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dilemma with our nanny - opinions sought

(37 Posts)
MGMidget Tue 08-Jul-08 10:37:58

We have a dilemma with our nanny and I'd appreciate others views who have more experience of childcare and nannies than me!

We hired our first nanny for our baby boy in March this year when our son was almost six months old. He seems very happy with her and its been going well. We proposed getting her Ofsted registered during her interview and she was keen on this. We paid for her first aid course (including paid salary for attending the course) and we were just on the verge of going ahead with the Ofsted registration when she dropped a bombshell. She's told us she doesn't have her accommodation sorted out (she's been sleeping on someone's sofa apparently) and may have to leave London so doesn't want to go ahead with the Ofsted registration. However, my husband has now committed to a year of vouchers as part of his benefits package and can't cancel it. Therefore we have a bit of a dilemma and I wondered what others would do. We were thinking of extending her contract from three days to four days a week soon anyway (which she was keen on) so we could just look for someone else who is Ofsted registered for one day a week. Alternatively we could put our son in a day nursery that takes vouchers for one day a week. Our final choice (I guess) is to give our nanny notice and find someone else who will take vouchers for the full 3 or four days a week contract. The last option seems pretty brutal but my concern is that our son is getting attached to the nanny and he is gradually moving into the age when separation anxiety becomes an issue (he now 9.5 months old). Up till now leaving him with our nanny in the mornings has been no problem at all as he knows her and has known her since he was very young. However, I'm worried that our nanny is going to string us along for a few more months and then leave when his separation anxiety is at a peak. We were clear during our interview process we wanted someone who would commit for a year and we do feel that she taken the job without any long term plans to live in London. Her host is getting fed up with her sleeping on the sofa and wants her out but she has now told us doesn't want to rent only live 'on the cheap' in London while she saves for a deposit to buy. She had originally told me she was staying with a friend until she found somewhere to rent (as she was new to London) so the story has changed somewhat. If she can't keep up the sofa arrangement (unlikely) then living with her family is what she wants to do. That means either persuading one family member to take her in in London (they currently won't commit to this but might in the future she thinks and this is what she seems to be holding out for) or she has to go back home to the North. The nanny moving in with us on a long-term basis isn't an option as we value our privacy and space too much to want a live-in nanny. What would you do in this situation - find another nanny now or let this carry on in case she gets her accommodation sorted out (which would be great if she did) and find another solution for spending the childcare vouchers on a fourth day? It would be great to hear views from everyone!

Romy7 Tue 08-Jul-08 10:46:41

if she gets four days a week does that give her enough money to make suitable accomodation arrangements?
either way, you can't guarantee that this nanny or another one won't give you a month's notice at any time, so it's a gamble either way. the only way to ensure continuity is to go the nursery route... but he is teeny.
don't know what i'd do in your situation - but i would dig a bit more on the not wanting ofsted registration... sounds a bit fishy. surely it could just be cancelled if she decides to move north again anyway? i would be wanting to know if there was more to it than that ie childcare quals that she has claimed but doesn't have/ CRB etc...

we've used both nannies and nursery btw, so i don't have any preference - it's whatever works for you as a family.

good luck with your decision!

EthelTheUnready Tue 08-Jul-08 10:50:58

Is there something more to this?

Is she happy in her job or is she looking for an excuse to leave?

Just a thought.

annh Tue 08-Jul-08 11:29:19

I can kind of see why she thought she would be able to stay with a friend/move in with family and now that it isn't working out she is in a panic. However, not wanting to be OFSTED registered is a different issue, surely? If she moves back up North and wants to work as a nanny there, any new family may also want her registered and it'll certainly be a bonus in many interviews if she is already registered. I think I would give her a deadline by which time you need to know what her plans are. Is it cost or availability which is preventing her from finding somewhere to live?

beforesunrise Tue 08-Jul-08 12:07:11

personally i think she's not v reliable, i think her personal circumstances mean she is unstable, and, basically homeless (by choice!). i wouldn't want to employ someone like this.

cc vouchers don't expire, and many nursery schools take them so you will still be able to use them in a couple years time.

good luck

beforesunrise Tue 08-Jul-08 12:07:54

ps by unstable i didn't mean mentally- i just meant not physically stationed in London in any reliable way!

AtheneNoctua Tue 08-Jul-08 12:49:57

I agree. She is a bit unsettled. And if you want a long term nanny and definitely want her to live-out, then I would look for one with a stable place to live and one who is already rooted in the community. Has a cirlce of friends, maybe a boy friend, is generally happy with her life, etc.

Personally, I'd just bring this girl into my house as a live-in nanny. But you say you don't want that.

I do think at your sons age a change sooner is better for him. But, there are no guarantees with nannies. They do leave. And they have every right to leave. Just as I have a right to leave my job.

itati Tue 08-Jul-08 13:24:14

I would get rid and get someone else.

fridayschild Tue 08-Jul-08 13:43:18

I'm with annh - if she is determined to carry on nannying, there should be no bar to the OFSTED registration. Does your nanny know the cost to your DH of the scheme you mention? This might focus her attention on it a bit more, especially if you say that you will have to consider childcare where those expensive vouchers can be used.

MGMidget Tue 08-Jul-08 15:01:55

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the feedback which has given me plenty to think about. More views welcome!

To answer some of the comments:
One reason for resisting Ofsted registration is that we did put a condition in her contract that she would have to pay back the cost of the application and the nanny insurance (an Ofsted requirement) if she left within six months. We thought that was reasonable to deter time-wasters. The cost isn't high though (in my view anyway) - about £160 I think. And yes, you would have thought the registration is beneficial to her if she wants to continue in a career as a nanny elsewhere. I did see her childcare diploma certificate although I didn't copy it or note the details on it - it looked genuine to me. I also saw a CRB check but again didn't photocopy it.
I've discussed extending to 4 days a week with her but I think she has concluded that the cost of rent in London is a deterrent and she wants to save up and buy so isn't interested in renting a place full stop. She has a nice cosy parental home in the North so I think is now setting her sights on going back up there - whether to do nannying or something else I don't know. She has said she really likes the job and wants to stay so maybe she is just hoping to avoid Ofsted registration for some reason or perhaps she's just saying that so I'll be more positive about her in a reference when she leaves! She has built up a network of nanny friends down here so she does have reasons to stay.

itati Tue 08-Jul-08 16:31:23

All I would say if nanny's try and wing it about one thing I would find it hard to trust them with others.

nannynick Tue 08-Jul-08 18:37:29

It seems a real pain for you. It gives nannies a bad name. We are not all uncommitted.
Has she said what date she gets kicked out of her accomodation?
If you were to remove the repayment clause from the contract, would that help her decide?

nannyL Tue 08-Jul-08 19:02:27

I think you are in a really triky position

I dont think legally you can make her redunanat then employ someone else to do her job...

Im sure their has to be a 3 months gap or she can claim unfair dismissal (unless there has been gross misconduct, which it doesnt sound ike there has been?)

TBH i think getting a new nanny would be the best decision for your circumstances, but you would need to discuss this very carefully with your nanny...

Perhaps you can get HER to make the decision to leave?

It sounds like a realy horrible situation to be in sad

FabioTheWhisperingCat Tue 08-Jul-08 19:12:22

She's trying to emotionally blackmail you into asking her to move in with you.

imananny Tue 08-Jul-08 19:14:59

does seem weird that she doesnt want to be ofsted registered - though maybe paying the money back COULD be the reason why hmm

BUT you shouldnt pay the nanny insurance fee (about £60) as if she ever did need to use it, her policy COULD be invalid as you had paid for it - conflict of interests iykwim - so she will need to pay for that

if the job is to go an extra day, then she will have more money - think you are quite in your rights to ask her what she is going to do,ie where going to live etc - if she says move back home, then you can employ another nanny and use vouchers

would it REALLY be a bad thing to have her live in, IF you get on well and your child has bonded with her?

Shoshe Tue 08-Jul-08 19:23:29

Not sure but I think she has to have a permenant home to pass a crb and ofsted check, as she hasnt, could be the reason that she dosnt want to go for it.

Call for nannynick he would know.

frannikin Tue 08-Jul-08 20:20:44

Why doesn't she have insurance anyway?

Yes OFSTED registering is a faff but it's the nanny who's registered and not the family so it's potentially a benefit to her if she moves jobs.

HarrietTheSpy Tue 08-Jul-08 23:14:38

I think there is a way around the redundancy issue as she hasn't been working for you a year; but you will need to seek advice on this. At the end of the day, she agreed to something when she took the job (if I have this right) that she is now not willing to adhere to.

I realise this isn't the main point, but we had an issue with the childcare vouchers too - just call your HR department and tell them what's happened. I think you'll find they can accommodate you. At my company there is a 'change in circumstances' clause which means you can get out of these. I really don't think they will INSIST you use these for a year. What if one of you had been made redundant hence eliminating the need for childcare? I don't think any company is that inflexible.

1dilemma Wed 09-Jul-08 01:11:22

Harriet is right about the vouchers, at least with the 2 companies I've used. But chack whether they have an expiry date first.

As far as your dilemma goes it seems to me like you're a bit hung up on the vouchers (understandably it is a lot of money) ask about that and take that out of the equation then break it down inot things like do you want ds to go to a nursery? COuld you cope wiht live-in nanny instead/how long for?
might help you decide what's really important

MGMidget Wed 09-Jul-08 09:32:45

Hi imananny

You've got me worried about the nanny insurance thing now and its validity - I gave her a cheque for it which she is currently sitting on while she sorts herself out. May have to ask for it back!

Are most nannies already insured then? I got the impression when interviewing that none of those we interviewed had insurance!

MGMidget Wed 09-Jul-08 09:35:27

PS - re this 'redundancy' point mentioned - I'm pretty sure 'redundancy' rights don't kick in until you've been employed in a job for a year.

squiffy Wed 09-Jul-08 10:30:42

I can clarify the dismissal front for you: you can make someone redundant within 2 years without having to pay them redundancy terms (though you must honour their notice period)

You should only dismiss someone for a 'fair' reason. However, if she has been working for you for less than a year then she cannot take any action against you even if you have not given a fair reason. You would only be at risk of any legal comeback if you dismissed her for a discrimnatory reason.

Anyway, given that she has 'frustrated' the contract by not complying with the agreement to become ofsted registered within a reasonable time then dismissing for this reason would probably still be ok even after a year.

If you do decide to dismiss you must still give a notice period (or pay in lieu) although I would think it perfectly ok to withold the cost of ofsted fees from her final check if she hasn't used the monies for the intended purpose.

In terms of what I reckon you should do, no particularly strong feelings one way or another: yes she is messing you around, but some people are just flakey like this - doesn't mean that they aren't great nannies. FWIW my current fab nanny changes her mind constantly about whether or not to move north to live with her boyfriend - it has been going on for months now, and I have learnt not to stress about it - when she leaves she leaves, I will stress then. Apart form that, it is her life, and I am just grateful that we have had her for far longer than I hoped.

BUT I don't understand the registration thing at all. I would be concerned that there may be an underlying reason why she is avoiding this.... why not tell her she doesn't have to pay it back, and see if she then jumps to get it done? If she doesn;t then I would suspect bigger issues (maybe she has been arrested recently or something?)

HarrietTheSpy Wed 09-Jul-08 11:50:34

That's a very good point Squiffy makes re why she might be avoiding it.

I was also thinking, county court judgements (CCJs) which is less sinister than an arrest but I don't know if OFSTED would look at that. Or a previous conviction.

HarrietTheSpy Wed 09-Jul-08 11:53:58

Also agree with Squiffy re the unstable lifestyle issues. This has been a feature of two out of the three nannies we have had, who were otherwise great. So all things being equal, I wouldn't rule her out for that reason,.

HarrietTheSpy Wed 09-Jul-08 11:55:34

I might have qualified my last statement a bit, in retrospect. As long as it's all still theoretical, I think there's not much you can do except worry about it when it actually happens. I hope that makes sense.

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