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Am I being unreasonable regards holidays?

(43 Posts)
curiousJuli Mon 01-Aug-11 10:10:57

I have started working for this family in November last year.Before I signed the contract we talked about holidays.I mentioned we normally take holidays around Xmas time and in summer(during half term).

I have requested a day off unpaid for our anniversary as well.

When Xmas came and I mentioned I am taking a week before Xmas and during Xmas,lady turner around and said it will be very difficult and she will have to take unpaid leave I said ok I will take that week before Xmas as unpaid and the one with bank holidays paid.She said they will have a week off holidays first week in January but that wasn't my choice and was taken out of my leave.

When I asked her if they are planning any holiday around Easter she said no,so I have asked again if I can go in the beginning of March to visit my family.She agreed but gave me a grief again how difficult from work and so on.

So I took it as unpaid again.

Then she sent me e-mail that they are taking a holiday during Easter,and it will be taken out of my leave again.

I have informed her again about taking a holiday in August and that I am flexible with dates.She also said they are planning to take holiday in July or August.

When we talked about it again,she said oh my work won't give me a leave in August so I have booked the ones in September.

I said I was planning to go for 2 weeks and we are driving there,so she asked me that it would be too much for her mum to look after the boy two weeks in row.

I said ok I will only take a week but will still have one more week left and she will have to pay me her September holidays as it wasn't my choice and since my husband works in education,we can't go anywhere then.

She sent me e-mail last night that I have already taken 13 days of leave and it is more than we agreed(we agreed 12) and she can't agree to that and saying she was flexible bla bla bla.
From 13 days 6 were unpaid and 5 days their choice and one day when I had my 30th Birthday was my choice and 7 others were unpaid.

So effectively I have 6 days left and I can't take it according to her just on her terms.

I do feel so upset about it,as i have been so flexible,gave her so much notice in advance,whereas she has not given me any notice,planned her holidays as she wished and didn't discuss with me and took it from my leave.
If I have known about Easter holidays,would have planned it differently etc.

I am considering leaving this job.

But just want to see you nannys and mums what do you think.Am I being unreasonable?

bringinghomethebacon Mon 01-Aug-11 10:17:15

I think you should have both sorted out holidays in advance - sounds like there has been a real lack of communication. She should have set out in the contract how much notice you need to give for holidays and any times you can't take them and I would expect in a nanny contract there should be specified when you will be taking holiday at the same time as your employer, and whether this will count towards your annual leave or not. It is a bit much to just expect your whole leave entitlement as a nanny should be at a different time to your employer plus you get their holidays as additional leave unless that is specifically agreed in your contract. However I have no experience in nanny contracts (thinking of getting a nanny) so I would be interested in hearing from other nannies what is usual.

curiousJuli Mon 01-Aug-11 10:27:27

I totally get that families do have different times for holidays.That's why I was very flexible.However,if this is fair,then I should have taken half leave my choice and half leave of their choice.I guess I will do this in the future.

I am only expecting to be paid for the holiday in September which they changed their minds and want me to cut down my holidays for them.

I am getting more and more annoyed as I am checking government websites and 3 days of work should have more annual leave than 12 days anyways.

Never mind,we learn every day.

LikeACandleButNotQuite Mon 01-Aug-11 10:41:18

Childminder I know does the following:
*Any leave she chooses to take is unpaid
*Any leave her parents take they have to pay to 'keep their spot open'
*Nine times out of ten, she gives a list of her dates to all parents at the start of the year for them to be prepared. Most parents then take those particular weeks off, saving themselves some money

NannyBeth Mon 01-Aug-11 11:07:50

LACBNQ - childminders are self employe and set their term which a parent agree's to. Nannies are employed so need to negotiate a contract with the parents.

curiousJuli - I would ask to sit down with your employers and talk this out! Explain to her your legally entitled holiday, and have exact dates and paid/unpaid time off written down. I would also explain that, normally, nannies choose half their holiday and a nanny chooses half. Also ask if there are any times in the future that your can or cannot take time off and why - for eg, her boss won't let her take time off in August.

Basically, sit her down and try to work it out. If you come out of that meeting still annoyed, then I would start looking for a new job and leaving. And in future always have that chat before you start!!

curiousJuli Mon 01-Aug-11 11:09:09

Yes but childminder runs a business!That's completely different to being nanny.
I have informed in advance,plus was very flexible with dates in summer.
It was agreed that Xmas and Summer we both will be taking holidays.

curiousJuli Mon 01-Aug-11 11:14:06

Thanx NannyBeth.

I am planning to talk about it.Unfortunately I do feel she hasn't been honest to me.Initially saying that she can't take a time off in August and her mum can't work 2 weeks in row but in the new email making me guilty saying she is taking it now out of her leave.Two different stories.Also she has booked her holidays,without letting me know.I suspect the reason why it is in September is not because she can't take a leave but because it is cheaper outside of school holidays.Which is fine,but this should have been discussed in advance and done in a fair manner towards my family,where I feel I have been misled and lied to.

nannynick Mon 01-Aug-11 11:45:07

You need to sort out how many days annual leave you get in total - under UK employment law the minimum is 5.6 weeks. There is a holiday calculator on the website.

Your employer can dictate when all holiday is taken. However you may not stay in a job long if the employer never approves your requests for holiday. Holiday must be requested in advance, in writing is best.

What does your contract say about:
Holiday entitlement
Bank and Public holidays
Notice required on either side regarding taking holiday.

mollymole Mon 01-Aug-11 11:55:28

when my son was younger the way we worked it was
nanny wants holiday and is unavailable for work = takes out of nanny annual leave

mummy wants holiday, however nanny is available and holiday is within nanny hours - then nanny gets paid (not her fault you don't need her)

alternative - mummy wants holiday, nanny comes along too and is working - and nanny MUST keep passport up to date

all nanny own choice hols to be agreed at least 2 months in advance

mummy hols - nice for nanny to know well in advance, but if she is being paid not really relevant

regarding 12 days annual own choice leave this is correct working on days
own choice leave plus public holidays ( 20 days divide by 5 times by 3 = 12 days)

curiousJuli Mon 01-Aug-11 12:09:58

Sounds very reasonable mollymole.I would be happy to work for you :-)

I am looking at the contract,we have put Xmas and either July/August there.

Obviously, we said we have to work around each other and has to suit both sides.That obviously didn't happen.
However,if it didn't suit her I didn't get paid and now it doesn't suit my it has to be taken out of my leave and I cannot have original holiday I planned for.

I am working 3 days a week ,10 hours a day,I am getting 12 days,plus bank holidays.

Is this correct nannynick?It syas on the web 14 days for those work 2.5 days.

curiousJuli Mon 01-Aug-11 12:13:59

Ok have just calculated should be 17 days.Do you count bank holiday toward the leave as well?Or is this outside your leave?

nannynick Mon 01-Aug-11 12:25:33

Depends on the contract. There is no automatic right to time off on bank/public holidays. So your employer could decide that you take every bank/public holiday falling on a working day off as part of your leave.

mranchovy Mon 01-Aug-11 13:03:55

Yes, it's now 16.8 days (which can be rounded up to 17). It sounds like the contract was drafted before the entitlement increased in October 2007.

But this can include bank holidays, so if your entitlement is 12 days plus bank holidays and one of your normal working days is a Monday you will get at least 16 days each year because Easter Monday and the 3 spring/summer bank holidays are always on a Monday, and in some years (particularly 2011 and 2012) you will probably find that at least 1 of the other bank holidays is on a working day too.

curiousJuli Mon 01-Aug-11 14:05:03

Thank you mranchovy.Very helpful.

And yes nannynick,I am aware I have a contract.I will bring this up when we talk and have a review.

I am feeling very demotivated today.Don't feel comfortable working after seeing that e-mail and not being able to discuss with her(she asked me to come on Friday to talk about it ) and pretend it didn't happen.

Oh well,I should stop moaning smile

Strix Mon 01-Aug-11 14:49:04

This sounds very diorganised on both sides. I agree with my nanny / au pair at the start of the contract which days will be hols. I do often ask that her hols are taken in the school hols, and I pick a few of my own (like American Thanksgiving and 4th of July). If she has something like a wedding, I'm flexible. If she wats two weeks off at short notice because it suits her boyfriend's boss' schedule, then it will probably be declined. She has no contractual right to choose her own holidays, but in practice I try to accommodate whereever I reasonably can.

StillSquiffy Mon 01-Aug-11 18:16:21

If you don't sit down and discuss it then it is only going to fester until you walk out. So you need to make sure that you do have the conversation to sort it all out, leaving no room for interpretation/misinterpretation.

10 hours is a normal nanny day so I would allow my nanny to have 3/5 X 28 = 17 days. Assuming that you do set days a week (eg mon/wed/fri) I would then subtract from those 17 days those mon/wed/fri that fall on a bank holiday each year, leaving you with, say, 14 days. Of those 14 I would allow 7 to be at my choice, 7 to be at nanny's choice. I would then ask Nanny to let me know with at least 1 month's notice, what days she will have.

That's the view from a parent and I would say that if you demanded anything more I might (if I were a parent) get a bit annoyed. Anything less than that seems a bit unfair on you. But these are all up for negotiation - there is no contractual right about who chooses the holidays dates themselves.

Your taking time out unpaid has, to be honest, only confused the situation - I can imagine her saying that you were determined to take the time off, come what may, even though it didn't suit her, and you bulldozed her by saying you would just take it unpaid, and refusing to work those weeks, even though you were required, and that at the time you were new and she didn't have the energy to stand up to you. I'm not saying that this IS the situation, just that this may be how she sees it. I imagine she will now turn round and say that you have used up your holiday entitlement in terms of the number of days, and she will now pay you off for those days that you took as unpaid (probably because she can't cope with all the days off you are taking/asking to take).

FWIW I would never ever allow a nanny to take extra days off unpaid - it just muddies everything up, especially when she obviously wanted you to work.

Anyway, what's done is done. You are entitled to 17 days and if you want the non-Bank Holiday days that you have to all fall outside of term-time you need to get that agreed on Friday too (I would personally never allow this and would instead insist that holidays out of term time can only be taken for exceptional reasons).

Given that your DH is in the teaching profession you migh tfind it far easier to nanny for a family in same profession because this problem will come up ALL the time otherwise - she will want more help in the holidays, not less, so will always get upset if you want to take time out then (for two reasons - before her DC are at school it is always cheaper/nicer to holiday out of season, after her DC are at school holidays are critical in terms of childcare needs if she isn't a teacher herself).

curiousJuli Tue 02-Aug-11 12:43:34

Thanx StillSquify for your advice.

I can't help though,thinking all the mums who replied,think I somehow forced this situation and bulldozed the family and so on.That's quite ridiculous thing to say,considering we both agreed on Xmas holidays and summer ones,and the compromise in Xmas was me taking one week unpaid,and now summer holidays are not on as we agreed at all.

I am getting quite fed up of us nanny's being portrayed in this way,considering this would never happen if I worked in the office.

If the family was honest and didn't make up stuff about not getting any leave and then all of sudden with short notice taking holidays,without me having any say in that,this situation would never happen in the first place.

Us nannies have families too and can't be treated like 2nd hand employees with no respect.

All I want is someone who can communicate better,not when it suits them.

I am feeling I have been penalized twice,first time for getting unpaid leave and now having it thrown at my face.I have always asked about any leave in advance,and compromised around their needs and would never go if it didn't suit them.

Strix Tue 02-Aug-11 13:15:17

You sound disgruntled. I think you should consider whether this employer / employee relationship is already beyond the point of repair.

You both should have put the holiday agreement in writing. This is not about all employers vs all nannies. There are plenty of employers on this thread trying to help you. And most of them are saying you should get to choose half of them. However, unless you contract explicitly gives you this right, the reality is your employer has every right to choose every one of your holidays. It is common for an employer to let the nanny choose half, but it is not the nanny's entitlement to do so.

I don't think your employer is sweetness and nice and you are to blame for this. I think you have neglected to seize the opportunity to communicate effectively.

But, you are still looking at this as the employer has done everything wrong, and think there perhaps the blame can be distributed a bit more evenly.

Strix Tue 02-Aug-11 13:16:56


I don't think your employer is sweetness and nice and you are both to blame for this. I think you have neglected to seize the opportunity to communicate effectively.

curiousJuli Tue 02-Aug-11 13:33:25

Yes,I probably sound disgruntled.My employer/employee relationships is not a close one.And I have worked with other families,who I am still friend with and much closer than here.But I respect her how she is.She wants to keep it professional,with no feelings involved it seems to me.I have not got even a card on my 30th birthday .Neither,on my son's,who I bring with me to work.
That's all fine,I can live with it.

I am trying to see what I am to blame for.For being flexible in choosing holidays in enough advance?Or taking unpaid leave when hearing a sob story she can't take a leave and finding out afterwards her mum looked after her son?Or cutting my 2 week holidays to one week,coz her mum can't look baby two weeks in row?Or the fact she books the holiday without discussing it with me and books it different date?Is this I am to blame for?

I would really like to hear what I am to blame for.For not communicating?This has been communicated from my side.All I can see from this that needs to be discussed half/half holidays of choice in the future and notice of 2 months at least on her side.That of course if I can get pass this dissapointment and see a bigger picture.

Strix Tue 02-Aug-11 13:59:10

You are still seeing only your side of the story. I don't know what hers is of course. But, I suspect it may be a slight variation on yours.

Now, some things you might have done to prevent this:

-Asked/insisted that holidays agreed in the contract before signing it.
-Formally requested any and all holidays in writing (i.e. you could have drafted and printed your own holiday approval form)

She, of course, could have done these same things. But, it is obvious to me from your tone that you are so so pissed off at the situation that you are unlikely to open your mind and see her side, whatever it is. I suspect you will resign, and when you do she will thank God becaue she is probaby just as annoyed with you as you are with her.

PS I am terrible at remembering nanny's birthdays. It doesn't mean I don't love them to bits. It does mean I am overworked between my formal job and looking after my family obligations too... which of course is why I have a nanny /au pair.

tiggersreturn Tue 02-Aug-11 14:08:53

The advice I received as an employer was you could request a nanny/employee to take half their holiday at times at your request and the other half at their desire subject to appropriate notice as per contract etc. We started our relationship with me stating by email which days I would include in my half and it worked out reasonably on that front although I did have to re-send that email at one point with her confirmation at the time to remind her that this had been agreed prior to starting. My nanny got additional holiday when we went away outside of those times ie she didn't work but was paid but obviously that didn't count towards her holiday allowance as that was our holiday. The only time her taking holiday would have been slightly problematic would have been solved by use of an emergency childcare service I get through work.

It sounds from your OP that the understanding on holidays was not clearly set out. In future I'd recommend summarising any discussion relating to holiday in writing at the start of the relationship (email is a very easy way). While it's nice of you to be considerate of your employer's needs it is up to them to run the relationship properly and they have to take into account that you will take holiday at times which are not convenient. The unpaid leave wouldn't really help IYSWIM other than contributing some cash towards a cover nanny, as they still lose your services.

If your contract did not allow your employer to behave in this way, refer to it. If it did, don't agree contracts with terms you find too onerous to keep (I'd find one allowing my employer the right to dictate all my holiday impossible) in the future.

You do have a responsibility for communicating to your employer too. If it was not made clear enough at the start that you really needed this holiday (and it shouldn't have come as a surprise to her) then you have to look at ways to improve this.

harrietthespook Tue 02-Aug-11 14:16:03

Reading your account I found it difficult to work out how much holiday you are entitled to and how many days off you have taken. Squiffy's post cleared the first part up for me. From the way you present it, it does sound like she is messing you around a bit with dates. It also sounds like you've had a lot of unpaid leave. I am not sure I am totally clear whether the employer refused to grant you the paid leave you were entitled to OR if this was your idea of a compromise and she felt obliged to accept it.

If these are extra days in addition to the number of days off you'd be entitled to, this is no real favour to the employer who still has to find alternative childcare. If you worked in an office it is unlikely you'd be granted the amt of unpaid leave you seem to have taken, by the way, except in special circumstances.

Is this her first nanny?

stoatie Tue 02-Aug-11 14:17:30

My childminders - stipulated their leave (asked for at least months notice so I could sort out work etc) but if we took holiday (for example we weren't able to go away at same time as childminder) then we paid as usual - so it didn't inconvenience CM at all

curiousJuli Tue 02-Aug-11 15:03:08

Of course I see it from both sides,and believe me there will be a time `i will need a nanny/CM and these unfortunate experiences will just teach me how to be a good employee.I am her first nanny.To be fair,this is my 3 family and never had an issue of holidays in previous ones as we had agreement on no work during half term as they were teachers.

-we have drawn a contract and put holidays for Xmas and summer but with no exact dates-but it was always known from beginning.
-I have formally requested holidays on every occasion(by e-mail),

When I started with them,she mentioned they never take holidays(or very rarely).So after Xmas I asked her when do they plan holidays.She said we don't plan them until summer.(but they still took them in Easter,which is fine,but it didn't help the fact I couldn't have organized my holidays on such a short notice and have taken unpaid leave in the march knowing they don't plan holidays)

I might show her a contract when I talk to her(or refer to it)
I am really up for fair sharing of holidays and tbh this will have to be assess as no unpaid leave in the future etc.The way I feel about September that this is outside of agreed time-hence I should be paid for it on top.

unpaid leave was her suggestion not mine.She justified it that she has to take it from her leave.there was one week prior to Xmas,as she already booked the week of Xmas and first week in January.
Another one was in March,as she said it will not be the time they want their holidays.

In terms of communication,yes there is always a room for improvement I believe.I do feel though I have been taken an advantage of because I was flexible,if it makes sense.I have written an e-mail after Easter saying we are flexible which 2 weeks in July and August we can take.Whereas,she booked September,that is not good for me and my H,without discussing it.

So yes thank you lovely ladies for your responses,it certainly gave me many ideas how to prevent this situation in the future and try to find the solution that is best for both sides.

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