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How best to address this with nanny

(10 Posts)
Tittletattletoo Thu 16-Jul-15 10:10:31

I was wondering if anyone ( nannies in particular) has any advice on how best to talk to my nanny about something.

Our nanny has been with us for nearly two years and we get on very well. She is now 5 months pregnant. She is finding pregnancy a bit of a shock I think - I don't think she expected to feel so tired etc. As a result she has become very unreliable ( often 45 mins late in the morning with no warning ( I have already moved start time an hour later to give her a shorter day), ending early at short notice etc). She is also letting things go quite a lot with my DD which is starting to impact her behaviour as she gets her own way all the time, is given sweets etc. She no longer cleans up after her and doesn't really cook for her anymore ( she has pasta for lunch and dinner or fishfingers every day).

I'm really sympathetic as I know how difficult pregnancy can be, but it is getting to the stage where she isn't really doing her job. I've tried to address things, set stuff up to make things easier for her etc, but it doesn't seem to improve. I'm on my own and suffer from PND and anxiety so know that I could probably deal with things better but I find the unreliability in particular really hard to deal with. It's also starting to really cause problems for me at work - my boss is sympathetic but only to a point and I hate not being able to do my job properly.

I have found someone who will cover her mat leave, who could start doing 3 days a week now. I would continue paying my existing nanny ( so she would effectively get three paid days off a week and work 2). I'm thinking I would find this a lot easier as then at least is know three days a week I could definitely get to work on time, the house would be tidy, dishes done etc. I have enough savings to cover this until her mat leave ( we have a long holiday planned for nearly a month anyway).

I am worried though that my current nanny is going to be very upset by this suggestion and I'm really struggling to think how I can discuss it without it sounding like a criticism of her? I don't want to make her feel worse when she is already struggling with being pregnant. Does anyone have any suggestions at all?

nannynick Thu 16-Jul-15 10:18:56

It is causing problems at your work so it would be reasonable to approach it from that angle.
You need someone who arrives at work on time. You have kindly changed the start time (many people could not do that) yet she is still late. That can not continue so she needs to be at work on time. To help with that would having a couple of paid days off a week help?

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 16-Jul-15 12:38:59

Assuming that she doesn't have hyperemesis or is carrying multiples pregnancy is not a good reason not to do her job properly / to neglect your daughter. She is 4 months away from her due date. She will have to figure this out soon enough with her own child that feeling a bit grotty still means that you have to get on with it.

I don't think you should be offering to fund another nanny while she has paid time off unless she is taking it as her holiday entitlement simply because you are uncomfortable having a difficult conversation.

It is really much easier to have a difficult conversation when you essentially write yourself a crib sheet to work to.

I think you need to have a gentle but formal conversation about this and soon. Something along the lines of...

"Hi [Nanny], I am going to come home a bit early today so that we can have a chat this evening after work before the weekend. I should be home about 5.30 and DD can have some quality time in front of cbeebies. Can you please make sure that she's finished eating by then?"

"I wanted to talk to you before the weekend about a few issues so you have time to think about them overnight/over the weekend and we can talk again.

The first thing is quite a big issue and that's to do with your timekeeping. I appreciate that you are feeling grotty and I know how exhausting pregnancy can be but the current situation is not sustainable. I have altered my hours to try to make life easier for you but it has not improved matters. Due to persistent lateness I now have had a verbal warning at work. Any recurrence within 6 months and I will be given a formal written warning before dismissal. [laying it on a bit thick but to be honest, I think you are being taken for a mug now]

I know that children go through phases but I have noticed that Dd's behaviour is becoming quite poor and her diet is not what it should be. I would like to see you ensuring that her meals return to a more varied diet and that you pull her up on her behaviour as you always used to do. She will find it even more difficult when you leave if your maternity cover has to be an evil disciplinarian. Please stop giving her sweets except on X occasions and now that she is getting older, I think we should be encouraging her to tidy up after herself.

I need you to understand that the situation needs to really improve or I will have no choice but to give you a formal written warning. [this assumes you have a written contract in place]

Can you please have a think and let me know what you want to do. You will need to find the energy reserves to improve things as I can't afford to lose my job. Is there anything I should be aware of as your employer? Is the baby ok healthwise, is anything worrying you? "

Then, depending on her response you can suggest that she take a day or two off a week as holiday or goes part time. If she jumps at the idea of going part-time then tell her that you will look into it and will approach her maternity cover to see if she has any spare days at the moment. You are sticky ground if you appear to be pushing her out the door just because her maternity cover is available. She needs to be given the opportunity to step up or face dismissal in my view. That said, you have a duty of care as her employer but it sounds as though you have gone out of your way to date to look after her.

Have you considered whether she can return as a NWOC? Nanny with own child? If you have rejected it as an option, she may have mentally switched off. If you have not rejected it or not discussed it, then perhaps now is the opportunity to do so - ie there is a bloody good reason to improve because her job is waiting for her without a requirement to find her own childcare.

SteggySaurus Thu 16-Jul-15 12:50:17

Completely agree with TreadSoftly, excellent script to follow.

I think we can all agree that looking after a child can be hard work and we know that pregnancy can be hard work too, so them both together can be tough but she needs to understand that you are paying her and you are not willing to accept a slip in standards. If she worked in an office or retail there's no way she would get away with any of that.

Good luck smile hope you can reach an agreement and get things back on track.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 16-Jul-15 13:36:32

One other small thing - if her iron levels are even borderline towards low she will be feeling dreadful. Her bloods may be ok but higher iron levels may help her to pick up a bit more.
You are not a doctor though so I'd suggest that she speaks to her midwife about her energy levels and suggest it as a possibility. Could be all kinds of reasons though, your role is to push her into some action.

Tittletattletoo Thu 16-Jul-15 13:50:52

Thanks so much everyone - that is very helpful! I was finding it hard to judge whether I was being reasonable or not. Will double check but am pretty certain everything is fine with the pregnancy, although she is very anxious about it.

We have discussed her coming back with her own child, I had said I was open to considering it and we agreed to discuss nearer the time she is due to go on mat leave. Must admit that I am now somewhat put off as I wonder how she would be able to cope with the tiredness when she has her own child, plus the organisation needed to arrive on time.

I will definitely take up the suggestion and schedule a chat with her following the very helpful advice (with a crib sheet so I stick to my guns;)). I suspect she won't want to go part time as she is currently buying a house, but maybe it will encourage her to improve things a bit. My friend was over the other day and was quite shocked at how things had slipped!

She used to be a very considerate and thoughtful nanny - I think she has that thing of first pregnancy not being able to think of anything else!

Thanks again.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 16-Jul-15 16:45:40

The crib sheet is also helpful as you can tick things off [mentally at least] as you work through it. It also means that you have a written record of what you said and how you said it. Take notes of her responses too and check her understanding at the end of the meeting.

Assuming you are not totally exasperated then I would make it clear that the meeting is not a formal disciplinary/warning. That would be the next step. It's important that she "hears" you and isn't just sitting there with the blood pounding in her head while she panics about being sacked, pregnant and unemployed.

It might also be useful to set up a catch up meeting every 2-3 weeks to check in and see how it is going. My nanny has just gone on mat leave and we made a number of adjustments in her final weeks as she started to get tired and things like picking up toys etc got more difficult. Luckily for me though, we were trying to get her to relax a little and take things easy rather than the other way around.

Last thing - a NWOC contract usually has the right of review every 6 months if you write it up as such. It's usually an addendum. Therefore, bringing her child to work does not become an "employment right" and part of her terms and conditions if that makes sense. I'd share your concerns though and perhaps it would be helpful to point those out but a lot would depend on how quickly she would propose to come back to work.

Tittletattletoo Thu 16-Jul-15 18:18:41

Thanks treadsoftly

On the coming back to work she would like to take 11 months. From my perspective I wonder about changing things again back to her for my DC as that will be quite a lengthy period with their new nanny ( and for my youngest almost his whole time will have been with the new nanny). Lots to think about!

Bettyboophead Thu 16-Jul-15 18:29:47

Hi - I've written on this subject before. I'm afraid I had a really disappointing experience with my previous nanny who was fantastic prior to an unexpected pregnancy (she had a 10 year old and I was shocked when she was pregnant as thought she was late 40s. Turned out she was 39 and I read the CV wrongly!) Anyway she returned to work with her baby who initially was fine and then as he became more mobile etc just ignored my kids, fed them pasta and cheese every night (!) and focused solely on her baby. If you are going to take her on plus baby you need to be extremely clear about what you expect. It should not be the case that you are paying her to look after her own child. That's a childminder and should be substantially cheaper.
Appreciate the current problems are while she is pregnant and not after, but in my experience it only gets worse after the baby arrives! I should have done a much better job in scoping out my expectations in a revised contract post the arrival of the baby. Best of luck!

wizzywig Fri 17-Jul-15 21:47:19

agree bettyboop. had 2 awful experiences with a nwoc for those reasons

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