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What can I do? Can I pass on the costs?

(37 Posts)
MiscellaneousAssortment Sat 30-May-15 18:03:05

My nanny/ housekeeper has just let me know she's ruined the work surface in my (rented) flat. By text:

"I've found some marks on the kitchen surface and it seems to be from where I've put a hot pan down for a second and its burnt the top layer"

My first reaction is:

Not again sad

She's a very nice person and has done work on and off for me for years, she's almost part of the family in that way.

But, she's also caused a huge amount of damage over the years, as she's very careless and a rather chaotic worker who gets half way through a job then never quite finishes it and is very surprised when it's pointed out.

However it's always been my belongings and I've either replaced or just let it go if I cannot afford it. This time it's the land lords and there will be a major bill which I can't pay.

FYI, I'm disabled which is why I need household help as well, and the job has always been nannying plus cooking, tidying etc.

So here's my question. Would it be unreasonable to charge for her some proportion of the damage?

I've never thought about asking her to pay for what she's broken or damaged before, as I guess the buck stops with me. But I have made it clear that such a large amount of damages is not acceptable... And she's seen me dismiss another person for treating my home and my belongings (& me) with utter disregard. Yet I've always paid for anything she breaks, so I guess I've been giving mixed messages.

I've even sat down and explained to her that getting into a chaotic flap/ trying to rush around doing things quickly is when she's making mistakes, and when the damage and breakages happen. I've explained the whole 'more haste less speed' thing a few times, and I've even gone through some specific tasks and showed her how to do them in a way that is focused and doesn't risk damaging things.

I'm really torn as I don't want to lose her though she only works sporadically with me, I like her and have known her for years, and my son adores her.
BUT this latest damage is so major, and she can't just say sorry and walk away surely? It's not somethi g that can be considered 'normal wear and tear' as who on earth puts hot pans down on a working surface? Surely everyone knows that you just never do it? And I can't be expected to suck it up when she's done something that would always just end in disaster?

Am so conflicted, want to a fair employer but I find I'm often a push-over employer and don't want to end up taking a stand at the wrong moment - but this is very bad damage and I should be reacting to Tibetans 'oh dear please don't do it again?'


insancerre Sat 30-May-15 18:12:44

I put hot pans on my work surface all the time
How else can I dish up?
What is your work surface made from?
It would never occur to me that akitchen surface is not heat proof

prepperpig Sat 30-May-15 18:14:38

I don't know anyone who would put a hot pan down on a worktop. You use a chopping board or a pan stand surely?

FlorenceMattell Sat 30-May-15 18:17:50

Claim on home insurance and ask her to pay excess.

LIZS Sat 30-May-15 18:17:58

Does landlord have insurance for accidental damage? Then it may only be a case of paying an excess.

insancerre Sat 30-May-15 18:20:12

I've lived in 10 houses and always done it and never marked a surface yet

HSMMaCM Sat 30-May-15 18:20:52

I put something under a hot pan every time. Even if the surface is heat proof it will scratch. Make it clear to her how much this is going to cost you. See about contents/home/landlords insurance.

MiscellaneousAssortment Sat 30-May-15 18:40:28

Wow, I thought it was a fact of living that you protect surfaces from hot pans? Now am confused...

Artandco Sat 30-May-15 18:44:57

We just put our pans on the side all the time also, I would never have a surface you couldn't do, what's the point in a kitchen side you can't have hot things on?

I'm assuming it's a cheap laminate or similar?

Cupoftchaiagain Sat 30-May-15 18:49:10

In the 'never on a worktop' camp here!

Seb101 Sat 30-May-15 19:50:09

I don't think you should ask the nanny to pay. It was an accident. I always put hot pans on kitchen surfaces and never had problem.
This is definately a time to claim on insurance.

PinkPearlClutcher Sat 30-May-15 20:08:28

I also put hot pans in my worktop and always have in every house, wouldn't occur to me that i couldn't!

I think having a worktop that can't take heat is quite unusual, and you probably should have told her. So unfortunately I don't think you can charge her. I'd make a big deal of it though and make sure you're not happy and any further damages will he charged for.

I'm a nanny and and have broken lots of things over the years (inevitable when I doent 50 hours a week there for years) and have never been charged.

LaurieFairyCake Sat 30-May-15 20:12:53

This is something you have accidental damage insurance for. You need to have it if there's a clumsy idiot in the house hmm (yes DH and DS )

LaurieFairyCake Sat 30-May-15 20:13:44

You can't charge her at all. It's a normal, albeit stupid, accident.

MiscellaneousAssortment Sat 30-May-15 21:49:08

But have you broken £3000+ worth of stuff in 2.5 years though Pink? If this was a rare thing I wouldn't dream of charging her for a proportion of it, but I can't absorb £1K plus per year of her constant breakages! Not sure how to get it across that it's not acceptable as whatever I say seems to wash over her as she knows it doesn't matter how careless or how many things get broken, she never gets any consequences. And yes I've said 'next time I can't keep footing the bill' but then I always feel mean and guilted into it so shes never had to pay for anything. In fact you could look in it that she makes a profit as I have to ask her to go buy it new/ stay in for repair men etc and obviously pay for her time as usual... So she gets £15ph to help solve whatever crisis she's created in the first place.

I don't know how to deal with it as its so much more than the odd accident that you'd expect as part of being a person...

electionfatigue Sat 30-May-15 22:07:28

Tricky. Did you tell her when she started that the surfaces weren't Heat proof? I would also gene really assume that a surface next to a hob was heat proof. are you her employer? Legally you may be on a sticky wicket deducting it from her wages without formally suing her.

wizzywig Sat 30-May-15 22:16:54

£15 per hour?? get rid of her asap.

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 30-May-15 22:56:10

£3k???? Of damage - ouch


This incident / I put hot pans on my work surface. That's what it is there for obv a cheap kitchen

Callaird Sun 31-May-15 00:47:09

I'm a nanny. I've broken/damaged things. One family, I flooded their kitchen twice. Another I crashed three of their cars in 6 months (one definitely my fault, one definitely not my fault but I was in charge and one where I parked on a slope, left the car for upwards of 10 minutes before it made a loud creaking noise and rolled down the slope and crashed into their front door! Garage said there was nothing wrong with the hand brake and I couldn't have pulled it on properly).

I always offer to pay the excess of the insurance. Only one employer has ever taken me up on it.

But if I did a lot of damage to one house, I would want to help fix it. But I couldn't afford to pay £1k for something so I would expect my employer to go through their insurance (and probably sack me!)

Also in the hot pans on the cooker or a trivet camp though.

Callaird Sun 31-May-15 00:51:05

Blondes - you have a nice kitchen though. The OP is in rented accommodation so the landlord is bound to have put in a cheaper kitchen for exactly this reason. I would call the landlord and ask him about his landlord insurance and maybe ask the nanny to go halves on the excess to showher there are consequences to her decisions.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 31-May-15 08:54:40

True. Tho used to also put them on my old crappy kitchen work surface on the odd occasion I actually cook grin

I never knew about the car and front door shock !!!!!

Op - if damage is that bad that you:ll need to claim Then I think it's fair to make nanny pay the excess

Allwayslookingforanswers Sun 31-May-15 12:42:50

I never put hot pans straight onto a work top. I was in rented accommodation briefly last year and the work tops were ruined by pans.

I would be asking her to look into her insurance and make a claim, if not have you insurance and ask her to pay the excess.

Viviennemary Sun 31-May-15 12:53:49

Not sure I'd be happy with such a person so prone to breaking things in my house. However, the best way is to claim off the insurance. I don't think I'd make her pay for breakages or damage.

Callaird Sun 31-May-15 13:28:43

I completely forgot about nanny insurance! Yes, our nanny insurance should cover us damaging things in the household, ask her to check hers.

I know mine does. I forgot this when telling my employers about any breakages, I won't hopefully there won't be a next time.

Callaird Sun 31-May-15 13:30:35

Blondes - it was with my first set of twins, L&C, only been working for them foot three weeks! C is getting me back now, I must have lost more than the cost of the car and the house repairs, betting on him!!!

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