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nannies / anyone Please help.... contract written but not signed, can i leave?

(30 Posts)
nannywithadifferentname Sat 10-Oct-09 23:10:32

i started my new live in job 4 weeks ago.
I hate it. The mother is so patronising and i cant seem to do anything right. She can be very rude and is always around... its a sole charge job but she is always just there.
I have worked 4 weeks so far...
I am DREADING going back tomorrow... i feel sick just thinking about it... these last 2 weeks have been hell.

We have agreed a contract (no probationary perios was in it and 4 weeks notice was in it) but i have NOT SIGNED IT.

My question is can i just go back tomorrow night and say im leaving at the end of the week?
If its really bad could i just pack my stuff and go immediatly?
is there really anything they can do?

I have worked happily as a nanny for nearly 10 years.... i have FAB references for all my other jobs (where i have stayed years, and still see all my old charges smile)
The agency wont be impressed, but thats their problem right?
there are plenty of other agencies anyway...

Im the 4th nanny in 2 years

If i leave can they do anything? Do they still have to pay me for the work i have done?

Also i have prebooked holiday next week, so i would love to just go on holiday and know i never had to go back again.

any advice appreciated

llaregguBOO Sat 10-Oct-09 23:14:20

You still need to give notice whether your contract is signed or not. You've been going to work and accepting payment so the contract is as good as signed. It is a myth that signing an employment contract seals the deal, as it were.

It will be your problem if you leave them in the lurch. Can you not talk to your agency for advice?

If I were you I'd talk to the mother and tell her that you are unhappy/homesick/have had a better offer or whatever and see if you can come to some arrangement regarding notice.

I'm sorry that you are in this situation, it must be horrible to live in someone's home and feel uncomfortable.

nannywithadifferentname Sat 10-Oct-09 23:17:09

i appreciate that...

but if i leave can they actually do anything?

the agency will find them someone else wont they?

llaregguBOO Sat 10-Oct-09 23:19:00

Technically yes, breach of contract but I really, really don't think they would. But I wouldn't expect a glowing reference from them.

nannywithadifferentname Sat 10-Oct-09 23:23:41

I realise i wont have a glowing reference...

but i think the 10 years of glowing references that i already have, and a simple me and this mum did not get on would suffice?

I would be honest... I have done nothing wrong but i cant be treated like a 2 year old 24/7

llaregguBOO Sat 10-Oct-09 23:26:15

I'm sure. I think you need to do your best to leave within the terms of your contract and on good terms. All you need is for the employers to speak on teh phone off the record to any potential employers and there is a question make over you.

nannywithadifferentname Sat 10-Oct-09 23:28:00

thanks for all your help llaregguBOO smile

dont think they will phone as i wont be giving out her number...

Simplyme Sun 11-Oct-09 00:47:51

It's particularly tough and being live-in makes it so much worse. Take it from me that being a live-in really doesn't help when you're unhappy!

I personally feel that no matter how unhappy I was I couldn't just 'walk' without some discussion over notice. Have you not talked to them about your feelings? Most problems arise due to lack of communication between employer/employee!

If you're really unhappy and feel it's not for you then there is absolutely no point in staying. I would go in Monday and say you would like to leave Friday that gives them a weeks notice which is fair in first weeks of work but also maybe tell her that you are happy to leave asap if she can carry on without you? I'm guessing she is a SAHM mum by the fact that you said she hovers so it's not going to totally screw her up if you leave?

Simplyme Sun 11-Oct-09 00:49:17

Oh and just to add if she gives you hell then no I would not bother with notice I would just up and leave there is nothing legally she can do and you have your other references to go on!

littlestarschildminding Sun 11-Oct-09 08:22:44

Legally she probably could if she were that way inclined go for 'loss of earnings' on her part if you just walk out without giving notice as she will have no chilcare so won't be able to work. She could also battle you for breech of contract (even though it isnt signed) but it would be a hell of an expensive battle for her to try and prove... If you walk out without notice I doubt she will pay you for the hours you have already worked though!

I would always try to work out an amicable (if not truthful) agreement with an employer...I would prob have been inclined in my nanny days to think of a relative (a non existent one so as not to tempt fate) that is really sick. Or I would have gone on holiday and 'injured' my back and been unable to come back for 3 months thus forcing me to resign. But then I am a bit of a wimp like that!! I could never just have walked out.

Your other option is just to go to her and say you hate the job...I very much doubt she will want you to stick around for a months notice and will prob tell you just to go!! Depends how brave you are lol!

Good luck with it. If you are not happy then you need to get out somehow...but put yourself in her shoes and think about what you would like your nanny to do to you before you act.

nannywithadifferentname Sun 11-Oct-09 08:38:48

been looking online

apparently i have to give 1 weeks notice if i have worked for a month or more...

well i started on 14th September so have not yet been working a month, so surely i dont have to give notice?

nannywithadifferentname Sun 11-Oct-09 08:40:36

from there

llaregguBOO Sun 11-Oct-09 09:09:35

You have to give your contractual notice.

Simplyme Sun 11-Oct-09 09:10:17

But why would you not give notice? Ok so I know you've been unhappy but why not say something before? Surely it can't be so bad to work a weeks notice out of fairness and decency?

theoriginalmummypoppins Sun 11-Oct-09 09:20:40

I wouldnt just walk out as others have said. You need a p45 and some pay presumably.

Also yes there are other agencies but work is pretty thin on the ground at the moment and you would want to find something else.

I would go to work in the morning but call your agency and discuss the issues with them. They have placed you in a sole charge job which isnt and if the family are a nightmare then the agency will want to know that too as it is likely to happen again.

I agree that the family are unlikely to bring a claim for breach of contract.

nannynick Sun 11-Oct-09 09:21:02

The same website also says: Source
"Normally your employment contract will set out a longer notice period. If it does, you should give this length of notice to your employer."

So as you know that the length of notice in the contract is 4 weeks, then you really need to give 4 weeks notice.

I would also suggest that you have a talk with your boss. In the past I've been known to write a letter and give that to my boss and saying that we need to make time for a chat. That isn't an ideal way of doing things but if your boss is hard to pin down, then it may be a way to set out what you are unhappy about.

With regard to not having signed the contract, ACAS says "Most employment contracts do not need to be in writing to be legally valid, but writing down the terms of the contract will cut down on disagreements later on. The Employment Rights Act 1996 requires employers to provide most employees with a written statement of the main terms within two calendar months of starting work."
A contract can be terminated by mutual agreement, or by giving the required notice period. Thus by chatting with your boss, you can mutually agree on a leaving date which may be before the end of the notice period.
If you would like to chat with ACAS about your contract situation, call 08457 47 47 47 (Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-1pm)

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 11-Oct-09 10:03:11

I got your message - will call you later xxx

awwwwww ((hugs)) very mn unlike i know but tough smile

live in must be so hard - esp if you are not happy in your job as not only do you lose your job,you lose your home

tbh I do think you need to sit down and talk to your mb - see if things can/will chnage

but sounds to me that they wont, so understand why you want to leave

professionally i think you need to give a weeks notice plus if it was the other way around that you wouldnt like it if they turned round and did the saem to you, and got rid of you without a weeks notice

reference wise - as yoiu have only been there 4 weeks i wouldnt even both mentioning the job on your cv - either say you didnt work or was on holiday etc

the agency prob wont be happy as will have to refund part of their fee, but thats not your problem

so yes i think you can go in tomorrow, hand over a letter stating that you are giving a weeks notice which is all you have to do legally as you havent got a contract

btw - i am VERY suprised at you taking on a job without signing a contract first!!!!

Summersoon Sun 11-Oct-09 10:03:22

Two things running through my head as I read this:

1. I think that you need to talk to both the family and the agency - do this tomorrow.
Over the past weeks, we have had a quite a few posts on this forum from mothers complaining that their new nanny or AP isn't working out and how soon can they get rid of them. In each case, the advice has been: talk to them, give them a chance to put things right (unless there was a safety issue involved). Well, I think this works both ways: I think that you owe it to the family to give them a chance to make things right. So I think that you need to think about what bothers you most and say it, calmly and not belligerently. Don't throw in the kitchen sink, just focus on the things that really matter to you.
You may find that the mother is willing to try and make things work, in which case I think that you should give it a few more weeks, or you may find that she has gripes with you, too, and if these seem insoluble to you offer to leave there and then or a week later, whichever suits her.
If I were you, I would try and keep on good terms with the agency so call them as soon as you can tomorrow.

2. You say that you will not be giving out this family's phone number among your references. IMO, this would be a serious mistake. As an employer of nannies, I have always followed up every single reference going back years in some cases. I think that you can and should warn any prospective employer that the reference will not be a good one as this was _the first time in your career that you did not get on with an employer_, but as an employer I would want to make up my own mind (and, believe me, people do use their judgment when evaluating references from other people...). If you withhold the number, people may well suspect the worst. Also, I would feel uncomfortable with a nanny who was quite obvously presenting information selectively: I would want someone who was open and straightforward with me at all times. (Or in other words: if she was being selective about her history, would she be selective in what she was telling me about her work with my DC, too....)

Good luck, but do remember that how you handle yourself over the coming week will likely have some impact on your ability to get a good next job.

Summersoon Sun 11-Oct-09 10:07:48

@ blondes: I think that we posted at the same time.

I would say that your advice on withholding the job and say she was on holiday etc. only works if the OP walks straight into another job. If, however, it takes her a few months to find something, there would be an uncomfortably long gap in her CV.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 11-Oct-09 10:21:50

hopefully nannywithadifferentname will find a new job quickly - she is quite saught after wink

if not then if i were her, i would temp and just have on cv sept 09 - xxxxx - i was a temp nanny for several familys

SimpleAsABC Sun 11-Oct-09 11:48:40


I was in a similar position once and found that a nanny job I was in just wasn't working. It was mostly due to a difference of opinion between the mb and I and I was in a terrible state about having to go in.

In the end I handed in my notice, am and pm when mb came home she said she'd rather I just left immediately.

I was very relieved about this and as I was lo it wasn't an issue. I just wanted you to be aware that your mb may have a similar reaction. If your mb does ask you to leave tomorrow, have you somewhere to go?

Tavvy Sun 11-Oct-09 12:04:43

You poor thing. It sounds just like my job. Hell on earth!!!!!
I was under the impression if the contract is unsigned for whatever reason one weeks notice is required esp in the probationary period. If your other refs are fab and your record clean (obviously is) then I don't think you will have a problem.
I should have got out of my job during the probabtionary period but didn't (stupid) and now have to see out my years contract and it's awful. Cannot wait until it is up. Am already hunting. Good luck.
With regards to mb being rude. My mb is unforgivably rude all the time. Behind closed doors or not it's unacceptable as is saying the job is sole charge and then changing the terms of contract. If the contract says sole charge then that is what it must be or else they should not receive their agency fee back.

StillSquiffy Sun 11-Oct-09 17:44:24

As you have been effectively fulfilling your contract, you cannot leave without serving your required notice, as per your contractual terms. If you do, you can be sued for the cost of any emergency nanny costs that the family incurred as a result of you leaving without serving notice. The only defence you could potentially have if the family took you to court (which, by the way, is quite straightforward and doesn't need lawyers at the small claims level) is if they have breached any parts of the contract itself, and if so, whether their breach was substantial enough to justify your walking out.

If the relationship really is bad I would expect that the family will have no problem in letting you leave before the end of your contract once you tell them you are handing in your notice.

BTW, fab references or not, I would never take a nanny on if they had walked out of a previous job for the reasons you mention. It is simply dreadfully unprofessional. And you will not be able to 'hide' it and pretend you never worked during this period, because their name and your date of leaving will be on your P45 which you will need to give to your next employer.

HarrietTheSpy Sun 11-Oct-09 18:33:38

You need to get tough and behave professionally throughout the process or else risk a short, awful job having a disproportionate affect on your career long term. I think most people wouldn't hire someone who'd done this, unless it's really exceptional circumstances. Future employers will find out, as Squiffy says, if your family are already in the payroll system with you and will be issuing a P45.

Nothing to stop you from getting advice as to whether the job being different from the one sold to you constitutes a breach of contract on their part, though.

Probably unlikely though in which case I think the best course of action is possibly to try to get the agency on side. Explain the problems, at least make some show of asking for advice, and then hand in your notice with the intention of working your contractual obligations. Then if anything arises, you are more likely to have a third party willing to say, nothing wrong with Nanny X, just didn't work out with the family. I reckon they will let you go sooner, too.

FABIsInTraining Sun 11-Oct-09 19:29:42

I think you need to talk to them asap and say you feel the fit isn't working and you would like to leave asap.

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