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Moving out of the area: when do I tell our nanny?

(38 Posts)
HolidaysQueen Wed 19-Aug-09 11:01:09

So we've just had an offer accepted on a new house and if all goes well we'll be moving 60 miles away and we will have to let our nanny go.

When should I tell her?

On the one hand, things could all collapse the day of exchange and if I've told her before, she could have a new job lined up and we have no childcare, or she could just hand in her month's notice when I tell her and we're left with no childcare before we move.

But on the other hand, if I wait until we've exchanged, then I sort of feel like she has had no warning of us leaving and suddenly has a month to find something new.

The complicating factor is that she works for us 3 days a week at the moment, and lost her 2 day a week job in June. She has taken the summer to enjoy those two days, but is thinking about looking for work on the other 2 days in the autumn. We would probably move later in the autumn and I'd hate for her to lose out on the opportunity of getting a 4-5 day a week job out of loyalty to us, only to then find she needs to find a job for the 3 days a week we're giving up.

Am I being soft to be worried about this, and should I just wait until exchange and then give her the month's notice without worrying? WWYD?

gingernutlover Wed 19-Aug-09 11:31:32

the fairest thing to do is to tell her there is a possibility of you moving in the month of whenever.

atworknotworking Wed 19-Aug-09 11:57:13

I expect she will find out sooner or later that the house is sold, she might notice the sold sign go up (if you have a sign) or find out another way, I think its only fair to warn her that you have accepted an offer and she can try to find something else in the meantime, I think if you are fair to her I don't think she will dump you in it if it falls through.

frAKKINPannikinAGRIPPA Wed 19-Aug-09 12:35:06

ASAP. Could you justify upping her pay slightly to keep her as long as you need her? Or accept that she might leave sooner and get a temp in to cover the time between her departure and your move?

HolidaysQueen Wed 19-Aug-09 12:42:04

We've agreed no signs with the estate agent, so I doubt that she'll find out that way, and the neighbours don't know as our house was sold on the first day of viewings so there haven't been many people traipsing in and out.

I certainly don't want to tell her until the solicitors have had chance to start talking and we have an exchange date in mind, but I guess once we do I should have a conversation then. I'm just worried about DS having to a) say goodbye to her, then b) have to deal with a temp and/or new childcare and then c) move house and settle in with new nanny/nursery. I'd rather avoid the second bit if at all possible.

I guess I'm just struggling with wanting to be good to her as she is a great nanny and I like being nice but at the same time my main focus has to be ensuring continuity of care for DS, and trying to avoid too many changes because he's only 16mo so can't understand what is happening.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 19-Aug-09 12:53:46

3 of my famillys have moved miles away (i must be doing something dreadful for them to keep moving from me grin)

i was always told at the beginning when the parents knew that they had to move for job, to live with dying in law etc.

first job I moved with them for 2mths to settle in 2 children and find a new nanny - so knew when would leave iyswim

2nd job parents told me and we worked on a 2mth notice period and house sold first week, so I knew that I was jobless 2mths after

3rd one - sadly left a week later as needed to move to look after mil (stroke) but I got paid my 2mths notice and luckily found a job to start the next month

there is a risk that you tell them and house falls through and you lose your nanny, but thats a risk you have to take - esp as your job is part time and she will be looking for another 2 day to go with it - or a new 4/5day one

Summersoon Wed 19-Aug-09 13:03:22

I think that the best thing all round might be to talk to her now and tell her how important it is to you that she stays with you untl the last possible minute. Then offer to pay her extra on the top of the notice required if she does that so that she has some financial incentive to stay with you.
You could even ask whether, for a considerable premium, she would consider working for you in the new house for a month after you move in - if the new house is reachable by a reasonable train journey or if she could live in for a month. That would have the considerable advantage of a familiar face for your DS as he moves into a new home and an extra pair of hands for you.

On another matter, I am very impressed that you sold your house on the firwst viewing day! There must be some life in the property market somewhere in this country!

Good luck!

HolidaysQueen Wed 19-Aug-09 13:07:04

i had thought about getting her to come down with us for a couple of weeks to assist in transition. hmm, i think DH and I need a good chat about this.

summersoon, I think we were just lucky. In our area lots of buyers have returned to the market as they can get family houses for a lot less than a year ago, but nobody is selling so our house was like gold dust!

StillSquiffy Wed 19-Aug-09 13:23:07

"I certainly don't want to tell her until the solicitors have had chance to start talking and we have an exchange date in mind.....I guess I'm just struggling with wanting to be good to her as she is a great nanny and I like being nice" hmm

The only fair thing is to tell her now and hope that your fairness is rewarded. Exchange dates aren't known until something like 2 weeks in advance. I certainly couldn't live with my conscience if I kept quiet on this. Especially if I knew that she was planning on trying specifically to find a 2 day job in order to fit around the current permanent job she thinks she has, which is anything but.

Yes, you might well lose her. If you want to avoid that you should promise her you will tell her the exchange date as soon as you know it and that if she stays with you until completion you will give her X as a bonus.

TheDMHatesMe Wed 19-Aug-09 13:29:13

Summerson's suggestion is very good.

I agree that you must tell her now, particularly in view of her job situation.

IMO if somebody is looking after your child, be they nanny or CM, you owe them a bit more than the bare requirements of the contract.

AtheneNoctua Wed 19-Aug-09 13:43:41

I think there is a double standard here. I remember a thread a while back about a nanny who mentioned to her MB that she was considering going away (maybe America?) in a year or so, and the nanny was unhappy because this news had soured her relationship with her boss. The nanny was unhappy with the boss' reaction. But, the response on MN was pretty much that she should have seen it coming. She was advised that no one gives notice until they are actually ready to give notice (i.e. have another job to go to). So, why then, is the OP on this thread being advised that it would be rude to only give the contractual notice? If the nanny was considering moving, would she be advised to tell her boss long before she decides whether or not she actually is moving?

HolidaysQueen Wed 19-Aug-09 14:00:28

Thanks, athene, for the alternative viewpoint. I was beginning to think I was being nasty to even think of waiting until exchange!

I know exchange dates aren't known until the last minute, but at the moment we aren't even certain when that could be as nobody has even started talking about it - their could be people in the chain looking for a 4 week exchange, or their could be people wanting to wait 3 months. If I told her tonight I could then find out next week it is November before I would need to give her official notice. That increases the chance of her looking for something new and me having to find temporary childcare for my DS at short notice and then resettle him when we move which I don't want to do if I can avoid it as that is so unfair on him when I don't legally have to give her anything other than a month's notice.

The big concern for me is if she is finding 2 days a week to fit in around us. I could say 'that's life' but I would feel awful which is why I'm trying to work out when it is best to tell her. I know she isn't even starting to look to fill her 2 days until September, as she is trying to decide whether to stay in nannying full time or do other stuff, so I do have a bit of breathing space to think things through.

Having a nanny has been a really expensive option for us and we only did it because we could just about afford it and we considered it best for DS. With the house move as well, we don't really have enough cash lying around to offer extra so I'm not sure I could incentivise her to stay to the end.

Thanks for all your input though. It is helpful to hear your views and is helping me work out how to go about this

frAKKINPannikinAGRIPPA Wed 19-Aug-09 14:00:34

Personally I forewarned my bosses this time I was probably leaving way back at Easter, but that was because I wondered whether it was best for me to go in early September with the start of the school year (so easier recruiting my replacement) or stay until just before I got married. In other jobs I've been the one given notice and, when due to a house move, it was as long as possible in advance.

Generally I'd say contractual notice would be fine but in the situation above the OPs nanny will be looking for a 2 day job to fit around their 3 days when she will probably now need a 4 or 5 day job.

I don't think, OTOH, I'd say that I was moving a year in advance!

HolidaysQueen Wed 19-Aug-09 14:03:03

blimey - stress of house move going to my head. i should have said 'there' not 'their', twice!

FabBakerGirlIsBack Wed 19-Aug-09 14:03:10

I had been with one family for 4 years and was told casually they were moving right out of the area.

I nearly fainted. I knew they wanted to move but didn't expect it to happen within a week. I thought they meant months if not a year or more.

I got 3 months notice as per my contract and decided to leave my share too. I can't remember how long it took but if I didn't work the full time I got paid.

Summersoon Wed 19-Aug-09 14:17:28

@ Athene: I see your point but I think that the subtle difference is that it is always assumed that the employer has more economic power and more options than the employee. What I mean by that is that the nanny/employee giving notice may cause considerable upheaval and extra effort in replacing her but the employer giving notice means loss of livelihood for the nanny/employee. Granted the economics may be much more even in the case of a nanny employed by a family who can only just afford to do so than with a large company and its employees, but there is still a difference.
If this were a company, I would say never, ever even mention as an employee that you are considering quitting until you are ready to do so but if the company is relocating it has a moral obligation, in my view, to tell employees about its plan asap. That moral obligation is much less strong in the case of a family and a nanny because the family has fewer financial resources. But it is still there, in my view, hence my advice to HolidaysQueen about what would be the nice and/or fair thing to do.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Wed 19-Aug-09 14:26:31

That reminds me. One family I had been with for years didn't tell me until they really had too that the mum had resigned to be at home and it hurt me to think they thought I would leave straight away rather than stay until they didn't need me.

TheDMHatesMe Wed 19-Aug-09 14:29:50

I agree with Summersoon - again!

AtheneNoctua Wed 19-Aug-09 16:19:02

But, I thought nannies wanted to be treated like professional employees? I thought the way to treat my nanny could generally be rated by how I would expect my employer to treat me.

Every time a nanny on here feels a bit hard done by she/he starts quoting legal and contractual obligations of employers. Do you think this should only be the case when it is to nanny's benefit? That sounds like a double standard to me.

"...but I think that the subtle difference is that it is always assumed that the employer has more economic power and more options than the employee. "

If this assumption was true I could see your point. But, I think it is actually quite common for parents to scrape the barrel to pay the nanny resulting in the nanny have more disposable income than the parents.

TheDMHatesMe Wed 19-Aug-09 16:26:21

Hmmm, thing is though that the parents are usually homeowners and have better long term earning potential, so are in a better financial position overall.

I don't actually use a nanny, but when dealing with DD's CM I treat her a little differently to how I would expect my employer to treat me. (I know I am not her employer, but bear with me...) To me there is an element of trust there, a bit like a family relationship in a strange sort of way, which is why I think a nanny would be upset if she found out that a family had been planning to move and not told her.

Agree this is not cut and dried - contractually there is no obligation to tell, but like Summersoon I feel there is a moral obligation.

frAKKINPannikinAGRIPPA Wed 19-Aug-09 16:37:09

Athene there would be nothing wrong with the OP waiting to tell the nanny. She would be well within her legal rights to give the minimum amount of notice. However if it were me I would appreciate being told earlier and would probably try to hang on for as long as possible, filling up the other 2 days a week with nursery temping or similar and get a 5 day job in January. There are 2 questions really in the original post: when does the nanny have to be told and should she be told earlier? Legally, nanny only needs to be told at the start of the notice period. To be nice/fair, especially given that nanny is looking for work to fit around this family to provide continuity of care and isn't just looking for a 5 day job which she could well do, a heads up would probably be appreciated. But it's not necessary.

Perhaps nannies do seem to go on about legal/contractual obligations but I think in the majority of those posts people are seeking advice or clarification - we're not taught employment law in college, no-one in HR gives us a leaflet and we don't have colleagues doing the same job to ask whether the treatment we receive is reasonable or not so some nannies turn to MN. Others go over to NJ but sadly we lack an employers perspective over there which can be very valuable.

OP - Have you considered what might happen to your relationship with your nanny if she finds out some other way that you're moving?

There are ways to keep the nanny on until after you've moved, especially if she wouldn't mind doing a couple of weeks of living in 2/3 nights a week (and you have the space) or you could cover additional travel costs.

AtheneNoctua Wed 19-Aug-09 16:44:57

Yes, I agree with that frakkin. If the OP is in a position to give more notice with out great risk to her financial position or her son's quality of care then it would be nice for her to give more notice. I just noticed on this thread that several people were telling her she was "morally obligated" or that she "must tell her now".

Maybe it's because I just got rid of a nanny who took the mick at every opportunity in the last couple of months and I am fed up with hearing what I can do for her and how she doesn't have time to do her job in return. So, maybe I'm being a big sour grape here. But,I do think nannies can either expect to be treated like prfessional employees or they can seek to be taken care of as a member of the family. But double dipping in both of those worlds is not really on.

HolidaysQueen Wed 19-Aug-09 16:53:38

I want to avoid her finding out from another source, of course, and am trying to balance that with everything else.

I am not somebody who treats my nanny only by the letter of the contract. She is wonderful, and has been so great with our son, and their is a lot of flex and relaxation on our part in return. We do treat her well - good salary, limited jobs beyond caring for DS e.g. I make all his food, she only has to do occasional laundry, and he has a full 3 hour nap every day so she gets a good break to enjoy the sun

So she has a good job with us, and I hope that she would stay through to the end even if we told her sooner than necessary. I don't necessarily want to go down the route of not giving notice until the last moment. But I have to balance that with my overriding concern with my son not losing out because I chose the wrong time to tell her, as ultimately his short term happiness is more important to me than my nanny's!

Tricky one really.

Thanks for all your ongoing input

HolidaysQueen Wed 19-Aug-09 16:54:28

i still can't spell there right. sigh blush

llareggub Wed 19-Aug-09 17:04:00

Moral obligations aside, you have a duty as an employer to carry out an appropriate redundancy process. This isn't about deciding as an individual when would be the best time to tell her, you need to ensure that you are carrying things out legally.

I suggest you check out your obligations as an employer. If she's got more than 2 years employment with you then you'll need to pay her a redundancy payment. Have a look at this site for further information.

I know that no one learns about HR practice at college unless of course they are an HR professional, but if you are going to enter into an employment contract you really ought to protect yourself from legal challenge. Good luck with the house sale, I hope it goes well.

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