14 May 2010

Friday’s FAQ – Drive By’d Nanny Returns

That ‘Drive-by Nannying’ came back to haunt us yesterday and brought with it an etiquette question to rival poor Laurie’s headache from a few weeks back.

About a month ago I wrote about an awkward Nanny Playdate where someone who’d used a Toronto agency brought their nanny by our house to meet Dear A and make friends.  (Click here for a refresher) I thought it was awkward then, little did I know….

At that point, I was trying to be big about it, thinking that they had come to me because I’m writing this blog, because I’d set myself up as an "expert". Turns out, that's not the case. They don’t follow the blog and I haven’t heard a peep from them since.

We did hear from the nanny though:

Yesterday Dear A confided that the other nanny (I’m calling her as Drive By or DB for ease), had called Dear A for advice. 

Seems that DB is tired and stressed because she works until 7pm, and then is unable to sleep because her employer makes noise directly above her bedroom. DB was worried about mentioning this to her employer because she didn’t want her employer to get mad at her, and jeopardize her employment. Sad really.

So, Dear A turned around and asked me for advice.

Q: What should DB do? How should she approach her employer?

A: I told her DB should definitely mention the inconvenient noise, that her employer likely has no idea and wouldn’t want DB to be tired.
I’m giving the employer the benefit of the doubt on the noise thing, ‘cause the thing that bothered me more was the hours DB mentioned. I told Dear A to remind DB that anything over 44 hours a week was considered overtime but its still bugging me. I keep telling myself that by introducing DB into a community where she can call someone for advice etc, I’ve done my part, but I still wonder. Where does my responsibility end if someone is, knowingly or unknowingly, taking advantage of a nanny? Its this kind of situation that caused the Canadian government to make the changes the Live-in Caregiver Program, that I complain about, so, what should I, or anyone else, who hears about these kinds of things do?

I’m putting it out to you readers, please share your thoughts in the comments below.


Big Mama said...

I suspect that DB's bedroom is in the basement and therefore a lot of the noise is unavoidable. I would first suggest that DB buy some ear plugs - just the soft squishy bright orange kind you find at the local drug store. Works like a charm for a light sleeper light me and they are quite comfortable.

Shorty said...

Ooh! Good idea Big Mama, I'll mention that to Dear A to share with DB...Thx!!

Anonymous said...

I think your responsibility ends with ensuring that DB knows what the program rules are. I admit that in our house we occasionally bend them a little but I always ensure that our nanny comes out the winner in the end with extra days off etc. As part of that though, DB also needs to know that if she is not being consulted & agreeing to extra hours beforehand that it is unacceptable but most importantly, there are other options out there. It is her responsibility to decide if she wants to discuss it with her employer or look elsewhere. My nanny came from a family here in Canada that treated her like a slave. By networking with other nannies she realized there were better options available and took the leap to quit and hope for better days. In the end, I came out the winner.

Shorty said...

Anonymous, thanks for the comment. I love that I have such smart, caring readers!

PS - don't forget that we get 20% off at kulaklips.com until the end of May. Code: sale20

GK said...

Also keep in mind, and remind DB, that any advice or opinion from you is the opinion of a layperson, not someone qualified like a lawyer. What you don't want is DB coming back and saying "you told me X and it was wrong", and find out you're on the hook for a mistake. It would be better if she could turn to some kind of agency or service to get professional, qualified help. It's probably being optimistic, but maybe the agency that brought her here offers that kind of service (I have no experience in that matter).

Shorty said...

Thanks GK, that's a good point. I'll make sure Dear A mentions that to DB... such a headache!!

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