Monday problem: Now …. no vacation pay

Disclaimer: all emails are abbreviated and edited for clarity. When you submit to The Nanny Time Bomb please note that there will be edits. All names and info kept confidential. 

Dear Nanny X,

I have been faithfully working for the same family since 2008. I’m a proud hard-working lady from the Islands and I have virtually raised two children from babies. The mom and dad are rich types who come from money so money is not an issue. 

I have picked up tea cups and emptied the dishwasher even when the parents were capable of doing so and at the end of a long, hard day’s work. Now the children are in school full-time. I expected my hours to be reduced or my duties to switch to more housework and cleaning but I did not expect this. 

Monday the lady tells me that I will no longer be paid for any vacation and I quote, “because I had a chat with my girlfriend and she just hired a Mexican girl and she doesn’t pay her for vacations”. She then goes on to tell me that since my job description has changed, and I am now only a part-time cleaner and a part-time nanny, the terms of my position have changed. 

I understand about the cleaning but my actual hours haven’t gone down, and they can afford to honor my salary when they go away, can’t they? They are very wealthy. I feel cheated. 

Beatrice V.

Dear Beatrice,

I don’t quite know how to tell you this and it’s not easy, but unless nannies take more control of their own careers the better it will be for the industry as a whole. It is not about whether your employer can afford to pay your vacation. It isn’t even about, if she thinks everyone should work without vacation pay like ‘Mexicans’ which is in itself, is a racist assumption and a disservice to hard-working Hispanic Domestic Workers worldwide. 

The bottom line is about your employer’s changing needs and their ability to change the rules. If you do not agree with these new rules you have every right to say so and seek a placement elsewhere. 

Did you not see this coming? Ultimately, the hard truth is that you are becoming less relevant to the family. Your service was once necessary and most likely appreciated but that doesn’t act as a guarantee for continued benefits. 

You should move on where your talents are in more demand, and  where you will be able to bargain for basic benefits like paid vacations.

Nanny X