Nannies: Get Cover For Your Sick Day

By Nanny X

One of the biggest grievances for employers is when their nannies suddenly take a day or even a week off sick.  It’s not that ordinary people don’t understand that everyone from time to time becomes unwell. In particular, nannies who work with young children are routinely exposed to all kinds of infections.  No … it’s more the fact that many employers crisis-manage: that is, deal with an issue when it arises. They also don’t like last-minute surprises – you know, that 7 am call Monday morning when you’re due in at work by 8:30 am.
Some of us genuinely can’t help a last-minute call but let’s be honest, it’s rare.  Most of us begin to experience symptoms before we become incapacitated.  If we think our symptoms are getting worse we should mention it to our employer – just to give them a head’s up.
We should also help our employer have a plan B. It’s smart to bring the subject up. It shows you are invested in the position, that you care about your employer’s own job and that you think outside the box.
What’s my Plan B?
Your plan b should be a person or a few persons that you know very well (not an acquaintance) who could jump in at a moment’s notice in your absence.  Most of us know someone who works piece-meal or is in-between positions or works an unorthodox schedule or who is retired and doesn’t need to work full-time.  It might even be a relative. The main point is that the person is a good, safe childcare replacement. The person should be introduced to the family prior to any emergency. Perhaps your family could give her a trial on a date-night or a weekend?
Why have a back-up Plan?
  • It shows you are proactive
  • It demonstrates your long-term commitment to the position
  • It takes care of a potentially big problem for your employers
What about Pay?
My advice is NOT to complicate things. I’d arrange to pay my stand-in the pay I would normally receive for that day. I wouldn’t ask an employer to deal with what is an essentially private arrangement of convenience.
Wait – that means I don’t get paid?
The odd sick day with plenty of notice I’m sure an employer would cover as per your contract however I’m talking here about a sudden sickness.  The type of absence that is a real problem for working parents to cover without having to call in sick themselves.
What do you think? Am I out of line advocating nannies cover their own sick-day? Let me know.