Author Topic: Nanny Ethical Question  (Read 5032 times)

JustGettingStarted1980

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Nanny Ethical Question
« on: April 11, 2016, 10:36:38 AM »
Hi Folks,

Quick ethical question...

Our Nanny, who only works two days/week, recently had a passing in her family. Her chronically ill father died 2 weeks ago, and she has been understandably unable to work since he passed.

Now, we don't have a Plan B care provider for our kids, and if she can't work, then my wife has to stay home because her job is more flexible.  There are no daycare providers around to lean on on a short term basis.

My question is, how long is a reasonable time to keep her job around if she is in the grieving process? Of note, we've received one text message from her since her father passed, stating she's working some things out, basically. So what do we owe her?

Thanks, JGS


MayDay

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2016, 10:42:32 AM »
I'd say contact her, tell her you need more concrete plans. If she can't even give a concrete date, find a new nanny.

If she can give a date, I think a mobth off (2-3 more weeks) is beyond generous for every job in the universe let alone a nanny.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2016, 10:56:36 AM »
Almost every job gives you 3 days for bereavement. So I think 2 weeks that she has taken off is already more than what people get and pretty reasonable. What you owe her really depends on how much you want to keep her and your options.

nobody123

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2016, 10:58:16 AM »
My job gives you 3 days of bereavement for a parent's death.  You are expected to take care of your family business on your time.  I understand giving her the two days off the week after the death, and maybe the following week depending on when and where the funeral was, but after that you need to do what's right for your family.

Assuming you don't have a formal employment agreement that defines what happens in this scenario, I would ask her to give a date when she could commit to returning to work.  If she is still unsure, let her know that you'll be looking for a replacement.  She may just decide to quit (maybe she has a big inheritance and doesn't need the job), but at least that gives you some definitive answer.

Cassie

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2016, 11:05:51 AM »
YOu have already given her more time than any other employer would have.

AZDude

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2016, 11:10:26 AM »
2 weeks is enough time to get a more concrete plan, at the least. I agree with the above poster on asking for a time when she can return to work and go from there.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2016, 11:23:13 AM »
How much do you like her and want her to stay?
Would she be difficult to replace?

I agree with those that say you have been way more than generous.
My job offers no bereavement time- you have to use vacation time if a parent passes away. 

I agree with those who ask for a concrete plan from her, but I don't think I'd give her more than 1 or 2 more weeks (2-4 more days off). 

/Of course, I went back to work after 1 day off (and a weekend) when my son was stillborn, because I didn't have the time to take off; so perhaps I'm biased and lacking empathy here.

JustGettingStarted1980

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2016, 12:25:35 PM »
Really good input, MMM geniuses!

I guess I'm hesitant to piss-off the person caring for my children. So maybe I'm overly cautious. Then again, she's not giving us the impression that she's cares about her job all that much, so be it.

Thanks again, JGS

little_brown_dog

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2016, 01:05:55 PM »
The vast majority of adults should be able to return to a few days of work a couple weeks after the death of a parent, particularly if the death was anticipated and not horrific (ex: murder). If she is unable to do so, she is probably not mentally stable and not an ideal caregiver in terms of long-term reliability.
I would call her, ask how she's holding up, and then very nicely say you would need her to work XXX days within the next week. If she says she can't, listen to the reasons, and say you understand but that you might have to start looking for other child care arrangements.

marcela

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2016, 01:36:32 PM »
What did you tell her when she texted saying that she was working some things out?
Also the people who are saying that in the corporate world you barely get get any time off at all, wouldn't you have preferred to have had more time? If you are able to err on the side of compassion, I think it is nice to do so.

Good luck with the situation!

SKL-HOU

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2016, 01:48:59 PM »
What did you tell her when she texted saying that she was working some things out?
Also the people who are saying that in the corporate world you barely get get any time off at all, wouldn't you have preferred to have had more time? If you are able to err on the side of compassion, I think it is nice to do so.

Good luck with the situation!

Sure it would be nice to have more compassion but in the mean time the kid needs a nanny. The nanny already had a lot more time off than most working adults get. Sometimes we all need to suck it up and go to work. If she wants to take more time off and doesn't plan to return to work, she should let the parents know.

MsPeacock

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2016, 02:25:13 PM »
Does she have any paid leave? I ask because as others say a typical job would give 3 days or so. However, people would have the option of using paid leave if they need more time.

I think it is fair to call and email her, express condolences, and tell her you need her to come back by X date or you will need to make other arrangements. I fired one nanny after she left for 3 weeks because an Aunt died. I was in the same boat regarding being in a lurch w/o the nanny. She yelled at me that she needed the job, but to me someone who needs a job doesn't expect their employer to cover sudden absences of weeks in duration.

Are you,paying her legally? She may file for unemployment and you will need documentation, either way, of why she was terminated.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2016, 02:35:57 PM »
Is she working two days a week for you, or working two days a week, period?

If she's only working two days a week, then wow, can't she tend to her family stuff on the other five days of the week? 

sheepstache

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2016, 03:39:14 PM »
Re: corporate policies, this is in situations where you're getting the time off paid, no? Because you're salaried?  I don't get the impression from the OP that they're currently paying the nanny while she's not working. So they're not comparable situations.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2016, 04:55:24 PM »
Is she working two days a week for you, or working two days a week, period?

If she's only working two days a week, then wow, can't she tend to her family stuff on the other five days of the week?

"she's working things out" sounds to me like she's dealing with depression/what's the meaning of life sort of stuff, not  that she's the executor of the will and is trying to sort through all the things. 

Totally reading into things here and could be very very wrong. 

So I'm not sure I'd want someone who wasn't in the place mentally to come to work to be coming to care for my child.  So if they like this person, I do think giving her some time to get it sorted makes sense. But if they need childcare, they've been more than generous already (even if the days have gone unpaid- just leaving the spot open).

mountains_o_mustaches

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2016, 05:38:35 PM »
This can be a hard call to make.  I think 3 days is an atrociously short period of time (yay capitalism) and should not be your metric.  Employees are investments - she knows your kids and family life well - and it seems like she does a good job / generally has a good relationship w/ you.  That's not something to throw out the window and it would take some time to get a new employee as up to speed (assuming you get a nanny that meshes well with your family!)

I think it's fair to ask for a firmer date of when she'll return.  If she's not able to do that or it's too far in the future discuss with her your dilemma - wanting to keep her on, but not being able to have your wife stay home from work for that amount of time.  It's possible she knows someone who can cover.  If she can't - at least you've talked it through with her and involved her in the process so that it doesn't seem punitive. 

Good luck - this is a really hard call! 

nobody123

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2016, 06:42:40 AM »
Re: corporate policies, this is in situations where you're getting the time off paid, no? Because you're salaried?  I don't get the impression from the OP that they're currently paying the nanny while she's not working. So they're not comparable situations.

Some bereavement policies are just that you can have an "excused unpaid absence", which is what seems to be happening here.

Jschange

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Re: Nanny Ethical Question
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2016, 08:07:21 AM »
There are definitely jobs you can do while sick or grieving, and jobs that you can't. I'm also wondering if she had to travel - in Canada most employers will let you take as much leave as you need to travel in these cases, but only a certain number of days are paid.

The key here is that a nanny exists in the intersection between family and employee. In her early grief, of course you showed her compassion as a loved person in crisis. Now you need to use the clear communication skills of an employer.

Maybe a text saying "hey, I know you are working on a lot of stuff, let us know how we can be supportive. We need to work out our schedules, can you please check your email?" Then the email can be clear and professional.

I think some agencies have relief nannies, and also that depending upon where you are, university students might be finishing a semester and eager to do relief work.