Should I pay the sitter for this?

I hired a teenager to watch my 9-year-old son three days per week for summer vacation (the other two weekdays either his dad or I take the day off and stay home with him). BoyDivine gets to play with the neighborhood kids this summer and also spend some time with Mom and Dad, sitter has pocket money and also 4 days a week to herself, everyone benefits. Her usual schedule is Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to watch BoyDivine, but she is flexible about it too.

So on Sunday afternoon, BoyDivine is invited to spend the day on Monday at his friend’s house, swimming in the pool and having fun. I call Sitter and tell her I don’t need her to work on Monday, so she offers to come on Thursday to make up for it. I say yes because this means I can work that day instead of taking off.

When I pick up BoyDivine yesterday afternoon, he is invited to come over again to play on Tuesday. I do encourage him to hang out with friends as much as possible, so I say yes and BoyDivine is happy. Now sitter only has to come Wednesday and Thursday.

I feel I should pay Sitter for all three days this week; after all, it was not her fault that I cancelled her anticipated hours. But BoyDivine’s Dad thinks I should only pay her for two days as that’s what she’s really working. I’d like to save money where I can (it is a struggle to pay for three days as it is), but I still feel that the goodwill I would create by paying her for all three days could possibly pay off later in the summer when I need her to be flexible.


I would pay her.

It would be very nice of you to pay her, but you certainly don’t have to. It’s not like she’s earning paid vacation or sick days or anything like that, it’s a babysitter.

Personally I wouldn’t. At most I’d pay her a portion of it just to be nice.

I’d pay her. Like you said, the goodwill is worth it.

In a similar situation, I paid my housecleaner last week when she called and cancelled because her dog had been hit by a car and killed. I know she was incredibly attached to the dog, and was in tears both when she left the message cancelling, and later on when I called her back to tell her it was OK and give my condolences.

I feel I’d be completely within my rights to not pay her since she was the one cancelling, but it seemed cruel to not pay her when she was already having a really bad day. I know she really counts on the money, so I went ahead and paid her because I could afford it, and it seemed the right thing to do. And the goodwill, too. :smiley:

Pay her. It’s not her fault that these days are cancelled and she shouldn’t bear the financial hit. In fact I had to cancel last minute for my cleaning lady this week and I paid her anyway. I can tell you she was extremely grateful.

I would treat it like a real job. In my industry, which is mostly call work, if a scheduled call is cancelled with less than 24 hours notice, the employee gets paid for a four hour call. So maybe pay her for half a day. You save some money, and save goodwill.

As you say, the goodwill you will earn from it will be more than worth it.

I agree with this, especially because the sitter wasn’t really given enough notice to line up another job.

I think paying a half day is a good compromise if you’re in a financial crunch. Good in-home childcare can be hard to find, and finding someone who’s relatively flexible can be even harder.

I think you should pay her as she might have found a different job for that day, which is now unlikely with the last minute cancellation. I think it’s good insurance to not have the sitter ditch you with little notice when a possibly more regular job comes up. I would make it clear to her why you’re still paying though; since you cancelled with less than 24 hours notice.

Not full pay. Give her a few bucks for the inconvenience since as you said she’s flexible about what days she works and it might turn out to benefit her own personal schedule to have that day off as well.

It would depend, for me, entirely on how I wish to see the rest of the summer unfold.

Sounds like things are flexible in your household, this will come up again. Will you be comfortable paying her, full wages for every shift you end up canceling? If that’s going to grate after time, set the precedent that you’d like to see now. It will make for an easier summer for everyone.

Personally I think 1/2 wages is a fair and good suggestion. She gets some compensation for her canceled shift and you’re not on the hook for every canceled shift all summer.

However, the sitter’s expectation was 3 days a week, not work when she gets called in. She is trying to be flexible, but has lost a day of work she had, essentially, contracted for.

If I was the sitter I would wonder if this was going to happen every week, and if the three days a week I was expecting was going to become 1 or 2 at the parent’s convenience. Since I wouldn’t cancel on the parents at the last moment and expect to keep the job, I would be peeved that they could cancel on me at the last moment, and I had no safety net.

If sitter wants or needs a more regularly scheduled and dependable paycheck, perhaps babysitting isn’t a good choice for summer employment.

That’s why I want to pay her - so she feels confident that she can count on me and count on her pay. She got an unexpected day off and then gets paid for it. So later, if I need her to switch a day or ask her to work an extra day, she’d be more likely to say yes. She offered to come in on Thursday to make up for Monday, but I feel l should pay her for Tuesday so she is comfortable with it if it happens again.

At least pay her half a day. After all it’s not her fault the schedule changed. …Good will and all that.

I think you’re really smart to do that.

That’s hardly true- if it’s not meant to be a regular schedule then that should be the deal up front. However, if it’s put forth as being reliable then the parents should live up to that, within reason. That’s been my experience both as a sitter, many moons ago, and as a parent who needed these services. If I want the sitter to be reliable- I should be too.

A good babysitter you can trust is golden. Pay her before she finds a better deal. Once you can get away with cutting her hours. Twice or three times and you may find yourself looking for someone new.

This is a young person just learning about work. Why not show her that a deal is a deal instead of showing her that employers can change the rules because they have the money?

To me it’s a no brainer. Pay her half a day and the goodwill flows. And it’s fair.

I’ve had similar situations with my house cleaner/dog walker and have always paid her in the event of a last minute change.

Bear in mind that if you pay her for time not worked, she will probably expect it the next time as well. Are you prepared to do that? I can’t think of any other teen job that pays for time not worked. But if you’re afraid that you might lose her and she’s really good, it’s probably worth it. I think half pay is more than reasonable.