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What would you do if your nanny phoned you in the evening to say that they couldn't get in to work the next day?

(29 Posts)
nannynick Wed 05-Oct-11 22:45:05

Sorry for the long thread title but it's exactly what happened today for me. I made that call, I told my boss that my car had a major problem.

There is more on my blog about the problem, so I won't bore you about that. I'll just say that I do now have a car for tomorrow morning, so I can get to work at the crack of dawn.

My boss is lovely (have to say that don't I as she is a mumsnetter smile) but honestly she is lovely, in a time of crises she doesn't seem to panic, least that's how it seems to me. Maybe she does panic really... it can't be good to have an employee call in to say they probably be at work in the morning.

What would you do if your nanny called in to say they couldn't make it in? Do you have any contingency plan for such a thing happening?

In the case of a car breaking down you would probably want your nanny to make as much effort as possible to get in to work. I've certainly been known to got to via taxi but that is far from ideal, as I need my car to drive the children to school.

With a nanny, you don't have backup if something goes wrong - do you? Things do go wrong at times, hopefully not often but it can happen.

Do you have a backup plan? Have you ever had to put it into practice? Should nannies have some sort of backup - if so what?

diggingintheribs Wed 05-Oct-11 22:50:49

Luckily my nanny lives within walking distance!

But theoretically speaking, I would offer to pay for a taxi if bus etc too difficult. Would also pay for a taxi for the school run. But then for me that would be a better option than having to take the day off.

ssd Wed 05-Oct-11 22:56:12

who's your boss op?

SazZaVoom Wed 05-Oct-11 22:58:30

I would hope mine would catch a bus (possible) and then walk to the school for pickups. However i think parents should always have a contingency plan as there is always the risk of someone letting you down (for whatever reason)

Bohica Wed 05-Oct-11 23:03:15

I'd want them to to ask a friend/relative and make their way in as soon as possible.

A text first to say there is a potential problem would give them an oppotunity to offer to pay for a cab/transport.

nannynick Wed 05-Oct-11 23:14:08

Ssd - not telling

Alas getting a bus and walking isn't an option for me given the location. Taxi would be my only alternative, then getting a hire car once the hire car place opened.

Rearranging work schedules, asking friends to help are things that some parents may be able to do to help resolve such situations.

I'm sure my boss would have coped but it's a pain to organise things at short notice and I feel so bad for letting my boss down. I suppose it's better than calling on the day itself.

So should the nanny have a backup plan, the parents, or both?

SazZaVoom Wed 05-Oct-11 23:18:36

I think both to an extent.

Lily311 Thu 06-Oct-11 06:22:58

I haven't called sick for years but when I did before parents asked me to find someone who can cover me. I found it very frustrating as I could hardly concentrate, I was really sick (stomach bug from charges) and it took me 2 hours to get another nanny in. I think parents should have a plan, I strongly believe that.

nooka Thu 06-Oct-11 06:36:18

Interesting. I think that both of our nannies would have rung with a plan of some sort which would probably have involved some inconvenience/compromise all round. I wouldn't expect them just not to come in. But they both did have lots of informal backup - one had family locally and the other had lots of nanny friends.

Of course if you have a nanny you have to expect the occasional disruption as they are an individual so there isn't that backup that you'd have with a nursery. As a parent I would expect to have some sort of contingency to cover potential illness. I think that dh and I probably did ask my mother to help once or twice, but I can't really remember so it can't have been often or that much of a nuisance.

nannynick Thu 06-Oct-11 06:54:57

Nooka - do you mean a plan such as arriving late?

I don't have friends or relative who can give me a lift to work. A lift to work does not help as a car is needed to do the job.

If I had got a taxi to work, the brokendown car back at my house is still a problem and due to working 7-7 would remain a problem for the next day. So my plan was to get the car fixed asap (getting loan car if necessary) so I could get to work eventually, unfortunately at an unknown time.

Whilst I am sure nannies will try their best to find a soluition to the problem. However if they are sick, in hospital, are they really in a position to make alternative arrangements?

nooka Thu 06-Oct-11 07:08:17

Yes, or one of their friends/family doing a pick up, or dh picking up the nanny and then lending our car or dh/me taking them to school but the nanny picking up - something like that? And only if it was a non terrible event to be catered for - if the nanny was ill then she/he should just be concentrating on getting better! Obviously it depends on the circumstances and your relationship too, and as you say sometimes there just aren't any alternative arrangements that can be made, in which can the priority should be on fixing the car as quickly as possible.

rubyslippers Thu 06-Oct-11 07:08:34

Being sick in hospital is a different thing from not being able to get to work - but both have the same effect

We sort of have a back up - MIL can usually help out or I have to work from home

My nanny doesn't have any cover ... She hasn't built a network up like that

I would deffo prefer a call in the evening rather than the morning about the issues you are talking about

AAAvegetable Thu 06-Oct-11 07:16:27

This is the biggest risk of having a nanny: as mentioned earlier they are just one person and may get sick, have a family crisis etc etc etc.

Many of my local friends have nannies/au pairs so I would beg one of them to help (& pay them for it). that would be fine for a day or two, it's long term absence I fear.

peggyblackett Thu 06-Oct-11 07:27:44

Panic grin.

Seriously, I would ask our CM, who has the dcs on Friday, to cover. If she couldn't cover, and my mum definitely couldn't help, then it would be a game of rock paper scissors with DH to determine who needed to take the day off.

Ciske Thu 06-Oct-11 07:38:59

Every sensible parent should have a plan B (grandparents, friends, other nannies etc.) before they invoke plan C (take time off work).

peggyblackett Thu 06-Oct-11 08:18:00

It is slightly harder for us. Friends generally aren't queuing up to take dd1 for the day (she's profoundly disabled). That is a bit of a bugger.

ChildrenAtHeart Thu 06-Oct-11 09:30:01

Not a nanny and never used one but coming from a different perspective, why as parent employers of the nanny would you expect the nanny to have a back up plan of who would care for your children if nanny couldn't? Obviously, if it was a mechanical type thing (break down of car, plumbing emergency etc) then I would expect the Nanny to make every attempt to get to work as soon as they reasonably could & to inform me at the earliest opportunity, but if they were ill or had a family emergency that meant they couldn't come in I don't think its reasonable they should find alternative arrangements for the children. I'm coming at this from the angle of a previous job in which I was the employer. If one of the employees phoned in sick I wouldn't expect them to then organise an alternative member of staff for me - I was the employer, that was my responsibility. Does that make any sense.

Nick you are very considerate to be even thinking about this as I'm sure many employees wouldn't. It's also probably testimony to how nice your boss is as if she wasn't a good boss you'd be less concerned (though always professional lol!)

ChitChattingWithKids Thu 06-Oct-11 12:10:23

Well I think both nanny and parents should have some sort of back up plan, TBH. Quite often it would be better for nanny to come in late rather than not come in at all. It's possible to get car insurance on a car for 1 day to enable the school run to happen, so the boss' car could be left at home and THEY could catch a taxi to work. Perhaps another parent might be willing to pick child up for school run, especially if only 1 child going to school (and other DC are at home).

harrietthespook Thu 06-Oct-11 12:59:19

OUr first nanny was a bit too eager to deploy her 'back up plan' when she had an issue - she assumed it would be okay for her daughter to take charge of DD when in reality this was not okay with me but didn't go down well when I'd refuse. I believe that she did leave DD with her on the odd occasions we weren't asked about first.

I just think it's better for the parents to organise their own alternative care with the person they are most comfortable with.

With the car issue and you're in an area where it's the main form of transport...well...sh** happens as they say. My employer wouldn't poay for me to come into work (or for other employees earning round about what a full time live out nanny in London might earn) but I think I would consider some sort of contribution to a taxi. I don't think the nanny should expect this as a matter of course though.

harrietthespook Thu 06-Oct-11 13:00:42

But as an employer...with the car issue you can't freak out about it either. It's just one of those things. I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it, I'm sure they'd recognise it wasn't your fault.

If my nanny couldn’t get in to work at the last minute, I would be in a fix as we have no family support nearby, my boss is very unsympathetic to working mothers and DH travels regularly, so I can't even count on him. The last time my nanny was ill, i had to take emergency leave and re-schedule a number of meetings and missed an important deadline. But I would never blame the nanny – stuff like this happens and you deal with it. We had a lovely nanny and i would have never wanted her to feel awkward about not being able to make it to work if there was a genuine reason.

I have access to an emergency childcare hotline provided by our childcare voucher company as part of my company benefits. Essentially you can call them right up to 8am on the day you need childcare and they can send you an ‘emergency’ nanny. You pay a ridiculous amount of money per hour but you get peace of mind. So far, i’ve managed to avoid using it, not so much for the money but the guilt i would feel at leaving very young DCs with a stranger but at least it’s there for the ‘just in case all other options fail’ situation.

And no, it shouldn’t be the responsibility of the nanny to have a backup plan, the employers should be the ones to do so.

headfairy Thu 06-Oct-11 14:49:08

We moved to be close to my parents so they could spend more time with their grandchildren, but the bonus is that my mum is my back up plan. If they're away, I'd possibly ring in work and say my childcare has fallen through. Sometimes they'll put it down as a sick day or a day of parental leave. I offer to sacrifice a days annual leave if necessary sometimes, but that's if I'm desperate or they sound very annoyed. If it's a Friday, our old nanny doesn't work Fridays so I'd call her and see if she was free. Or our old childminder is another one I could try.

Ladymuck Thu 06-Oct-11 15:00:21

Well firstly I would be very grateful that I had a call the previous evening. So much easier than finding out in the morning! And ultimately there isn't always a set plan B. So in your current example, I may have considered how else you could get here, and how we could split the costs. I may have a spare car, or someone who could lend me a car. I may have friends who could do the school run for my children provided you were at my home to hand over the children etc. And I have resorted to the emergency nanny.

But the most important thing is that by communicating early, I have time to look at all my options. So you'd certainly have ticked that box!

chandellina Thu 06-Oct-11 15:13:19

Fortunately my husband's work has "emergency childcare" arrangements with a chain of local nurseries so that is our backup. You ring them up and they find you a spot at one of the locations.

I wouldn't expect the nanny to be responsible for backup though. At worse the parent takes the day off work.

Our nanny's car had to go into the garage last week so she took a taxi to ours and was given rides home.

Different story entirely if this was some regular thing.

fraktious Thu 06-Oct-11 18:23:08

I would be ringing everyone I knew who might be able to cover and sending an email to admin to put a notice up saying I may not be able to teach. But we have a live in nanny partly for this reason.

If she said she was sick the night before though I'd beg someone to come babysit DS. I'm lucky in that at the moment there are a fair few people with free time who would be happy to help out just to cover my core teaching hours and I can flex my schedule a bit.

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