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Nanny returning from maternity leave

(25 Posts)
EJLstressed Sat 27-Oct-12 14:19:37

Hi, we had a great nanny who got pregnant. She is now keen to return to work, but she wants to bring the little one with her.

I gave her some positive messages about returning to work after maternity leave with the little one before she left on leave as I didn't know how things would work out, but nothing was written down. I have really challenged myself hard and have torn myself apart as I'm loyal to her, but I can no longer see how this will work. My eldest (5) has just started school and my youngest (3) is an energetic little thing who goes swimming, to gymnastics etc and I can't see how the nanny can cope with the school run and all of the clubs etc with her own little one in tow.

I told the nanny last week. She was understandably upset. After a trip to citizens advice, she has since sent me a letter asking me to think again - some of the wording in there suggests that she will take me to an employment tribunal if I don't concede.

Help! I have a good nanny who covered her maternity who wants to stay on, but I'm torn - can't see how my original nanny will work with her little one (who she is refusing to leave at home) and don't want to end up in an ET. Even worse, I'm scared that the nanny will return and take another chunk of mat leave shortly as she's made no secret of the fact that she'd like a large family.

Any advice welcome!! Feeling very lost.

nannynick Sat 27-Oct-12 14:29:49

You don't have to keep the job open for her unless she will do it WITHOUT bringing her baby. You have nothing in writing or email saying she can bring baby with her.

Offer her the job subject to her Not bringing baby.

Seek legal advice.

EJLstressed Sat 27-Oct-12 14:30:58

To be clear, I'm more than happy for her to come back to work without her little one, ie under exactly the same terms as her job was on before she left on mat leave. It's the fact that she wants to bring her little one with her that I have an issue with.

noviceoftheday Sat 27-Oct-12 14:31:08

She is entitled to return to the job that she left and has no entitlement to bring her child to work unless her originally employment contract says differently. Same as any other job. That is how I would respond, in the nicest possible way.

She would not win at an employment tribunal. I am very surprised that the CAB advised otherwise. I am not a lawyer so will wait for an employement specialist to come along.

2plus1 Sat 27-Oct-12 15:05:16

We were in a similar position earlier in the year where our pregnant nanny assumed she would return with her 4 month old baby. I had numerous reservations about this situation namely our three toddlers, logistics (car buggy etc), extra equipment baby gates, highchairs, cot, restricting access to toddlers toys with small parts, our dog not abliging etc. There were too many things to allow this to happen in my opinion for our situation. Anyway after seeking some legal advice (I suggect you try ACAS) we said no to her. Firstly, she has to put the request in writing and you have to consider it, then reply in writing. If your contract is for sole charge looking after just your children then she is requesting a change in the contract which you are under no obligation to agree to. She is entitled to return to her existing job without the baby. If you do not agree to the change in contract for her baby to come along then she either has to agree to the same terms or hand in her notice. Also bear in mind that if you were to accept the change in contract then you can also amend her salary accordingly ie a drop of 1/4-1/3 of her current salary to make up for the fact it will then be a shared contract. Also would need to consider sick leave for her child or if yours are sick and she doesn't want baby getting it etc. Don't accept the pressure she is applying by letter. It is a perk to take your child to work with you and not pay childcare and not an assumption. It is your choice as her employer and not hers.

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 27-Oct-12 15:49:43

a good nanny worth her salt can easily cope with a 5yr and 3yr and new baby and doing school runs/clubs etc

this is what i had when mb had no 3 - i managed it perfectly well smile how do you think other mums cope with 3 children?

saying that it is totally up to you if you dont want your nanny to come back with her child, it is a privledge (sp) to be allowed to bring your baby to work as a nanny, not a given right

so offer her in writing her old job back minus her baby and see what happens

would temp nanny be happy to take job on as a perm

LoopyLoopsOlympicHoops Sat 27-Oct-12 15:56:10

Why on earth do you think she won't cope? That says a lot about how you see her skills to be honest. You are of course not obliged to honour your agreement, but you reasons seem flimsy and from an outside perspective you sound a little mean about it.

This: "(who she is refusing to leave at home)" is odd. What will she do for her own child care? Is there someone at home with whom she will be able to leave her baby? Surely it makes sense to allow this - you pay less and she combines motherhood with her job, which shouldn't be too difficult for an experienced nanny.

Karoleann Sat 27-Oct-12 16:04:22

No other type of employee would ever expect to return to work with a baby so why should she.
You are completely entitled to say that she can not come back to work with her baby.
I have children with the same age gaps as she would with her baby and yours and it is impossible to do certain things, why should your children suffer? I hired a nanny as it allowed me to do the things that I wouldn't have been able to do with the three children.
I would out in writing that you have considered the job and she is entitled to come back under the same terms as before as is your legal right.

EJLstressed Sat 27-Oct-12 17:53:41

All - thanks so much. Maybe my fears that she won't cope with 3 kids is down to my own failings!!

Fair challenges from you all about her coping, but 2plus1 nails it on the head when she asks about sick leave for her child etc. I'm in a relatively full on job, my husband is too and it's hard enough to keep the plates spinning!

Have more confidence now I think - prob useful for me to the lawyers at nannytax on Monday? Are there any lawyers on mumsnet that can advise in advance? Keen to get something drafted to send on to nanny as soon as possible, not least to be fair and clear with her about where she stands.

Thanks so much, any further thoughts very welcome.

ecuse Sat 27-Oct-12 18:30:11

I would be wary about saying you don't want her back because she might have to take parental leave. It's her legal right and to say you don't want her back in case she exercises it sounds pretty dodgy to me. It effectively discriminating against women with children - how would you have liked it if your job hadn't let you return in case you took time off when your child was sick? I bet you'd have wanted to sue their pants off. Anyway I would think she'd be more likely to come to work when her kid was sick if she could bring it with her than if she left in childcare so could work out better for you?

Of course you don't HAVE to let her come back with her child but I can't see why not. Plenty of people have three kids! If she starts saying she can't or won't take your daughter to her afterschool clubs etc you can presumably either ask her to leave or to make alternative child care arrangements? You could offer a trial period with the baby to see how it goes and if you feel like it's not working out review your respective positions.

ecuse Sat 27-Oct-12 18:34:19

Plus as 2plus1 says, you're probably within your rights to reduce her pay since you're essentially entering into a nanny share with her. You could put the money aside to pay for emergency childcare or cover the odd day of unpaid parental leave grin

nannynick Sat 27-Oct-12 18:34:55

The mumsnetters who are employment lawyers often hang out over in Legal Matters. So can be worth posting there but it's certainly worth using any legal helplines you are able to access such as via your nanny payroll company and home insurance. Before calling them, have it very clear what the question is you are asking as it's often a very time limited call.

nannynick Sat 27-Oct-12 18:38:55

Also try posting in Employment Issues to get the attention of mumsnetters who work in the employment law field.

fraktion Sat 27-Oct-12 20:30:29

Agree you are perfectly within your rights to refuse to accept her bringing her DC and that she will probably resign. If that's all there is to it you don't have anything to worry about.

What was the agreement before she went on ML?

EJLstressed Sun 28-Oct-12 00:30:12

ecuse - absolutely fair shout. Would have wanted to sue their pants off! Simply want stability for my family though, and to be clear that's a tiny factor in the overall.

SaraBellumHertz Sun 28-Oct-12 06:47:10

EJL I've replied on legal matters but I just wanted to add that I absolutely don't think you are being unreasonable in not wanting your nanny to return with her baby.

There is a world of difference in parenting your own three DC and the dynamics involved in being employed to look after two DC whilst also taking care of your own.

Good luck

imamummyandananny Sun 28-Oct-12 07:41:23

Pease Give your nanny some credit.

I realise it's ultimately your decision to allow your any and child to return to work, but if she's as good a nanny as you say she should be able to cope.

I returned to work with my 11 weeks old baby, to a family that had three children. That was 3 school runs and activities, but I never thought I couldn't manage. I also provided all my own equipment, including a double buggy!

Many women have more than 2 children and cope very well.

I hope you make the right decision x

diddl Mon 29-Oct-12 18:52:58

Of course it´s likely that she´ll cope.

But surely an issue is whether or not you want to pay her to be also looking after her baby & therefore looking after yours less.

stclemens Tue 30-Oct-12 08:59:00

Hi I let my nanny come to work with baby. But I think it only really works when baby is really young or children are close in age. When my nanny's baby became a crawler we needed to baby proof the house which for us was a negative and then put stuff away that he would damage/chew/ destroy! otherwise (and not everything escaped). Plus needing to work activities around him - some just weren't suitable for him. I have to admit it was a pain and although he was cute and kids loved him, would be wary of doing it again.

Ebb Tue 30-Oct-12 14:13:41

You are under no obligation to let your nanny bring her baby to work. She may cope brilliantly and it could all work out fine but if you end up feeling rail roaded into accepting her back with her baby, you'll end up resenting both her and her child and I think the relationship between you and your nanny would potentially end up feeling very strained. The fact that some of the wording in her letter hints at her taking you to a tribunal is not a good sign tbh. I'd be annoyed at that as you have no legal obligation to accept her back with her child and if she wanted to take you to a tribunal then I'd let her!

Offer her the job formally without her child. If she resigns then you can offer it to your temp nanny.

I left my job when I had my first as I knew my employers views on bringing my child to work. That was something I took into consideration when planning my family. I was lucky enough to find a job where my DS was welcomed and he and my ex-charge are still very close. ( I think it worked really well due to them being close in age so routine / toys / activties were all similar. )

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 30-Oct-12 15:00:03

OP: did you say anything to the nanny about future maternity leaves?

Because I'm wondering really whatever gave the idea she could take you to a tribunial. It seems strange that the CAB would give her that advice, that they would be so incompetent.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 30-Oct-12 18:04:28

I mean, if you've offered her her job back under the original terms but just said no, you can't bring the baby, she would have no claim.

I can't see how the CAB would have advised her that she did.

Which is what makes me wonder if she is looking at the discrimination option if something about future maternity leaves slipped out during your talk.

bbcessex Tue 30-Oct-12 18:20:58

Posted this on legal matters - not sure which one you're keeping track off. Good luck, let us know how you get on.

Good luck with this. I've had two nannies with their own babies which worked out well at the time (wouldn't be my choice now that my children are older but was then).

However - that was my choice, not my nanny's. You are really not comfortable with it, and I do strongly suggest you listen to your instincts, make the decision and stick to it.

You are quite within your rights as an employer to stick to the "return to work under same conditions" rules at this stage. However, if you caved under pressure, and allowed her to bring the baby for a period of time, and THEN changed your mind, it would be entirely different and you would be really stuck then.

If I were you, the fact that she's gone to the CAB about it and you know about it as well, doesn't bode well for a nanny/employer relationship (in my book). Being a nanny / employing a nanny needs a different sort of relationship over and above that of a 'traditional' job, and I don't think I would be happy to continue with someone I was no longer comfortable with. They will be in your house with your children - it's not an anonymous office environment, so to my mind, it makes things a bit harder.

Ask the NannyTax legal team for guidance. I'd stick to your instincts on this one.

SamSmalaidh Tue 30-Oct-12 23:13:34

Surely her own child being sick will be an issue regardless of whether the baby comes with her or goes to a childminder?

WindyAnna Wed 31-Oct-12 00:01:49

Wrote a long response to this last night and managed to delete it!

There is a big difference between a mum of more than one coping and someone you pay to look after your child "coping" - it is not about coping it is about doing a professional job.

I let my nanny come back after her 1st and 2nd child. I would be lying if I said it was ideal, my DD could no longer go to all the activities I wanted her to - often because they weren't baby friendly or required nanny to take part (e.g. toddler swimming lessons for mine with nowhere to leave baby). After the second one it was worse, my DD was bigger so needed less support at activities but they still needed to be arranged around nap times and feed times - not always practical - and nanny had 2 people to keep entertained while DD danced, all nanny's DD1 wanted to join in and put nanny in awkward situation. I did it because my DD loved nanny like a second mommy and because she was utterly caring and brought DD up as I would. Yet more downsides though - baby proof house and stinky nappies long after we would have had them, more people to get ill = more time off for nanny and the biggest most mahoosive one of all the utter heartbreak for my daring DD when her "sisters" left - she had grown up with them and when nanny left it was like losing family for all of them sad All 3 of them are still suffering from this two months down the line ...rotten for them ... when they get together it is soooooo lovely!

New nanny has baby - she is after school and holidays and frankly wouldn't have got anyone without own child. all good so far ... but I do understand the downsides and my contract with nanny is clear that it is a benefit to bring her baby to work. As PPs have said there is no right to bring the child to work and a tribunal will not find in her favour.


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