Posted May 21, 2013 by

10 Ways to Respond If Your Mom Boss Cuts Your Hours

Part of a clock with space showing

Part of a clock with space showing. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

During these difficult economic times, a cut in pay or hours can be devastating. If you’ve dedicated years of your life to a post with your employing family only to discover that your hours are going to be cut, it’s normal and natural to be concerned, especially if you’re already living from paycheck to paycheck. When you’re confronted with such a precarious and difficult situation, here are 10 of the ways you might want to respond.

1.   Ask If It’s Permanent or Temporary – Sometimes a reduction in hours is a temporary one, resulting from unforeseen events that affect your employers’ ability to maintain your current schedule. Asking directly if a cut in hours is supposed to be a permanent change or if it will be limited to a shorter span of time is the best course of action. Once you have the answer, you’ll be able to better assess the situation and decide how to proceed.

2.   Ask If Your Performance Level Has Dropped – There’s a possibility that you’re not doing your job as thoroughly as you think. It could be that you used to put in that extra effort to make sure all the clothes were cleaned and put away, but lately you’ve just been folding them and keeping them in the basket. Little things like this could be indicating to the family that you aren’t as invested in being their nanny as you used to be. If this is the issue, ask your employer if you could have a probationary period to show her that you are still dedicated to doing your job well.

3.    Offer to Take On Additional Duties – Your employer may be tracking the tasks you handle, as well as how long it takes to get it all done. She could be realizing that you have more down time than she realized you would when you were first hired. It could be that you have simply become more efficient with your time as the nanny for your family. In that case, it should be easy enough to pick up a few extra duties to justify working the same number of hours. Your employer may appreciate having a few things taken off her plate and be willing to keep your hours where they’re at with a few adjustments to your list of responsibilities.

4.    Insist on Same Pay with Fewer Hours – Your boss has to realize that you need the same amount of money you’ve been receiving all along to maintain your own financial wellbeing. Even with a cut in hours, you might not have the time to squeeze in a part-time job to fill in that gap in pay. If she decides that your hours need to be cut, there’s no harm in requesting that you get paid the same as you are now with your full hours.

5.    Take Time to Think the Situation Over – Hopefully, your employer is giving you more than a day’s notice before this change is supposed to take place. Simply tell her, “I’ll think about it.” This may give her the time to rethink her proposal and decide if it’s worth losing you over. It’s a lot of hassle to find the right nanny. If she’s grateful for the job you do and happy with your performance, she might change her mind.

6.    Remind Her of Your Contract – This only works if you have a written contract in place that states the number of hours you are to work each week. If you do have such a contract, bring this up with your boss. The work agreement governing your professional relationship is not open to negotiation unless you’re both willing to amend it. If she wants to change anything, she would need your signature to override the previous contract’s conditions.

7.    Present a Counter Offer – Chances are, her decision is not set in stone. Get in there and negotiate. You could tell her you’re willing to work fewer hours, but not as few as she has proposed. Or, you might want to see if she’s willing to give you a slight raise. Don’t expect her to give you as much money as you’re making now with fewer hours if the decision is based upon a sudden change in her own household income, but see if she’s willing to meet you halfway before you give up completely.

8.    Resign – As with leaving any position, you’ll want to give notice of your resignation. If this is a change you decide you cannot live with, tell your employer you’ve enjoyed working for them and you wish to terminate your services. Remind her that you have your own finances to look after, and that you can’t continue to do that under the new arrangement.

9.   Ask for a Letter of Reference – If you’re sure your performance has nothing to do with the cut in hours, ask for a letter of reference to make it easier to find a new job. You don’t necessarily have to quit on the spot, but it’s wise to start covering your bases as soon as possible. Instead, get a good recommendation and start looking for something new. In the meantime, keep working for the hours she’s proposed so you’re at least still making something.

10.   Bite the Bullet – If confrontation is not your style or you really don’t have the ability to leave your current post at the moment, then bite the bullet and accept the new arrangement until it either changes or you become capable of moving on to greener pastures.

It’s never easy to hear that your hours are being cut. Before you lash out though, take a deep breath and think about what the change will truly mean for you. Only after serious reflection should you react to this proposal.


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