Asking for Time off Work
You want to ask your employer-family for some time off work, be it for vacation, holiday, or even sick time. How should you schedule your time off? How should you manage a last-minute absence from your nanny job? How do talk to your employer-family about taking time off? When is it best to make your request?
How should you schedule your time off?
You should schedule your time off in such a way as to minimize, to the best of your ability, any difficulties that your time off may create for your employer-family. For example, if the parents of your employer-family have planned a major holiday party in their home, and you are expected to provide childcare for your employer-family’s children during the party, then the evening of the party is not an evening that you should ask off unless your need to be off work that evening is urgent.
How should you manage a last-minute absence?
If you must be absent at the last minute, you should do whatever you can to minimize, to the best of your ability, any difficulties that your time off will create for your employer-family. For example, if you call in sick today and the children in your care have a scheduled playdate to and from which you were to transport the children, you can call the parents or childcare provider of the children with whom the playdate is scheduled to arrange for those parents or that childcare provider to transport your employer-family’s children to and from the playdate.
How do talk to your employer-family about taking time off?
You should begin by specifically and politely stating your request along with the reason for your request. You may say, for example, “I would like to take a vacation with my best friend over the fourth of July, and I would like to request to take some time off work and use my available paid vacation time, if that’s ok. Specifically, I would like to take time off work from July first through July sixth. I can return to work July seventh, if that’s ok.”
If your employer-family declines to grant that time off, which they have the right to do, do not be offended. Instead, ask them when their preferred time is for you to schedule your vacation. Alternatively, you can politely ask them if they have schedule conflict concerns regarding your proposed vacation over the fourth of July; once you learn your employer-family’s concerns, you can determine if you can minimize or eliminate any problems your time off may cause the family. For example, if you learn that that the parents of your employer-family are anticipating heavy workloads that week and expect that they will not return home from work before dark each evening, they may think that having childcare is especially important that week. However, you can offer that another friend of yours, who also happens to be a childcare provider, can be a substitute nanny over the fourth of July. You can suggest bringing this friend to the employer-family’s home to meet them so as to determine her fitness for the job. If your employer-family remains resolute that you must find a different time period in which to take your vacation, you should politely acquiesce.
If your time off must occur at the time you have requested, such as in the event of a family funeral, and your employer-family does not wish to grant your time off request, you will have to decide the relative importance of your attendance at the family funeral and your maintaining your job. Keep in mind that, if you quit your job without notice, it may be harder for you to secure subsequent employment. Prospective employer-families may check your references and may not want to hire a nanny with a history of quitting without notice. If given the opportunity to explain your resignation without notice, you may be able to allay your prospective employer’s concerns. However, your prospective employer may or may not be convinced. It is a judgment call that you will have to make based on your unique circumstances.
If you are requesting a last-minute absence, such as in the event of sickness, you should proceed as noted above; you should also offer your sincere apology for the difficulties you are certainly creating by calling in absent at the last minute.
When is it best to make your request?
You should make your request for time off as soon as is reasonably possible. This gives your employer-family the maximum time possible to plan for alternate childcare arrangements. Also, you should ensure that you make your request at a time when the parents of your employer-family are rested and relaxed. If they are tired, harried, and crabby, your request may be an irritation to them and you will increase the likelihood that they will deny your request.
By following the tips above, you can ask for time off work in a manner so as to convey your professionalism and increase the likelihood of having your time off request granted.