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I fired my housekeeper/nanny

(220 Posts)
QueenofWhisperz Fri 11-Jan-19 22:11:40

I have a child with SEN who is 10 and another child who is 5. My husband and I work ridiculously long hours and I entertain work clients on Friday nights.

We have had this housekeeper for the last 8 years, (ever since it was apparent that I would need help).

I love her deeply, she is like family. However, she did things that really upset me.

1. Took time off without notice, causing me to lose work.
2. Never completed her tasks, ever.
3. Tried to ingratiate her religious beliefs into my children.
4. Made me feel like no one else would work for me, or care for my children better than she would.

Today, I came home from a rough day at work, and I was doing homework with the kids before I took some clients out--and this upcoming deal is quite important because it will cover some additional therapy my older child needs---and she informed me that she wasn't working her normal hours this evening.

We had agreed a work schedule in her contract; she always avoids working on a Friday night if she can help it. Anyway, as I was getting upset, I stopped myself and told her that today was her last day. (She was on warning for doing this before).

My husband has come in to tell me that I am awful. That after 10 years, I should have let her come back another day and had a nice farewell.

Professionally, cancelling this evening is devastating to me; not to mention the therapy I was going to be able to access for my son...which I will not. My boss and co-workers are having a field day with my failure for this evening and I feel like I have potentially lost everything. I am quite nervous about Monday, going back to work--but worse yet, laundry and lunches.

I didn't raise my voice, I just said that I needed her to work the schedule she agreed to, and that I will find someone else for Monday. I didn't want a heated conversation, I don't do the 'raised' voice thing.

Am I awful? Have I been terrible? I don't know how to do laundry, but I can learn. I might get fired for cancelling my evening dinner meeting.

Neverender Fri 11-Jan-19 22:14:46

Laundry is easy; either send everything off to get dry cleaned or work out which button to press on the washing machine - honestly, you'll be ok.

I think you've done the right thing. Get an agency on it 1st thing and you'll have someone else in no time.

ninalovesdragons Fri 11-Jan-19 22:16:32

You've done the right thing. She's entrusted to look after your children, literally THE most precious things in your life and she was unreliable.

You'll find another one soon. Get onto agencies, ask around etc and it'll be okay

Singlenotsingle Fri 11-Jan-19 22:18:20

Not sure why it was so awful of her to tell you she couldn't work this evening. Why couldn't your DH cover and babysit the dc? Granted she was in the wrong but your response seems to have been completely ott.

I would worry that she will take this to Tribunal and claim unfair dismissal tbh. You don't seem to have followed any sort of procedure.

AuditAngel Fri 11-Jan-19 22:19:48

I know what it is like trying to juggle two working schedules to cover childcare.

Could your husband hav3 covered the children for tonight’s meeting?

Surely, unless there has been gross misconduct, you will have to pay in lieu of notice, so you willing have to pay two sets of child care costs (her notice plus new provision)

How do you plan to organise childcare by Monday morning?

Laundry is easy. Find a sheet of laundry symbols online and print. Separate by colours (I do darks/lights/pink , red orange and purple. If I have lots of lights, I do whites separately). Check what can be tumble dried.

TooSassy Fri 11-Jan-19 22:20:06

You sound stressed and overwhelmed and I think you have acted like a stressed and overwhelmed person.

I think it’s completely unprofessional to not work agreed hours and to be let down last minute for childcare is hugely disruptive. So you have my sympathies.

But I also agree with your husband. She has worked for you for 8 years. More importantly I would imagine that your DC also have a very strong bond with her. You say you love her like family, well you have a very odd way of showing it. Would you tell a member of your family to leave and not come back after 8 years?

What will you say to your Dc? And more importantly what are you modelling for them? I agree with your husband. Fine, if she wasn’t doing her job well then yes she needs replacing. But you could have given her a months notice and started looking for someone better suited. Arranging in the meantime a more reliant nanny/ babysitter for Friday evenings. I don’t know many nannies who would appreciate every Friday evening being tied up.

borage13 Fri 11-Jan-19 22:20:27

If this is the last straw in a long line the you have done the right thing but you might need to check the notice period in her contract. You have employed her to cover the work commitments that you have already agreed to elsewhere.

This is said with no judgment whatsoever and I hope you don't think it's a criticism but I would be looking for a more family friendly employer. Firing you for having to look after your kids having been let down at the last minute sounds discriminatory. Can your H not look after them?

SpringIsSprung1 Fri 11-Jan-19 22:20:29

Just wondering why your husband can't step in and look after his children?

ilovesooty Fri 11-Jan-19 22:20:36

Had you previously issued a written warning to her?

TooSassy Fri 11-Jan-19 22:21:54

I’m sorry but after 8 years she deserved more and your DC should be given the opportunity to say their goodbyes.

Returnofthesmileybar Fri 11-Jan-19 22:22:44

I guess it depends why she couldn't work really. Will you be ok if you are fired on Monday? I mean, she cancelled on her boss on the same day at short notice and so did you, same same, will you be ok if you get fired?

PeaQiwiComHequo Fri 11-Jan-19 22:23:16

are you in the UK? it's a lot more difficult to fire someone than that. if you haven't done all the steps perfectly she may have a case against you.

I think it's poor practice to have the stability of your situation so heavily reliant on one person. if this incident is making you feel you could lose your job, then you have been balancing one tummybug/virus/car accident away from total disaster as a systemic decision which shows very poor planning.

if childcare on a Friday night is really that critical then you need reliable backup cover in place - eg someone to whom you pay a regular modest retainer to always be available to drop any other plans and fill in if the main carer is sick or unavailable.

QueenofWhisperz Fri 11-Jan-19 22:23:26

She works for us full time, so unless she's sick or requests time off in advance (so that I can make suitable arrangements) she needs to stick to her hours. Just like I need to stick to mine.

She was on warning for doing this last minute "I'm not working tonight" business. If she had requested time off ahead of time (even if she had told me yesterday--I would have sorted it out). She told me 2 hours before I was supposed to leave.

Orlande Fri 11-Jan-19 22:24:22

You can't just sack an employee of 8 years unless you have gone through a disciplinary procedure.

QueenofWhisperz Fri 11-Jan-19 22:24:38

I will not be okay if I get fired.

snitzelvoncrumb Fri 11-Jan-19 22:25:21

Not unreasonable, if she can't do the job, there isn't much point in employing her.

TooSassy Fri 11-Jan-19 22:26:46

What sort of work do you do?
I know of no company who would have grounds to fire an employee who could not attend a dinner due to there being no childcare.

GloomyMonday Fri 11-Jan-19 22:27:06

What are her working hours?

What was her reason for being unable to work tonight?

WorraLiberty Fri 11-Jan-19 22:27:58

You don't know how to wash clothes? That's bizarre.

But YANBU if you've already warned her.

However, as you're her employer and she's your employee, I'm pretty sure sacking her like this will get you in trouble.

ILoveMaxiBondi Fri 11-Jan-19 22:28:06

You have to give her notice surely?

PowerPantsRule Fri 11-Jan-19 22:29:22

I have great sympathy for you...I hope that you can recoup some of the losses from this evening.

Frolie Fri 11-Jan-19 22:29:27

Legally you can’t sack her for this. I know, I own my company and employ 40 people. You are legally in the wrong. You need to get some proper HR advice and handle this situation professionally. Being emotional is not a reason to sack someone. She is within her rights to take you to a tribunal.

DillyDilly Fri 11-Jan-19 22:31:00

What time did she start work this morning ? Would it not be simpler for your DH to look after the children on Friday nights ?

Until you get a replacement Nanny, surely your DH will go half the laundry, lunches, etc ?

Delatron Fri 11-Jan-19 22:31:07

If it was so important you went to your meeting then where was your husband on a Friday evening? Couldn’t he have changed his plans and stepped in?

You sound really stressed and overwhelmed.

Yes she has behaved badly but I’m sure you have to give her a bit of notice after 8 years?

GloomyMonday Fri 11-Jan-19 22:31:12

Pay in lieu of notice, at least, surely.

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