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Nanny sick an awful lot, not sure what to do

(16 Posts)
BahamasPrincess Mon 12-Aug-13 09:53:55

Our nanny has been with us just over 3 months. In this time she has had at least 7 days off sick. The first couple were because of bugs/colds. She was then in hospital overnight because of an infection. She has just called in sick again today because of a bug. In ten years of working I haven't had more than 5 or 6 days off, same with my husband so I'm really struggling to understand how someone can be ill all this time.

I'm having to use up favours from friends and family, my work are great but it just looks so rubbish and I'm not sure how much longer they are going to be understanding.

Our kids have found the last few months really difficult with a change of nanny and they are finally just accepting her so I'm loathed to just get rid of her.

Basically my question is am I being unreasonable to think this is an awful lot of time off? I've paid her in full for all the days, her contract says it should only be SSP, should I enforce this?

My view is that unless she is in hospital she should try and make it in and if she has to have a quiet day with kids so be it, but that's no different to what SAHMs do.

We've just been on holiday for 2 weeks, and she came with us for some of it and spending 24hrs a day with her really shocked me as she doesn't really look after herself so it's not surprising she's ill a lot - should I bring that up or is it a step too far?

Just really sad and frustrated at the moment as had an amazing nanny for 2 years previously who only had 1 day off in that time and I never worried about her coming in whereas now I dread Monday mornings in case she doesn't turn up.....

Cindy34 Mon 12-Aug-13 10:05:55

Does your nanny realise how inconvenient it is when they call in sick? Do they realise that you don't mind too much if they have a quiet day if not feeling great but that having a cold is not a reason to have time off?

Could you have a return to work meeting and discuss about how much time off they are having and that you really can not afford to pay them in full for sick days and that the SSP rules will kick in.

Did previous employers mention anything about sickness record?

Will things improve? Whilst you may not want to change nanny, what happens if they keep taking time off?

SuperiorCat Mon 12-Aug-13 10:13:57

An acquaintance of mine used to openly take the piss with sick days...until she got SSP only and miraculously her health improved. Now her illness could be genuine, but if someone is only a bit poorly and unlikely to get paid they are more likely to go in and have a quiet day, the same as most of the dedicated nannies on here would.

Seb101 Mon 12-Aug-13 13:10:30

That is loads of sick days!! this is not normal with any nannies i know. Most drag themselves into work unless very very poorly. Regardless of whether she is genuinely ill on all those occasions or not; I'd definately stop paying sick pay. It sounds to me like she is probably feeling a bit rough/cold/ minor illness, and is calling in sick knowing that she'll get paid. If she's not getting paid I'd imagine you'd see a noticeable improvement in attendance!! I'd talk to her about it. Maybe suggest that your happy to pay a maximum of 4 days a year sickness. That seems more than fair if she only works 2 days a week.
Another idea could be to offer a bonus if she takes no sick days. Eg, maybe £200 Xmas bonus if she has a year with no sickness. Or a smaller bonus every 6 months. I know you shouldn't have to offer these type of bonuses, but they could be a good incentive, and might solve the problem without you having to replace this nanny with someone else. Obviously bonus could be less, just picked £200 as example.
Whatever you decide I'd try to nip this in the bud asap. Good luck grin

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 12-Aug-13 13:53:34

What did her references say about sickness? I think that's the best way to get an idea of whether she's having a bad time health-wise or a taking the piss.

I always try and give people the benefit of the doubt. There are a lot of norovirus type bugs that don't normally require hospitalisation, but you really couldn't (and shouldn't) go to work with. Having said that, it is a lot of sick days.

I would speak to her about it. Tell her it will be ssp only next time because you just can't afford otherwise, tell her that you don't mind her coming to work with a bug and don't mind her having a quiet day if needed. See if things improve.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 12-Aug-13 13:53:52

Most nannies will go into work if feeling poorly and have a duvet/sofa/tv/quiet day

I do think that every nanny/employee should have sick pay in their contract as part of the package - I've always had 4/6 sick weeks in my contract (very lucky) and only used then when had a blood clot and went to my lung sad and spent 9days in hospital sad

I think fair to both employer and employee is a week over the year

I bet if you start paying ssp which I think kicks in after 3 days and about £88 a week that your nanny will suddenly stop having so many sick day

nannynick Mon 12-Aug-13 14:03:08

"now I dread Monday mornings in case she doesn't turn up." Does that mean that the sick day is often a Monday? Wonder what's happening at the weekend.

minipie Mon 12-Aug-13 14:13:12

Agree with nannynick about Mondays, also it sounds like she doesn't give you any notice when she's sick? when I am ill I can usually tell the evening before that the next day will be bad, it would be unusual to wake up in the morning feeling so bad I couldn't work having had no symptoms the night before. So I'd expect her to at least be able to give you a warning the night before ... if it's genuine that is.

Snowgirl1 Mon 12-Aug-13 14:20:39

If someone had 7 days off in a year at the company I work at they'd be notified that their sick levels were off concern and being monitored and they'd be referred to the Occupational Health nurse. So I don't think you're being unreasonable in thinking that is a LOT of time off in 3 months.

If I were you, I'd have a conversation with your nanny to explain that unfortunately, because she's been unlucky enough to be ill quite a bit in the last few months, you've used up all the favours from friends, family and work. As a result, if she's sick again you're probably going to have to pay for childcare or take unpaid leave and you can't afford to pay her full pay and pay for childcare so you'll be exercising the contractual right to pay only SSP. I'd probably also remind her that the first three days of SSP are unpaid.

I wouldn't go anywhere near giving her lifestyle advice, unless you're some kind of healthcare professional.

smokeybacon Mon 12-Aug-13 14:33:50

I totally feel your pain. We had a nanny last year who was doing much the same. We were also having the Monday morning dread about whether she was going to turn up or not. It was at least 2 - 3 days per month which when you only do 3 days per week, was ridiculous.
It was mainly minor ailments and we kept saying to her that it caused massive problems when she didn't come in, but still she did it. It came to a head last summer when she was in a car accident and ended up with a whiplash injury, and she went off longterm sick. We had to get a "temp" in costing us a fair amount of money, and so paid the old nanny SSP. We decided enough was enough, took advice and got medical reports about her prognosis so that we were eventually able to say that we had to dismiss her as it was too unsettling for the kids to not know if the temp was staying or when old nanny was to return.
But you are not at that point yet.

My advice, based on our experience, would be to stop paying her when she is off sick and to have a meeting and explain that she is there so you can work, and that if she doesn't come in as she has a headache then the consequences are massive for other people. Check your contract though as we now do not pay at all for sick days (except if SSP were to kick in) but our new nanny has only had 2 days sick in the last year and we worked it out so that she worked those days in lieu. You are also only 3 months in so if there is no improvement, dismiss before she has been with you for 12.

You can't continue with the monday morning dread. It was a big stressor in our house with DH and I arguing about who had to take a day off and whose job was more important! The relief when we got a reliable nanny was huge.

NomDeClavier Mon 12-Aug-13 22:57:43

I agree. Stop paying and see whether it gets better. What is going on in her life is none of your business really, so I wouldn't try to give advice, but her not turning up to work is and not paying will help you weed out whether she is genuinely ill or just taking advantage of feeling a bit off colour to stay home on full pay.

EasterHoliday Tue 13-Aug-13 12:00:50

our old nanny often had Mondays off. She called in sick on her first day in the job (the day after her birthday) which should have been a clue. it stopped completely as soon as i didn't pay.

holidaysarenice Tue 13-Aug-13 12:46:51

My thought with random days off like this for 'non-illnesses' is always they're pregnant! Biased I know but more often the hunch is right.

Loopytiles Thu 15-Aug-13 19:12:45

Fire her?

Plenty of companies would fire someone for poor attendance during probation (disability excepted).

fatdaddy72 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:04:38

Being paid full wage for sickness is not compulsory - suggest limiting the number of days then requiring over that to be treated as SSP. However the downside is SSP only kicks in on the third day so you may end up with a nanny forcing herself to come in when genuinely not well.

Would you really want your nanny to be spreading germs to your kids or not being able to focus 100% on them? As many posters say using SSP seems to improve peoples health miraculously.

It's also worth pointing out that nannies by nature expose themselves to a lot of germy kids on playdates and activities so may find themselves picking up a lot over a year.

dontblameme Thu 05-Sep-13 22:16:57

Please don't put up with it. I work three days a week and have had 4 days off sick in as many years. The first three (one week, tonsilitis) were early on and I didn't get paid, then this year, after proving myself as reliable, when I had one sick day they still paid me smile

I reckon nannies build up excellent immune systems!

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