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Nanny's "chosen" holiday - would you pay out?

(39 Posts)
BigGlassOfWine Fri 07-Dec-12 00:33:19

Our nanny is leaving shortly, and has just realised that she didn't take one of her "chosen" days. We have a contract which allows her to choose two weeks. However, she has had more than her total entitlement overall, as we have been away a bit, so she has had four days more than the total in her contract, and her contract is already two more than statutory. So I'm not feeling particularly sympathetic about paying out a day....
What do you think? Am I being unreasonable?

Also, she has always taken her two weeks as "extra", in the sense that there is never any overlap, she waits till we have chosen our days, then wants hers at other times. I thought the idea was more so that both sides could work out when to take holiday so as to be away at the same time - any thoughts how to handle this with future nanny? Get nanny to choose at beginning of the year?
Many thanks in advance!

higgle Sun 09-Dec-12 17:26:18

Our nanny used to come away with us and work when we were on holiday, that way we didn't need a baby sitter and could go to bars and museums etc. that small children sometimes find boring. She then had 4 weeks when she wanted, subject to plenty of notice. We would each take our remaining leave or get my mother down to help.

HSMM Sun 09-Dec-12 14:03:53

Agreed nannynick

nannynick Sun 09-Dec-12 13:54:37

Some employers will dictate some dates - when I worked in retail, between Xmas and New Year was a quiet time for us, so everyone had that time off. Nannying can be similar in that a family may always go away for certain weeks, so can specify those dates in advance.

HSMM Sun 09-Dec-12 13:53:05

Employers not employees

HSMM Sun 09-Dec-12 13:52:42

That's what I mean. Most employees will see if requested dates are convenient, rather than dictating dates.

difficultpickle Sun 09-Dec-12 13:48:13

Sleighbells in my experience it is usual for employees to apply for holiday and for employers to say whether they can take those days. It can easily be the position that an employer can tell an employee when to take their holiday. For example a colleague wanted time off over Christmas but was told they had to work. Fair enough as they had had time off over Christmas last year.

nannynick Sun 09-Dec-12 13:40:35

Nannies can request dates as well, their employer either approves or denies the request. It has to be convenient to all parties involved, nannies can't expect to take holiday whenever they like.

HSMM Sun 09-Dec-12 13:09:35

Yes ... but you can request the days you want. Employers (apart from a few, like schools) don't specify exact dates, with no alternatives.

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sun 09-Dec-12 11:38:55

Can anyone imagine if their employer turned round and said, "you have to have your holiday when we say you can"?


I imagine most people with a job can imagine that, since it's entirely standard.

Strix Sun 09-Dec-12 11:26:38

We write 12 month contracts and we agree all the holidays and write them into the contract at the beginning of the year. That way everyone has time to plan. I do ask nanny / au pair to avoid term time if possible, but i'm willing to compromise, depending on the reason and my work/holiday situation. I usually pick the American things like Thanksgiving and 4th of July, hand it over to her for her requests and then we discuss/agree from there.

She does not have a contractual right to announce her chosen dates, and certainly not at two weeks notice. All holiday requests are subject to approval... Just like they are in my job.

BigGlassOfWine Sun 09-Dec-12 10:17:24

Thanks all!
Yes, I guess it is down to better communication, and there is no good solution.
Just to clarify to some posters, I really don't mean I don't want to pay for days when I choose to be away, that wouldn't be fair. I also do want to let the nanny choose days, it's just that I don't think it's realistic for a nanny to expect a total of 8 paid weeks holiday, and (down to communication again!) we need to work out how to let nanny choose within 6 weeks (or a bit over, it's never going to quite work out).
As parents, we are "small employers", and if big employers don't pay more than 6 weeks, the only way for us to pay eight weeks holiday (and tax and NI) would then be to adjust a nanny's salary downwards, and that's not nice, either.
Thanks, nannynick, for comment re not putting it in the contract, I think that's what I might do, but really not to stop nanny choosing at all, just not to have to pay out where actual holiday days given is already over total number in contract.
But I have paid this time, you live and learn ;-)

KindleMum Fri 07-Dec-12 21:26:46

Yep, I'm always amazed at how many people think it's too awkward to clarify terms when you've just been offered a job - to me, it's far more awkward to have those chats after you start - and once you've started the job your negotiating position is weaker anyway.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 07-Dec-12 21:09:17

Very true kindle. That's the main thing - terms made clear at the start of the job smile

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Fri 07-Dec-12 17:43:28

KindleMum - that sounds like a great arrangement and one I'm sure most nannies would be happy with.

OP - What Outraged said ^^. Don't blame the nanny - you took the extra time off. She only took what she was contractually entitled to.

Why is your nanny leaving?

KindleMum Fri 07-Dec-12 17:03:01

Blondeshavemorefun - usually 2-4 weeks of it were in term time and exact dates were always known 9 months in advance. She really liked it as she was getting 8 weeks paid leave and would use some of that to do a temp job so while we were away she was earning very nicely and could always use that to make up for any unpaid days she might take. But the main thing was that the terms were clear from the start

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 07-Dec-12 15:55:28

'Does anyone have a good way of working the "you choose 2 weeks" method? I don't really think it's reasonable to say that those should always be extra, that means nannies should automatically get 8 weeks paid holiday'

No it doesn't! You take less holiday. If you have 6 weeks from your employer, you take 4 weeks and leave two so that you can take it when it's her choice. If you want to be really petty and just give her a total of 4 weeks even though you have 6, then you can take two weeks without giving her the time off (do your christmas shopping, go out with DH for the day etc, go away with friends for a few days etc). Then you've used your full 6 weeks allowance and the nanny hasn't had a minute extra!

Karoleann Fri 07-Dec-12 15:11:27

I'd def pay, its only one day after all. Our nannies have always had different two weeks to ours.

I did put a clause in our last two nanny contracts that if we were away for more than our two weeks, up to one week of it would need to be made up in babysitting.

MCPheast - it is very common for employers to dictate when holidays should be taken. A lot of companies shut between Xmas and new year and employees have to use their holiday allowance for then. Some factories traditionally shut for 2-3 weeks in August and again force their employees to have holiday in that period.

MariaMandarin Fri 07-Dec-12 14:19:14

I wouldn't expect the extra day's pay either, but I think you will have to pay up to keep the peace.

You haven't really organised things in the right way. You need to hold back some of your holiday time to cover her choice of weeks so that she doesn't end up with so much time off. Manage expectations as well, because it is not reasonable for employees to have a completely free choice of holiday, it does have to be in agreement with you as the employer.

How it works for me is that the family tell me their main holiday dates for the year, usually 2 weeks in summer and 1 at Easter, well in advance. I can request my own holiday weeks at any point, but they can also refuse those weeks if not convenient. We always come to a compromise.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 07-Dec-12 14:04:15

bigglassofwine i must read posts properly blush and not over multitasking having breakfast/putting on trainers to go to the gym grin

i didnt reliese nanny was quibbling over one day, i thought it was her two weeks she wanted paying and that you didnt want to pay that

so as you have given her extra holiday over the year, if i were her i wouldnt expect the extra days pay

but still say the same that nannies can expect to chose their 2 weeks whenever they want, if that has been agreed at interview and in contract

kindlemum out of curiosity are any of those 8 weeks in term time - generally i wouldnt take a job where i have no choice in the holiday, though 8 weeks is very tempting grin

KindleMum Fri 07-Dec-12 12:12:38

I think it's a common problem that when individuals employ someone, they don't make the terms clear enough - either through embarrassment in discussing it or through lack of experience. Clarity is incredibly important at the offering/taking the job stage as both parties can have very different ideas and experiences of what is normal.

We had a nanny previously, though not now. DH got 8 weeks holiday but timing was dictated by the employer and it was fixed typically 9 months in advance. Our contract with the nanny made it very clear from the outset (ie at interview, and then in writing) that she would get paid leave for the 8 weeks we were on holiday, plus bank holidays but if she wanted extra then it would have to be taken as unpaid leave. She was entirely happy with that (in fact as 8 weeks was more than she wanted, she used to temp while we were on holiday, which was fine by us) and was with us for 3 years, until we moved. We were extremely clear upfront about such things and I think that is key. We always told her straight away when we had the holiday dates fixed so she had plenty of notice. And it needs to be clarified in writing as people forget the details of conversations sometimes. Misunderstandings cause the most resentment in my experience.

Chalk this one up to experience and have a frank discussion of terms with your next nanny.

Novstar Fri 07-Dec-12 11:43:23

OP: I am sympathetic. At the end of the day, your nanny has had 6 days more paid leave than statutory min, so she's not exactly been cheated.

It probably depends on what rights you have given her in your contract (and yes definitely review it before next nanny), but employees don't have the statutory right to take days of their choosing off as paid leave - employers can decline requests, as long as they don't make it impossible for employee to take any paid leave. And employers have the right to say that employee must use up their entitlement on employer's chosen days. This might be useful.

My guess is that, if you have agreed in your contract to give nanny the right to have their chosen 2 weeks as holidays, then you must give them that. Are you OK to give her a holiday or is she asking for money in lieu? What does your contract say about pay in lieu?

I state in my contract that I have the right to allocate 2/3rd of the paid leave. Nanny doesn't have equivalent rights (but I try very hard to accommodate reasonable requests for leave and have never had to turn down a request for holdiays).

I suggest wtih the next one, you check with the reference how your candidate was like re holidays.

pushmepullyou Fri 07-Dec-12 10:59:15

With our nanny we choose 2 weeks and she chooses 2 weeks. We also have the week off between Christmas and New Year. If we have extra time off then contractually she takes this as unpaid leave, although in practice we have always paid her.

Rugbycomet Fri 07-Dec-12 10:44:20 was your choice that you took more holiday not hers and presumably she was available to work. Sorry but she is entitled to it.

fraktion Fri 07-Dec-12 10:27:30

With our nanny, and now with an au pair, we have restrictions in when holiday can be: not term time, not when DH is deployed (foreseeably, at least - I wouldn't cancel her holiday if he was called away as that's our problem). We don't specify an amount they can choose but accommodate reasonable requests - weddings, family holiday etc.

She does get a 4,5 day weekend every 2 weeks because of the way my timetable works though, so term time mini breaks aren't out of the question.

sleeplessinsuburbia Fri 07-Dec-12 09:53:39

My holidays are dictated unless I apply months in advance for extra leave and then they can be turned down and that's only if I have accrued the time.

If the prospective nanny didn't like the conditions (which sounds like many more weeks holiday than most people) she could decline the position??

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