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My childminding/nannying/caring job isn't working out and I want to leave

(42 Posts)
SMJYellow Sun 24-Sep-17 14:04:55

A few years ago a neighbour came to me and asked me would I be interested in becoming a childminder for her and to work in her home. I wasn't long after finishing my childcare certificate.

She had one child in crèche and another baby at the time. The baby had additional needs. My role would be looking after the baby in her home.

I thought about things and I accepted.

Things worked out well for a number of years. Now however, I like what I do but I'm not happy any more. Its gone above and beyond what I ever signed up to do. My wage was dropped somewhere along the line and my hours too but then the hours crept back up but my pay hasn't.

There is so much more too. The parents I work for a professionals.and eventually worked their way out from paying me entirely. They got me to apply for carers and they were due to top me up because carers are allowed to work for some hours outside of caring.

They went on to have another baby who was also left in my care who is now 3 and recently diagnosed with ASD.

The whole thing is a mess. I'm being overworked and underpaid. I'm not earning even half enough for one child never mind three of them, never mind two of them with disabilities. The hours can be long and the work load is too much. There's cooking, cleaning and laundry duties. The eldest child is now 12 moody and bratty and I get so much grief from her.

The parents I work for are professionals and would have good incomes. In recent times they are placing more and more emphasis on going out and it's me then that picks things up in their home. Their nights out isn't a few hours to the local pub or restaurant. It's overnight stays in different counties for weddings, concerts, matches, functions, etc.


I want out. I'm just after turning 35. I live at home with my mother because I can't afford rent. If I continue on this path, in a few years I will be approaching 45/45 with nothing to my show for all years working and I work unbelievably hard.

I want to get out from childcare nannying altogether. To be honest I don't know what I will do but for now I do know I need to leave.

This is where is am getting stuck.

I feel that I need to have work lined up to leave and continue bringing in a wage for me.
I feel there is catch 22 situation because I also feel that I need be free of the place and be gone to be able and available for other work.
Does that make sense?

I remember in the past when I had other jobs, I was asked something on the lines of 'why are you leaving us' and I would have been going back to college or moving away or whatever.
Then there were other jobs I had where I just walked out from. I wish I had the guts to do that with this one. I mean not like to walk out but just not show up.
I feel like I need to have a valid reason to give to my employer to leave my current situation but I have nothing lined up like new work, or new studies or moving away.

So how on earth do I give up here?

LexieLulu Sun 24-Sep-17 14:09:00

I would leave and say "it's time to spread my wings" and nothing more. You don't owe them explanation

SolemnlyFarts Sun 24-Sep-17 14:15:14

As someone who employs a nanny, I would have no problem with you telling a version of the truth: the job has changed, the children have grown up, and now you'd like to do something different. It's not like you're legging it after a few weeks!

It sounds like you're being exploited at the moment - can't you start applying for a few jobs you might like and ask for an interview at the weekend if they reply? It doesn't have to be more complicated than that - people will understand you need to give your current job notice, so they won't expect you to start right away (they wouldn't want you to leave them in similar circumstances, after all!).

The only thing you might want to think about is the reference from your previous employers - are they otherwise reasonable people? It doesn't sound like it, so if there is anyone else who could give you a reference under the guise of you not wanting to jeopardise your current job until you have another one that might be helpful.

Brittbugs80 Mon 25-Sep-17 16:20:23

How have they been able to cut your wages?

Just hand your notice in and say you feel ready for a change and a new challenge.

I did the reverse and left early years settings for a Nanny role. Have you considered a nursery role? At least there they don't cut your wage!

SMJYellow Tue 26-Sep-17 19:20:23

The girl that I was originally taken on for to mind, came to school age. The parents also claimed with the recession, they couldn't afford to continue paying me. So they dropped my hours and my pay to match. The new hours were set out from 1pm til evening so until 6pm four days a week. I was told, taking minimum wage into consideration and the hours that I was doing I'd be over minimum wage. It was also worked at the time that sometimes they will need me for a little bit extra and during them times I would still get the same weekly sum so that it would cancel each other out.

That worked out well.

Over time and it was something I slept walked into, my hours crept up. Especially when the mother went back to work after having a new baby. I found my self recently going into work in the morning for 8.30 and not finishing until after 10.30pm at night. And all for the same weekly sum. That right there was far far too many hours.

I can tell so many tales like this where the parents just aren't coming home to me. Not only that they are placing more of an emphasis on going out at weekends too. There was a few times where I would have my own plans made and the mother would sulk if I'm not available.
They do generally top me up when they get me to do weekends but to be honest it's no where near enough to what I should be getting.

The work is far, far too much and intense and long and my pay is too little.

I'm far too burnt out for this. I want to get away from childcare altogether.

MyBrilliantDisguise Tue 26-Sep-17 19:23:24

I think you've been treated really badly and should leave. Give in your notice then take a month or so to work out what you really want to do. Will you stay in childcare? What about a setting like a nursery? Or do you want a change? College courses start this month and you're not too late to get onto a course that could change your life around.

NapQueen Tue 26-Sep-17 19:29:22

Have they been paying your tax and ni all this time as a Nanny or have you as a CM?

Gottalovesummer Tue 26-Sep-17 19:34:00

I think you're being exploited and I think the family know exactly what they're doing. It's pretty outrageous to be honest!

Hand in your notice, they may tell you things will change, but they won't. They're onto a good thing, they have extensive childcare at a fraction of what they should be paying

Until you can decide what you want to do, apply to some local nurseries. You are very experienced with special needs so I would emphasise this. Use this as breathing space til you find something else

Best of luck x

SMJYellow Tue 26-Sep-17 19:36:36

I never thought about references.

Leaving is something I definitely want to do. I've been working for the past 9 years and it was something I liked and enjoyed. It worked out well for a long time but everything is gone downhill - the hours, the pay, the workload.

Anyone else in my position would be able to have something to show for their work. Like maybe they would be able to afford:
A car, or
A holiday once in a while, or
Move out from their parents house and rent, or
To start their own little family, or
Have a deposit for a house.

I don't have anything like this.

Its definitely time for change.

I feel like I need to have a reason to leave. I've been thinking about telling the couple I work for that I'm moving in with the boyfriend. This would be a lie but feck it. Do you think this would pass with them?

At some stage the found out about carers allowance and looked into it and filled out the form in my name. Eventually that came in and now that is my income. They don't even pay me any more. I get an allowance from the state now.

The parents are professionals. I'm not going to say what they do but they would be able to afford to pay me a proper wage.

Anyways, there's rules regarding the payment I'm on in that I must be living withing a certain distance and if I marry or cohabit, the partners income would be taken as means.

I'm thinking about using my boyfriend as an excuse just to pack it all in.

MrsMooks Tue 26-Sep-17 19:40:52

Crikey op, you sound like a slave! They don't pay you so you don't need to give notice surely?
Get out and find another job ASAP. They've taken you for a mug.

KirstyJC Tue 26-Sep-17 19:43:00

If they aren't actually paying you directly then it sounds to me like you are working in conditions similar to modern slavery.......!

They aren't paying you. You don't need a reason to leave your job, as you have no job. A job has a salary, with terms and conditions like paid holiday, Sick pay (even just SSP), a contract (even verbal). You have a piss take where they have somehow been able to get away with getting you to work without paying you.

I would tell them that you are not going to be coming in as you have realised that you are being exploited. And then tell the authorities on them as this is illegal. (And stop claiming carers of course!). If you live with your mum, and assuming she will not chuck you out if you have no money, then frankly what have you got to lose?

kittybiscuits Tue 26-Sep-17 19:47:51

They have treated you terribly. I think they will offer you money to stay. I would write a gracious resignation letter that makes it clear your mind is made up and there is no negotiating. How shitty of them to treat you like that when you have given such essential care. I hope you are treated much more fairly and kindly in future.

PacificDogwod Tue 26-Sep-17 19:48:17

Take some legal advice - maybe a Citizen's Advice Bureau could be a start?

You are being exploited terribly and it sounds more than dodgy to me.

You do not have to give any kind of explanation other than 'it is time for me to move on'.

AntiHop Tue 26-Sep-17 19:48:21

I'm confused. You're claiming carers allowance to look after their child and not actually paying you? If that's the case, they're exploiting you.

Earlyriser84 Tue 26-Sep-17 19:49:21

Wow. Just wow.

That's highly illegal surely ? Benefit fraud, slavery, not paying minimum wage etc

I wouldn't even bother going in the next day

RandomMess Tue 26-Sep-17 19:49:32

You have lots of experience you can likely walk into a nanny job earning decent money! Start applying for jobs, was you resign I wouldn't be surprised if they are suddenly offering you an awful lot more money to get you to stay!

MrsSthe3rd Tue 26-Sep-17 19:53:31

That is awful OP! You're not even employed. How on earth are they getting away with this?!

£62.70 is a pittance and I don't know how you survive on just that.

Please get out. And quick.

SMJYellow Tue 26-Sep-17 19:59:46

I'm not in England. I'm in Ireland. The carers allowance is 204 euro a week here. Its still a pittance compared to everything that's on my back and compared to minimum wage and all that.

SMJYellow Tue 26-Sep-17 20:03:57

Telling the authorities won't be an option. I was happy to help for a long time. Theres been so much chopping and changing and it's gone above and beyond what I've ever signed up to do.

I just want to get out, cut my losses and move on and start looking after myself and my own future.

JassyRadlett Tue 26-Sep-17 20:10:54

Ok, based on what you've said, they are breaking the law.

You are clearly a sole employee (in their home, not able to choose your hours, Not able to take other jobs). They are your employers, which means they need to pay the minimum wage (£7.20/hr I think?) plus employers NI, etc. So for a standard 10hr nanny day that's £72 per day.

Nannies get paid well above this in my neck of the woods (£12-15/hr at least).

Please leave. Please. And please report them, they are exploitative, rogue employers who should give you the backpay you're due. They should be banned from employing people ever again.

I know it's easy to say, but in your position I'd demand a lump sum in lieu of wages and in exchange you won't shop them to HMRC. Or at the very least a glowing reference.

There is only one thing that stops this being the definition of slavery, and that is that you have the ability to leave. Please use it. You owe them nothing. They owe you tens of thousands of pounds.

JassyRadlett Tue 26-Sep-17 20:13:33

Sorry, cross post (I was v slow!) and I just saw you're in Ireland.

Still - please cut your losses. Start fresh. Don't squander any more of your time and earning potential with these people. They are scoundrels.

user1499786242 Tue 26-Sep-17 20:26:46

I can't believe what I'm reading
This is modern day slavery..
I have absolutely no advice as I can't even believe this has been allowed to happen
But please please get out of there!
You don't even need to give a reason
Just say I've found a new job
Here is my notice

Sending you a hug OP

Ttbb Tue 26-Sep-17 20:31:25

Have you considered nannying for a family who doesn't take the piss? With your kind of experience you could potentially get a well paid job with really good extras like a free flat and a car. Is there anyway you could sweet talk them into giving you a good reference (or failing that threaten them into suing for constructive dismissal or sonething).

falandb Tue 26-Sep-17 20:55:14

They are taking the piss completely. 14 hour days! That’s absolutely bonkers! Do you have a contract with them? Do they pay tax and NI? If you have no contract then you have no obligation to them, just leave but remember to cancel careers allowance as you don’t want to be in a situation where you have to pay it back.
Good luck OP.

PacificDogwod Tue 26-Sep-17 21:15:22

You keep saying that they have 'professional' jobs and they could afford to pay you more - that just makes things so much worse.

I hope you find better employment soon.
Please do consider alerting the authorities about what's going on so nobody else has to work under those conditions.

Fwiw, we employ a nanny and she is worth her weight in gold - we don't quite pay her that, but she has a decent wage (more than the living wage).

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