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  #1  
Old 11-04-2011, 04:47 PM
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Christina72684 Christina72684 is offline
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Angry Very Upset!!! I Just Fired My Assistant Who Is Also My Sister-In-Law!

Long story short, almost 3 months ago we hired my basically sister-in-law as an assistant working 30-35 hours a week. She did an awesome job, especially with all the diaper changes which I hate doing. Well she's asked me 4 different times when she will get a raise and I've always said as soon as we get the money (we only opened 4 months ago and have lots of start-up expenses). Today she asked me again when she will get one and I told her that once she's been here 90 days she will get a 50cent raise on one condition: she cuts back on her cell phone usage. She is constantly on it either texting or on FB. We (my mom and I co-own) have never addressed this issue before, but it is something we've wanted to mention to her. We have never been bosses before and thought this would be a good time to say something. Well she went off! She said she's only on it because she's bored and doesn't have anything to do. BS! I told her there is plenty to do, either ask or just start cleaning something! I'll be honest, we don't clean all of our toys nearly enough and she knows it. So if she's that bored then she can pick up a rag and a bleach bottle and start cleaning. But that's not the only time she's on her phone. The other day she's sitting on the couch feeding a 3month old and texting while I'm doing dishes. I hear something and come around the corner to find a 1yr old boy and my 7month old daughter getting into candy that was up on a shelf out of their reach and they were 3 feet away from her but she didn't even look up from her phone once! Anyways, she's telling me tonight about how I don't delegate duties to her and I'm lazy and she shouldn't have to work harder than I do (I'm here 12 hours a day plus work after hours and on weekends!) and that my mom works harder than I do and is here less. I asked her if she even considered me as her boss and she said no because I have no boss qualities. I said here's me being your boss: your fired! Am I wrong? I mean would anyone else talk to their boss that way?

And now I'm losing my assistant and my PT assistant (which is her cousin who I know won't work here any more) and my mom can only put in 20-30 hours a week because she has another PT job, and we have a new kid starting Monday so we have 10-12 kids at all times from 3months-3rd grade and we were just about to rearrange the whole daycare this weekend and create centers, which we've never done before because we barely know what the heck we're doing, but now I don't know what to do and all I keep thinking about is the fact that this will be my daughter's first Thanksgiving and Christmas and it's probably going to be ruined all because of me asking her to stop using her cell phone as much.
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Old 11-04-2011, 04:51 PM
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Christina72684 Christina72684 is offline
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Originally Posted by Christina72684 View Post
And now I'm losing my assistant and my PT assistant (which is her cousin who I know won't work here any more) and my mom can only put in 20-30 hours a week because she has another PT job, and we have a new kid starting Monday so we have 10-12 kids at all times from 3months-3rd grade and we were just about to rearrange the whole daycare this weekend and create centers, which we've never done before because we barely know what the heck we're doing, but now I don't know what to do and all I keep thinking about is the fact that this will be my daughter's first Thanksgiving and Christmas and it's probably going to be ruined all because of me asking her to stop using her cell phone as much.
You can tell how upset I am because that is one LOOOOONG run-on sentence and I'm usually pretty good with grammar.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:00 PM
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Michael Michael is online now
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You were right to let her go. Family and business is very tough. Familiarity breeds contempt.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:02 PM
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HeatherJ HeatherJ is offline
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No. You are not wrong in that you fired her. But mentioning the cell phone usage, & how she needs to stop, or cut-back on, when you first noticed it may have prevented this. Or, it may have caused the same blow-out and her to lose her job right then. Either way, it would have stopped it much earlier.

Before hiring an employee, you need to establish something written that states what you expect from this employee. You need a job description. I understand this was family, but you NEED a job description. Was this a teenager? This sounds like a teenage girl. Before hiring anyone, especially a teenage girl, please hire them on professional terms. They would need an interview, they would need an application filled out thoroughly and once hired they would need to go through a training period where they are not to get "in trouble" for simple mishaps, like using a cell phone too often. But rather, they would be able to be corrected and taught how to make themselves 100% useful as an employee.
You would need to set a training period - something like 2-3 weeks. You would still need to pay them while they are in training.

I really think it is in your best interest to establish a "new hire" type program. It looks as thought you've only hired family, but those resources are fully not available to you now. I would place an ad somewhere and I would make hiring your next assistant a little more professional, so that you can prevent employer/employee blow-outs like this.

Last edited by Michael; 11-04-2011 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:47 PM
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nannyde nannyde is offline
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I wrote a five part series on staff assistants. Please take the time to read them before you hire the next one.

Here's my section on cell phones:

Cell phones: Managing employee cell phones is becoming an issue for every business owner. Home child care is not an exception. I have had numerous issues with helpers bringing their phones into work. It can be a struggle to get the employee to either not bring their phone or to use it wisely when they are on the clock.

If your helper drives for your business to run errands or do school runs you have to be very firm about them not using their phone while driving. If there is an accident, you could be liable whether it involves the children or not. There’s an element of trust that must be given and it is wise to have your employee sign an agreement that they will not use their phone at any time while driving for your business.

The cell phone in the playroom can lead to many distractions for the employee. If they are used to being connected to friends, family, and the internet all day it can be a source of distracted work performance and poor minute to minute decisions.

My helper and I take our kids out for a daily walk and often visit the “Fenced In Kids” at the center a couple of blocks from my house. We bring our puppies so the kids can participate in our “Pet The Brown Pup” fur share program. The center is a converted grocery store that I used to buy candy and ice cream from when I was a little kid. The glass front door of the store is now the entryway into a toddler classroom.

One beautiful Fall day we walked to go visit the kids at their fenced in playground and found that they weren’t outside but inside in the front toddler room. We decided to go wave at them to say hello.

The whole group of kids came running to the glass door and it was apparent why they were inside. They were all sick with colds. Every kid in the room had a very dirty face with caked on snot. The staff was clearly not managing their runny noses.

When we looked inside the room we saw two staff members sitting on top of the kid sized tables “criss-cross applesauce” while texting and playing on their phones. Every one of those kids needed a good face and hand clean up and they hadn’t even noticed. It was apparent by looking at the kids that these messy faces had hours to dry. It was ridiculous.

Now obviously the staff wasn’t doing their job but what really stood out to me is that they had the time to play on their cell phones for the five minutes we visited the children and showed them our puppies through the window, but they didn’t have the attention or time to tend to even the basic needs of the kids at the moment.

As sad as it is to say… the cell phones can be so distracting that the job you hire your helper to do can’t be done if they have access to it.

The other issue with cell phones is that they are recording devices and picture takers. Many now have full internet access. There have been a number of cases in the U.S. where employees are using their cell phones to video record their workplace. The centers I work for have had a number of issues where the children have been photographed and put up on social networks without the consent of the center or the parents. Just keep in mind that should you have conflict, something unique is happening with the health or behavior of the kids, or if you have a discontent employee… the camera and video recorder can be used in your setting to document it without your knowledge.

The way I manage the phone with my helper is to not allow it for the first two years of employment. Once they reach their two year anniversary I offer them their dollar an hour raise and the privilege of using their phone during working hours. By that time, I know I can trust they will use it with discretion and not allow it to be a distraction to their work. It’s a great free bonus to give to the one who has earned it.
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:05 PM
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HeatherJ HeatherJ is offline
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This is an excellent resource. I would refer to this when thinking about hiring a new person to fill your sister-in-law's spot.

http://www.childcarelaw.org/docs/emp...nassistant.pdf
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  #7  
Old 11-04-2011, 06:16 PM
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nannyde nannyde is offline
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My advice to you for your future employee is to tell them BEFORE you interview them that you don't allow their cell phones on the premise. You don't allow ANY cell phone for ANY reason. You have a direct line into the business so if there is an emergency that she is welcome to give THAT number. That's for emergency contacts only.

If the employee is addicted to their phone they won't interview with you.

You also have to tell them that you don't allow employees to have their phone but you and your mother will have cell phones and you are on them all day every day. Not only does the employee not get their own cell phone but they must be able to tolerate that you have one and are on it at will.

If the employee feels it is unfair that you are on the cell phone and they can't be then they won't interview with you.

It's best to get that agreed upon upfront. That way they start the job understanding that you CAN be on the phone and they can NOT be on the phone.

You are not in the business of being fair about the phone.

Remember that there is NOTHING the employee can do on their cell phone that promotes your business. ANY use of their cell phone will NOT make you any money or get your work done. It's NEVER to your advantage to have them on the cell phone compared to them not being on it.

I have had to term a really good staff assistant over the cell phone. She was adicted to it and litterally could not function without using it. After three warnings she REFUSED to stay off of it.

I've recently interviewed a potential staff assistant and she decided that she would not be able to consider a position in part because she could not have a job where she wasn't allowed to be on her phone. She knew she would never be happy if she had to work without being able to be on her phone. She was 21 and had been allowed to have her phone in every job she had since she was a teen.

The phone is a HUGE issue now in every business. We are not immune. Just think just ten years ago most people couldn't afford a phone and were able to work a normal job without it. Now it's very hard to find an employee willing to work unless they have it OR one that will agree to not use it but not sneak it in and use it anyway.

Just say NO from the go and don't allow ANY exceptions. Don't fall for the "I need it for X emergency or Y reason". Stay strong and know that you are offering an emergency number and there shouldn't be ANY reason whatsoever for the employee to be on the phone, internet, or text while they are working for you. If the employee MUST have cell phone access then they can't have the job. If you allow it for ANY reason it WILL become a problem. There are very few people who CAN have it and will leave it alone. It's just too tempting and they have SO much of their life wrapped up into it that they won't be able to resist.

They WILL choose the phone over the kids and the work. They will choose the phone over the safety of the kids. They WILL believe that they can multi-task when they can't.

Everything you have worked for can turn to dust in ONE day with ONE distraction. You can't have a flickering mind supervising the kids when YOU are the ultimate person responsible.
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:13 PM
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Kaddidle Care Kaddidle Care is offline
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Cell phones and texting make me nuts at work. I have a cell phone - it's there for emergency only. It rarely rings and I don't have texting at all.

I have co-workers who's phones go off a gazillion times a day with text messages and yes, they stop and go look to see what it was every time.

I've brought it up twice to the boss and my concerns have been brushed aside. I just have to shrug and realize that I am not the boss and have to go with the flow.

That said, to the OP - your employees need to RESPECT your rules for the children's safety. Asking for a raise and disregarding your wishes about the cell phone use is a big no-no. And what good employee tells you that they are bored? You did the right thing. Has she ever had a job before?
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:19 PM
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Family or not, employees today need to STOP relying on their cell phones for entertainment and PERFORM the job they are getting paid to do!!!

I have had the same assistant since March. Upon hiring, I told her that her ringer needs to be low or off, she can't take calls unless she is expecting an important call and if she needs to make a call for whatever reason, to limit it to a few minutes and ask to take a break to do it.

I've seen her text a couple times here and there...no big deal. I've seen her answer her phone and tell people she is at work and she will call them back. Perfect! And, she's asked to take short breaks to make appointments. Fine by me.

She's following my rules AND she gets her work done. Even better!

You did the right thing! It's always nice to have an extra body and set of hands but when you figure that half of their weekly paycheck (or more) is going to them playing on their phone, it gets super expensive. You're better off to get someone that NEEDS a job and wants to do their job!
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:27 AM
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If I had an employee, my rule would be no cell phone unless on your break. I am not paying someone to be on their phone. I would also have a list of rules and expectations for them. No sitting doing nothing. If your not tending the kid's needs, then they would be cleaning. Regardless of what I am doing. Your not here because I need you, your here because I want you!<-------- Nannyde saying that I just love. You are here to make my life easier.


In the future- don't say things in the heat of a moment. Pull aside and explain why it's not working out and your letting someone go. Don't hire family if possible.

I take it things are working out better with your mother now?

Don't let Holidays be ruined. Carry on normally and don't treat them differently. Work and play are two different things. Holidays are to be fun memories, not a time to bring up the faults of everyday everyday- let it go.
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:29 PM
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Please, take it from me; I found out that my assistant had pictures of dck's on her Facebook, taken and uploaded from her phone. I tried not to go balistic, but told her to take them down immediately, and she did. But she also was on her cell phone 70%of her working hours today.

I don't understand how people could think that its okay to post other people's children's pictures to the Internet without their knowledge or consent.

But in at least the first year of employment, cell phones should be banned. How are you interacting with the children in your engrossed in a cell phone conversation? How are you watching both the children and the screen of your phone at once? You're not.

I do have my cell phone out, but its used only for daycare-related calls. 75% of the time I don't even know where it is, because I've tossed it somewhere...because I had my hands FULL with CHILDREN. I don't get it...

Last edited by Michael; 11-08-2011 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:52 PM
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I agree with everyone else. It's not a matter of firing her over a cell phone. It's what that cell phone represents. And her lack of respect for you! Oh, and if she's bored...I don't think she better ever tell anyone else that she was bored while working for you. They'd wonder how that was possible! If she had time to get bored, maybe you don't need help after all...

I have a cell phone with me when I'm working because we don't have a land line (seperate building from the owner's house), but I even get irritated when someone calls (or texts) me during work hours, knowing that I'm working. Even the CDA people, knowing that we have to work in a daycare to get our CDA, and knowing we'd be working those hours, have called during that time. lol they didn't get a call back until I got home And it really gets me when a daycare parent calls the owner, during daycare hours, to have a nice long conversation discussing their child, who is there at the time, or their latest sad story of why they can't pay on time... so while the owner has to go in the other room so she can hear, just who do the parents think is caring for all the children while the owner is on the phone in a quiet room? I highly dislike cell phones.
At a place I used to work, they hired a young teenage girl. She loved her cell phone more than the children. Those poor little kids would come up to me when the teenager wasn't there and tell me about so and so getting hurt the day before. I'd ask what happend, and they'd tell me, then add that Miss x was on her cell phone "so I picked him up to make sure he was okay." or something else along those lines. The children all liked this girl, but it's no wonder. She'd pretty much let them do whatever they wanted while she was there After all, she had phone calls and texts to make...and in between her calls and texts she'd get them all wound up.

Cell phones have no business in a childcare or preschool (or any school or place with children, for that matter). There's just too much that can happen in a split second. Even if it is a boring moment
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:17 PM
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nannyde nannyde is offline
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Originally Posted by Hunni Bee View Post
Please take it from me. I found out that my assistant had pictures of dck's on her Facebook, taken and uploaded from her phone. I tried not to go balistic, but told her to take them down immediately, and she did. But she also was on her cell phone 70%of her working hours today.
Your experience is VERY VERY common
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:12 PM
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If I were you, I would do what it takes to keep the peace in the family. I'd send her a thank you note and mention all of the wonderful things she did while working for you. I would tell her that you're sorry it didn't work out and that you look forward to a positive relationship with her in the future.
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