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Switch "watching children" with "working as an assistant" and you'll see why I don't think travel /activity expenses is at all a valuable payment method, even to people who would otherwise enjoy those activities.

Just a note that standard practice on these kinds of jobs is that you get a credit card to make purchases with, and are never using your own money that is later reimbursed.

A big reason for this is the massive mismatch in what money is worth. Employers might think covering a $100 grocery trip until you get reimbursed is not a big deal, but to an employee that might have been their own food money or rent.

The standard answer is you either let your employee borrow your credit card, or you give them their own credit card. You can put a lower limit on it to protect yourself, and can also see the credit card statement (which can be paired with receipts if you don't trust them not to add on extras. I was always careful that my families get all the receipts but they generally just threw them away because they trusted me)

This got a lot of upvotes so I want to clarify that this kind of arrangements isn't UNUSUALLY EVIL. Nanny forums are filled with younger nannies or more desperate nannies who get into these jobs only to immediately regret it.

When people ask my opinion about hiring nannies I constantly have to show how things they think are perks (live in, free tickets to go places with the kids) don't actually hold much value as perks. Because it is common for people to hold that misconception.

It is really common for parents and families to offer jobs that DON'T FOLLOW professional standards. In fact the majority of childcare jobs don't. The educated professionals don't take those jobs. The families are often confused why they can't find good help that stays.

So I look at this situation and it immediately pattern matches to what EDUCATED PROFESSIONALS recognize as a bad situation.

I don't think that means that NL folks are inherently evil. What they wanted was a common thing for people to want. The failure modes are the predictable failure modes.

I think they hold culpability. I think they "should have" known better. I don't think (based on this) that they are evil. I think some of their responses aren't the most ideal, but also shoot it's a LOT of pressure to have the whole community turning on you and they are responding way better than I would be able to.

From the way they talk, I don't think they learned the lessons I would hope they had, and that's sad. But it's hard to really grow when you're in a defensive position.

Also children and sometimes bosses do not understand that sometimes you are off the clock and not working. So children will want your attention and engagement if you are around even when you're "off", and bosses might not respect your time off and ask you to do little tasks or last minute jobs when you aren't working.

If you were away at your own house, then your time off is completely yours, but if you're a live in then they might pull stuff like "Hey could you watch the kids for half an hour so I can run pick up some milk?" and next thing you know they consider your "time off" to be just a suggestion.

I do not think it is necessarily morally wrong to try to find a win win situation where you employ someone who really just has a passion for travel. But I think it is a generally bad idea. That situation tends towards exploitation, and it is hard to see it when you are in your own point of view.

This job also required that a young person just out of college choose to spend over 80% of their "income" on a luxurious travel budget.

Yes, but also there is a similar issue for live in nannies, where a professional live in nannies will not charge that much less hourly even when room and board are provided by the family. (They will charge slightly less) This is because it is not actually fun or nice to live with your bosses, and having a live-in is considered more a perk for the FAMILY than the nanny.

Meanwhile many well-meaning but uninformed bosses think their room is worth a lot of money to the nanny because it is expensive to the family.

For example, I live in the Bay and I would RATHER pay $1000/mo to rent a room in grouphouse than stay in my bosses' extremely expensive fancy house for free, even though my bosses' mortgage for that room is very expensive to them.

Similarly, a boss spending $5000 to take you to Costa Rica is not giving you $5000 of value. You aren't choosing where you are going or what the money is spent on. Maybe they really value beachfront property, but if you were in charge of expenses you'd rather choose a less expensive Airbnb but put more towards experiences or whatnot. Your bosses want to go to the theater but you don't really like the theater. They pay $100 on a ticket for you, but you wouldn't have paid anything to go.

So even if you have an employee who really loves that they get to travel for work, the vast majority of money you spend getting them to come along doesn't... Transfer very well.

This is on top of issues like all your roommate disputes being with people who have absolute authority to win. You don't like the house temperature? Too bad. You don't like their loud death metal workout music? Too bad.

You also better not have a partner, or want to sleep around, or ever stay out late partying, or use substances, etc. It seems like the NL folks were laid back on this, but often families think your professional demeanor is your actual whole personality. (Think how many parents get upset when teachers post pictures on the beach in a nonsexy swimming suit)

The exception to this is generally immigrants who have come to the country specifically to work and send money home. They are generally happy to have a free place to stay.

Can confirm. In the family assistant type professional sphere, travel is generally considered a drawback that needs to be highly compensated in order to do.


I'm a professional nanny and I've also held household management positions. I just want to respond to one specific thing here that I have knowledge about.

It is upsetting to see a "lesson learned" as only hiring people with experience as an assistant, because a professional assistant would absolutely not work with that compensation structure.

It is absolutely the standard in professional assistant type jobs that when traveling with the family, that your travel expenses are NOT part of your compensation.

When traveling for work (including for families that travel for extensive periods of time) the standard for professionals is:

  • Airfare, non-shared lodgings (your own room) and food are all covered by your family and NOT deducted from your pay. Ditto any expenses that are required for work such as taxis, tickets to places you are working at. etc.

-Your work hours start when you arrive at the airport.(Yes, you charge for travel time)

  • You charge your full, standard hourly rate for all hours worked.

  • You ALSO charge a per diem because you are leaving the comfort of being in your own home / being away from friends and pets and your life.

  • You are ONLY expected to work for the hours that are pre-arranged that you are on the clock. (You may be OFFERED but not demanded to work more hours.)

  • If you are expected to be available outside of pre scheduled hours then you charge an "on call" rate for any hours they want you generally available for them.

  • If these hours add up to more than 45 hours/week, you charge your overtime rate.

For a professional to take three job as described they would have to pay six figures (NOT INCLUDING travel, room, board, related travel expenses). "Getting to travel to exotic locales" might be a perk, but it is NOT compensation.

The people who will NOT require this are: young people too inexperienced to know better, exploited immigrants, and poor non-professionals taking the job out of desperation.

(ETA There is some wiggle room here. Like maybe you charge your per diem rate for travel time instead of your hourly (are the kids with you when you are traveling?), or if your job is ALWAYS traveling you probably don't have a per diem, etc.

Also, I want to note that it is VERY COMMON for non-evil well-meaning people to not realize this. )

Where do you hire from?

16:58: Elie: College grads who go to top 25 schools

In case you were wondering why people find you elitist.

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