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Nanny calling in sick: how much information should I ask for?

(24 Posts)
CluelessMB Mon 08-Oct-12 20:15:42

Name changed for this.

I managed to persuade DH to go for a nanny on a trial basis for our two pre-schoolers. It's just for one day per week.

She was supposed to start last Monday, but asked if she could start today, as she had a hospital appointment last Monday. I agreed to this, even though it was fairly inconvenient (and made clear in advert and interview that job to start in late September/early October).

Fast forward to last night - she texted me at 9pm to say that she had been admitted to hospital and wouldn't be able to come in today. Not much she can do about that I know, so again, I was sympathetic even though it left me totally up the creek childcare wise and I had to take the day off work today as no one else to take kids.

However, I've been wondering whether she should be telling me what the matter is? She didn't specify in her text, and I'm starting to think it might be a long term problem that is going to affect her reliability (and reliability is really important, as we have no back-up at the moment, and me taking random short notice days off goes down like a lead balloon with my employers).

Can I ask her - or would it be inappropriate? Starting to get a bad feeling about the whole situation...

ok cynical part of me thinks "b0ll0cks" all sounds a bit flaky to me couldnt start last week and admitted to hospital last night - I would say she has failed to start the job and therefore contract hasnt started and cut my losses and look again

the nicer part of me thinks she had an appointment last week so poss has a medical problem and therefore the hospital admission seems plausable

for a one day a week job do you need the hassle - do you want husband to be proved right as obv he didnt want a nanny/wasnt keen on idea

I am more thinking my cynical side is right!!!

HolyAutumnGoldBatman Mon 08-Oct-12 20:55:53

how much information should I ask for?

My normal answer to this would be 'none'. Either you trust that she's sick or you don't. If she's in hospital the last thing she wants is to have to text you details of her illness.

However, I see what you mean about wondering if this is going to be a long term health problem. I think you either need to ask her (when she's out of the hospital) or cut your losses and go with someone else. I'm not sure what the legalities would be if you withdrew the job offer/sacked her based on ill health though?

2plus1 Mon 08-Oct-12 21:37:34

I would be concerned as she hasn't actually started the job. Is she really sick or checking out another job? If she has failed to start her job then I would have thought you could effectively dismiss the contract with her and try again (Has she actually signed a contract?). Unless you have a sickness pay policy in your contract with her she will not be paid for these days as SSP won't be activated this early on. Alternatively, if you decide to use ie a childminder or nursery etc you could make the position redundent as long as you don't employ another nanny within a year.

We had a nanny who went off sick very early and was actually concealing a pregnancy. They worked their 6 months for MA eligibility and then left.......

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 08-Oct-12 23:09:56

I would expect to be speaking to my new employer personally and providing some more details. I mean- am I really the only person who thinks it would be normal to pick up the phone for a chat? What would be the reason not to even to say its only temporary or no it's not and you need to make arrangements for next wk?

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 08-Oct-12 23:10:57

I see holy's point but really this early in I think some disclosure is in order.

stella1w Mon 08-Oct-12 23:59:06

My work expect me to tell them why i am ill.

scoobywoo Tue 09-Oct-12 00:29:59

Yeah give her a call tonight and ask if "everything is ok"? Anyone who is going to be any good in their job would be extremely apologetic to let you down for the first two occasions!!

NutellaNutter Tue 09-Oct-12 10:29:37

Personally I think you should just cut your losses and find someone else.

Novstar Tue 09-Oct-12 10:30:58

I think it's basic courtesy to telephone for a two-way chat if you're not turning up for work, especially if you are starting a new childcare job and trying to build up trust. Whatever the sickness is, she's failed to communicate appropriately with you. So I'd cut your losses and find someone else. (I admit I am biased though, because I had once a nanny who texted me about her absence for 3 days before job started, and then when she actually started, turned out to be unreliable, entitlement-driven and left after 2 months).

Catsdontcare Tue 09-Oct-12 10:33:23

I think texting a new employer rather than phoning is really poor, even if she had got a family member to phone you that would have been better. I would cut my losses tbh

NeDeLaMer Tue 09-Oct-12 10:34:31

I would cut my losses now. She sounds completely unreliable and worst of all, unable to communicate effectively with you. You do not just 'text' in sick - you phone, especially when you haven't already built up a relationship. If texting is completely unavoidable, you put some information in there - it's common decency.

Bossybritches22 Tue 09-Oct-12 10:35:18

Texting IMHO is definately a no-no when communicating with a boss /employee.

Totally unprofessional. If she was taken into hospital as an emergency can't be helped but SOMEONE could have rung if she couldn't herself.

I'd cut my losses for one day a week-had she signed a contract?

PedanticPanda Tue 09-Oct-12 10:37:04

I don't think you should ask what she is being admitted for, she's stil entitled to her privacy, but you should ask if frequent hospital appointments are going to be a recurrent thing as it affects your work.

andrea29 Tue 09-Oct-12 12:01:03

I agree, it's totally unprofessional behaviour. I am a nanny and would never dream of just texting my employer if I needed a day off sick.
She doesn't sound very decent and it is a very bad start of your relationship.
She might be in the hospital but unless really sick and unable to talk, I would call my employer and be very very apologetic.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 09-Oct-12 12:31:11

Very unprofessional - texts go astray

Cut your Loss's and look for new nanny

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Tue 09-Oct-12 12:58:17

Agree unprofesssional, I'm a nanny and have just had several weeks off sick, there were times like when I was initially rushed into hospital that I was to unwell to speak to my employer so I had to ask my DP to phone them on my behalf but on the whole I felt it was my resposibility to keep them up to date with what was going on. Ive worked for them for over 3yrs so have a good working relationship and until recently an impeccable sickness record but if it was a new job I would have been doubly concious of making sure I was communicating properly.

I think you need to have a proper chat with her and find out if this is an ongoing issue

louisianablue2000 Tue 09-Oct-12 13:21:03

I think it is perfectly reasonable to ask for information on why she has taken time off sick. At my work we have a 'back to work' form we have to fill in after sick leave. If it's just a cold or sickness bug it takes minutes to fill in but if e.g. someone has been off a few weeks/months after an operation it prompts us to set up a meeting with the occupational health professionals to plan the return to work. We are good employers and a good employee with a genuine illness will be helped as much as possible in their return to work and formalising the procedure allows that to happen. So approach her from that 'I want to help you out' viewpoint (after all she might very well be genuinely sick) but if she doesn't co-operate then drop her.

I'm less concerned about the text than others, my line reports regularly text me about work issues but that is partly because you can't guarantee you'll get someone at their desk (plus if someone texts me about having a day off the evening before that allows me to potentially say no whereas if they phone work in the morning that isn't an option).

HolyAutumnGoldBatman Tue 09-Oct-12 14:03:53

This is slightly off point, but I wouldn't focus too much on the text thing OP, unless you specifically asked your nanny to phone if she was going to be sick.

I always text if I'm going to be off sick in my current job. It's a system that works for us, I wouldn't do it if my employers didn't like it (they actually prefer it). It is completely unfair to infer that I am unprofessional because my employers and I use a different system to that which you use with your employers bossybritches, andrea, Blondes and smiling.

Bossybritches22 Tue 09-Oct-12 15:04:35

Holy if it works for you both & is mutually agreed as acceptable then that's fine. grin

The text thing as you call it is a relatively new thing and not accepted by everyone (for that read old gimmers like me!)

It really doesn't matter WHAT the agreed procedure is between employer /employee as long as it is agreed & clarified by both parties. The unprofessional bit is presuming/assuming that a new boss is OK with it before you even start a job.

Always good to be a bit more formal in a new job till you thrash out the details!

GockandJuice Tue 09-Oct-12 15:21:53

My employer prefers text if your sick so that's a personal thing. I do think your within your rights to ask what the problem is, I wouldn't be offended if I was asked and if I'm ever sick I have to complete a back to work form anyway and list what was wrong with me.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 09-Oct-12 16:24:58

Ditto bossy - it's what works for you and your employer and has been discussed so fine smile

But as a new nanny who hasn't even started yet - texting to me is unprofessional

HolyAutumnGoldBatman Tue 09-Oct-12 19:53:09

The point is though that we don't know what this nanny has been used to in her previous jobs. This is only a one day a week job so maybe she has another job where texting is fine and she's just sent a text to both her employers. She's sick and in hospital, I think condemning her as unprofessional is unnecessarily harsh and unfair.

In an ideal world, she should have checked how her employer would like to be notified of sickness, but it's a reasonable, understandable mistake she's made by texting (from her hospital bed) instead of calling. Surely even the most professional nannies make the odd mistake?

Frakiosaurus Tue 09-Oct-12 20:22:18

The text thing I agree is a red herring. You received it, that's the main thing. If you prefer not to do it by text then you can tell her and she should adjust. I'm with holy there.

The bigger issue is whether she genuinely is sick, which presumably you have no reason to doubt, and is it a long term pre-existing condition. Did you ask at interview whether she had any health issues?

What does your contract say about providing doctors notes? Would you feel confident asking whether in view of her recent hospitalisation you need to make reasonable adjustments?

Do you feel that her behaviour around this has made the working relationship too difficult to sustain? You can't get rid for being sick, particularly if its covered under the DDA, but you can for dishonesty or if you feel the relationship isn't going to work (eg you have extremely strong views on texting in sick).

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