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5 Tips for Asking Your Nanny Boss for a Day Off

dayoffAs a private, in-home childcare provider, you are an integral part of your employer’s system that keeps their home running while they’re away. You’re entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the children in your employers’ family, thus ensuring that they’re able to maintain their own careers in order to provide for the household. This makes reliability and punctuality a must. Even the busiest employers realize, however, that their nannies will need to take the occasional day off. For the nannies involved, finding a way of asking for that much-needed day off can be a tricky task. Before you despair, consider these five tips for successfully handling a request for a personal day.

  • Make Appointments Around Their Schedule – The vast majority of employers want a nanny that’s in peak physical condition and great health, that way she’s able to keep up with the demands of a busy, rambunctious child. If you’re planning to ask for a day off in order to make a doctor’s appointment, it may be more effective to first address your employers to determine what days would work best for them, then schedule the appointment accordingly. Your employers will be able to more easily accommodate for your absence, and you’ll be more assured of getting the time you need with minimal hassle.
  • Be Direct – If your employers are so busy that they’re likely to take issue with your need for a day off, it’s a safe bet that they won’t welcome you wasting their time with a long, drawn out request or beating around the bush. Whether you need a day off for personal or health reasons, you’re more likely to score the day with the least amount of resistance or resentment if you’re clear and direct. Let your employers know that you need the day off, rather than dropping passive-aggressive hints in the weeks leading up to your request and then calling in at the last minute when your employers don’t pick up on them.
  • Send an Email – In today’s fast-paced world, you may have more luck nailing your employers down to make your formal request for a day off if you send an email. Time for phone calls isn’t always easy to find for the overscheduled businessperson, morning hand-offs can be a bit too hectic to properly frame a response and your employers may be too tired at the end of the work day to address the situation. By sending an email with the details of your request, you’re giving yourself the chance to double- and triple-check your words for clarity and professionalism, as well as giving your employers the chance to consider that request and to respond to it at their convenience. When you accost them during their hectic morning rush or at the end of a rough day, your request for a day off can feel more like an ambush that they’re pressured into dealing with on the spot. By giving them time to make the proper arrangements and determine their own availability, you’re more likely to avoid irritation and frustration resulting from another demand placed on an exhausted, drained parent.
  • Give Plenty of Notice – Approaching your employers with a request for a day off without sufficient notice puts them on the spot and creates a stressful, pressure-cooker of a situation for an already harried parent to deal with in short order. Avoiding this stress can be as simple as making your request as early as possible so that your employers have ample time to make alternate childcare arrangements and to address the situation accordingly. You may even be more likely to get the time that you’re requesting if you’re not putting them on the spot with a last-minute request, as it can seem easier to simply decline a formal request for time off that’s submitted at the last minute and deal with the fallout than to make hasty, on-the-fly adjustments to accommodate one that’s delayed until the eleventh hour.
  • Keep Requests to a Minimum – While you can’t help an illness or the occasional family emergency, it’s important to realize that employers tend to be far more willing to go out of their way to fulfill a request for time off when they’re few and far between. Making a habit of asking for days off at a moment’s notice or establishing a pattern of unreliability can make your employers think twice about whether or not you’re the right fit for their family, as well as less apt to make special arrangements when your requests come at frequent intervals. Avoid frivolous or excessive requests, and make sure that you’re proving yourself to be a reliable, dependable asset to the family, rather than a fickle liability who regularly leaves them in the lurch.

If part of your compensation package includes paid time off or paid personal days, it’s wise to make sure that you and your employer have a mutual understanding on how much notice is required to secure the time off. You may find that you have more luck with last-minute requests when you have a back-up provider you can suggest to provide coverage, that way they don’t feel like you are leaving them stranded on short notice.

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