Caregiver

Reading the Signs: What to do when your Boss is Upset with you.


full-time nanny

FULL-TIME NANNY.com

I came across a great article by the folks at FullTimeNanny.com entitled; “What Should a Nanny Do if her Boss is Upset with Her”, and I immediately saw the cross-over potential that this article brings for those new to the workforce or as a refresher to those already in the workforce for a few years.

Sometimes you know when your boss is upset with you and sometimes there will be no clue, and depending upon the severity of the situation and the potential repercussions, you may want to consider the possibility that your job could be in danger.  So once you figure it out, it’s best to get in the habit of coming clean with mistakes as soon as they happen, getting used to giving your boss the heads’ up where you think there may be a problem down the road, and documenting situations rather than waiting with bated breath for them to be found out.

This article highlights the following important things to remember when deciding to come clean;

  • Realize That These Things Are Rarely Permanent – Unless you have done something on purpose with the intent on causing someone harm, or damaging the reputation of your employer of the business you work in, the chances of your employer resorting to drastic disciplinary measures are fairly slim. Provided that you’ve been an otherwise good employee, most employers would rather resolve an existing problem than take on the task of sorting through dozens of resumes and conducting numerous interviews in effort to get someone who may be better than you, or may be worse than you.  Better the devil you know, is the saying.  That being said, it’s not wise to be too secure in your position; if you’re overly cocky and consistently go against what your employer decides for you, they will let you go.
  • Confront the Issue Head-On – If you know that your employer is angry but haven’t been approached with a reprimand or a request for an explanation, it’s best to take the bull by the horns and approach him or her with your concerns. It’s especially smart to make an effort to mend fences if you know why your employer is upset and agree that you are in the wrong. Letting the situation go unacknowledged for too long can cause resentment to build up and exacerbate the problem, so don’t dodge your employer in hopes that things will blow over.
  • Be Honest – Should your employer confront you with questions about an incident in which you know you were in the wrong, don’t give into the temptation to cover your tracks. Admitting that you were wrong and are willing to accept any penalties as a result of your poor choices shows strong character and moral fiber; in addition to being the right thing to do, it may also impress your employer enough that they second-guess their outrage.
  • Keep Your Own Temper in Check – Being accused of misconduct, whether you’re guilty or innocent, is enough to put almost anyone on the defensive. Taking this tack with your employer as a reaction to questioning or accusations will only escalate the situation, and perhaps lead to the loss of your position, which you would otherwise have been able to retain. Remember the old adage about flies and honey and realize that anger, even of the righteous variety, will get you nowhere in these situations.
  • Accept Responsibility For Your Actions – Attempting to pass the buck, or blame someone else for your failure to perform properly or your momentary lapse in judgment, isn’t likely to endear you to your already-upset employer.  Instead face the consequences of a poor choice as gracefully as possible. Whining or shifting blame isn’t just ineffective, it’s often downright counterproductive.  In addition if you blame someone else and your employer decides to keep you, then you run the risk of them finding out and that relationship is damaged for good.
  • Make a Concerted Effort to Make Up – It’s easy to hold your breath and hope that a tumultuous period in your relationship with your employer will pass without any attempts to mend fences on your part, but that’s almost never the case. Extending the olive branch isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially if you feel that you have nothing to apologize for; still, preserving that relationship, and perhaps your post itself, may depend upon your ability to do just that.
  • Keep the Conversation Behind Closed Doors – Never, ever, ever discuss a bad situation with friends, colleagues or staff.  They do not need to hear you air your grievances or discuss an ongoing problem you have with your employer. Even in the largest, most densely populated cities, most social circles are relatively small and people will talk. Letting news of your woes get back to your employers is a surefire way to make them give up on you altogether, so make sure that you keep any and all conversations about the state of your relationship with your employers and the details surrounding it away from the public eye.

If, after all this you notice that things are not getting better for you, then start looking for a new job – it’s so much easier when you are already employed – and approach your employer with a request for a reference letter or recommendation because not only will they give it to you if they want you out but don’t want to fire you, but also it gives them time to start the search process themselves.

Back after being Missing in Action


Toto Toilet

Cleaning the Toto Toilets

You may have noticed that I had gone missing in action for a couple weeks.  With only a couple posts popping up here and there, I feel like I’ve lost my mojo after all this time without blogging, and it’s not like there is nothing to write / bitch about either, but in actual fact I’ve just been tired.  Very tired actually, and it all began with our nannies vacation back home, which began November 16th and ends with her return to us on January 14th.

7 long weeks in which I thought that, since I was off, would be the perfect time to help out and instead of hiring someone to temporarily file her role, I could do it myself and spend quality time with my daughter, my wife, and with my boys.   How hard could it be, right?  I’m their dad.  I know how to clean up a house…

Mistake #1.

Not only has it been impossible for me to take care of the house and the children while also taking care of the things I would normally do in a day, but it became perfectly clear to me that going to bed at 3am every night was not going to help me get everything done.

Mistake #2.

I clearly underestimated the amount of cleaning that a house with three children under 7-years-old requires.  Thankfully my wife got them on a reward chart (a later post) so they help with making beds and cleaning up around meal time, but the laundry, dishes, taxi, drop-off and pick-up and the endless need to sweep and vacuum is too much.  I don’t know how my wife does it, and I certainly don’t know how our nanny does it – except that when there are three adults cleaning it’s much more effective than 1 1/2.

Granted I have now come to realize that my wife and our nanny are WAY more organized than I have been – Monday has always been the day to change the sheets, and Tuesday the house gets swept and vacuumed and floor washed, but drop-off and pick-up has been something we’ve helped with, and meal’s taken care of primarily by my wife, so doing them all… Yeah.  Not so good.

So obviously once I settle down at night with hopes of blogging, there is nothing left in the tank.

In addition, my daughter, Boo has finally realized now that she is 3-years-old that she can get out of her bed at night and walking into our room.  We were encouraging her to get up and pee since she has been “commando” at night for several months with only a few accidents.  The hope was that she would get up, pee, then go back to bed instead of sitting in her bed and screaming for us or crying and waking everyone else up.  What has happened in actual fact is that she now comes into our room several times at night, along with 6-year-old Stewie and that keeps up awake.  Now 7-year-old Linus is getting into the act and that means either a rough night’s sleep or I’m sleeping in one of their beds with them.

Either way, it means I am getting less than 3 hours of sleep a night and that is a recipe for getting sick.

Now before you cry me a river or blast me for doing what every other parent in the world does, hear me out… My wife is still taking care of dinner (thankfully) and it did take me a week and a bit to get used to the house-time routine from a worker perspective.  I have been working full-time for 17 years and while I am used to helping out as much as possible it has usually been in the evenings or on the weekends when there are little to no distractions.

During the day when people are actually around and a 20-minute task of changing the sheets on all our beds, becomes an hours’ endeavour full of distractions and competing priorities.  I also cannot just clean for the sake of cleaning, like when I swept the bedrooms, I ended up moving all the furniture, sweeping, putting away the toys, followed it up with a vacuum and then washed the floors and baseboard.  When I do something, I do it right, not half-assed so I’ll have to do it again.

So while it took me 3 weeks to get this post out there is always a bright side, right?  I completed this post on the 20th, but I’m backdating it to the 15th and that means as of today we only have 22 days until our nanny returns and life returns to normal, which means a clean house, happy children and my daughter can get to school in the morning on time for once!

I can see the re-posted headline for this article;  “Working Daddy Bombs as Caregiver”.

So true.

10 Ways to Tell if your Nanny Loves your Children


I recently received this article in my inbox from the kind folks at http://www.nanny.net and it covers a very important topic, how to tell if your nanny loves your child.

I think every first time employer, or an employer currently interviewing for a replacement caregiver should go through this list as it should help you understand when a connection has been made.  Having the emotional buy-in from your nanny in addition to the financial buy-in is critical to long-term success of this partnership and a way to keep your stress down.

Sometimes, you need a nanny and the nanny needs a job, and you both compromise and these relationships often end abruptly not because something has gone wrong but over time you both start to come to grips with the fact that it is just a job.  It’s easier to let go of those relationships than if there is an emotional buy-in, we all know that.  So if you have the time, see if there is a connection and if so and you can make it work do so.  Any child would be overjoyed to have that much love and both the employer and the caregiver will have an easier time on a day-to-day basis.

The link to the original article is below.

http://www.nanny.net/blog/10-ways-to-tell-your-nanny-loves-your-kids/

What can you expect from your nanny: Non-child care responsibilities.


housekeeping

Light housekeeping?!?

Parents hire nannies to take care of their children.  There is also an expectation that there will be some non-child care responsibilities related to the role, such as; taking care of any dishes used, some cooking here and there, some light cleaning associated to the children or family and possibly some laundry. 

From all the emails and comments I have received over the years, it is accurate to say that some parents forget that the primary responsibility for a nanny is child care and there is an expectation that their nannies are able to take care of the children in addition to what they refer to as “light housekeeping” responsibilities, which in reality means nanny and cleaning-lady. 

So what constitutes “light housekeeping?”   

In order to get a clearer idea of what nannies think light housekeeping is and what employers think light housekeeping is, I read an article created for NannyClassifieds.com called; “Is Light Housekeeping a Nanny Responsibility?”  The link to the original article is here;  http://www.nannyclassifieds.com/blog/is-light-housekeeping-is-a-nannys-responsibility/

According to this article, in the nanny world, light housekeeping typically means leaving the home in the same condition it was in when the nanny arrived / started her day there.  If there were no dishes in the sink in the morning, then there should be no dishes in the sink at the end of the day, and if the house was spotless in the morning, it should be the same by nightfall.  It is reasonable to expect your nanny to clean up the mess and restore the house to its original morning condition prior to the end of her workday.

The extras are the other things in addition to childcare which nannies are generally responsible for and are usually agreed upon in a written contract – a written approved contract if gone through the Canadian Live-In Caregiver program.  Some of these items include;

• Do the laundry for the children
• Keep the children’s play area as neat, tidy and organized as possible.
• Prepare breakfast for the children before school, lunch for school and snacks for the kids attending school.
• Prepare the same for any children who are at home or attend school part of the day.  
• Ensure that after meal preparation and after the actual meal the kitchen is clean again.
• Engage the children in activities such as arts and crafts and reading, and ensure once finished the area is tidy
• Pick up after the children
• Ensure the kids rooms, including drawers, bed and closets are clean
• Prepare the same for any children who are at home or attend school part of the day.
• Ensure that after meal preparation and after the actual meal the kitchen is clean again.
• Engage the children in activities such as arts and crafts and reading, and ensure once finished the area is tidy
• Prepare breakfast for the children before school, lunch for school and snacks for the kids attending school.

Some nannies may also take on additional household related tasks provided they have the time and it has been pre-arranged and agreed upon.  They may do the children’s grocery and clothes shopping, as well as purchase the supplies needed to properly stock the nursery.  In some cases, nannies may also be responsible for ordering age-appropriate supplies, toys, and arts and crafts, depending on the arrangement that was made.

According to the article, nannies typically do not:
• Do the parent’s laundry
• Clean the parent’s bathrooms
• Mop the floors
• Dust the furniture
• Prepare family meals regularly.

In each family and nanny work arrangement, light housekeeping should be clearly defined.  What is in the contract dictates what the family’s housekeeping expectations are, and what the nanny’s housekeeping responsibilities are. 

Many nannies do agree to take on additional non-childcare related housekeeping tasks.  They may do this because the children spend mornings in school or they simply enjoy cleaning and would gladly take on the housekeeping tasks in exchange for increased compensation.  If your nanny agrees to take on additional housekeeping tasks, she should be provided additional compensation for them and allowed adequate time to complete them when childcare is not her responsibility.  For these nannies/housekeepers, it should be stressed that when the children are in her care, childcare should be her main responsibility.  I think that is common sense, no?

Often times a nanny will go above and beyond the call of duty simply out of practicality. If a nanny is doing the dishes from lunch and her employer left a knife and dish in the sink after breakfast, for example, she’s likely going to wash them too, rather than simply leave them sitting there in the sink.  If a nanny is preparing one of her favorite homemade pasta recipes for the children’s dinner, she may make enough for the entire family, since it’s easier than tweaking the recipe for smaller portions.  Much in the same way most families when making their dinner will make enough for their nanny and have them eat with them whenever possible.  It’s give and take, and that mutual respect and understanding helps form and build the bond between the nanny and her employer.

Wen these random acts of kindness become expected by employers through, resentment and relationship problems in the nanny relationship can occur.  Light housekeeping is going to mean different things to different people.  Clearly articulating the duties and responsibilities that meet an employer’s definition of light housekeeping will help to prevent job creep and miscommunication over housekeeping related expectations.

How have you divided up responsibilities and how clear were you with your nanny on her duties outside of child care?

It’s amazing to me how many employers post comments in public message boards about how their nannies cook, clean, take care of the kids, and do all these other tasks not related to child care, and then the employer answers questions about wages and working hours, or working conditions which really casts them in a negative light.  Taking advantage of a nannies good will is never cool, and posting that in a public form is even less cool and quite questionable.  Especially in light of the fact that these message boards are trolled by agencies and organizations who protect nannies from being taken advantage of.

So to sum it all up…

Make sure what you are expecting your nanny to do outside of child care is clear and written in the contract.  Also remember that just because they came from worse working conditions in Hong Kong it doesn’t give you the right to treat them in any way that you yourself would not want to be treated in their shoes.

Karma.

Here is a link to the article; http://www.nannyclassifieds.com/blog/is-light-housekeeping-is-a-nannys-responsibility/

Service Canada’s Live-In Caregiver Contract: Very Important for Employees and Employers.


Contracts

The importance of contracts!

I thought it might be useful to post the link to Service Canada‘s Live-In Caregiver contract.  I have posted many articles over the past couple years about the importance of a contract for those participating in Canada’s Live-In Caregiver Program (LICP) – both for employer and for employee but a formal detailed contract is equally as important for live-out caregivers and nannies who are living in, but not through a formal program like the LICP.

The contact forms the basis of a legal agreement between employer and employee as to what is expected and agreed upon by both sides and is used in case of disagreement to support the previously agreed upon terms.

In a nutshell, if you want to hire someone, they have to agree to all the work arrangements in the contract and if you want to be employed by someone then the contact tells you what the employer expects from you and outlines every detail from hours worked, to amounts renumerated to specific tasks.  It’s like going to get a job anywhere else in the world, where you sign the contact before they agree to hire you and it’s about time the contract has become formalized for nannies to avoid employers from taking advantage of them.

Too often I hear and read about employers who think their live-in nannies are on call 24/7 at their disposal to take care of them and their kids, and their house and their pets… It’s ridiculous.  Also hearing about employers placing curfews on their nannies, or making them address you as Mr. or Mrs. like they are a servant.  Most of it is not allowed and some of it is just not right.  If you accepted a job working at a top law firm, or in the warehouse of WalMart would you allow for them to treat you like that?

As a result of some of these abuses of nannies from overseas, the Canadian government has been tightening up the LICP program – prospective nannies can apply from the program by following this link; http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/caregiver/apply-how.asp.  Part of the application process, requires that nannies MUST sign a written contract with their future employer, and the employer must also sign the contact which is them submitted together with the positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO).

The LMO is issued to the employer by the government after a lengthy review of the submitted documents and the information is verified, an interview is conducted by phone, and once the employer is deemed to be a suitable employer who has followed all the government requirements and regulations for the LICP.

Employers must also provide to the government their payroll BN number with the CRA, and have available suitable space in their home for a nanny to live, and prove that they have children in need of caring for and the financial capabilities to support a nanny.

The contract must be the same employment contract submitted to HRSDC/SC by your employer, unless you provide an explanation of any changes (for example, a new start date).

The written employment contract will ensure there is a fair working arrangement between you and your employer. The employment contract must demonstrate that the Live-in Caregiver Program requirements are met by including a description of:

•mandatory employer-paid benefits, including:

◦transportation to Canada from your country of permanent residence or the country of habitual residence to the location of work in Canada

◦medical insurance coverage provided from the date of your arrival until you are eligible for provincial health insurance

◦workplace safety insurance coverage for the duration of the employment

◦all recruitment fees, including any amount payable to a third-party recruiter or agents hired by the employer that would otherwise have been charged to you

•job duties
•hours of work
•wages
•accommodation arrangements (including room and board)
•holiday and sick leave entitlements
•termination and resignation terms

The contract the government is expecting to see does not have to look exactly like the one provided for in the link – that one is merely a template – but it must contain all the information and clauses indicated as mandatory.

The use of an alternative contract format may delay the processing of the LMO application as HRSDC and Service Canada officers will need to determine if the contract complies with LCP requirements.

http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eforms/forms/sc-emp5498(2011-09-005)e.pdf