(Should Nannies Take Sick Days?) When you’re sick but you can’t really afford to take a sick day? Or you’re hesitant to call in sick last-minute because you know it will impact badly on the family.
What do you do? How sick is not quite bad enough to still be able to go to work, or so sick that you’re likely to give the plague to anyone who comes into contact? Do you risk affecting your work ethic by taking a sick day?
Needing to take a sick day can be a stressful issue for most nannies. Especially when considering the potential ramifications and the chance that Boss Mum and Dad may not take too kindly to being thrown in the lurch.
I work for two pretty amazing Bosses. Well, the entire family is pretty cool, but Boss Mum and Dad are definitely more friends than Bosses. Balancing the friend/boss dynamic and keeping personal information at bay is another issue entirely!
I’ve only been sick a couple of times since calling this family mine, and only with migraines and minor colds. Unfortunately, being in close contact with small children means that you’re at direct risk of catching whatever icky-ness they’ve got going on.
The plus side of not having been struck down with anything major is that you’re still functioning enough to pick yourself up and go to work. Not taking a sick day even when you’re sick means that:
1. You Still Get Paid
For those employed on an hourly rate and whom don’t have sick pay negotiated, you don’t miss out on a day’s pay!
2. Your Work Ethic Shines
Going in to work whilst sick means that you are reliable and can be depended upon. Your work ethic doesn’t come in to question!
Of course the downside to this is that you’ve still got to go to work. You’ve still got to go to work and deal with the same routines, the same expectations and the same kids; all whilst not being on your A Game.
Working with kids whilst on struggle street can really be a tough ask. I know that my gift of patience, my ability to see the amusement amongst the drama, and to willingly listen with fevered excitement to a made up unfathomable story already told numerous times is severely compromised during these times. Ok, I know, I’ll accept. Worst. Nanny. Ever.
How I Manage To Go To Work Whilst Being Sick
Because I have sole care of the baby during the days and the three other ratbags (I mean darling girls) are at school during the day, I usually cope pretty well when sick.
1. I Cat Nap and Take It Easy
At Boss Mum’s insistence, I take a catnap on the couch next to the baby when she’s sleeping, and I do a light superficial tidy up and leave the heavy-duty-disaster-zone-clean-up for another day. When you’ve got four kids to clean up after, how I leave the house in the evening is definitely not how I find it the next morning.
2. Fresh Air + Movement
I take the dog and baby out for a long leisurely walk, because fresh air always helps. Even if it’s just to improve my mood and positivity.
3. I Lean On My Contacts + Support System
The older kids get treated to the rarity of mid-week play dates at friends houses so that I don’t need to manage school pick ups in the afternoon.
4. I Make Sure I’m Always Prepared + Organised
I fall back on a “here’s one I prepared earlier” meal for dinner. To get away with taking cat naps and leisurely walks in the park all day instead of my usual routine, I ensure that I always have plenty of supplies in the freezer to take care of family meals.
Having the luxury of an ‘easy day’ is great, but it’s at the expense of maintaining a super organised and well planned household. Meals get pre-made, portioned and stored for later use, washing gets done when it’s there and not after it’s resembling Mt Everest and vacuuming is a daily occurrence.
Not all nannies take this approach towards the job, but as a ‘career nanny’, I see it being that there certainly are great perks to the job, however you’ve got to earn them first.
For most people, the drawcard to being a nanny is the flexibility of work hours, that no two days are the same and that usually (certainly in Australia) it’s well paid. However, the downfall is that this field can also be unreliable and unpredictable.
This job gives me the opportunity to be with kids all day, and to enable my self-induced Peter Pan syndrome. But it comes knowing that things like job security can change instantly. Here in Australia, most nanny’s are not employed on a contract. They’re hired on an hourly rate casual basis, with pay rate according to experience and capabilities. They’re rostered to work days that are subject to change at a moment’s notice, sick leave is not pre-arranged and holiday pay – what holiday pay?
This Christmas, I’m thankful. For the first time in my nanny career, I’ve negotiated an employment agreement and I’m given the luxury of job security. A minimum three-year contract, holiday pay, sick leave where appropriate and loads of benefits. Plus, I gain a second loving family. Living the dream!
So despite having won these benefits, I’m still going to work this week whilst sick. Because to me, it may be a job, but it’s also my passion. I have a relationship with these kids and their parents and I’m not going to let them down. Besides, a day at home would mean I’d miss out on all the family drama. Oops I mean fun.
>>> Do you think you should go to work even when you’re sick?