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to think £25 for babysitting 3 children until 3am on New Years Day is disgustingly stingy.

(241 Posts)
TaggieCampbellBlack Tue 01-Jan-13 16:03:09

DD and her friend. Both 14.
Parents said they'd be back shortly after midnight. Finally rolled in at 3am.

DD and friend slept over but were expecting them home before 3.

Stingy bastards handed over £25 this morning.


And also more than a little surprised. That isn't the done thing really is it? Getting in 3 hours late.

bringbacksideburns Wed 02-Jan-13 11:24:03

Was the £25 agreed before they turned up three hours late?
Did they think it was just the one babysitter?
I'd be giving feedback to whoever knows the couple that arriving back so late without bunging a bit more on was mean and they won't be doing it again!

AlfalfaMum Wed 02-Jan-13 11:10:19

YANBU, that is really stingy. They should have at least got that each.

When I was about 13 I babysat for neighbours, from about 8pm until 12:30, and they gave me 50p shock ok so it was 24 years ago, but even then it was shitty. I never babysat for them again.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 02-Jan-13 10:26:59

I'd pay more on New Years Eve.

But, I would not have accepted the change of arrangements during the evening.

Is it that the couple are friends of you Dd's friend's parents? Because if plans were changed once the evening had started to include an overnight stay somewhere I didn't know, I think I, and not my 14yo, would have been phoning the couple to get them back st the arranged time.

VestaCurry Wed 02-Jan-13 09:45:14

stingy feckers

SaraBellumHertz Wed 02-Jan-13 09:44:07

Definitely tight - £40 would have been appropriate for NYE.

With math re responsibility - my 8 year old is capable of changing a nappy and helping my 20 mth old brush her teeth. She knows the difference between a bump that requires her giving her little sister a cuddle and one that requires me to attend to it. I imagine by the time she is14 she'll have progressed a little...

mrsL1984 Wed 02-Jan-13 08:27:45

Fair enough we don't know details why two girls went. But at 14 would you have liked to have been on own in NYE???

Wallison Wed 02-Jan-13 08:18:31

Meh. I agree with Flow. Childcare is paid for out of wages, so therefore if wages are low then there isn't a lot that can be put towards childcare.

Also, if parents are using children to look after their children, rather than qualified professionals, that will bring down the wages of the qualified childcare professionals too.

mathanxiety Wed 02-Jan-13 03:11:23

No, Flow, it is the way childcare is seen as low skilled or even unskilled women's work that guarantees it is the last thing to be considered important, and worthy only of minimum pay. Or actually half of minimum pay.

Even so, in areas where demand outstrips supply, babysitters can make much more.

The logical conclusion is perhaps to scrap minimum wage and let parents try their luck in a world where service wages are determined only by market forces? When a certain job pays minimum wage it is guaranteed to be looked down upon.

Responsibility when it comes to babysitters means ability to respond appropriately if a situation occurs that demands a certain response. No matter who is ultimately 'responsible' in the legal sense, the appropriateness of the immediate response is what matters. I agree with Chipping.

flow4 Wed 02-Jan-13 03:05:13

I dunno about 'morally' either, Chipping, personally. I always tended to feel like I was morally responsible for the few younger babysitters I ever used, as well as remaining responsible for my own kids. Which is why I looked for older sitters. Or swapped with friends. And didn't go out much!

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Wed 02-Jan-13 03:01:38

Flow 'legally' is not the point. If you are going out and leaving a babysitter in charge they are (morally, if not legally) responsible for those children and that is why you are paying for them. Sniping about 'paying them to sit on their backsides watching the tv' is ridiculous.

flow4 Wed 02-Jan-13 02:46:30

holidaysarenice and Chipping - Parents may think they are paying for a babysitter to 'have the responsibility'... But if the sitter is under 16, they are not, because it is legally impossible for a child under 16 to have responsibility for another child. (See my post above for more info/links, if you're interested).

blueemerald Wed 02-Jan-13 02:45:12

I agree, I would be very reluctant to hire a babysitter under 16 unless I was very nearby and going to an event I could easily leave.

flow4 Wed 02-Jan-13 02:41:51

Dowager > "I really hate the fact that childcare is so horribly underpaid and so under-respected in this country. It's really wrong."

I agree. But the government's minimum wage policy has ipso facto made childcare low paid. It is impossible for people to pay over NMW for childcare if they are being paid NMW themselves. Since people need to eat and pay bills, and tax and NI are due on full-time NMW wages, it is probably impossible for anyone to pay their childcare provider more than about 50% of their own income (and even that would be a stretch, I guess). This means that the current NMW rates (£6.19for 21+ yos; £4.98 for 18-20yos; £3.68 for 16-17 yos) pretty much guarantee that people on low incomes will see £3/hr as the maximum that they can and should pay for their childcare.

IMO, anyone who wants to see higher wages for childcare should start by campaigning for higher NMW.

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Wed 02-Jan-13 02:41:06

You are paying for them having the responsibility of looking after your children, you are not paying them to watch tv and text their friends - the fact they can do that at the same time is irrelevant. You need them there or you can't go out - so it's ridiculous to say it's 'for doing nothing'.

The rate is going to be very dependant on the area - but around here that would be low and I would have paid an absolute minimum of £40 plus drinks, snacks etc.

holidaysarenice Wed 02-Jan-13 02:40:07

I think a lot of the people saying its fine don't use babysitters much.
They are expensive. These girls have the same responsibility in the house as any adult caregiver you are using.

Frankly I think two is better than one, more sense, and more authority if their are any problems

StinkyWicket Wed 02-Jan-13 02:38:43

I got about that much for babysitting on NYE.

That was 15 years ago though, and they were back before 12.30 and drove me home.


(Although I wouldn't have had 14 year olds unless the children were about 10)

SoggySummer Wed 02-Jan-13 02:33:58

I dont think all 14yos could cope with every emergency the same way a qualified professional could.

Thats the risk you take as a parent if you choose to employ teens for childcare though over a qualified nursery nurse or nanny.

Personally I would not choose a teen to watch my small children - but if I did £25 is a fair price imo. I would expect more and therefore pay more to someone qualified.

flow4 Wed 02-Jan-13 02:27:42

But babysitting can't be dealing with everything the parents deal with, blue, if the baby sitter is under 16. A child under 16 cannot be legally responsible for another child. If someone under 16 is looking after a child, then the parent or guardian, and not the babysitter, remain legally responsible for the child's safety. If anything goes wrong, the parent is still always responsible ( NSPCC leaflet here ).

And what's more, if any harm comes to an under-16yo babysitter, the parent who's 'hiring' might be held responsible: s/he could be seen as accepting 'duty of care' for the babysitter as well as their own child(ren), by having her/him in their house for the evening. Also, the parent of the under-16yo sitter is always responsible for their child while they are babysitting - a fact that many parents of sitters don't seem to realise.

The Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents says "Under some circumstances, parents can be prosecuted and fined if they leave their children in a situation which a court might judge to be “neglectful”. This usually occurs when there is an incident which requires intervention by the emergency services" ( more here ). This would include the parents of the under-16yo sitter as well as the parents of the younger children.

IMO it is a mistake to pay under 16s more, thinking this buys you a 'higher quality' service. If you need a babysitter who is more than "a human baby alarm who does no active childcare & phones parents, who are out locally, in case of a problem" (as raven neatly puts it) then you really do need someone aged over 16.

mathanxiety Wed 02-Jan-13 02:21:02

Administering a dosage of an antibiotic is not nursing care. A child recovering from an ear infection is not an ill child. A small child who doesn't quite get to the loo in time while a mother is out is not a major disaster. A child who cries at bedtime is not a reason any of my DDs' customers would consider sufficient to call away from an evening out. A 12 year old who expects to be paid the rate my DDs were at 12 for babysitting should and could handle all of this.

I didn't mention bathing children -- you've gone from overegging the souffle to making things up there. Most parents are happy to skip the bath when the DDs are babysitting. It's usually a case of top and tail and brush teeth and bed. Children over the age of three should be expected to know enough about self care to co-operate in washing, tooth brushing and getting pajamas on, and should not require the services of a full on nanny to get to bed at night. Same goes for feeding themselves. Only babies in high chairs would need actual feeding. How do they manage in school when they don't have a fully qualified personal assistant available?

RavenAK -- it has been my observation that babysitting tends to be a girls' job. DS did some and got out of it as he realised he could make more doing odd jobs and gardening. Plus, when the babysitting callers ask for one sister and if she is not available they ask for the next younger one despite the fact that DS is in the middle, it is time to rethink the babysitting strategy. I had both boys and girls as babysitters when the DCs were young and was very sad to see one particular boy go away to university as he was brilliant and the DCs loved him. However, not all parents are willing to give a boy a chance, sadly. Both the DDs and DS learned much about how the world of girls' work and boys' work work operates from their experiences. The DDs were inspired to work really hard at maths and science as a result.

I never hired more than one sitter for an evening as in my experience having two friends over meant that they did more chatting than babysitting, and the DDs have never been hired as part of a team either.

blueemerald Wed 02-Jan-13 01:46:13

No, babysitting is agreeing to deal with all and every disaster that keeps a parent awake at 3 am if the situation arises.

SoggySummer Wed 02-Jan-13 01:42:11

Exactly Socketreturningpixie - there is no NMW applicable because there is so little they can do to earn money at their age anyway. £25 is a good wage for 1 nights work imo. Its double a paper round which means going out in cold and wet probably for about an hour a day for 2 weeks to earn that.

I think they should have agreed a price upfront but I also dont think you can compare the care a teen would give to that of a qualified nanny/nurserty nurse no matter how good the teen may be.

Babysitting in the most part is sitting chatting to a mate whilst watching TV and eating free nibbles in the most part.

Wallison Wed 02-Jan-13 01:31:03

And btw when I say 'childcare' I mean what your children are doing, not what I ask my babysitters to do (sit in a house with my son upstairs and already in bed and phone me if anything goes wrong). I don't need 'childcare' when I go out - I just need a person in the house who can contact me if I'm needed. If I did for eg if I was working nights and couldn't do the dinner/bath/bed thing myself then I would do what friends who work nights do and hire a night nanny. If anyone is skimping on childcare it is these people who leave teenagers (and not even teenagers - didn't you say that your children started doing this when they were 12 years old fgs?) in charge of children who need at the least personal care (feeding, bathing etc) and also from what you are saying regular nursing care because their children are ill when they go to their all-important book club meetings or whatever.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 02-Jan-13 01:27:09

A 14 yo has no NMW they are not old enough to revive NMW so there is no NMW bracket to fit into.

Wallison Wed 02-Jan-13 01:17:13

mathanxiety - I think the parents that 'employ' your children should be hiring nannies. I would never dream of asking my sitters to do any of that, and indeed don't know anyone that does; maybe it's a class thing - if I want childcare, I'll pay a qualified professional rather than a teenager, and so does absolutely everyone I know in real life.

SoggySummer Wed 02-Jan-13 01:11:34

The fact 2 of them babysat - was that a request by the parents?? Did they book 2 sitters??? Or did babysitter decide to take a mate along for company?

£25 between the 2 is a tad tight IF the parents booked 2 sitters.

£25 for a teen babysitting is an OK rate. By minimum wage standards she was only underpaid by 76pence.

IMO - there are not many jobs 14yos can do and just having the opportunity to earn £25 in one night is a good deal imo. Not many jobs allow you to take a mate along for company as well. I would guess they had free drinks and nibbles thrown in as well - again not many jobs include that.

The fact the parents were 3 hours later than arranged is the underhand bit of this - not the payment imo.

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