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Nanny's "chosen" holiday - would you pay out?

(39 Posts)
BigGlassOfWine Fri 07-Dec-12 00:33:19

Our nanny is leaving shortly, and has just realised that she didn't take one of her "chosen" days. We have a contract which allows her to choose two weeks. However, she has had more than her total entitlement overall, as we have been away a bit, so she has had four days more than the total in her contract, and her contract is already two more than statutory. So I'm not feeling particularly sympathetic about paying out a day....
What do you think? Am I being unreasonable?

Also, she has always taken her two weeks as "extra", in the sense that there is never any overlap, she waits till we have chosen our days, then wants hers at other times. I thought the idea was more so that both sides could work out when to take holiday so as to be away at the same time - any thoughts how to handle this with future nanny? Get nanny to choose at beginning of the year?
Many thanks in advance!

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Fri 07-Dec-12 00:46:05

YABU The days she gets to choose are her annual leave days (two days more than standard isn't that big a deal, lots of nannies get a lot more and it's not relevant to this discussion). If you have taken 4 days in addition to your two weeks (or whatever your 'share' of the annual leave is) then that's your problem. If you have a days leave owed to you when you left a job, would you be happy to say 'don't worry about it'?

She hasn't taken her two weeks as 'extra' she has simply taken her two weeks! So what if she waits until you have chosen your dates? She's not going to lose out on two weeks holiday to overlap with you is she?

You can't expect a new nanny to book her holiday a year in advance - and why should she? Some parents ask for 4 weeks notice, most just accept there are two weeks in the year that they will need to make other arrangements for their children and get on with it - accepting that nannies also have their own lives.

You sound like hard work.

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Fri 07-Dec-12 00:47:29

Though I do like your posting name, so maybe you are actually quite nice but are posting when you are in a shitty mood and it's coming over as very 'them & us'. Have a wine

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 07-Dec-12 02:53:56

So the nanny has a day holiday owed, is that right? If so then yes you should pay it. As chipping says if you've taken extra holiday then that's your problem.

'Also, she has always taken her two weeks as "extra", in the sense that there is never any overlap, she waits till we have chosen our days, then wants hers at other times'

This is making me confused. That's what she is supposed to do! She has the choice of two weeks, so she chooses two weeks. The time that you choose is... your choice. You think you should choose holiday dates and then she should take the same two weeks and count that has her choice?! Are you slightly mad?

If you choose two weeks and the she chooses the same two weeks, she'll only have had two weeks holiday instead of 4 weeks or whatever is in the contract. What would you do with the other two weeks? You'd pick that would you? So she'd actually have no choice?!

It is perfectly reasonable to ask the new nanny for notice of holidays, but I think the beginning of the year might be a bit much. My contract has one months notice of holiday dates (that goes both ways, not just me giving them notice). I actually almost always give more notice, but they have been flexible a couple of times when I've given slightly less. I am also flexible with them.

HSMM Fri 07-Dec-12 05:01:46

Agree with the others. Her days are her choice, not yours.

nannynick Fri 07-Dec-12 07:16:02

The contract in my view should not be specifically saying that they get x number of days holiday of their choice. All holiday in my view is subject to being approved by the employer.

Do you really want to end things with the threat of legal action hanging around? Come to an agreement between you, regardless of what the legal position may be. Sure you may be legally in the right but is 4 days worth fighting over?

Would nanny compromise on 2 days? They have some responsibility to track holiday I feel, as you do as the employer. You are both at fault for having this 2 week choice thing and not making sure it was actually working in reality.

Would xmas have fallen in this holiday year? Are they leaving before that? If so, would you not have given them time off over xmas?

BigGlassOfWine Fri 07-Dec-12 08:48:49

Thanks for your comments!
First off, I will pay the day, mostly because I don't want a sulky nanny for the last couple of weeks ;-)
But I think my post got sidetracked because of my general "gripe" about how to get the "we choose 2 weeks, you choose 2 weeks" thing to work in a way that's fair to both sides.
My real point was that it seems weird to pay someone's holiday out where they have had just over seven weeks paid time off already, and my own employer doesn't pay for holiday not taken. For me, holiday isn't a "real" financial benefit, it's the right to take time off without losing out, which does mean that it gets paid, but paying out holiday to someone who has had more than their contractual time off just doesn't seem right...
If she had given notice in time, I would have given her the day off paid, but she didn't ask.

Does anyone have a good way of working the "you choose 2 weeks" method? I don't really think it's reasonable to say that those should always be extra, that means nannies should automatically get 8 weeks paid holiday, and lovely as that thought might be (wouldn't we all love 8 weeks paid holiday?!?), this is the real world after all.... If the nanny ends up with a couple of days more than the contractual total, that's not a major deal, either, that's bound to happen, it's the full two weeks that seem too much.
I don't really want to ask a nanny to fix all her holidays at the beginning of the year either, what if she needs time off for random stuff, sick family, furniture delivery, etc?
So how can it work better?

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 07-Dec-12 09:00:59

As others have said your nanny gets to chose her two weeks and if you have given her more/gone away more then your 2 days then that is up to you and doesn't mean she doesn't get her choice.

Fwiw in my last job I got every half term off - 2 weeks at Xmas and Easter - as well as their 2 weeks holiday choice and mine - so in the contract it's said 4 weeks but also said any extra holiday taken by employer was to be paid - so for 5years I usually had 11/12 weeks paid holiday - but that was my employers choice and they likes to spend any extra time they could with their children smile

Yes obv a nanny will try and work holidays around employers but personally I don't like going away in July/ aug as prices are so high and I like to go may/June and sept/oct

You do come across slightly peeved that your nanny is asking for her time off - but it's what she is entitled to smile

Can you imagine if you work said to you / theres no work next month - have 2 weeks off but we are not paying you - its the same thing - you chose to go away extra / just like my ex employers did

Hope you sort things out smile

I think it comes down to the person you employ and how nice they are prepared to be about it.

I have to say I would be hmm with our nanny if she made a point about taking "her" two weeks on top of 7-8 weeks holiday she has already had, albeit that it is of course your choice to be away at those times. Unless there was a very good reason for her to choose a different holiday time I would hope she would be reasonable (and fair) about it. Luckily our nanny is - she gets similar time to yours off because we choose to be away and she occasionally takes her own time, but only if circumstances demand, eg the people she is going away with cant do another time or significant birthdays/anniversarys/death of close friend's dad.

I guess you could change the contract for next time, stipulating six weeks (or whatever) paid holiday, but all at your choice, any other leave subject to your approval and unpaid?

BlueyDragon Fri 07-Dec-12 09:21:04

OP, we work the 50/50 split of holiday allocation like this. Our nanny has 24 days leave in her contract. We pick when 12 of those days are, and she picks when 12 of those are. There's no expectation of overlap, we get 24 days holiday and she gets 24 days holiday but each side of the equation picks when half of them are. In practice she takes 2 weeks in September (when the kids are back at school so we can't go away) and the period between Christmas and New Year. Contractually we are supposed to give each other at least 2 weeks' notice, but we don't hold each other to it.

We are very flexible, as is she, but she doesn't get 8 weeks holiday!

BlueyDragon Fri 07-Dec-12 09:24:32

So we hold back on allocating some of our holiday entitlement from our employers so that we can cover her holiday. If we take more than our 12 days, we still have to cover her 12 days.

sleeplessinsuburbia Fri 07-Dec-12 09:29:07

I have never had a nanny but sleepwhenidie sounds fair to me in her last paragraph.

McPheastOfStephen Fri 07-Dec-12 09:30:43

You choose yours, she chooses hers.

End of.

Why do nannies get such a shit deal when it comes to holidays? We are no different, and have the same rights, entitlements to everyone else. I hear the above, time and time again. Can anyone imagine if their employer turned round and said, "you have to have your holiday when we say you can"? confused. It's not accepted anywhere else, so why should we?

Sorry, YABVU

BlueyDragon Fri 07-Dec-12 09:36:07

McPheast, I know lots of people in non-nannying jobs who have their holidays dictated by their employers - it's not uncommon in accountancy firms during audit busy season, for example. But that's done in accordance with the employment contract. If someone has the contractual right to choose when they spend half their holiday entitlement then that should be honoured.

sleeplessinsuburbia Fri 07-Dec-12 09:53:39

My holidays are dictated unless I apply months in advance for extra leave and then they can be turned down and that's only if I have accrued the time.

If the prospective nanny didn't like the conditions (which sounds like many more weeks holiday than most people) she could decline the position??

fraktion Fri 07-Dec-12 10:27:30

With our nanny, and now with an au pair, we have restrictions in when holiday can be: not term time, not when DH is deployed (foreseeably, at least - I wouldn't cancel her holiday if he was called away as that's our problem). We don't specify an amount they can choose but accommodate reasonable requests - weddings, family holiday etc.

She does get a 4,5 day weekend every 2 weeks because of the way my timetable works though, so term time mini breaks aren't out of the question.

Rugbycomet Fri 07-Dec-12 10:44:20

Op....it was your choice that you took more holiday not hers and presumably she was available to work. Sorry but she is entitled to it.

With our nanny we choose 2 weeks and she chooses 2 weeks. We also have the week off between Christmas and New Year. If we have extra time off then contractually she takes this as unpaid leave, although in practice we have always paid her.

Novstar Fri 07-Dec-12 11:43:23

OP: I am sympathetic. At the end of the day, your nanny has had 6 days more paid leave than statutory min, so she's not exactly been cheated.

It probably depends on what rights you have given her in your contract (and yes definitely review it before next nanny), but employees don't have the statutory right to take days of their choosing off as paid leave - employers can decline requests, as long as they don't make it impossible for employee to take any paid leave. And employers have the right to say that employee must use up their entitlement on employer's chosen days. This might be useful.

My guess is that, if you have agreed in your contract to give nanny the right to have their chosen 2 weeks as holidays, then you must give them that. Are you OK to give her a holiday or is she asking for money in lieu? What does your contract say about pay in lieu?

I state in my contract that I have the right to allocate 2/3rd of the paid leave. Nanny doesn't have equivalent rights (but I try very hard to accommodate reasonable requests for leave and have never had to turn down a request for holdiays).

I suggest wtih the next one, you check with the reference how your candidate was like re holidays.

KindleMum Fri 07-Dec-12 12:12:38

I think it's a common problem that when individuals employ someone, they don't make the terms clear enough - either through embarrassment in discussing it or through lack of experience. Clarity is incredibly important at the offering/taking the job stage as both parties can have very different ideas and experiences of what is normal.

We had a nanny previously, though not now. DH got 8 weeks holiday but timing was dictated by the employer and it was fixed typically 9 months in advance. Our contract with the nanny made it very clear from the outset (ie at interview, and then in writing) that she would get paid leave for the 8 weeks we were on holiday, plus bank holidays but if she wanted extra then it would have to be taken as unpaid leave. She was entirely happy with that (in fact as 8 weeks was more than she wanted, she used to temp while we were on holiday, which was fine by us) and was with us for 3 years, until we moved. We were extremely clear upfront about such things and I think that is key. We always told her straight away when we had the holiday dates fixed so she had plenty of notice. And it needs to be clarified in writing as people forget the details of conversations sometimes. Misunderstandings cause the most resentment in my experience.

Chalk this one up to experience and have a frank discussion of terms with your next nanny.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 07-Dec-12 14:04:15

bigglassofwine i must read posts properly blush and not over multitasking having breakfast/putting on trainers to go to the gym grin

i didnt reliese nanny was quibbling over one day, i thought it was her two weeks she wanted paying and that you didnt want to pay that

so as you have given her extra holiday over the year, if i were her i wouldnt expect the extra days pay

but still say the same that nannies can expect to chose their 2 weeks whenever they want, if that has been agreed at interview and in contract

kindlemum out of curiosity are any of those 8 weeks in term time - generally i wouldnt take a job where i have no choice in the holiday, though 8 weeks is very tempting grin

MariaMandarin Fri 07-Dec-12 14:19:14

I wouldn't expect the extra day's pay either, but I think you will have to pay up to keep the peace.

You haven't really organised things in the right way. You need to hold back some of your holiday time to cover her choice of weeks so that she doesn't end up with so much time off. Manage expectations as well, because it is not reasonable for employees to have a completely free choice of holiday, it does have to be in agreement with you as the employer.

How it works for me is that the family tell me their main holiday dates for the year, usually 2 weeks in summer and 1 at Easter, well in advance. I can request my own holiday weeks at any point, but they can also refuse those weeks if not convenient. We always come to a compromise.

Karoleann Fri 07-Dec-12 15:11:27

I'd def pay, its only one day after all. Our nannies have always had different two weeks to ours.

I did put a clause in our last two nanny contracts that if we were away for more than our two weeks, up to one week of it would need to be made up in babysitting.

MCPheast - it is very common for employers to dictate when holidays should be taken. A lot of companies shut between Xmas and new year and employees have to use their holiday allowance for then. Some factories traditionally shut for 2-3 weeks in August and again force their employees to have holiday in that period.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 07-Dec-12 15:55:28

'Does anyone have a good way of working the "you choose 2 weeks" method? I don't really think it's reasonable to say that those should always be extra, that means nannies should automatically get 8 weeks paid holiday'

No it doesn't! You take less holiday. If you have 6 weeks from your employer, you take 4 weeks and leave two so that you can take it when it's her choice. If you want to be really petty and just give her a total of 4 weeks even though you have 6, then you can take two weeks without giving her the time off (do your christmas shopping, go out with DH for the day etc, go away with friends for a few days etc). Then you've used your full 6 weeks allowance and the nanny hasn't had a minute extra!

KindleMum Fri 07-Dec-12 17:03:01

Blondeshavemorefun - usually 2-4 weeks of it were in term time and exact dates were always known 9 months in advance. She really liked it as she was getting 8 weeks paid leave and would use some of that to do a temp job so while we were away she was earning very nicely and could always use that to make up for any unpaid days she might take. But the main thing was that the terms were clear from the start

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