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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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My wife and I have an issue with our nanny. We are both

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My wife and I have an issue with our nanny. We are both freelance contractors operating through one limited company which we own. By nature our work is short term and therefore somewhat volatile.
We employed a nanny in October last year to care for our two daughters, the oldest of whom is 7. Her role is to get the children ready for and ensure they safely get toschool between 07:20 and 08:40; and to pick them up and care for them from end of school until we return home at around 1830. The intervening time is entirely hers, other than approximately 6 hours of housework to be completed once a week, which can be done at any point.There is no doubting the quality of her care for the children, but she became pregnant VERY quickly after joining us and is due to go on maternity leave at the end of August. Being blunt - but only for purposes of giving as much information as possible, she is seriously overweight which has led to complications in the pregnancy; gall stones and liver problems initially and now high blood pressure. Prior to joining us she had a known liver complaint, which has blossomed into regular appointments required. Despite the contractual hours, she has consistently asked us to cover these appointments as "the liver clinic only operates during these times" (it doesn't/didn't - there was a separate clinic with a different doctor that she just had to change to)
We have no family or friends in the area we can call on to cover the childcare, so if the nanny calls in sick, our only option is for my wife or I to cover the illness, which is complicated as we commute to work in London.The issue is that she is now around 30 weeks pregnant - so I believe we cannot force her to start maternity leave for another 6 weeks, but she is becoming increasingly unreliable. She has called in sick last week, those us we may have to cover her on Tuesday afternoon for a clinic and then called in sick yesterday, not returning until at least Monday.Do we have any way of dealing with this situation legally? My wife is quite literally at wits end, we are both running the risk of losing our contracts, and our working is the soul point of having a nanny.
The situation is untenable to us, but we feel hemmed in by the law.

Hello what are you ideally hoping to achieve in the circumstances

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
At this stage, we feel the relationship is unsalvagable. Her plans to return to work - if I may talk in plain English for a moment - would be considered bonkers by anyone who has ever had kids and bluntly we don't feel she would be capable of doing the job when she has a baby of her own.I think the best outcome would be that we get through the next six weeks with no further unreliability, send her on mat leave at 36 weeks and then let reality take its course in due time.Unfortunately we feel the only way to get the reliability we need is to remove her from the equation and replace her Early with the replacement we would have to hire to cover mat leave anyway.In short, we think severing is the only decent resolution at this point.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben, I have asked my wife if she would be able to do a call as she is at home today (covering more sickness) whereas I am in first week of a new job and so constrained somewhat.

No problem, I can continue on here if needed it's just this one may be easier to discuss over the phone

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben, I've accepted your offer. Could you call my wife (Kate) on 01483 850912 please?

Thanks, ***** *****

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben. Accepting it most likely represents a new question - and thank you for your advice so far - could you advise please how long the role must be dormant before it can be re-recruited; given the nanny is employed through the limited company, is there an option for us to change horses by personally employing someone outside of the company and if I attach the termination clause from the contract, could you advise if we can serve payment in lieu of notice? Many thanks.
The termination clause from the contract is as follows ( the contract was a proforma version provided by the agency we hired her through, do may not be as thorough as it could be):
"10.1​If either party wishes to terminate this contract, notice shall be given as following:
(a) during the first eight weeks of employment (“the probationary period”), not less than one week’s notice
(b) thereafter, not less than four weeks notice."

Hi, are you please able to post this as a new question for my attention as this one has now been closed, thank you