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Nanny and holidays

(40 Posts)
PenguindreamsofDraco Wed 27-Jul-11 08:57:08

Our nanny started on 9 May and is, in virtually every respect, wonderful, but am so angry this morning and I need advice on how to deal with this!

She works Mon-Thurs and so has 22 days of paid holiday a year. The contract says we pick half and she picks half. So far this year she has picked 4 days and we have picked 3. We have a couple of things booked for later in the year, plus there's the Aug BH, so by the beginning of Dec we will have picked all 11 of our days.

She arrived this morning and announced that she has booked her ticket to fly home for a holiday between 12 Dec and 5 Jan. She didn't discuss this with me previously. That would be 16 days.

So, that would have her taking off 31 days in an 8 month period, which is 40% or so above the whole year's entitlement.

Obviously if she's booked it we won't say no, which is no doubt why she did it this way, but I am so annoyed! I have already told her we won't pay her for all of the time off because it'll take her over her annual max, and she seemed a little put out.

1. Is it possible to give her holiday up front from 2012/13 i.e. if we pay her for the time off in Dec/Jan she then gets 9 days less holiday from May 2012-2013?

2. What happens from Jan-May? She presumably can't expect any more time off (paid or otherwise)? But over Easter, for example, I won't be working and so would normally tell her not to come in. But if I've made my 11 picks for 2011, is she entitled to insist on working so as not to lose pay?

Please help - she is lovely and my son seems happy and settled with her. I don't want to cause too much friction whilst she's still in her 3 month trial period in case she ups and leaves, but this causes real problems for us with work and such and I am really annoyed she's done it this way.

PenguindreamsofDraco Wed 27-Jul-11 08:57:32

Goodness that was long! Thanks if you've read the whole thing!

MogandMe Wed 27-Jul-11 09:07:40

There are two options RE the holiday

1. She takes it unpaid or she sHe looses days next year,

RE Easter

1. You can tell her that she isn't needed and she can take the days as unpaid or as holiday. You don't have to have her come to work because she wants to work.

HSMM Wed 27-Jul-11 09:09:55

I'm not a legal brain (and I'm sure one will come along), but if she has taken more holiday than allowed, then you can say it will be unpaid. You might be able to come to some sort of deal with her, where she uses some of next year's holiday, but make sure it is clear how many days she has left to book of her choice next year.

I think if you choose to take more than your 11 days and pay her for the extra days, then she probably won't complain about paid days off. You could ask her to work these days, clearing out the children's rooms, or something, that's up to you.

Also think about where you will be with holiday calculations if she should leave.

I do think she's a bit cheeky doing this as soon as she's started work with you, without even discussing it with you. Are you sure the holiday terms in your contract were made clear?

noviceoftheday Wed 27-Jul-11 09:37:02

This would not be okay with me at all and I wouldn't just let it slide. I think its unacceptable to book the holiday without discussing with you (would you be able to get away with that at your work?) and also for a lengthy period of time. My contract with my nanny says that she must agree dates in advance (basically put in a holiday request) and she can't take more than 2 weeks (being 10 days) off at any one time. Having said that my nanny is having 3 weeks off for one of her holidays as she asked me with plenty of notice.

She may be lovely but she's not the only lovely nanny (eg mine is fab but you can't have her!!) so don't let fear prevent you from making the point and basically acting as an employer in a professional relationship. So, personally I would make the point that I would have expected her to have the courtesy to discuss the dates with me first. I would tell her that she has to have unpaid leave to cover the excess. My contract also makes it clear that there is no carry forward of holidays nor dipping into next years holidays - what does yours say?

harrietthespook Wed 27-Jul-11 09:46:01

If she is taking more holiday than she is allocated in a single holiday period NOW and booked flights w/o asking you I wouldn't get into the situation where she is 'bringing forward' holiday from next year. I think you will have this situation again.

I wouldn't over-react to her reaction, if you see what I mean. Just tell her in a matter of fact way how many days will be unpaid. If she objects just tell her: sorry I'm afraid we can't accommodate any more paid leave than we agreed in the contract. And leave it at that.

harrietthespook Wed 27-Jul-11 09:50:34

It's very bold to have pushed the boundaries with you in this way. It would personally make me wonder about how much she cared about keeping her job.

PenguindreamsofDraco Wed 27-Jul-11 09:51:32

I'll have to check the contract when I get home, but it was the standard Nannypaye one.

I would prefer for this to count towards some (virtually all!) of her pick of holidays for 2012/13 than just have to give it as extra unpaid leave - not least because it could set a precedent. Assuming my contract is silent on dipping forward, can I effectively require her to use the extra 9 days as part of next year's entitlement, do you think?

I did stress to her this morning that she has to ask in advance but I think she assumed telling me in July for Dec was asking in advance. It's the perceived entitlement to more holiday than we agreed on that really irks me.

nannynick Wed 27-Jul-11 09:51:56

I agree with Noviceoftheday, your nanny has not acted appropriately due to not putting in a holiday request prior to booking their time away. That does need to be clamped down on hard... even though ultimately you may well let is slide THIS TIME. What you don't want happening is them doing it again.

Look at the period of time they are wanting to have off... 12 Dec to 5 Jan. That's quite a long time, though it does include the Christmas period. Would you have been wanting them to work over the Christmas period? It also includes several bank holidays - what is the situation regarding your nanny working on Bank Holidays? Are you insisting they have all bank holidays off and use their holiday entitlement for that?

fraktious Wed 27-Jul-11 09:54:45

Not okay at all on many levels. Firstly it isn't on not to consult you, second if she can't keep track of how many days holiday she has and blithely expects any time off she has paid then she doesn't come across as very professional, third if you screw up your holiday ccukation you don't act all put out over it and fourth it just comes over as sneaky and underhand because now you're in a very awkward position.

Before you do or agree anything check your contract and, if you have a payroll company, try their legal line.

Is she aware the holiday year runs May-April and not Jan-Dec? She may have thought she could take some of those days from next year?

Easter is a slightly separate issue. Normally if you've used all your choices then if you don't need her but she is available you still need to pay her. Therefore regardless of whether she's taken her holiday or not if you don't want her around and you e taken all your holiday then you pay.

I would be very inclined to say that as she has done it without requesting it then it will be unpaid as you cannot accommodate it. As an employer you have the right to refuse leave requests, in this Cade you won't be refusing leave - so it's an authorised absence - but you will be refusing paid leave. Up to her what she then does.

nannynick Wed 27-Jul-11 09:59:40

I don't think you can borrow holiday from the next holiday year. It has the potential to get really messy and may not be legal as in the next holiday period they would not be getting their statutory entitlement. Don't mess with statutory entitlement would be my advice. If you decide to do it, then document it very well getting things signed by each party involved and seek legal advice (your payroll operator may have an agreement in place with a legal helpline). ACAS may also be able to tell you about what rights your employee has in this situation - the question I would want to know the answer to is if you take holiday off next years entitlement, would the employee still be entitled to the statutory minimum?

What happens if she leaves... at the moment you are assuming she will still be working for you in 2013. That may not be the case.

Are there other ways they could work some additional hours, for example evening babysitting? Working an extra day on occasion?

harrietthespook Wed 27-Jul-11 10:00:23

agree with frak. I think the simplest thing for you to do is keep it unpaid. I doubt she'll do it again if it is. I think you might come across as a softer touch if you let her 'carry holiday forward.'

PenguindreamsofDraco Wed 27-Jul-11 10:06:21

Harriet, it is bold, I know. Before she started we discussed holidays and I said I needed lots of notice because of my job (I'm a barrister and trials go in the diary months in advance). She said she tended to take all her holiday together because she liked going home. I got the impression that she wanted to store them up, which would be fine if (a) she hadn't already taken some; (b) she asked in advance; (c) she didn't take more than her quota; and (d) all of the above!!

nbee84 Wed 27-Jul-11 10:07:22

I'd be wary of taking the extra days holiday out of next years entitlement. This will leave her with very little time to take off and leave you with more holiday that you are entitled to from work and therefore will not require the nanny but will need to pay her if you give her the extra time. Also makes it difficult if she leaves before or part way into the next year. The extra days should be unpaid and you need to make it quite clear to the nanny that time off needs to be authorised before flights etc are booked. Is she quite young or new to working? Had she just not realised that this is how it is done?

If you decide that you don't need the nanny to come into work (as with Easter) then you need to pay her. If your boss told you that they were closing for August and you've already had your paid holiday so we will not be paying you, then I can imagine you would not be happy.

harrietthespook Wed 27-Jul-11 10:11:18

Penguin - is she going back to Oz/NZ and therefore needs quite a lot of time.? Agree she doesn't sound like she is putting her all into keeping this professional, it sounds more like a temp position for her. I hate to say it.

PenguindreamsofDraco Wed 27-Jul-11 10:12:43

Thanks everyone.

So, to summarise:

(1) The extra 9 days would be unpaid and would count as authorised absence.

(2) She would not be paid for any further time she wants off Jan-May (and I would not be obliged to allow her any further time off).

(3) If I don't need her on any day between Jan-May I do have to pay her. (Nick, thus far any BHs have counted as 'our' pick of holiday, btw)

(4) She needs to know that this is a one off and she MUST ask in advance in future before booking holiday.

I'm glad I'm not being unreasonable being angry about this!

PenguindreamsofDraco Wed 27-Jul-11 10:15:49

Not NZ/OZ, the Philippines.

She's late 40s and I think pretty committed. Her last employer had loads of holiday, way more than the statutory max, so I think they all became used to her having off whatever time she wanted without it being an issue. I am self employed and it is not as easy for me.

Chandon Wed 27-Jul-11 10:18:02

Oh, I would have given her the holiday if she is a great nanny.

I would tell her it is over her holiday allowance and she couldn't take off any further days.

Having a few days here and there for Easter and bank hols doesn't allow her to go back to her family for a proper amount of time.

Yes, she should have asked you first, but I'd tread carefully.

Strix Wed 27-Jul-11 10:19:34

I would not approve a holiday request from 12 Dec to 05 Jan. If I'm going to work, so is she. I also would not buy such a plane ticket for myself without first seeking approval from my own boss. It's probably fair to assume that the bank holidays and the three days between Christmas and New Year would be fine. But, more than that would surely need approval in any job?

This is very unprofessional. And, you do have another option: decline the holiday.

I wouldn't dig into next year's entitlement. What if she leaves before then? Will you claw back the holiday pay she has received but not been entitled to? And is it legal to give less holiday in a single calendar year that the statutory entitlement? I honestly don't know whether or not it is. But, I'd find out before giving it.

HappyAsIAm Wed 27-Jul-11 10:21:02

Just to add to the above, what if she gives in her notice? You would be in the position of either writing off the already paid holiday, or trying to recover the equivalent in money from her (not worth it, I'd imagine). I would be more than annoyed too.

When our previous nanny wanted to take extra time off in addition to her holiday entitlement (to go on honeymoon), she cleared it with us first and she took it as unpaid leave as she had already exhausted her holiday entitlement for that year. We did find though that her unreliability increased a lot after that (maybe because she was knackered as she had left herself with no holiday to take and needed a break).

Is this your first nanny? I ask as you sound a little like me when we first emplioyed a nanny. I have been back at work for 2 1/2 years now (I'm a solicitor) and we've had a nanny for all that time. The first nanny went on maternity leave after 18 months with us. We have had a different nanny for the past year and a bit.

I thought our first nanny was great - she was very, very good with my DS and very loving and caring. And she did always put his safety and needs first, which was exactly what I wanted for him as he was 13 months old when I came back to work. I couldn't fault her in this regard. I thought she was great. But when I compare our 'new' nanny, I realise that our new nanny is a much better fit for us as a whole family, and that our old nanny was just a good fit for my DS. Our new nanny is more professional (maybe less loving than our old nanny), and treats me and DH like we are her employers rather than her friends (respectful distance, but still chatty and fun).

I suppose what I am saying is that there are lots of good nannies out there (there are lots of not so good ones too I would imagine!). But there are also a fair few great nannies, so please don't be shy of telling your nanny what you think and don't be afraid of making your point. You are the employer after all. I am getting used to this kind of role - I used to shy away from any honest chats with our old nanny, as I felt that the priority was our DS, who really liked her. Its hard!

noviceoftheday Wed 27-Jul-11 10:22:59

I agree with the others and wouldn't let her dip into next year. Let her know that what she has done is not on, and while you're entitled to say she can't have the extra holidays, your solution is that she can on this one occasion take them but it will have to be unpaid leave. That way she knows what the score is if she decides to pull a fast one like this again. As for contracts (for next time if there is a next time)....the standard one is okay but doesn't really cover the tricky situations. I took the standard one and then amended it to cover different situations. I wrote a nanny handbook and then put in the contract that the nanny handbook was part of the employment handbook. My nanny was fine with it because it wasn't totally one sided, eg was a gross contract and made it clear that I was meeting hmrc liabilities.

harrietthespook Wed 27-Jul-11 10:26:58

Chandon, it's not the odd day though. I would do that for the odd day as well, this is a very substantial period of time to find cover for. What if the OP only has the bank holidays off?

PenguindreamsofDraco Wed 27-Jul-11 10:40:44

Right, I have just checked with Nannypaye and our contract apparently specifies that we each get to select 8 days (so 2 weeks' worth), and then the 6 BHs are on top.

I have selected 2 so far, she has selected 4, and there has been 1 BH.

I have 6 more days selected between now and the beginning of Dec and there is one BH.

The planned holiday covers 14 work days and 2 BH.

So technically she still has 2 BHs in hand, as it were, but has gone over in her choice by 10 days.

And the contract says she needs written consent from me before booking any holidays.

Chandon, I have been bounced into having to give her the extra time off, which irritates me.

mumeeee Wed 27-Jul-11 10:42:12

12th December to 5th January is actually 25 days. OP do you think that she thought you would give her Christmas Day'Boxing day and New years Day on top of her holiday entitlement? If so that would bring it down to 22 days. I would let her have the holiday she's booked ad paid holiday but don't pay her for any other days she has off. She should have asked you before boiling the flights but she might have just miscalculated the days off. You need to sit down and discuss things with her.

nbee84 Wed 27-Jul-11 10:47:03

There are 3 BHs in that - Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Sorry, not trying to split hairs blush grin

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