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Good practice on agreeing holidays with nanny

(19 Posts)
lexbm Tue 17-Sep-13 10:39:02

Hi there. My full time nanny is requesting two weeks of holidays next year, out of term time. As only one of our three children is at school, this would mean us taking two full weeks off work off to stay at home. Her husband has shift work and his holidays don't coincide much with school holidays, although he will probably have a week in the long summer school holidays. I have read some people think its fair to give the nanny two weeks to choose annual leave, and the parents the other two weeks. That's what we did this year, but with our oldest starting school, we are now more constrained. Also, our families are far away, and holidays are the only time we see them. I am tempted to say yes to one week, even though its not at all convenient or appealing, and to agree on a long weekend or something when it suits her. But two full weeks seems like too much. She is great and I would like to keep her happy. Would it be terrible to say only holidays during school holidays?

grabaspoon Tue 17-Sep-13 11:25:58

I would not be happy if that was the case in my job. Especially as the cost of holidays rocket during school holidays rocket

cathpip Tue 17-Sep-13 11:32:57

Yes it is and if it was not in my contract then tough. My bosses had it written into my contract that 2 weeks had to coincide with their annual 2 week holiday, and the other 2 were when I wanted. These 2 weeks though I always tried to be accommodating, but holidays in school time are expensive. you are constrained to school holidays and she is constrained to her husbands shift work not liking him taking too much time off in school holidays, half and half is only fair....

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Tue 17-Sep-13 11:37:25

as a nanny I wouldn't be too impressed if my boss suddenly decided I could only have annual leave in school holidays (fair enough if it had been discussed before I started).

I choose 2 weeks a year, usually a week in Sept when the kids are back at school and the half term week in may.

my bosses choose 2 weeks usually in august and I usually get an extra week in October or February half term depending on my bosses plans.

if I could only have time off in school holidays I would never be able to afford to go on holiday.

Leopoldina Tue 17-Sep-13 11:38:51

Read your contract. It's a pretty major contract term to attempt to unilaterally change - something you'd only be entitled to do with her agreement.
what does the contract actually say?

NutellaNutter Tue 17-Sep-13 11:56:21

Sorry, but if you wanted that arrangement you should have agreed it up front and put it in the contract so she was happy with it. Too late now.

Daiso Tue 17-Sep-13 12:58:39

Doesn't seem very fair to me.
I'm a nanny and I choose 2 weeks and my bosses choose 2 weeks. They take their 2 weeks in the Aug hols but it's so expensive to go away then (not to mention super busy and filled with hundreds of children!) that I don't go away then, I go in May/June and Sept/Oct.
They have 2 out of their children in school and happy to accommodate my AL requests making alternative arrangements for the younger one or taking AL themselves.
Would you be happy with your boss telling you when you had to choose your hols and therefore unable to go when you wanted to?

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 17-Sep-13 13:00:09

I agree with everyone else. How is this fair to the nanny?

If you agreed it in advance then that's fine. Not a job many of us would want, but fair. To impose it now is completely unfair. I'm surprised you need to ask tbh. How would you feel if your boss suddenly restricted your holidays so you couldn't go away with your DH?

nannynick Tue 17-Sep-13 13:16:47

As the employer you can dictate when all holiday is taken. You can refuse holiday requests that do not suit you.

However any contractual clause about holiday may override that so knowing what is in the contract is important.

If you were to dictate when holiday is taken nanny may leave the job, so you need to negotiate an agreement that you both feel is fair.

Keep in mind that holiday entitlement is 5.6 weeks not 4, plus you can offer more holiday but not less. Bank holidays can be part of annual leave.

Victoria2002 Tue 17-Sep-13 14:09:21

Can you offer her 5 or 6 weeks leave but only during school holidays as a compromise? You need to re-negotiate rather than just change the rules.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 17-Sep-13 14:31:51

Depends what contract says - but no this isn't fair. I go away when kids are at school as a) cheaper b) want a peaceful holiday without screaming children or its not a holiday for me

Your nanny has given you tons of notice and maybe you and dh can take a week each or get gp or temp nanny in

Personally I would never take a job/sign a contract where I couldn't have 2 weeks my choice

FlorenceMattell Tue 17-Sep-13 15:48:21

Agree with other nannies on here. If it was agreed in advance that is fair. I have a job where I have agree that all holiday is taken in school holiday. It suits me as I also have a school age child.
However I turned down another job where the family didn't want me to have any holiday in school holidays, (they had a nursery child) as they wanted to take all their leave in term time; as cheaper.
As has been said what does it say in the contract?

oscarwilde Tue 17-Sep-13 16:17:28

I don't get it
"My full time nanny is requesting two weeks of holidays next year, out of term time. *As only one of our three children is at school, this would mean us taking two full weeks off work off to stay at home.*"

If you only have one child in school it doesn't matter when she takes her holidays, you are going to have to take 2 weeks off to take care of all your children.

I think you are saying that you would like to be able to dictate that she takes her two week break when you do, because you have a child in school.

Two weeks each (unless you allow her to exchange public holidays for other dates) is the working norm for most families but in practice most people want to take extra time off over Christmas for example. Who's "choice" that is depends on your employment I suppose.

You could suggest a compromise and make it one week of hols and one of non? It could happen in the last week of school, first week back or at either of the half terms. That way you and your DH only have to cover one week out of your own annual leave to be at home.

Strix Tue 17-Sep-13 20:31:32

Assuming your contract doesn't say otherwise, legally, you can decline this without an consequence. Practically, is it worth upsetting the relationship.

I have an au pair now, although really she sits somewhere between au pair and nanny. She asked to change her holiday from the october half term to one that begins end of December and goes into October (a little over a week). My initial reaction was that I didn't fancy taking holiday myself to do the school run. I was seriously considering declining the request. We had a friendly chat in the kitchen in which I asked what she planned if I approved. She told me her boyfriend (whom she rarely sees because he lives in another country) was taking her to Hong Kong. My au pair is lovely and I would be lost without her. And I knew immediately that I really could not reasonably deny her this trip and I promptly submitted my holiday request to my work and approved her request.

Now there was some trade off. I asked her to shorten the planned pleave over Christmas so she has to be back at work on January 02. But she was so delighted about going to Hong Kong that she was quite happy about this.

She has no contractual right to choose two weeks of her own. But I do believe I have to be flexible if I want her to be happy... and I do.

Strix Tue 17-Sep-13 20:32:39

oops. New holiday begins end of September, not December.

nbee84 Tue 17-Sep-13 21:50:09

You've agreed upfront to 2 weeks your choice and 2 weeks hers. I feel this should be honoured. Holiday requests are subject to employers approval but should only be turned down if you have a very good reason - ie. you or dh are not allowed to take holiday yourself at that time, not just because you don't actually fancy those weeks off.

You've said that nanny's dh is a shift worker and is likely to only have a weeks holiday during school holiday. So, if you turned down this request, is it fair that nanny only gets one weeks holiday with her dh so that you can have 3 weeks with your dc while they (1 of them) are off school? If you (or any employer) wants holiday only to be taken during school holidays this should be discussed upfront and put into the contract. With your nanny's dh being limited in when he can take holidays it sounds likely that your nanny would not have accepted your job under those terms.

drinkyourmilk Wed 18-Sep-13 08:01:47

I feel you will need to renegotiate your contract with her.
I have agreed to term time only, and to school holiday only holidays in previous contracts. However this has been at the start of employment.
I think that if you discuss your concerns with your nanny you may be able to come to a compromise (my employer discusses proposed changes to contract and emails the proposal through, then we discuss it a week later so I have had time to think. Works well for me as I need time to see both sides)
Much better than just presenting with a fait accompli imo.

Leopoldina Wed 18-Sep-13 10:40:31

all this business about having to take two weeks off to cover her is nonsense anyway - temp childcare is your friend if you really can't cover it.

Strix Wed 18-Sep-13 21:54:42

Temporary childcare is very expensive and therefore obviously not a reasonable solution for everyone.

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