 10 years as a nanny. 1 week for a stomach virus that ended up with me in the hospital because 1 couldn't even hold down sips of water. 1 week for tonsillitis, also ended up in hospital as vomiting blood. 2 random days for tonsillitis at different jobs, I was lucky that it was during holidays both times so only had to take 1 day each time.
(doctor still won't let me have the bloody things out though!)

One of my bosses felt so bad that I had to cancel my holiday she gave me an extra week off to make up for it. I think she felt that the long hours I'd been doing had run me down and that's why I'd got tonsillitis again. Such a great family to work for.

12 days in 3 months and I would have been fired.

Get rid and find a new nanny.
Most of us go to work come rain or shine - in fact I think my current charges, the parents and I have been passing around the same cold for weeks now! Whoever is in the kitchen first makes the lemsip!

ScarfHatSunglasses Sat 08-Dec-12 08:44:12

Blondes I would have no problem at all with that but neither of my dc's had naps...

maturenanny Sat 08-Dec-12 13:11:25

Well I would say she has to a nanny with 18 yrs under my belt it takes a lot to stop me going in
I have had long term sick once due to tearing my knee ligament and compressing my anterior cruciate ligament, as I couldn't walk let alone climb stairs or drive amongst other things, I had no choice. Three months off inc an op and recovery I was back at work doing all I could to make it up.
I have gone in with ear infections, chest infections, cold, coughs, tonsillitis (mild), sinusitis...don't think I need to go on!!
Good luck, I hope you find a more reliable Childcare soon

ilikecooking Sat 08-Dec-12 17:33:40

Dont OFSTED registered nannies have an obligation under this that if they're ill with something that's contagious they have to stay away from the workplace so the children aren't liable to become ill?

nannykatherine Sun 23-Dec-12 18:52:26

What's wrong with her ? In the last ten years I've had about four sick days at the most ... Most of the professional nannies I know drag them selves in when feeling like death ... The only thing I stay away for is vomiting bugs,. And when I had a quinsy in my throat (brought about by not resting when ill ) so not all nannies go off sick at the slightest spasm .

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