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Nanny consistently calling in sick

(42 Posts)
NamedyChangedy Mon 16-Jan-17 12:13:20

I've reached the end of my tether with our relatively new nanny - she started in October and since mid-November has been late or called in sick over 10 times. Today was her fifth day off sick this year(!), with different ailments every time.

I'm self-employed and this is now starting to directly impact my ability to earn an income, as I've had to cancel several client meetings / calls, had to pay to change flights etc, and worked late into the night to make the time up. It's knackering and stressful, wondering if she'll come in before I go to bed every night.

I'm looking at her contract and we've just gone past the point where she rolls onto a month's notice.

I'd like to handle this amicably, and ideally have her work some of her notice as it's a busy time for me and I know it won't be quick or easy to find a replacement.

Does anyone have experience of nannies working throughout their notice period? Realistically, she'll be even less engaged than she has been so far so she may not come in at all. Do I have to resign myself to paying her to not work for a full month?

nannynick Mon 16-Jan-17 13:32:31

Have you sat down with her and talked about how calling in sick is very disruptive to your work? They may think it is ok as you are self employed and can cover it, especially if you work from home some/all the time.

Are they generally a good nanny, if they were sick no more would you keep them on?

ACAS has a publication on absence management, whilst aimed at bigger employers it may be worth a read.

pinkieandperkie Mon 16-Jan-17 13:38:26

What excuses does she use for this much time off.

NamedyChangedy Mon 16-Jan-17 13:52:16

Nannynick I suspect that's exactly it - I do sometimes work from home, as depending on my schedule it can be more convenient. She may not realise that I'm actually working when I do that. It seems crazy that I should have to explain to someone why they need to do their job, but I see what you mean. If she's just very unlucky and has been genuinely too ill to make it in, then I hope she doesn't think it's unfair / condescending on my part.

She's pretty good otherwise - the DCs like her, no other major complaints apart from being unreliable. We had some initial issues with her getting them to school late but she improved after a couple of conversations.

I will try one more time and have a non-judgmental chat with her when she's next here. My main concern is that her care of the DCs isn't compromised if she thinks she's going to be dismissed.

Pinkie, it's different ailments every time - stomach aches, migraines etc. Today was D&V. Last week it was kidney stones - 2 days off, and a half day at hospital having scans.

Some parents at school have said they'd have parted ways well before now, and I think I would if I didn't remember how hard it was to find someone decent in the first place. But sorry, I'm just venting now - I now have a way forward at least. Thanks!

FrutiFlutey Mon 16-Jan-17 13:57:36

For what it's worth! Kidney stones are awful! I am a nanny and had a kidney stone while getting the kids ready for school, took them on the bus and then went to hospital!!

NamedyChangedy Mon 16-Jan-17 14:03:50

I'm sure they are Fruti - I do have a lot of sympathy for each individual episode, it's just the overall pattern that doesn't work for me...

ChuckSnowballs Mon 16-Jan-17 14:08:04

You need to rewrite your contract!

Callaird Mon 16-Jan-17 18:18:39

Are you paying her in full every time she is off work? What does your contract say about sick pay? It ma be an incentive to come in if you tell her you cannot afford to pay her in full if she is off sick so it would be unpaid for the first 3 days and then SSP.

For what it's worth, I have been a nanny for 30 years and have taken 11 days sick. I do have two weeks full pay in my contract and employers can see form my references that I will drag myself in to work if I'm not well.

RandomMess Mon 16-Jan-17 18:25:24

I would expect a Nanny to turn up to show willing and perhaps have a duvet day, giving the parent the opportunity to at least get some work done!!! They are a substitute parent in that respect - carry on regardless...

insancerre Mon 16-Jan-17 18:29:52

From a different angle
I'm a nursery manager and when my staff call in sick it affects my ratios and costs a fortune to cover so we have systems in place to try to prevent it being a problem
Firstly, we don't pay sick pay, except statutory sick pay. This stops a lot of people even being off sick in the first place or at least limits sick days
Every time someone is off they have to fill in a self certification form and I do a return to work interview with them. I have to ask them if they understand their responsibilities to attend work
We monitor absences and 4 periods or 12 days, which ever happens first, in a 12 month rolling period,triggers a disciplinary meeting where their sickness is discussed and they may be given a letter stating any further sickness could result in dismissal
It sounds harsh but we need to be or staff take advantage

I think you are being taken advantage off op, and it shouldn't be that way. You are the employer and the nanny is not doing you a favour by working for you.
There are other nannies

Akire Mon 16-Jan-17 18:37:28

I've had a carer that was always sick like this. Always a new thing and just general seemed v v unlucky with her health. Although it seemed genuine in the end I had to give her notice. She needed a job where time off wasn't such a big deal. I was able to get cover for say later that day or the next day but if you wanted to get up and dressed or go out it was tough.

CantstandmLMs Mon 16-Jan-17 18:47:55

How old is she? She does need to be called up on this. I ask about age because when I was very young and in my first jobs (supermarket and temp nursery work) I convinced myself I was too ill for work a lot. I was called up on it and realised I was being lazy.

I am a Nanny of 10 years and will go into work on my last leg if I possibly can. I realise the very direct disrupt it causes and feel absolutely terrible if I have to (maybe 3/4 times in 10 years) my employers are brilliant and I would never take the piss. But like it said in my early days I pushed it!!

NamedyChangedy Mon 16-Jan-17 19:22:12

Some very helpful perspectives here - thanks very much all. I will definitely re-think my sickness policy when I come to write my next contract, so that it covers scenarios such as this. You live and learn.

For now, I've documented every instance of her being late or off sick, and can go through them with her when she gets back. It really does look terrible on paper, especially as she's been with us for such a short time. I suspect I'll learn a lot from her reaction - I'm hoping we can salvage this.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 16-Jan-17 22:19:40

10days off sick since oct. including 5days this year and most only went back to work last week !!!!

Are you paying her full pay for each sick day? If so stop. Assume contract says ssp which kicks in after 3 days and think is 80ish a week so 20 a day?

If she had been there 3mths then have a sit down meeting. Say that she has had 10days off and if this carries on you won't be able to employ her anymore as your work is suffering

MissMooMoo Wed 18-Jan-17 19:08:41

Shes taking the piss!
I have taken 2 sick days in 3 years because I had D&V. I usually go in and just power through things like colds.

ImperialBlether Wed 18-Jan-17 19:14:00

Did the scan actually show kidney stones?

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Wed 18-Jan-17 19:20:12

Ha good question Imperial

I can certainly vouch for the fact that only paying SSP has a huge positive influence on employee attendance!

Goingtobeawesome Wed 18-Jan-17 19:22:05

Sounds like she doesn't take YOUR job seriously never mind her own. I was a nanny or child carer for about ten years and had two days off sick. If I didn't go in, the parents couldn't. If they had lost their job, I'd have lost mine..

Wellmeetontheledge Wed 18-Jan-17 19:28:37

For the nursery saying no sick pay etc, would you prefer people to come in with d&v and pass to the kids as they couldn't afford to have time off?

NewIdeasToday Wed 18-Jan-17 19:32:05

You shouldn't have to explain to a Nanny that if she doesn't work, you can't. That's the whole point of her job. And as for taking the kids to school late...

Having a Nanny should help you to focus on work when you need to, knowing that your kids are well cared for. Your nanny sounds like she's just another problem for you to manage.

MadHattersWineParty Wed 18-Jan-17 19:36:02

She is absolutely in the wrong job if she takes off sick on a whim/is unreliable like this. This is what you are paying for! She clearly doesn't have a lot of respect for your job at all- she must know that if she cannot fulfill her role, you cannot fulfill yours.

Are you paying her OP? I don't get paid sick days as a nanny but it is at my employer's discretion- she did pay me when I was in hospital for four days but that's the only time in three years I've called to say I'm not coming in. Other times I've gone in, explained the situation and had a 'lazy day' or napped when my charge was at school and didn't do all my usual duties, but I was there. This is because a) I can't afford to lose a day's wages, and b) the reason my boss has a nanny is so she doesn't have to stress about last-minute childcare.

I'd be interested to hear what she had to say but you absolutely have to let her go if she can't be relied upon. Kidney stones are indeed terrible and another incident may just be bad luck but that many sick days in such a short time is ridiculous.

insancerre Wed 18-Jan-17 20:16:09

On the ledge
I don't make the rules but if we paid sick pay how would we know people were genuinely ill?
They could say they had a sickness bug and get paid for it
Hardly an incentive to come to work
most nursery staff don't have 48 hours off for sickness bugs

OttilieKnackered Wed 18-Jan-17 20:24:13

Insancerre - what about trusting them? Or treating them well so they have the goodwill when they feel a bit shit but could drag themselves in?

I've always worked in jobs with full pay for sick days. I've had three days off in seven years.

insancerre Wed 18-Jan-17 20:37:41

Well lucky you
We have ratios to maintain so we can't afford to cover people being off sick and pay them too
Or nursery fees would go through the roof and parents already complain fees are too high

wannabestressfree Wed 18-Jan-17 22:08:22

God I feel lucky I get full pay as a teacher. Mind you I have crohns, two tumours (one weighing nearly five stone) and have a bag and I teach full time and have had no days off this academic year bar one for a ore surgical scan. I even arrange surgery for school hols.

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