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Breaks for nannies?

(49 Posts)
plimsolls Wed 18-Oct-17 14:27:55

Breaks and tests for nannies. How does it work?

I work at home (or get on with "life admin" or whatever) whilst our newish nanny/housekeeper looks after our daughter (14 months). Her hours are 11-7, three day per week.

At various points, I'll play or have lunch with my daughter and the nanny does a few chores or has her lunch etc.

Usually the nanny takes my daughter out for a walk in the afternoon for some fresh air and so my daughter can have short nap as she doesn't sleep well in her cot in the afternoon.

Anyway, the nanny has just informed me that she can't do that this afternoon as she needs to rest because she is tired, and she can't rest in the park today because the ground is wet. (Actually, I didn't realise she usually rested in the park whilst my daughter was in her pushchair....)

Is this weird? I feel like it is.... I used to be a nanny and basically didn't ever have a break as the parents worked out of the home. But I do understand that work breaks and rests are important and should be supported.

I'm just sitting here playing with my daughter realising I'm not actually going to get any of my work done today, but I've paid someone £15 per hour to be here.

(To be fair, she has done chores etc). It's just the refusing to take my daughter out...if I wasn't here, what would she do?

plimsolls Wed 18-Oct-17 14:29:21

Obviously the first sentence above should say "breaks and rests".

wizzywig Wed 18-Oct-17 14:29:38

None of my nannies have asked for a break and they have 3 kids. Nannynick may be able to advise

AveEldon Wed 18-Oct-17 14:30:53

What does her contract say?
Is she sat having a break or not?

DearMrDilkington Wed 18-Oct-17 14:36:47

she can't rest in the park today because the ground is wet.

What?! Does she usually have a lie down in the park for a snooze?

MonkeyJumping Wed 18-Oct-17 14:48:30

You really need to clarify what kind of rest she's having in the park - is she having a snooze while your daughter is in the oram? That's not safe.

It's pretty unusual for nannies to get any designated breaks or rest time, I believe they're excluded from the legislation providing for work breaks.

Ultimately she needs to be fully able to care for your child for her while working hours and if she can't do that you need to looking at hiring someone who can.

Twofishfingers Wed 18-Oct-17 14:49:15

Did she actually say the ground though. Maybe it's because she can't sit on a park bench because it's wet. If I take a child to a park and they fall asleep in the pushchair I would sit down on a park bench, if it's raining too hard I might go to the library or a cafe.

Maybe you should just talk to her. Maybe she thinks she should have a break and you think she shouldn't.

Enwi Wed 18-Oct-17 14:54:09

I might have got the wrong end of the stick here but doesn't she just mean that she needs to sit down and once she gets to the park she won't be able to?
I often take the children to the park and have a sit down whilst they meander around in the grass, or play on the floor equipment. Obviously I also spend a lot of time helping them on slides, pushing them on swings etc but at 14 months old I would expect a lot of the time there is just your DD wandering around exploring and looking at things and you know, being outside.
If nanny is having an off day and doesn't want to go out for one day I wouldn't bat an eyelid... DD will soon understand that everyone has off days and I'm assuming you would much prefer nanny had a bit of a restful day with DD than cancelled on you and had a day off sick.

plimsolls Wed 18-Oct-17 14:54:30

She's not currently on a contract. She's fairly new and we're getting her set up on payroll through DP's company. So we are currently paying her through bank transfer, and adding extra for her to do her own taxes. When she's on payroll, she'll be getting £14 ph net. I think currently we're paying her £17ph to include her taxes.

The contract we were going to use was the bog standard one available to download from one the nanny info sites (can't remember it off the top of my head but has info about rights and taxes and pension etc). I don't recall them specifying breaks though.

plimsolls Wed 18-Oct-17 14:55:38

dearmr I don't know!! I guess she must lie down or something (if she's saying it can't happen as it's wet). What does she do with my baby while she's resting?!

seven201 Wed 18-Oct-17 15:00:33

I think she probably means rest as in has a sit down on a bench. Chat to her again and ask her to clarify. Maybe she's just feeling a bit run down and really needs a break today.

plimsolls Wed 18-Oct-17 15:01:10

Sorry, cross posting with a lot of you.

It's not raining so she could definitely sit on a park bench. It's what I'm doing now. She always takes our picnic blanket with her when she goes out so I guess she likes to sit on the ground.

I totally agree that she should be able to relax when the baby sleeps. She knows e.g I will reimburse her for tea/coffee from the park cafe if she sits there whilst the baby sleeps. I don't mind that at all.

This is in the context of a few other things I'm not happy about, so it's not just an off day. I'd happily let one or two days slide....is more that she's now given me the impression she will only do what I/my daughter needs if it fits around her ideal breaks or plans to rest. I should have said that in my op, I'm sorry! Don't want to drip feed although happy to give further examples of relevant.

plimsolls Wed 18-Oct-17 15:01:54

Again, x posting. Sorry!

You're right, I do need to clarify what she meant by rest and if she has been expecting a rest every day or if today is a one off.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 18-Oct-17 15:10:22

Oh dear what a mess.

Firstly, she can't just do her own taxes if she is an employee. You need to register as her employer with HMRC from day one. You can put her on your dh's company payroll if she is an employee of the company. If she's not, then you shouldn't be doing that. If you actually mean it's going through the payroll company your dh uses for his company and you are paying the relevant fee for the service then that would usually be acceptable.

She might not have a written contract but you still have a contract. You need to issue her with a statement of employment particulars within 2 months of her start date - that is a statutory requirement.

Having a nanny is a big responsibility and comes with all the responsibilities being an employer brings. As it should be, she is looking after your child.

I think you need to get your own house in order and sort out your statutory obligations. Doing that is also going to be a good opportunity to establish expectations and obligations with your nanny.

How long has she worked for you?

Evelynismyspyname Wed 18-Oct-17 15:14:16

In an 8 hour shift there should be down time, as in time to sit and not be "doing" very much, but still be in loco parentis. If the baby napped in her cot that might be half an hour during nap time, when the nanny is "on call" but not actively doing chores or playing with child or walking with the pram. That's a pretty reasonable expectation, though a nap isn't usually! I really doubt she's napping, she probably just expects to be able to sit for 30 minutes.

I do 9 hour shifts as a support worker for adults with complex disabilities, and at weekends I work alone. I'm "in charge" but I take breaks during which I can't leave the flat but can sit on the balcony and can use my phone or read a book. It's not a full on break but it's half an hour during which I can legitimately say "no X I'm on my break, I'm not going to play memory/ look for the item you don't urgently need but want me to find/ dance with you/ make you a hot chocolate/ paint your nails/ run you a bath til after my break, sit with me if you like but please be patient". Nannies presumably need that too!

Detentioncontent Wed 18-Oct-17 15:14:58

OK workers in the UK if that's were you are entitled to one 20 minutes UNINTERRUPTED break for more than six hours worked in the UK.

That wouldn't count as watching a 14 month old in the park but would count as having her lunch alone.

With the bench issue I think she means she can't sit on it when it's wet.

That said I'm not sure entirely how having the break works with nannies as many have sole care and if baby doesn't have a nap or it's a toddler I'm not sure how you manage it as when I was a nanny I had no break for that reason.

However refusing to work this afternoon if she is just tired and not ill is silly but I would have no issue with the nanny caring for the child at home rather than the park of she was feeling off.

Detentioncontent Wed 18-Oct-17 15:19:52

Ahh with the ground wet thing if it's like our park there's probably only a couple of benches in the play area so she's probably meaning she won't even get a sit down (on the picnic blanket) I really doubt she is having a sleep.

plimsolls Wed 18-Oct-17 15:26:11

moving thank you. I think whatever we're doing is all in order (OH has taken a lot of advice incl legal advice, I'm just hazy on the details but he's/his company are on it). I will show them what you've written to double check.

You're right that clearing all that with her is a good opportunity to set out expectations.

I guess I was trying to get a sense from nannies or other people who employ nannies if having set breaks was standard.

evelyn I agree and that was how it was when I was a nanny. I'd relax or whatever while the kids were playing or napping. But that would have to stop as soon as one of them needed something. Like you say, always "on call" even if not actively doing something.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 18-Oct-17 16:00:27

Set breaks is not the norm for sole charge. I would be very concerned that's she's effectively decided she isn't going to be working because she is "tired".

She needs to be able to manage her time so she can have a sit down/rest and I would assume you are paying her for the whole time she is with you because she's always on duty (i.e. no unpaid lunch break).

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 18-Oct-17 16:04:27

Legal advice is very sensible. Especially because for employment status each case has to be judged on its own merits. There is a difference between employment status for tax purposes and employment status under employment law so make sure you have got the latter covered too (I'm sure you have/will but I've seen a lot of advice from accountants recently that has been incorrect so I'm a bit anal about it!).

2anddone Wed 18-Oct-17 16:06:04

If I am completely honest I think the issue from reading your posts is that your nanny does not like being essentially a ‘mothers help’ and feels like she is ‘on watch’ while working!
You say she works 11-7 and periodically you pop in to play with your child....as a nanny myself I would find it very unsettling to never know when you may pop in!
I work 10 hour days (at work currently!) and I don’t get any breaks apart from snatched downtime while the children play alone or eat at the table (like they are doing now!). During nap time I get chores done and if they are finished before they wake up i will sit and have a cup of tea and flick through a magazine, mn or watch tv, however I wouldn’t feel comfortable if you were in the next room or upstairs.
When she took the job did your nanny know you work from home and would be popping in and out to see your daughter?
I wonder if that’s the problem?

Priam Wed 18-Oct-17 16:06:52

£14 per hour net is quite generous!

AliPfefferman Wed 18-Oct-17 16:16:54

I've employed lots of nannies and I have to say I think this is a bad sign. Your nanny is your employee and her job is to do what you ask her go to, within reason of course. She should treat you with the same respect anyone would treat a boss/manager, and she certainly doesn't get to refuse to do tasks because she is tired! Obviously she can suggest that it may be too wet for the park but ultimately if you want her to go to the park that's where she needs to go. The nature of being a nanny is that she doesn't get formal breaks, but with just one toddler there are certainly times when she gets a few minutes to sit down, eat, make a phone call, or whatever else a person would normally do on a work break. That's just how it works. Bear in mind that an eight hour shift is NOT overly long for a nanny, and if she only works three days per week she has plenty of non-work time to catch up on rest.

You say she is new, which means this is supposed to be the honeymoon period. If this is her attitude now, it's not going to get better. I would listen to your gut feeling and find someone else.

Detentioncontent Wed 18-Oct-17 16:23:39

I agree I would have hated being a nanny with Mum popping in and out all day. The kids would have found it unsettling and either I'm in charge during that time or I am not.

I would have found it difficult taking a break, being watched over and disciplining a child and wondering if Mum was judging me all day tbh but that's just me.

MonkeyJumping Wed 18-Oct-17 16:24:17

£14nph is very generous, you're paying top rates so make sure you're happy with the arrangement.

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