Should I pay the sitter for this?

If I were the sitter and my employer kept cancelling on short notice and not paying, I’d feel that I was being jerked around, taken advantage of, and disrespected. I’d start looking for more reliable employment.

You’re asking the sitter to keep certain days open for you. That means she can’t make other plans for those days. She may have expenses that require a certain amount of steady income. It’s not her problem that paying her is a sacrifice for you.

I’d be pretty upset if my employer could randomly cancel my work days on short notice and not pay me.

Maybe you could talk to the sitter about flexiblity and see how much is acceptable to her.

I’d pay her, as she has incurred opportunity costs from the day off (she may have missed opportunities to do other work, make plans with friends, make appointments for errands, etc.) You’d have to pay your lawyer, stylist, and personal trainer for missed appointments, and I don’t think a babysitter deserves any less.

Then I would negotiate a formal cancelation/reschedule policy. If she is new to business, she may find this a helpful lesson for dealing with future clients, and in a future career she will benefit from learning how to negotiate a fair deal with employers.

I guess you’re slumming it as it is by using a teenager as a babysitter, so there’s that.

I’ve known nannie’s/sitters that have done this stuff for years, and they would have already worked out this possibility with you BEFORE agreeing to work for you.

And that agreement almost certainly would have included not only payed vacation time and sick days, but also rules as to how to handle these situations. And usually short notice on a day that they are expected to work = full pay.

It’s not fair for your babysitter to have expected/counted on a particular number of hours and for you to to change them suddenly.

Pay her for the full day. And keep this in mind next time you make other plans. Let her know well in advance.

I’d pay her.

Because if I were the teenager in question, and I didn’t get paid, I would go out and find someone new to sit for, ASAP.

You hired her for three days a week for the summer. It would be disrespectful to then expect her to be available for those days but only pay her for some of them.

I took the fact that there was some flexibility on both sides to mean that it wasn’t a regular set in stone schedule but a basic outline, and that things can and will come up to change it from either end. That said, this seems to be a one-off thing, not something that is or will be occurring all summer long.
Also, unless he’s special needs, how much work is it to babysit a 9 year old beyond making sure he isn’t burning down the house? Seems to me that the neighborhood kids he’s with are pretty much babysitting each other.

I agree, pay her, or she may decide canceling at the last minute without consequences works both ways.

I agree that you should pay her unless you told her up front that you might cancel like this. But that said, is there some way you can put her to use on days like this, that’s still within her agreed-upon duties? For example maybe she can take the boys to your house for lunch or something, to give the other mom some down-time. Or be on-call, if the other mom needs to send your kid home early. Something along those lines – even if you just want her to house sit and bring in the mail I think it’s fair to ask her to do that. When there is nothing to do at my job then I don’t get to go home, I have to be around and make a minimal effort to find some work that falls under my job title.

“Slumming it”? Hiring a 19-year-old college student with child care experience to watch a 9-year old is “slumming it”? Do you expect the average parent to hire a fully-certified elementary teacher to watch him play in the pool and take him to the playground? I don’t understand this comment.

I would talk to both her and the boy and make a couple changes.

First the boy. It’s great that he’s spending time with his friends but he’s old enough to be responsible for a bit of the planning. If he wants to spend a day with his friends it’s either on one of your days or he needs to schedule more than a day in advance if it’s a babysitter day.

Then you go to the babysitter, apologize for how crazy the week got and pay her for 2.5 days this week. You then explain the changes you’ve made with the boy and let her know that while you’re going to encourage these outings on her off days there may be occasions where you’re going to ask her to switch days and that it’s okay to say no if she can’t.

If there are occasions when she can’t switch and her income is therefore reduced you could offer to let the boy have a friend over to your house for a day and pay the babysitter 1.5x for that day.

You’ve shown some consideration, you told her how you’re going to minimize the impact to her and offered her ways to make up the money.

I like this advice. It was the friend’s mom who invited him over at the last minute both days, I’ll talk to her and let her know the sitter’s regular schedule; perhaps she and I can better coordinate the playdates. I am going to pay the sitter for this week, apologize for the changes, and let her know we’ll try to keep it to a minimum in the future.

Yes, yes, yes. Whatever you do, have a formal agreement going forward. Summer has barely begun, and this situation is likely to play out (pun intended) over and over.

I think your use of the word “teenager” has thrown some people, like Kinthalis and myself as well. When I read the OP I assumed you were talking about a 15-year-old girl from down the street, not a college student.

Could she come over and do some housecleaning or another chore for you? When’s the last time your silver was polished?

Offer her another way to earn the money, then see how motivated she is. If she jumps on it, then maybe she “needs” the money. (i.e. she could be saving for an amusement park trip or something)

I would make sure she gets to earn the same amount each week, but it doesn’t have to be earned in the same way.

See, the problem with that is that the babysitter will also be looking at it from the perspective of what kind of precedent she wants set for the rest of the summer. And the precedent she wants set is most likely NOT that it’s just peachy for the OP to cancel her at the last minute, then reschedule her, then cancel her again the next day with no consequences at all (meaning that’s three days this week the babysitter has had to change her plans). Because if this keeps happening, that’s a serious disincentive to this girl sticking around. After all, how many times would your boss have to jerk you around like that before you said “fuck it, I’m finding another job”?

I think paying the girl for at least a half day (though I’d pay a full day if I was getting a full day of extra pay because she’s willing to be flexible) is well worth the money. It’s enough of a cost that it creates a disincentive for the OP to make last minute changes to the babysitter’s schedule, but also creates an incentive for the babysitter to stick around and be somewhat flexible with the scheduling.

If she is a 19 year-old college student, I assure you she needs the money.

If it were me (and I had this gig at one point in highschool), I would expect to be paid if you cancel on short notice. She is probably depending on that money for school expenses.

Especially if it happened in the first week and you didn’t pay me, I would be looking for a new job (and at the beginning of summer, they are VERY easy to find).

[quote=“CrazyCatLady, post:35, topic:626349”]

See, the problem with that is that the babysitter will also be looking at it from the perspective of what kind of precedent she wants set for the rest of the summer. And the precedent she wants set is most likely NOT that it’s just peachy for the OP to cancel her at the last minute, then reschedule her, then cancel her again the next day with no consequences at all (meaning that’s three days this week the babysitter has had to change her plans). QUOTE]

This is why I want to pay her; I want her to know that I respect her time. Thanks for the ammo to explain this to Boy’s father :slight_smile:

Another point: You can bet that if the kid was going to daycare you’d be paying whether he was there or not.

If I was your sitter and you didn’t pay me for the missing day I would take that as permission for me to be able to cancel on you at short notice at any time for any reason and feel zero guilt about it.

You cannot expect reliability out of people unless you are reliable yourself.

You canceled with short enough notice that the sitter had no real chance to find another sitting job for that day, nor any sort of even slightly elaborate personal plans either. Consider how you would feel if SHE canceled on you with only a day’s warning.