What To Do About a Nanny Who is Late

Love and adore your nanny, but hate that they're late? PSP members debate this dilemma.

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Original Poster:

"I am posting this anonymously because many of you know my nanny but I have a question. I have a nanny I found on the list that has been working with my family for about a year. She is great with my child, who loves her, and in all respects is a great nanny. The issue is that she is never on time. Her lateness has varied from 10 minutes to 2 hours (the later has happened 7 times in the past year). I have had many, many conversations about her need to be punctual without any changes. Both my husband and I have jobs where we have meetings sometimes the moment we walk in the door. Changing her start time doesn't help; there have been days where I've had her come in later and she's still late.

I have begun to look for a new nanny but it's breaking my heart. I don't want to let her go, everything is great otherwise but I don't know what to do at this point. For example, last night my husband stressed to her that we both had meetings today and she needed to be on time. She was still 15 minutes late.

I feel like I know what I should do but wanted to see the collective thoughts of the group. I'm concerned that a new nanny won't be as good with my child.  When I was home on maternity, I saw many examples of nannies that I wouldn't want with my child.




Those who favor letting her go:


"It doesn't sound like you're overreacting. I would let her go. life is hard enough without worrying if she'll be late on a day you have a meeting. in order for that relationship to work out, you need to be able to do well at your job, too, and that means being on time. You'll find someone good!"


"Take your time with the search until you are really comfortable with the person you find. It sounds like you don't have time pressure. These issues seen far too disruptive to your family (your work life is an important part if how the family operates). Imagine the extra patience and calm you will have for your child when you aren't so stressed about being two hours late to work on a fairly regular basis (!). Just throwing a few ideas out there to support the direction you are going in."


Give her a formal warning:

I agree that the situation cannot continue, but have you actually given her a warning, beyond explaining how you need her to be on time? It may or may not work, but in most professional situations, employees are given verbal or written warnings before termination. Seeing as how she does her job well in all other regards, it may be the fair thing to do and will give her one last chance. Also, because there is always so much talk among the babysitters, once you start interviewing other sitters there is a good chance she will get wind of your plans to replace her, so there's nothing to lose by being upfront about it.


Have a meeting about it:

"I would also suggest sitting down with her and having a heart to heart about why she's late.  Is there something else going on that she's dealing with or trying to overcome.  It may just be lateness and oversleeping but I think if you sat with her and gave her an opportunity to explain/defend herself it might help.  It might be something is truly going on or it might be an opportunity for her to hear out loud how weak and unacceptable her behavior really is."


Try being more flexible:

"A few thoughts:
1. I knew someone else with this problem, it drove her crazy- they eventually replaced the late nanny and the replacement nanny was not late and was better in other ways and they were so happy they made the switch 
2. My former nanny was often late but more like 10-15 minutes. Nominally she was supposed to start work at 8:30am but she arrived 8:40 or 8:45. My start time was flexible so my feeling was, since she was supposed to work 10 to 10.5 hours, whenever she arrived I started the clock- so I took the extra few minutes at the end of my day since, after all, her arrival was when I could get going with work and I budgeted a certain number of hours for work. if she wasn't there I wasn't working. So I comp'd it. But that doesn't work when one has to be at x place at x time- but putting aside time commitments for a moment, you can tell her you aren't paying her for the late time and either she makes it up or her pay is decreased and you are keeping track of the time she owes you or the time she isn't getting paid for that day or week etc 
3. Accept that you need to build in a big cushion with her. Change her hours. If she needs to be in by 8am for you to leave on time and she arrives at 8:30 on average, make her start time earlier - make it 7:30 am- the days she arrives early/on time you get to work earlier. When she is late you leave on time.  When she is super late she has serious consequences financially or time-wise. Don't pay her for the extra time figuring she won't earn it anyway but I ended up always telling my nanny 15 minutes earlier than I ever really needed. If I needed to walk out the door by 8:30am I told her I needed her there by 8 or 8:15am. Some people are just never on time. 
4. Make a pro con list and if it weighs out against keeping her, grieve and move on. But no rush unless your job (or sanity) is at risk  Our nanny was just so awesome the lateness wasn't a deal killer, esp since my schedule wasn't that bad. your nanny is much more egregious and it is impacting your job. Eventually let her go and move on. You probably Are underestimating the stress she is adding to your life. change is hard but I suspect you won't regret replacing her. Or if youdo it will be for other reasons."


Further Resources on PSP:

Don't have a Work Agreement yet? This might be a good time to implement one. Find out more HERE.

Words of Wisdom from PSP members about what to do when your nanny isn't working out.


Disclaimer: This post has been written for educational purposes only by Park Slope Parents and is not meant to be legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice or be relied upon. The post may contain errors, inaccuracies and/or omissions. We recommend checking with a professional for specific advice.