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Nanny sickness dilemma

(25 Posts)
Dannygirl Wed 05-Aug-15 16:13:36

Please help with my dilemma - I love my nanny, she is amazing with my 2 kids, literally I have no complaints at all except she is often ill and it's getting annoying! It's not that she takes time off for coughs and colds - she is genuinely ill, maybe she is a bit sickly/unlucky I guess - tonsillitis, stomach bug etc. Around every 6 weeks she is off for a whole week (ie 3 days as she works part time for me). It's too much and a huge pain for us but I literally don't know what I can do! She is genuinely too ill to come to work..I asked about sickness specifically and her references said she hadn't had excessive time off....I am not sure what to do and would appreciate your advice

MilkChocolateButtons Wed 05-Aug-15 16:22:42

it's difficult and I see that it's inconvenient for the employer. That's why as a nanny I've often gone to work whilst really unwell.

But if she's genuinely unwell there is not much you can do, I mean I'm sure she's not getting tonsillitis on purpose to skive of work.....

My advice is sit her down in a informal meeting and check in with her, "are you happy in the job, is everything ok with you? Etc" it could be she's having a hard time of it and using illness as an excuse.

DelphiniumBlue Wed 05-Aug-15 16:43:35

How much sick pay does she get? I've noticed that if people are only paid for ( say) 5 sick days a year, they don't often take more.
Also, in many workplaces, more than a set number number of sick days a year triggers formal meetings.

You probably do need to have a conversation with her to explain that you can't cover any more sick leave for her, and that you may have to find alternative provision if it continues. You are presumably risking your own job to cover these absences.

I know this sounds quite hard-hearted, but I don't know anyone who takes that much sick leave, that's one fifth of the time she's supposed to be working. She might be unwell, but too unwell to go to work? 3 days off at a time, almost every time? Is she providing evidence of her illness? Maybe she needs help dealing with her illnesses, if they are in fact genuine. I'm wondering how you know that they are.

AllTheToastIsGone Wed 05-Aug-15 18:40:42

I had a nanny who did this. There were also family emergencies and other problems for which she had time off. I did make her redundant in the end. I chose another form of childcare instead of another nanny so it was a genuine redundancy situation. I just wasn't able to cope.

When I did this I felt horribly guilty but she then made up some very implausible stories to avoid working her notice period. I suppose she didn't need to make the effort any more.

I then realised she had most likely been lying to me all along. No one has ever contacted me for a reference. How do you know the references you took were genuine?

Duckstar Wed 05-Aug-15 19:01:01

I had similar situation. A wonderful Nanny, but regularly off ill. It was colds, sinuses etc. Not a one off, she needed an op etc. I'm in a job which I can't take time off at sudden notice and so poor DH was having to cover.
It was a nightmare.

I rang ACAS they were very helpful. We basically had to start disciplinary proceedings. She decided to leave before we had to get to dismissal.

I really recommend giving ACAS a call.

Ultimately, you are a small business. Can you afford this level of sickness? Is she so good you can overlook? If not then you need to go down disciplinary route.

Dannygirl Wed 05-Aug-15 21:32:41

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I am 99% sure the illnesses are genuine, I trust her totally, she lives in our village, has a great reputation, we have friends in common etc. I spoke on the phone and met her previous employer and spoke on the phone and have emailed the other mum she works part time for. Exactly as you say she isn't getting ill on purpose but it's becoming a real problem now to cover the time off, me and my husband juggling work and asking family to cover. I will have to consider an emergency nanny etc soon. Am I a soft touch? I have been paying full pay for her days off sick. I have always done this although I know it's not legally or contractually required. I do need to sit down and chat to her about it and perhaps limit the number of sick days she is paid for. I agree perhaps most of us might be struck down with something and confined to our beds once per year but this often is very unusual. I will chat to her, really don't want to start disciplinary as I don't want to lose her. Am I mad? Thanks again for replying

OVienna Wed 05-Aug-15 21:42:47

I would explain that you are facing pressure at work and are fearful you could be subject to a warning over attendance (unless there is any question this is totally untrue.) therefore you have to pay for an emergency nanny and therefore no more sick pay just ssp. I can't see another way forward.

RandomMess Wed 05-Aug-15 21:49:49

I would just look at reviewing her contract (check with ACAS) and that only the first x days on a rolling 12 month basis will be at full all others at SSP.

morningsarepants Wed 05-Aug-15 21:53:08

What does it say in your contract? You probably don't have to pay full pay for the sick days, which may at least help with the finances.
Has she seen her GP? It sounds like she should (for her own benefit I mean, not just for a sick note) if she is genuinely getting recurrent bouts of the same illness.

Karoleann Wed 05-Aug-15 22:01:11

I've never paid sick pay (above SSP) and never had a problem with sickness.

I think you need to review her contract, explain to her the impact its having on your family and explain that you're not able to pay full sick pay again.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 05-Aug-15 22:04:35

Agree limit sick pay. Esp If not full in contract

I do think a weeks sick pay is fair to both employee and employer

Tonsillitis is hard as keeps reoccurring and gp won't whip then out till 4 cases in 12mths

I would sit down and say that from now on will be ssp and be interesting if has sooooo many days off

Apart from blood clot from leg to lung and collapse it and 3 weeks off work I go in no matter what. If feel really rough then say I'm happy to come
In and have a quiet day at child's home and have TV day

If I'm off then know employer off or has to find cover

PowerPantsRule Wed 05-Aug-15 22:36:43

You have to stop the sick pay! She is taking way way too much time off. I am sorry but if she is that ill, that regularly, she should not be working full time in nannying. I'm sorry to say that I think although she may well be ill, she is staying off for the whole week as you are paying her. I bet if you just did ssp, her illness would be confined to one or two days.

Dannygirl Wed 05-Aug-15 22:52:48

Thanks all for your thoughts it's much appreciated. I will indeed review her contract/talk to ACAS and have a chat with her

MaggieW8 Thu 06-Aug-15 16:04:01

I think it's a time to have a honest conversation with your nanny. I use to be a nanny and i would go to work even when i was sick. The families I was working for were amazing, we understood each other very well. They were very grateful when i came to work while being not well and told me to relax with the kids, no house work, playgroups etc, just an easy day in. As i love children a lot i was always there for them and both parties were happy;-). What's most important is - be honest with each other. Maybe she has some personal problems. You never know.

PowerPantsRule Thu 06-Aug-15 23:47:09

You sound like my nanny, MaggieW8, it's so great when you can have a relationship like that between nanny and parent. She would come in if she had a cold and have a duvet day with the children: and I treasure her, as I am sure your former family treasured you.

MaggieW8 Fri 07-Aug-15 07:51:54

They did, in fact once i stopped working as a nanny they have suported me in my business venture, even one of their kids is a main face on my website:-))they are still there for me, and vice versa - we are great friends. Advice for families who are about to employ a nanny: before you start, write down a detailed contract, give it to the nanny to view it and let her know that if she is not happy with something you can discuss that and find the right solution for both parties to be happy. Proper contract sets rules which both sides are aware of, that really helps. Respect each other and talk to each other - communication is a key to success :-)

CountryLovingGirl Mon 10-Aug-15 22:01:19

I wouldn't pay sick pay. She is taking a LOT of time off and she must be aware that it is messing you, and other parents, about. If you end up paying for other childcare and her sick pay it will be VERY expensive for you.
I would sit her down for a chat and say that you are starting to struggle.
I take it she has her own holidays on top of her sick leave? It works out as a lot of time off over a year. You simply can't go on like this. Speak to her.

Fridayschild Thu 13-Aug-15 21:37:22

You need to pay statutory sick pay only. With our first nanny we paid full rate for sick pay, trying to be nice employers. She was sick a lot until we went to ssp. Luckily our contract stated statutory pay only. If you are on statutory sick pay and feel a bit under the weather you make an effort to come in to work.

wizzywig Wed 19-Aug-15 15:36:35

wish my nanny could do two weeks without having to take time off

Callaird Wed 19-Aug-15 16:54:41

Seriously wizzywig?!

I've been a nanny for 29 years in October and I have had 9.5 days off in all that time. I go to work even if I am feeling rough (double chest and ear infection last November, 3 different courses of antibiotics in 12 days, felt awful for almost 3 weeks) I do not do much, if I feel awful, lie on the sofa with TV on while child plays or dvd's for them.

I do expect a bit of give and take from my employer though! Maybe a slightly later start/early finish, chocolate and new dvd's if she has a moment during her day to pop out!! A little thank you for not letting them down and dragging myself into work. (Thankfully my boss is extremely grateful for everything I do so I'm prepared to go the extra mile for them)

What I do hate though is struggling into work when I feel awful to find boss in bed with the same thing! (Not my current employers)

Dannygirl Tue 29-Sep-15 15:15:56

Quick update and after some more advice really. Had a really good chat with my nanny back in August, and she agreed she had had loads of time off, was very apologetic etc and we agreed I would move to only statutory sick pay (which obviously kicks in on day 4).

As I type she has been off all last week and signed off work all this week too with a nasty bout of tonsillitis.

She has had 5 weeks off in total since January. she is genuinely ill but I think possibly caused by stress (I believe she is in an emotionally abusive relationship, which I am just discovering but obviously it's been going on for some time).

No idea what to do. Totally unsustainable childcare wise for us - but she is a lovely girl and she is obviously going through a hard time and I can't kick her when she's down. Please send any advice! Am trying to sort out emergency childcare for this week but really difficult to find anyone....

TheClacksAreDown Tue 29-Sep-15 15:22:24

It comes back to this though doesn't it - "Totally unsustainable childcare wise for us ". My nanny only takes time off sick if it is completely essential as she appreciates if she doesn't work, we can't work - if she has days when she doesn't feel great I'm happy for them to have a relaxed day with TV and convenience food. She may be a lovely woman, she may be having a tough time but you can't go on like this.

Depending on her length of service I'd look to terminate or introduce sickness monitoring with a view to terminate if no improvement. If you use a nanny payroll agency they often have employment law advisers.

TheClacksAreDown Tue 29-Sep-15 15:24:59

For emergency care we have used before successfully. It does work out very expensive but at the time needs must.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 29-Sep-15 20:59:51

If it keeps being tonsillitis then I would get the nanny to talk to her gp saying she wants them out as is at risk of losing her job as keeps having time off

Otherwise in the end she may a great nanny but if she isn't reliable then she needs to go

ZenNudist Tue 29-Sep-15 21:05:09

I think you need to look into nursery and make her redundant.

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