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Nanny returning from maternity leave

(8 Posts)
EJLstressed Sun 28-Oct-12 00:33:44

Hi, we had a great nanny who got pregnant. She is now keen to return to work, but she wants to bring the little one with her.

I gave her some positive messages about returning to work after maternity leave with the little one before she left on leave as I didn't know how things would work out, but nothing was written down. I have really challenged myself hard and have torn myself apart as I'm loyal to her, but I can no longer see how this will work. My eldest (5) has just started school and my youngest (3) is an energetic little thing who goes swimming, to gymnastics etc and I can't see how the nanny can cope with the school run and all of the clubs etc with her own little one in tow. She's already said that she'd have to stop doing a couple of the things with my 3 year old even when my 5 year old is in school.

I told the nanny last week. She was understandably upset. After a trip to citizens advice, she has since sent me a letter asking me to think again - some of the wording in there suggests that she will take me to an employment tribunal if I don't concede.

Help! I have a good nanny who covered her maternity who wants to stay on, but I'm torn - can't see how my original nanny will work with her little one (who she is refusing to leave at home) and don't want to end up in an ET.

Any advice welcome!! Note that I posted on another part of the site earlier - loads of good feedback but feels I need some legal steer.

Floralnomad Sun 28-Oct-12 00:40:02

I am not a legal expert but I can't see how she could take you to a tribunal . In a normal job you wouldn't be able to take your baby to work and if she is not fulfilling her role then surely you are within your rights to say its not acceptable. Do you think she is trying to frighten you into taking her back. . There was a thread on here a few weeks ago from a Nanny who was concerned about having a quiet environment to feed her baby at work and she got little sympathy . Personally I think your nanny has a bloody cheek expecting you to pay her to look after her own child whilst yours have to adapt their activities to suit her new baby !

CelineMcBean Sun 28-Oct-12 05:07:52

Does your payroll company offer an employment advice line? I would contact them in the first instance for some one-to-one advice.

I expect they will advise you to do the following: Respond to her in writing explaining that her job is there for her to return to at the end of her maternity leave on the same terms and conditions as before. You regret that after careful consideration you are unable to agree to her bringing her child to work with her which would be a significant change to her terms and conditions. If this does not resolve the matter she can raise a grievance as per her contract/the grievance policy.

How long until she is due to return and how long will her maternity leave be? If it's less than 52 weeks you could extend it with her agreement to give her time to think things over? If she is due to return shortly you may be advised to remind her how much notice she needs to give if she is not going to return to work for you.

Do not mention the other nanny to her at all. Keep that completely separate.

She has a right to bring a case to an Employment Tribunal but it doesn't mean she has a case or will win. Get some independent advice, keep it legal, keep everything documented and don't panic. You do not have to agree to her request.

Obviously if you at any point agreed, even verbally, to her child coming to work with her your position will be considerably weaker.

prh47bridge Sun 28-Oct-12 06:19:32

She has the right to return to the job on the same terms and conditions. You can't replace her simply because you prefer the new nanny.

You say you gave some positive messages to her about returning to work with her new arrival before she left. That weakens your position. Having effectively agreed to her bringing her child to work you are changing her terms and conditions if you now say that she cannot do so.

I think you may have to allow her to return to work under the terms you agreed before she left. If it doesn't work out you can then take action to deal with the situation. But I think you need some proper legal advice before moving forward rather than relying on an internet bulletin board.

SaraBellumHertz Sun 28-Oct-12 06:34:49

Your nanny is entitled to return to work under the same terms and conditions, bringing her baby and stopping activities with your three year old would usually represent a significant change in T&C's but it does rather depend on what your "some positive messages" amounts to.

If you told her you would consider her returning with baby then you are entitled to say you have considered it and are rejecting the idea. If you told her that she could return with baby then you maybe in more trouble.

As others hav said you could write to her saying that she is welcome to return under the previous T&C's but you cannot accommodate either her wish to bring the baby nor her desire to change the routine of your three year old.

You really ought to get some specialist legal advice.

EJLstressed Sun 28-Oct-12 08:33:26

Thanks all - key thing for me here is about the positive messages i gave before she left on mat leave it seems. To be fair to myself, I've always given her positive messages about returning. What I don't think I have ever done is brought the little one into it, ie reinforced assumption that she can bring the little one with her. To be fair to nanny, I don't think I've ever done anything to close down that assumption either.

I'll seek legal advice from NannyTax on Monday, but it seems that I need to write to her outlining my position, and requesting that - if she wants to return on anything different to her original contract terms - she requests that in writing in reply.

Thanks so much to everyone for their input - hugely useful chain.

YoullScreamAboutItOneDay Mon 29-Oct-12 10:36:37

I agree with what others have said.

The key thing in your communications with your nanny is that you make it clear that you are (in line with her legal rights) very happy to have her return to work on her current terms and conditions. However, there is no legal right to want to bring your child with you to work. So unless you have specifically said she could and are now rescinding, you are totally within your rights.

We had a nanny who brought her baby, but it is a very personal thing I you are totally reasonable not to want this. In our case it was two babies - so all the activities they did, they did together. I think it is harder with a baby and older one. Especially if she is saying she will have to stop his activities.

I am always surprised the number of nannies who seem to think that being allowed to bring their child to work with them should be pretty much automatic. Yes, nannying is not like a 'normal' job, but it is still work. The arrangement can work well, but it can also be a disaster. It isn't a no brainer. I also think the 'mothers manage' argument is a bit of a red herring - when I have a nanny I want her to be giving my children the best possible care. If they have to compromise for their siblings that is one thing, but compromising (e.g. not doing swimming because she can't go in the pool) because of the nanny's child would not be right for me. I want him/her to do a better job than I do grin

bbcessex Tue 30-Oct-12 18:19:42

Good luck with this. I've had two nannies with their own babies which worked out well at the time (wouldn't be my choice now that my children are older but was then).

However - that was my choice, not my nanny's. You are really not comfortable with it, and I do strongly suggest you listen to your instincts, make the decision and stick to it.

You are quite within your rights as an employer to stick to the "return to work under same conditions" rules at this stage. However, if you caved under pressure, and allowed her to bring the baby for a period of time, and THEN changed your mind, it would be entirely different and you would be really stuck then.

If I were you, the fact that she's gone to the CAB about it and you know about it as well, doesn't bode well for a nanny/employer relationship (in my book). Being a nanny / employing a nanny needs a different sort of relationship over and above that of a 'traditional' job, and I don't think I would be happy to continue with someone I was no longer comfortable with. They will be in your house with your children - it's not an anonymous office environment, so to my mind, it makes things a bit harder.

Ask the NannyTax legal team for guidance. I'd stick to your instincts on this one.

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