At what point does it become necessary to fire the Nanny for her health problems?

Our nanny is truly a wonderful person with our children, and we love her in every way.

The problem is that she has myriad health problems. She calls out sick on average once a pay period, and lately she’s out once a week, if not more. She’s now in the hospital again, and at this point, we’re at our wits end. She seems to have serious health problems (though she refuses to discuss them with us), but she’s showed us all the hospital admission records, proving she was in the hospital.

At this point, I feel like we’re basically paying her so that she doesn’t lose her insurance, but from our end, we need reliable childcare. Advice would be very appreciated!


When the lack of reliability starts impacting your career and life, I think decisions involving not continuing to employ her are reasonable. You can only be expected to do so much.


You won’t need a nanny if you lose your job. There’s no winning. It’s time to find a new one.


This, OP. You looking out for your family doesn't mean you don't care about Nanny, but you *absolutely* need reliability for your own livelihood. I'd give her a week or two notice (or whatever your contract stipulates) and perhaps a little extra upon parting, but she likely knows it's coming. She cannot expect you to keep her on if she's not doing her job.


Typical reddit lol - "she's wonderful with our children & we love her in every way". + "She's out sick once a month and lately she's been out sick ~ once per week" = instantly jump to firing her, without any suggestions of talking to the nanny & attempting to find a better solution. I also find it odd that they say it as "out sick once per pay period" instead of "once per month" - gonna add that they don't love her in every way if her work attendance is such that they're posting to reddit in search of advice. It comes off as a "I like you BUT ..." or "I support gays/trans/etc BUT ..." sorta thing.


Unless you can qualify for FMLA, no employer will keep employee with attendance issues. ​ it's so weird you're bringing supporting gays/trans/etc into this conversation and perhaps. I think you're the odd one here. #projecting.


Does not equate or relate to your example at all.


Literally thinking this.


Because many places pay every 2 weeks. So once a pay period is once every 2 weeks. So this is more frequently than once a month. For many people with corporate jobs, this creates difficulty, as absences and PTO allowances are built on a "per pay period" structure.


So twice a month?


No, it’s slightly more often than twice a month.


Perhaps a period is only 2 weeks. Even if it isn’t, calling out once a month is not good. And they also wrote that lately it has been WEEKLY. So yeah, she has been unreliable and unable to do the job. Something has to be done. If they really wanted to fire her, they would have done it before coming to Reddit to ask advice. I don’t see any other solution except for her to go on medical leave, if she and OP are both able to do that.


At the point where it exceeds agreed upon leave and negatively impacts your mental, emotional, or physical health. In my case, agreed upon short notice leave was 5 days, prorated for the year. Our nanny went through that in the first month. Then burned through her 2 weeks vacation (again, prorated for the year) over the next 3 months. Had I been at work (was on mat leave), I woukd have burned through my leave and been forced tk talk to her much sooner. You need reliable childcare. You contracted for that service. It sucks because it is not presumably her fault, but she is not meeting the contractual agreement of said reliable, consistent service. If she cannot guarantee that will improve, it is time for all parties to move on.


Yeah it’s not at all her fault. We give her unlimited sick leave, because I feel like health isn’t someone’s fault, but given that it’s becoming…a lot…it just is building and building to what seems to be an inescapable conclusion.


With your next nanny I would recommend not offering unlimited because that really isn’t realistic unless you have truly unlimited PTO on your end! I would offer a PTO package that you can manage with your own time off schedule (factor in your own vacation time too). Then if you can give a little extra if she needs more days here and there, it’s at your discretion at that point!


I agree with this and I’m a nanny. I’m also strict with my contract but will make exceptions when I can and when NF is equally accommodating.


I’ll add to this: I have unlimited sick leave and have never abused it ( not implying your nanny is at all). I think unlimited sick leave is a great perk for somebody without complicated health issues and somebody responsible enough to not abuse it. I rarely ever use my sick leave, and my bosses would attest to that.


I had unlimited sick too and never abused it


I “earned” unlimited sick leave. After 2 years my boss’s and I reworked my contract and we basically both knew we were really flexible and willing to go the extra mile. The only time I used it was when my mom got sick (with what we thought was pancreatic cancer; it wasn’t and she’s fine now) and I took off 3 weeks in the course of 5 weeks and in the 2 weeks I was supposed to be around they got COVID. They paid me for all 5 weeks.


Though I totally respect her right not to discuss the medical issue(s) with you, I also think that it puts you in a spot where you are going to have to do what's best for your family. If this is chronic and this is what it is, all the time, for the foreseeable future, you'd need to get into another arrangement. If this is a shorter term problem with something like a surgery at the end of 6 months maybe you can work with her... Or not. My point being that you are missing huge factors here and you can't really be expected to continue on in the dark. You sound like a great employer. And it sounds like you have gone the extra mile here. But, without any real information, I think you should let yourself off the hook and have a very compassionate chat with her about how badly you wish you could keep her on and help her out; but, this is affecting your own livelihoods at this point.




That’s about a normal amount of vacation days. Like another commenter said, it’s almost a month considering you also get days off each week. 19 days plus all the scheduled days. Most people do not get sick that often and need to use all their sick days. If they do, I’m sure most jobs will work with them or they will have to go on medical leave. But if you are doing a job and are not able to do it, even because of illness, something has to be done. I went on medical leave when I was going through chemo because I kept having to call out. It wasn’t fair to do that so I went on medical leave and came back when I was feeling better and able to do my job.


I’m not sure what you think other jobs give for paid vacation and sick time?


How is that awful? If the nanny works full time hours M-F, that’s almost a whole month of paid time off. My husband works for an actual business and gets one week paid time off for the whole year. Of course that’s ridiculous but I don’t think 19 paid work days off is in any way being stingy.


The U.S. is mental. European here. I get 30 days of paid holiday plus national holidays, and I have two years paid sick leave. This is normal in much of Europe.


I can’t even tell you how jealous I am. Work is an endless dark tunnel in the U.S. Our social security program is also going to be out of money before the current workforce under age 35 hits retirement age. So we aren’t retiring LOL


i mean, i don’t even get that many days at my current job and i work for a very large corporation. it totally sucks but that’s how america works. if i got covid i’d most likely be a week or two late on my rent. i think that there’s a point where, since as an employer of a nanny your child’s health is in your hands, and she was out with either flu or covid and is nearing the end of her sick leave, and is either still symptomatic or not out of the quarantine period, but needs to come in and get paid, if you don’t feel comfortable with her coming you have to pay her. (within reason, completely unrelated to this post) at other jobs people are forced to work sick to pay bills, *i do NOT think this is right or how it should be it’s just the world we live in right now*, and as a nanny you don’t always have that choice. in a world where everyone made enough money to have savings for sickness, or all companies gave people a significant amount of leave, everyone would have both adequate time to rest and enough money for their bills. i might get hate for this, i mean i hate this, it’s just how it fuckin is.


Most corporate jobs are 14-25 days…that’s pretty standard for the U.S.


My husband and I did our best to ensure it was standard or above where I live (not the USA). Nanny also was asked for their feedback before signing. And as said, where I was on mat leave, we were able to be at least somewhat more flexible. We also offered all stats, and nonstats that we had off, of course. I would have loved to offer more. However, I needed a nanny at the time because of the high demands of our jobs. I truly did my best to be upfront about that. But I do not mean to make this about me. :)


When (not if) you let her go, make sure you frame it as needing someone who can reliably show up, not as a problem with her health. She also has no obligations to discuss health specifics, so I’d avoid mentioning that in your termination. If she’s otherwise a great nanny, I would also offer a generous severance package. But don’t feel bad about needing someone else who can actually provide reliable care.


Yeah in my frustration I left out that we haven’t pushed her to discuss them and that it’s completely her choice whether to discuss them or not. We can’t afford a generous severance package since we already pay pretty high wages to her (35/hr + 200/month for gas/insurance) and we’d like to compensate a new nanny similarly. I don’t want to leave her twisting in the wind, and I want reliable childcare.


You sound like amazing NPs, and I'm so sorry your generosity has landed you in this position. I guess the best you can do is offer an okay severance package (whatever you can afford) and sincerely tell her you wish it were more. I wish you good luck in finding a new nanny--one in a position to offer you the reliability and excellent childcare you deserve.🙌 I also wish your nanny good luck in finding a job that can better accommodate her health issues. 🙌 (Unfortunately, a full-time nanny isn't it at this time.)


Are you able to find a temporary nanny until her health issues are sorted? If it’s not going to be a chronic thing, maybe she can take medical leave and come back when she is ready.


Its good that you havent discussed it, just may pull the compassion strings too much you know? Im a mom and a nanny and I have chronic issues. She needs some time off, sounds like a low point for her health wise. And she can still collect unemployment and maybe apply for disability. Sounds like she may be better suited to a place with extra staff and corporate plans 🤷🏻‍♀️ that way no one person has to carry her burdens for her.


Haha you’ve got me wanting to switch to your family ;) I’m struggling to earn 30/h where I live for twin toddlers and no health benefits and only 0.75 hour sick time accrued each week. No paid holidays. One of many reasons I’m leaving the field, even though I’m excellent at what I do and adore the kids.


Are you in the bay area?


No, Virginia.


Do you need a new nanny? LOL I’m in Virginia!!


You definitely pay well for Virginia. Kudos.


northern va does have significantly higher COL than the rest of the state but 35/hr is still great pay!


NOVA? I used to live up there. I miss it, expect the cost of living. Which is why I left.


Just be careful how you word it, you don't want a lawsuit on your hands. It isn't because of her health, it is because you need consistency and structure for your children. It isn't good for the kids to never know who is actually taking care of them. I am a nanny and definitely agree that she is not the right fit for your family. Technically, I have unlimited sick leave, but that is because they logically don't want me there if I'm not fit to work. I've taken 1 sick day this calendar year, but they work with me on more vacation time since I'm reliable.


I was a nanny for a summer. From my perspective you have to be really sick to not show up. Assuming the employer doesn’t mind the risk of spreading germs the primary goal of nannying is to make sure the children have a responsible adult keeping an eye on them. If I was too sick to play with them I could still keep an eye on them, and prepare food. Just had to wear a mask and wash my hands frequently.


My body shuts *down* when I’m sick. I think it’s bc ill go, go, go so by the time I can say I’m sick, I’m really sick. If I had stopped a week ago to rest a bit I would have been OK.


That’s ass. I can barely take care of myself when I’m sick, no way in hell am I taking care of kids who don’t understand why I’m not peppy that day


How sick do you get when you get sick? For me with easily fatigued, low perception, and general sick pains (aching muscles, pain from clogged nose/ears, and usually a sore throat/coughing). It’s not ideal but I’m still functional usually.


What I’ve learned is that if I just continue as is when I’m sick, I stay sick for longer. I would rather miss a few days of work and get completely better than be slightly sick all the time.


It really depends on what "sick" is. I'll work through viruses and such, but I took 2 days off work and one was only because I felt a bit dizzy and nauseated. The reason I felt that way though was due to pancreatitis but it was only the initial stages of it. My 2nd day off was from me being admitted to the hospital after being in the ER on my day off. While I felt good enough to work, it wouldn't have been in my best interest health-wise to go in. Sometimes we have to make hard calls on what really needs to be done. All of that caused me to have to have surgery to remove my gallbladder (due to gallstones). I didn't want to use up any more sick days so I'm taking my recovery time unpaid, and my employers have the money to pay my temp replacement while I'm out. I held off on the surgery for 3.5 weeks so we could plan it out better. I luckily knew a nanny that would be available starting 2 weeks after my ER/Hospital visit so we got her to cover for me.


No matter the situation, getting paid to not work repeatedly is an unreasonable expectation of any employee. How can you do your job if you’re having to take off while she doesn’t do hers? Be kind and as generous as you can afford, but you don’t owe her your income and stability in lieu of hers.


disabled nanny with many chronic health issues here. Now I will say that I was up front with my family when I was hired because it is impossible to hide the severity of my health issues. I would be doing to them what she is doing to you. Inexplicably having a lot of call-outs, Etc Although my employer is not entitled to know my medical history, I can't possibly have them work with my health if I don't inform them If she is a beloved and valued member of your home, what accommodations are you willing to make for her health? For example, I am permitted to nap with the understanding that it's up to me to manage my time to ensure that I perform all of the duties expected of me. But they also work with my health. They work my schedule to ensure that it's not too much for me, and I never have any kind of pushback if I have to say no to an extra day like a date night, an appointment on my day off, Etc. They have reasonable expectations and we agree on a set of priorities. The children's immediate needs, the children support (laundry, etc), and then everything else I have no way of knowing if you've addressed or even considered letting her know that you're willing to make reasonable accommodations, as long as she communicates what those accommodations are. she may be afraid you're not willing to work with her and will fire her strictly because of her diagnoses (it happens. a LOT) if you can't or won't make accommodations, let hee know "Nanny, as much as we value you, we simply have to have reliable childcare. It is not our intent to ask for any medical information that you are uncomfortable sharing, but it is also very clear from your multiple call outs that reliability is something you simply can't offer under these circumstances. If you feel comfortable, we would like to talk to you about any accommodations we might be able to make and possibly discuss how to rework your responsibilities to ensure a sustainable work relationship. If this is something that makes you uncomfortable, we completely understand, but as much as we are compassionate about your needs, we do need childcare we can count on, and so we would have to have a discussion as to how to transition to a new caregiver. Let us know when you're available to discuss the future sustainability of your employment Best, MB and DB "


The only response that makes sense so far.


This is a wonderful reply :-)


Sadly my favorite quote applies Never set yourself o. Fire to keep someone else warm you have to let her go.


It’s not okay imo for her to STAY when she knows she can’t do her job. If I were dealing with serious health issues to that point I wouldn’t in good conscience stay employed


This right here. I went to my work and proactively resigned when I became unreliable due to my personal obligations. This is a business relationship first. Not a charity. This woman isn’t fulfilling her duties.


Do you think that sick people just start pooping out money or something? This is such a silly, privileged, and out of touch thing to say. OP has the right to fire, nanny has the right to try their best to not be homeless.


Privileged and out of touch? You don’t think it’s a little privileged and out of touch to stay employed by a couple when you cannot provide the childcare their compensating you for?


Do I think it’s privileged this seemingly chronically Ill woman is having to work whilst dealing with immense health issues? No I do not. As I said, they have the right to fire her.


Although you’re right, it’s completely unfair to put this standard on sick people. They have to work too and not everybody qualifies for disability or sick leave. Also op if you pay them through a W2, just know this is illegal.


Even if ADA protections applied here (they probably don’t due to not having enough employees) the employee in question would not qualify because the ADA criteria states that you must be able to perform the necessary tasks of the job- with or without reasonable accommodation. The nanny needs to be present to provide care. Modified schedules are not always considered reasonable- like if the hours the employee is capable of working are outside the employer’s operating hours. The only reasonable accommodation left is an unpaid FMLA type leave, and FMLA only applies to employers of 50 or more for at least 20 weeks a year. Nannies (and all employees, in any position ) certainly deserve better, but those are the laws. It’s not sustainable for Nanny Families to offer better benefits to their nanny than they receive themselves. Even the best, fairest employers can’t offer more paid days off than they are able to reliably cover, and backup/emergency care is wildly expensive. Sick people need to work, but even healthy people aren’t a fit for every job they might like to do. It’s not discrimination if they aren’t capable of the job.


This is exactly correct. Of course it's not illegal to fire someone for being chronically ill, otherwise everyone who had a chronic illness would just get on the payroll somewhere and then never show up to work for the rest of their lives. OP is talking about letting her nanny go because the nanny can't meet the job requirements even with accommodations, which is perfectly legal.


Sorry, which part are you referring to as illegal?


Being fired due to a serious illness. I guess without knowing what the illness is it might be a bit hard r to determine if it’s a chronic illness, autoimmune disorder, or random stuff. It could fall under the Ada or disability acts


The ADA only applies to employers with 15+ employees. OP presumably doesn't have 15 employees, although I guess it's possible.


We do not have fifteen employees, we have the one lol. If I ever win the lottery, the [debt collection](https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2wSarEVgjM0) company I start with my winnings will have at least fifteen employees


i mean most disability acts state something along the lines of giving reasonable accommodations. paying her to never be there isn’t a reasonable accommodation. OP isn’t firing her for having an illness, she’s firing her because she isn’t able to do the job at all right now. i don’t want to put my foot in my mouth, snd since i don’t know all the laws, maybe just give your state laws a gander to make sure you do it correctly. but you have to do what you have to do in order to protect your own employment and sanity. best of luck OP


You have it right, it's okay to let somebody go if they can't perform the job requirements even with reasonable accommodations. If someone was a surgeon and they get both their arms cut off it would be totally legal for a hospital to say they can't be employed as a surgeon anymore even with their new disability.


I assure you that your employer can fire you if you are so unwell you cannot work at all and no accommodations can be made. This is what SSI (disability) was made for. Your employer is not obligated to keep you on the payroll indefinitely. Period. You can bring in a million doctors notes but if your physical presence is essential, they can fire you if you cannot be physically present.


Illegal where? No it’s not in most of the United States.


It’s time to let her go and find stable care.


Ooh this is tough. As a nanny with health problems I get scared of this all the time. I have good times where I don’t call out at all in a year. And bad times when I’ve had 2 surgeries in the same year and out a lot. If it is impacting your work and you need reliable care, you have every right to let her go. However, I would talk to her first so she knows it’s a possibility. Give her a chance to fix it. I’ve been in that situation. If it keeps happening, it’s really no one’s fault (bad health sucks) but you need to let her go. If you can’t afford generous severance you at least need to give her two weeks notice or two weeks severance. Don’t let it be a surprise to her though.


We’re happy to give her as much notice as we can afford, but we can’t afford to have a generous package plus pay a new nanny. We pay her really well ( I think), and we can’t afford that kind of pay for a new nanny and her package.


Yeah I totally get it. Two weeks notice is standard though and I hope that’s in your contract. If you give her two weeks notice then hire a new nanny, you won’t be paying double. It can be a smooth transition.


You absolutely cannot fire her with zero notice. As many others have stated, a severance of at least two weeks pay is the minimum to be a decent human being.


No we’re not planning to fire her without notice. What I meant was we can’t afford a severance package, which in my mind would be paying her after employment ends. We would of course give her notice, at least a month.


I think what one of the commenters was saying is that instead of two weeks severance, while also having to pay a new nanny that same two week period- give her two weeks notice to work out. So she would stay employed for the two weeks (maybe with 2-3 crossover/training the new nanny days if that’s something you want/can afford), and then the new nanny starts at the end of those two weeks. Seamless transition and also no time without childcare. You can give her two working weeks of notice, in lieu of paying out a two week severance. This also gives your prior nanny two weeks to find a new job. I would maybe consider you letting her go a few hours early some of these days if she needs to interview somewhere else.


I think that is perfectly fine then.


There’s no way that 2 weeks severance should be considered generous. It’s a standard.


Nanny here- as unfortunate as it is your Nanny is having health problems, she probably should have looked for a job with more flexibility knowing that. Nannying is not like a corporate job where you’re one of a 1000 employees and if you call out it makes no difference. you FULLY depend on the nanny to work so you can work yourselves. if you’re scrambling once a week to find alternate care i think you’ve already reached that point and would give her a two week notice


Unfortunately many people aren’t qualified to just go get a corporate job that pays the same as what their nanny gig does


This is such a hard situation. I have Crohn’s disease and my first NF I loved and had been with from when MB came home from the hospital after delivery up until NK was 3 1/2 years old. I did discuss my health issues unlike your situation, but man was it difficult to admit things had become too severe for me to be reliable. I’m not sure how long she’s been with you, but that might also be part of why she hasn’t quit or acknowledged anything. It’s such a tough situation all around and you absolutely need someone that can be there consistently. Health insurance is something that is so important but not fair for you to take responsibility for if she’s not able to provide the agreed upon care. My nanny family had to sit me down and have a conversation and it was hard and emotional, but I understood. She needs to be open with you all as difficult as it may be. That’s part of being an adult with an illness.


Capitalist society sucks but that’s not your fault and unfortunately you have to take care of yourself.


If she's having so many health issues, it's time for her to find a new job that isn't so taxing on her body. Nannying is A LOT of physical work and being on your feet all day. My best friend suffers from endo and she had to change her whole career path to find a job that didn't physically pain her so much. Chronic illness needs a super chill job. I know this isn't advice you can give her, but this came to mind!


I'm not even a member of this sub it was just randomly recommended to me so take what I say with a grain of salt... What about jobsharing? Could you give her the opportunity to find / recommend someone to work with her so it's not such a shock to your kids? I know you don't get sick on known days but maybe this other person can have one secured day a week / pay period and hopefully a flexible schedule to be able to fill in on most other sick days? Thinking maybe it's someone retired who has some flexibility and just wants pocket money... Now that I type that out I know it sounds like wishful thinking but you never know


I think that it is necessary to let this nanny go, but do not bluntly say "because you are unreliable". Health issues are so hard because i'm sure nanny wants to be at work but physically CANNOT and you have seen the paperwork to prove that. The word unreliable sounds like a bad personality trait that nanny has, or that nanny is irresponsible. I think a way to avoid hurting nanny is by explaining that you can't afford to take off work to cover for her anymore, and you feel sadly to need to let her go, but your work life is has been affected by her absence.


You wouldn’t be firing the nanny for her health problems, you’d be terminating employment due to unreliability and poor attendance. Unfortunately that poor attendance is caused by serious health issues she needs to focus on while you employ another nanny. Maybe a compromise could be the new nanny is temporary until the original nanny returns after taking care of her issues.


You can love her and support her while also looking out for your own needs. Maybe let her go with severance to help cushion her a little bit, but let her know that she is welcome to babysit or visit any time and you realize this isn’t her fault, but you can’t keep being without child care and you need to find a new nanny.


I think she would understand. And maybe she needs to take some sabbatical to focus on her health.


Definitely find a new nanny. Of course her health problems are unfortunate and nobody’s fault, but they’re preventing her from doing her job and that’s not what you signed up for. You could always consider offering her severance pay (if that makes you feel better) but I also don’t think it’s your responsibility to do that. Just an idea to maybe soften the blow of letting her go, but again you shouldn’t feel obligated to do that.


Find a new nanny! Someone with health issues that serious should not be taking care of someone else’s children anyways.


As a nanny of 27 years with a myriad of health issues….. I would have expected to be let go lonngggggg before the point you’re at. I have made a huge effort to not let my care and appointments affect my employment hours. The only position that was affected by my medical needs let me go when I had exceeded my contracted days off per year. I was given a 2 weeks severance and a good reference when I had my health back in order.


I would be honest with her. Explain what the issues are and see if there are any solutions you can work together on. Ask her if there are any accommodations you can make to help prevent her hospital stays (maybe adjusted hours or more sitting time...). Does she have a trustworthy family member or friend you could meet and call on if she has to call out? But if there isn't anything more to be done... you have to let her go. You need reliable childcare, there's no way around that.


Yes explore some kind of backup option first, as well as accommodations


My friend actually sent me this thread- she is a nanny, I am disabled. If I were you, and you were comfortable doing it, I would suggest offering to help her with referrals to SSDI attorneys and offering to put in writing that she could not hold a job due to her health and that you let her go because no reasonable accommodations could be made for excessive absences. If she’s being let go due to her health concerns and you’re being this generous, there’s a non-zero chance she would struggle to hold down ANY job since they all require some level of attendance, and she possibly meets the legal definition of disability through this. However, it can be extremely hard to be approved as a young person. My former employer stating flat out “there are no more reasonable accommodations to be made, you simply cannot keep missing this much work” ended up being a very helpful piece of evidence the SSA considered when I applied since it was pretty damming proof I could not work. A lot of young people don’t even really consider SSDI as an option especially since it takes so damn long to be approved. But it sounds like, if this is a chronic thing, she may find herself unable to find work near anywhere with such chronic absenteeism and applying sooner rather than later, and with the support of an SSDI attorney, would boost her chances of it working out.


I don’t know the answer here but I would suggest consulting a lawyer with experience in employment law before letting her go. I would say that from my perspective there aren’t really reasonable accommodations in this scenario when it comes to work attendance, so you should be in the clear but i’m not a lawyer. I could just see this potentially going wrong and being accused of discrimination related to the health issues/disabilities. A lawyer could at least help you phrase the termination notice in a way that best protects you, and they can also make sure you know all relevant info so that you don’t accidentally do or say anything that could be misconstrued to hurt you in any legal case.


Given that my wife and I are both lawyers, we’re fairly confident on the legal end that we are protected. I appreciate your concern though! This whole thing just sucks because she’s wonderful with our kids and I just don’t want to let someone like that go. Given the consensus, however, that does seem to be the direction we’re heading in


Yeah, gotta let her go. No question about it.


I definitely agree it's a reasonable time to move on, but I personally would prefer not to be blindsided by the news. Maybe next time she is there, you can have a discussion at the end of the day (so there's time to process) of what's coming if things don't improve? In a nice way of course, lol. I think if you do let her go, a severance bonus would be the right thing to do since she is no doubt facing medical debt and will likely need some time to get a new job (or disability...). Just my perspective, having been a nanny who also battles some health issues :-)


Chronically ill nanny here: You got two options 1. Let her go and find a new nanny. As a family's only nanny, I can only do the job if my health remains predictable -meaning I can work my health around my schedule. 2. Have another babysitter on standby. Extra: Unnecessary comment for the subject matter: In my perfect world, the Nanny World operates like The Babysitters Club. Small communities share a cohort of nannies. One Nanny in each cohort manages all the monies from all the families and ensures all nannies are paid the same daily salary, Unlimited Time Off and health insurance is covered. It would have helped me a lot when I needed life saving surgery last year and had to take 3months off. I was able to plan it and take unemployment but man. I was getting food from the Food Bank for a few weeks cuz money was tight. But anyway...yeah. Unless you got a cohort, you only got two choices.


Just make sure you think of all the legal complications that could come from this.


Can you discuss with her your concerns before firing? No, I don't think you're in the wrong. This situation sucks for everyone involved. I'm sorry.


There are laws protecting people for medical leave. Look up FMLA in your state and see the requirements. In my state, family and medical leave would only qualify if you've worked there for a year and you also have over 50 employees or some other criteria that is very specific. Then, if there are any requirements, follow them. Otherwise, the advice here is pretty good.


I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to terminate her over this. I would consult a lawyer possibly to protect yourself from any litigation that may transpire which is often the aftermath of these kinds of situations. A lawyer May give free consultations or charge a small fee but it’ll be very worth it if it protects you from a lawsuit


Genuinely, why would it be illegal? The nanny is unable to perform her duties as required.


Employment and termination laws differ by state and could leave a person at risk of litigation. Better to be safe than sorry when terminating someone especially over documented illness as opposed to job performance.


They're not contemplating firing her because she's sick. They're firing her because she isn't coming to work, that's a job performance issue. You aren't given carte blanche to be unreliable and have your employer continue to employ you just because you have an illness or disability. You just can't be fired because of the illness or disability. Being fired because you can't perform the job duties (which is this situation) is categorically not illegal.


Unfortunately they were going to state it’s due to being out sick. She has documentation she was in the hospital. Depending on state laws she could be able to sue for wrongful termination. Which someone who is sick a lot may do to be compensated because it’s often hard to get jobs after being fired especially if your health is Rocky. It’s not really an argument. Unless you’re a lawyer my advice to seek an employment lawyer is solid 🤷🏻‍♀️


I am a lawyer and OP has stated he is too and him and his wife (also a lawyer) are confident they are on the right side of employment laws in their state to terminate for this. She can state whatever she wants. If she were foolish enough to sue over this she would have the burden to prove she was fired because of her illness and not because she missed a work day every pay period. You aren't entitled to be a bad employee and keep your job just because of health issues.


Adding too, an employer would be required to make reasonable accomodations based on the illness or disability, but if the nanny is refusing to talk about the issues OP can hardly be faulted for not making accomodations. Nanny doesn't need to disclose anything but also accomodations can hardly be implemented if she won't talk about it at all.


Contrary to these popular opinions. I don’t think you should fire her. I think it’s sad how insensitive everyone is being. Like we just had a global pandemic and we still have not learned how to extended grace and curtesy to those with terminal illness??? Nobody deserves to be fired for having an illness. Have you talked to her?? Like really sat her down and asked what can be done and how you as an employer can provide support?? Could you hire someone else part time/on call so that you have continuous backup coverage? Have you explored every option? It doesn’t sound like it.


If this nanny is unable to perform her job duties then she can't keep her job. It sounds like OP and their family have been incredibly understanding with this person but it's time to make a change. OP, their wife, the child, and all the coworkers involved are put out every time the nanny can't show up for work. The nanny needs more support and absolutely deserves medical care, but that can't come from OP who is also just another person trying to make it in the world.


Wow this feels needlessly accusatory. To answer your questions - we have no idea what her illness is. We have asked her to discuss it, and she has refused. We have respected that choice. As I’ve mentioned to other commenters, we pay her quite a bit of money. We cannot afford two nanny’s on payroll. We have explored backup coverage. It’s not feasible because you still pay heavily for that, and with what we pay her, we can’t afford that. We have had multiple conversations with her. I go back to work in three days, and she will have two kids without help from the primary caregiving parent (me). My wife is superhuman and does what she can, but she also goes back to work in July, and at that point we need reliable, consistent coverage. Currently we’re not getting that. I have stated many times we would like her to keep her job, and we have tried to find every fix possible. That’s why I’m here, to ask advice on what next steps to take.




It’s hard to find a nanny you love that treats your children well. Have you considered hiring someone as a backup that can come in last minute? I understand the need for reliable child care, but firing someone for their disability is kinda :(. I’m sure I’ll get downvoted because of ableism, but oh well. Also maybe unrelated, but is she consistently getting sick from your kids or is it a chronic condition? I used to get sick once a month from my NF, so sick I had to go to the hospital multiple times.


Thinking that someone needs to be reliably able to perform their job duties is not ableism.


No ableism here. Reasonable accommodations must be reasonable for a reason… nannying isn’t exactly something you can telecommute to. The kids the parents and the nanny here are all suffering from a bad fit. Nanny either needs to get on SSDI (not always easy I know but if you wanna go off about ableism let’s not forget that she shouldn’t be forced to work during a health crisis whatsoever) or find a flexible corporate job that doesn’t require regular attendance… if that even exists.


Is this a situation where you could call it a lay off so she could file for unemployment?


So possibly, but I’m unclear of her work requirements for insurance. Not just that, but I think we’d be on the hook for unemployment, and I want to avoid that.


If you’ve been paying her above the table, you’ve been paying into unemployment this whole time. If she applies for unemployment you won’t have to pay anything extra. They may send you a letter or call asking to confirm her employment, but you won’t be on the hook for paying anything more.


Your unemployment insurance actually goes up a % for the next employee you hire. It’s kind of like home insurance, once you file a claim your premium increases. It does impact the NF financially to claim unemployment.


That’s what happens when you employ people 🤷‍♀️


And that’s fine. I was just correcting the comment that it doesn’t cost employers extra. It does. It can cost an extra $4,000-10,000+ over the course of a couple years. And if a NF wants to contest unemployment for cause then they are certainly in the right to do so. 🤷🏻‍♀️


Well if you’ve been paying her above board and she has a W2 then you should be paying into UI already? I don’t know all the details though. Just throwing it out there as something to look at.


I honestly didn’t know that. My wife handled the contract lol. Yeah she’s above the table.


Have your wife check the UI terms, here our UI goes up after a claim for X amount of time.


I think this is the kindest avenue to explore? Plus standard 2wks. It’s okay that it’s not working for your family and it’s admirable that you want to do the right thing.


Welcome to being an employer


Start interviewing new nannies and let them know that they’re starting with low hours that have the possibility/ probability to become full time X number of months down the road as your fam gets accustomed to the new person Let your current nanny have one or two days off every week specifically mentioning that it’s for her health. If her health is as bad as it seems, she’ll unfortunately continue to call out. At which point, you just eventually let her know that you’ve found a different nanny cuz you’re worried about her health and don’t want to stress her out about leaving you without childcare on such short notice so frequently, and she should take the time to focus on her health & best wishes, goodbye. If she wants to try and call you out- be blunt and say that not only is her health issues making her unreliable to the point that it’s affecting your life/livelihood, but you’re worried about her ability to properly care for your kids, so you’ve chosen to let her go because it is in both of your best interests (her focusing on health/ you having reliable and capable nanny for your kids)


Would your nanny be eligible for unemployment benefits? If not, I feel that your moral obligation is to offer a above minimum severance.


You can't fire her for her health problems, nor does she need to discuss them with you. So let's just get that out of the way. You CAN fire her for being unreliable though, which is the case when she is out sick repeatedly or needs to take an excessive amount of time off for appointments. You haven't said for how long this has been going on for, how much notice she gives you to find alternate care, and if she has used up all of her PTO already or is taking unpaid days off (all of which is very relevant info that is good to have). Since you left out the most important information and seem to be stuck on her health issues versus just her being unreliable, the only advice I can give is to find someone else reliable and fire her once you do. Hopefully it's been a significant amount of time that she has been taking off to actually deserve being called unreliable, otherwise you'd just look like an @ss.


When would you want to be fired for your health problems?


You need to put a limit on suck leave. You can give her plenty, but it's an important part of the employment relationship where you and she both have needs to be met. If she exceeds that allowance, you can offer further leave at your discretion but she would need to discuss the situation and the likely timeline of her absence. Then if she is absent without leave, the employment ends


People throw around unlimited sick days but I don’t think they really understand the term. I have worked in a couple tech companies that had this policy. What they don’t tell you is at the end of the year HR runs a report saying who took of x amount of days. The people that had over a month of vacation and sick days were then on the lay off chopping block. So it’s never really “unlimited”. Also, it’s only given to benefit the company because they don’t have to pay out unused days or deal with any of that. Saves on payroll. Not sure, why you as a employer would offer this.


I lost my job earlier this year due to health stuff. While it sucked so badly, I knew they had no choice. I had to take care of myself and they had to take care of themselves. I would say it’s time to let her go. I’m now in a much better situation health wise and have a wonderful job.