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How do you cope with a nanny on longer sick leave?

(18 Posts)
Baubles1981 Fri 12-Jan-18 22:36:26

Our nanny has now been off sick for 5 weeks and we are both nearly having nervous breakdowns. First I had some annual leave but I'm now very behind at work. We have had a wonderful temp nanny for a few days but she's not free regularly. We have big pressure at work for projects in the next 10 weeks and need to focus. We can't go on managing day by day taking all our time ringing around and stressing over childcare. No real idea how long our nanny will be off for. We can't keep having new temps as need to show them round etc and it's not nice for the children.

Daughter in reception (5) and son who is 1.
.
Option 1 - local nursery for son. Then daughter in after school club. Mixture of working at home and complicated early/late days to do pick ups with the temp nanny doing the odd pick up. We both have commutes of around 1.25 hrs into London.
Son may not settle well and I don't really like the nursery.

Option 2 - new temp nanny who may leave to get a permanent job as she is currently looking.

What on earth do people do?
Any advice welcome we really need to make a decision and be able to function normally again.

We hope to find out when our nanny is likely to return but no luck so far. At what point can we give her notice?

Thanks for reading!

Josieannathe2nd Fri 12-Jan-18 22:53:54

This was my nightmare. I think you’re doomed.
www.rightsatwork.co.uk/employment-law/unfair-dismissal-capability.html
The above might be more helpful. But what is reasonable?
If you put them in Nursery/ wraparound then is their no longer a job?
You could start with a meeting?

irrationallyworried Fri 12-Jan-18 23:01:11

I would def do temp nanny and hope you get a few weeks of her at least. I’d say worst possible circs to start a one year old at nursery. There are agencies that specialise in temp placements - we used an emergency nanny service a few times when ours were v small and we really had to go to work.

bellie710 Fri 12-Jan-18 23:05:40

Depends why she is off sick? Have you spoken to her and asked when she is likely to come back to work? This is probably of the jobs where a reasonable amount of time is classed as quite short as it is very disruptive to the children.

OVienna Fri 12-Jan-18 23:07:03

Can you ask your HR dept at work for help? Ideally - I'd speak to a lawyer though.

crisscrosscranky Sat 13-Jan-18 09:37:27

Why is she off sick?

How long has she been employed for? What is contractual notice period?

What is likelihood of return/ability to carry out full duties?

The first thing an employment solicitor will want to know is if there are any protected characteristics to consider in a potential discrimination case. Secondly will be length of service for a potential unfair dismissal.

For now I would liaise with an agency on a temp Nanny but give them a decent contract length so you've got some time to consider your long term options.

Baubles1981 Sat 13-Jan-18 19:59:14

Thanks everyone. On reflection, I think nursery is the wrong way to go as so much could go wrong with settling in, illness, logistics etc.

Nanny has hurt her back so needs to heal fully before she can lift up children etc. We were in touch fairly often but heard nothing for the last week despite 2 messages (being very polite and not pushy).
With us for just a few months and 6 week notice period.
We will try to have a conversation to discuss the recovery time. But it feels like the lack of contact is a bad sign.

So we met a new temp nanny today from the agency and she was lovely. Thank goodness!!!! She is looking for a new permanent job and most have start dates in at least 6 weeks, so she is keen to stay with us for a little while. We've booked her for next week and then hope to know more about the sickness situation.

As someone suggested we will try to offer the new temp a guaranteed period or at least 2-3 weeks notice to cover ourselves at work and also give her some security.

Thanks, just reassuring to hear some opinions and that this is not easy!!

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 14-Jan-18 18:45:25

Several nanny payroll agencies have a legal advice line, check if yours does.

Is she providing sick notes from her GP saying she is unfit for work? Do the notes give you any specific diagnosis or estimation of when she will recover?

Are there any adaptations you can make to limit lifting? I appreciate may not be possible.

I think the usual medical advice with minor back pain problems is to try to keep moving and get back to normal activities soon. So if she has been unable to work for five weeks already with no plan to return, that suggests this might be a prolonged problem.

Personally I'd get some legal advice around when you can take further steps towards ending her employment, so you know where you stand. If her back problem is going to be prolonged in honesty Nannying for a baby might not be a good job for her. I don't know whether being a new employee means you have fewer obligations, but I'd get some legal advice asap.

As you have important projects at work, I'd throw money at the situation (if you have it) and book a temporary Nanny for at least 4 weeks. If you or dh stuffs up at work through being stressed and frazzled and misses a promotion, that will cost you more money long term. If you know you have 4 weeks covered you can take a breather, get some legal advice, and work out where to go from here if she doesn't get better.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 14-Jan-18 18:48:45

Btw I'd check the legal position before contacting her again, as I think you aren't supposed to contact employees informally when they are on sick leave. I think the employer can arrange a formal meeting if leave is more than a few weeks. If you might be ending her employment just be sure you have acted correctly in the run up to that.

Baubles1981 Sun 14-Jan-18 19:44:00

Thanks very much for the great advice.

We are with NannyPAYE so I will give them a call to discuss the legal position. We do really want her back as she already has a brilliant bond with the children, but there is only so long we can go on like this. I will find out the position re contacting her as I don't want to break any rules or put pressure on etc..

We are thinking of giving some financial incentive to the new temp nanny if we like her this week. Even a fixed term contract may not be enough - as what's to stop her breaking it if she gets the perfect permanent job? We'll discuss with her this week, as she does understand our situation and has been let down herself before. So hopefully can offer her something she is happy to stick around for. Plus who knows what it might lead to potentially...

We haven't got a GP note so far - struggling to find out the requirements around this as we didn't stipulate in her contract. Can we ask for it? Or is it a return to work 'fit' note...?
We do trust her as I know she needs to be working and earning money so no reason for her to stay off.

Completely impossible to adapt the role as sole charge for 12 hours and my son is just walking but needs lifting to high chair and car, and just generally keeping safe.

Appraiser Sun 14-Jan-18 19:54:10

We haven't got a GP note so far - struggling to find out the requirements around this as we didn't stipulate in her contract. Can we ask for it? Or is it a return to work 'fit' note...?
We do trust her as I know she needs to be working and earning money so no reason for her to stay off.

5 weeks and no sicknote rings alarm bells for me. With no sicknote she’s not technically off sick. She could be spinning a line. You need a sick note to at least pay her statutory sickness payment (SSP).

You need to write to her, clearly setting out your expectations, eg:
- Sick note to be sent ASAP advising how long recovery will be
- regular contact with you, ie by telephone once a week
- tell the story of your attempts to contact her, and your expectations going forward. Ignoring your messages is not acceptable.
- that continued absence beyond [x] weeks, may result in you exploring options of either rehabilitation and return to work, or termination of employment.

Appraiser Sun 14-Jan-18 19:55:08

In answer to your question, yes, you can request a sicknote, if you employ her. That is her obligation to verify her sickness.

Baubles1981 Sun 14-Jan-18 20:07:31

Ok thanks that's good to know. We didn't want it to seem like we were suddenly not trusting her and asking for a note as we have had a very good relationship up to this. We saw her in a bad way on the day it got really bad and then it was Christmas etc...

However, with hindsight we should have stuck to the formalities! Lesson learned...

Nannypaye has a legal helpline so will be calling to discuss with them and thinking of a sensible and clear plan now.

pigshavecurlytails Mon 15-Jan-18 06:08:30

She has been off five weeks and you haven't asked for a sick note? You need to toughen up OP, are you paying SSP? You're re an employer and you need to act like one. Fit note for anything over a week or no SSP.

LittlePear91 Mon 15-Jan-18 06:42:47

ACAS are a good place for free information- I've always found them really good whether on the employer or employee side of things! Their advisors are really helpful.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Mon 15-Jan-18 06:51:01

Are you paying her anytime op?

We had nannypaye and I found their legal advice helpful when we had a problem.

Yes please get advice, then start acting like an employer. Five weeks with no sick note is taking the piss. You have no evidence that she is actually sick!

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 17-Jan-18 22:40:04

Are you paying her full pay?

If not then would be ssp but that needs a certificate as others said

Very strange she hasn’t been in contact with you

Are you sure she wants to come back ?

mnxnt42 Wed 17-Jan-18 22:46:36

We’re with nannypaye and they were great when our nanny was off sick. Just give them a call in the morning - they’ll be able to explain your rights and responsibilities. As an aside as she’s been with you for less than 2 years I think you can dismiss her pretty easily. Not a nice situation for employees, but that’s the position

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