Categories
For Parents

Do I have to give my nanny vacation time?

There are many questions surrounding employing a nanny and vacation allowance.  Kate McGeachin, a Placement Manager at Nannies on Call answers 5 of the most commonly asked questions.

Do I have to allow my nanny to take vacation?

Yes.  Nannies have the same rights as employees in any other industry. Employees are entitled to a minimum of 4% vacation per year (4% is the equivalent to 2 weeks vacation). Most Nannies get anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks paid vacation. 

If my Nanny only works part time, is she entitled to vacation?

As employees, Nannies are entitled to paid vacation whether or not they are full time or part time employees and whether or not they are permanent or temporary.  They are entitled to a minimum of 4% of their gross earnings for the year which is the equivalent to 2 weeks.  

If your Nanny works for you 3 days per week, in this case one week is the equivalent to 3 days (not 5) and therefore your Nanny can take a minimum of 6 days of paid vacation per year (not 10).

Our family is going away for 3 weeks over the summer and 2 weeks at Christmas and we won’t need the Nanny to work.  Do we have to pay our nanny for this time?

Employment Standards does not require you to pay her for hours not worked, but we strongly recommend that you do.  This is the number one complaint we hear from our Nannies.  If the Nanny is willing and able to work, and you can not provide her with work, we feel that she should be paid.  The Nannies rely on a steady income and if they are scrounging to make ends meet at the end of the month, they will be forced to quit and seek a new job that can guarantee a steady paycheque.

Can I decide when my nanny takes her vacation? 

Employers are able to dictate when an employee takes vacation.   However, please remember that things come up in the Nanny’s personal life that are very important to her. You will have a very unhappy Nanny on your hands if she has to miss out on her best friend’s wedding or a family reunion.  As much as possible, allow her to choose her vacation.  If not, you can ask her to take these days as unpaid if you have allotted other times in the year for her vacation. 

My Nanny has asked to take vacation but she has only just started working with us.  What should I do?

If your Nanny has been employed for a short time, she wouldn’t have worked long enough to accrue enough days to cover the amount of days she would like off.  We don’t recommend giving her an advance for her vacation pay.  If she quits or is let go, and if she hasn’t worked long enough to repay her vacation, you are not allowed to deduct it from her final pay. You could either tell her that she isn’t able to take vacation until she has accrued it, or allow her to take as unpaid leave.  

If she has accrued it, we feel that she should be entitled to take it. 

Kate McGeachin has been matching nannies and families for 8 years.  She lives in Vancouver with her husband and her daughter.  When she is not camping, skiing or biking, she is scouring the internet looking for the latest vegetarian gluten free recipes. 

 

 

Categories
For Parents

Integrating a New Nanny

 

Hiring a Nanny and getting them acquainted and comfortable with your family and home no small task! Each family does things a little differently, and no matter how many years of experience the Nanny has, it will take them some time to get familiar with a new family. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can help make the on-boarding process as easy and effective as possible.

Family Manual

A family manual is a binder or e-document with everything the Nanny needs to know about working with your family. It includes important information such as emergency contacts, medical needs and allergies, dietary information, house rules, the family’s schedule, parenting approaches, and so on. Not only is a family manual helpful when the Nanny is first starting out, it is something they can refer back to at any time.

Written notes and lists

Nannies may choose to carry a notebook around with them to record important information shared with them during their first few shifts. They may also continue to use one to write down to-do lists, grocery lists, and other noteworthy items from the day. We strongly recommend that families do the same.

Schedule

Similarly, it is helpful to have a daily and/or weekly schedule for the Nanny to follow as well. The schedule should outline the Nanny’s tasks and responsibilities, as well as scheduled nap times, activities, appointments, etc.

Shared calendar

Having a shared calendar is also a useful tool, as it allows busy families to keep track of activities and appointments, vacations, and the Nanny’s work schedule. You may choose to have a wall calendar visible somewhere in the house or to share an online calendar, such as Google Calendar or iCalendar.

Communication book

We always recommend that families use a book or diary (one day per page style) to communicate with the Nanny. A communication book is where everyone can record and relay day-to-day information, such as how the child napped, diaper changes, upcoming appointments for the children, parents, and Nanny (e.g., “I have a concert on Wednesday evening, so I must leave no later than 6 PM”, “Spirit Day at school”, “I have an early meeting on Tuesday, so you will have to arrive at 8 AM”).

Shadowing

It can be very useful to have a “shadow day” with a new Nanny, where they spend a day with one of the parents or another caregiver (such as a relief Nanny or a previous Nanny whose contract is ending). This gives the Nanny an opportunity to get acquainted with the home, experience a typical day with the children, and learn about details that may otherwise be overlooked.

Trial shifts

We also highly recommend having the Nanny do a trial shift with your family to ensure that it is a good fit. This is especially important if the initial interview took place virtually and you haven’t had a chance to meet the Nanny in person yet. It’s hard to get a true sense of someone you’ve only ever met through a computer screen. A trial shift gives both your family and the Nanny the opportunity to assess whether the relationship will work or not before making a commitment.

Categories
COVID For Parents

It’s Time to Check In with the Nanny

 

It’s not an easy time to be a Nanny! The ongoing global pandemic is creating unique challenges for professional childcare providers, which is leading to high rates of burnout and mental health struggles among those in the field. Nannies’ roles have changed drastically in order to abide by social distancing measures. They are now expected to be teachers helping children learn in their virtual classrooms; quiet coworkers and behavior management experts for parents who are working from home; and endlessly creative in coming up with new activities and projects to do with children while libraries and playgroups are closed. While they are dealing with the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic themselves, they are also the ones helping children cope with the confusion and feelings of loss associated with the “new normal”. Nannies are doing all of this — and more — without the usual support of their other Nanny friends and, often, without any additional praise or financial compensation from their employers. It’s no wonder they are feeling overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and undervalued! 

Families, it’s time to check in with the Nanny! Make a genuine effort to find out how they’re doing — how they’re really doing. Discuss ways to better support them. Show that you appreciate them, in any way you can. Keep communicating and checking in on a regular basis. Let them know they can be open with you and ask for additional support. They’ve been there for you and your children throughout the pandemic — show them that you’re there for them too. After all, we’re all in this together! 

* Thank you to Nanny Care Hub (Nanny Care Hub website, Facebook) for reminding all of us here at The Nanny Solution and Nannies on Call just how important it is to show the Nannies that we care! You have inspired us to write this post and to check in with the wonderful Nannies in our lives.