Nanny Job Creep

A nanny’s top priority, outside of nurturing the safety and development of the children, is to provide service. A great nanny will make themselves irreplaceable by efficiently and proactively being able to do what is asked of them. Nannies take pride in their ability to be adaptable and multitask for their employers, but sometimes this can be taken advantage of, even from the most well-intentioned parents. Many nannies have experienced job creep, a “phenomenon in which employers continually require increasing amounts of work relative to the normal requirements of their operations”. What does job creep look like, and how can families ensure they continue to respect their nanny’s work load?

Job Creep

There’s a fine line between the occasional favor that a nanny can perform for a family happily, and the increasing and consistent add ons of job duties that would require a pay increase. Nannies love to help, but this willingness to provide service should not be taken advantage of. Nannies are not catch all trays for a parent’s odds and ends. In all positions of service there can be a disconnect in what is or is not a respectful consideration of the workload. Childcare is a vastly rewarding but also incredibly challenging position in its own right, and can be made more so by tedious tasks that would normally be delegated to a housekeeper or house manager. When nannies are spread too thin, their ability to provide for the child is greatly diminished, so it is in each parent’s direct interest to be mindful of their nanny’s work load.

Define “Nanny”

Understand what does and does not fall under the category of nanny. Some families may need a house manager, and some nannies may be both house manager and nanny, but this is an important distinction that needs to be made, and compensated for accordingly. House managerial duties are anything that have to do with the running of the household, while a nanny is anything that has to do with the children. Sometimes these two inherently overlap, but when responsibilities end up crossing the line to stocking the house and scheduling for parents, that is house manager territory and a nanny deserves higher compensation.

“There is some flexibility between house manager duties and nanny duties, but they need to be agreed upon in advance, and they cannot take precedence over or interfere with the caretaking of the child.”

Reasonable Nanny Duties:

  1. Provide childcare 
  2. Prepare meals and snacks for children
  3. Clean children’s dishes and eating area
  4. Provide transportation for children to and from school and activities
  5. Basic clean up of children’s areas and toy disinfecting
  6. Basic errands for children like groceries
  7. Provide homework and tutoring help
  8. Assist in hygiene routines

Reasonable House Manager Duties:

  1. Scheduling appointments
  2. Pet care
  3. Manage family calendars including doctor’s appointments, personal and work events, maintenance, etc.
  4. Event planning
  5. Managing and scheduling vendors
  6. Responsible for correspondence and communications 

Setting Expectations

There is some flexibility between house manager duties and nanny duties, but they need to be agreed upon in advance, and they cannot take precedence over or interfere with the caretaking of the child. If a nanny works with older children who go to school and a nanny has free time during the day, it is reasonable to ask a nanny to do laundry or cleaning. But if a nanny has charge of younger children who are with them all day or only have shorter nap times, it does not make sense for a nanny to have any responsibilities that would inhibit their ability to safely monitor the child. If parents have tasks that are essential for the nanny to perform that would be difficult to complete with the child, set aside time before parents need to leave in the morning or after they get home at work for the nanny to finish the task without the need to supervise the children.

Create a Job Contract

If you don’t have one already, create a work agreement for your nanny. Write down everything that was agreed upon upon hire including hours, schedule and daily tasks required. Write a separate list of everything that has become a consistent additional responsibility outside of what was originally agreed upon. A happy nanny is one that works hard for a long time and your nanny will appreciate feeling looked after and respected. A work agreement will also help families in the long run in case of a discrepancy with a nanny having to file for unemployment, worker’s comp or if you need to fire your nanny.
Nanny job creep is real and is detrimental to the working relationship you have with your nanny, and can affect the care your child receives. Los Angeles Nannies will be able to help you form a work agreement, regardless of whether you have a new hire or a longterm nanny. As always, reach out to us with any questions or concerns!

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