Friday, May 27, 2005

Holiday Hassles, part two, or, WTF???

Ooooo, but I am steamed... So you know, if you've been reading this for long, that a month ago I let "my parents" (aka my clients) know that I'd be taking the entire month of August off. I certainly have the seniority - I've been doing this for over ten years - plus, I have a very busy and demanding family life: I need the break! My contract stipulates my holiday times. For this career, I'm at the very top of the perks and benefits, and rightfully so, given my education and experience. I am not so foolish, however, as to think that I can get any more, no matter how good I am. In my contract, I'm allowed two weeks paid holiday in August. My clients know that when they sign on. However, this year I finally managed to save enough that I could take the entire month off, the latter two and a half weeks being unpaid days off. I informed my clients of this a few weeks ago, giving them all four months notice. I also supplied them with the names of a couple of other caregivers willing to take on an extra tot or two for the month. One client didn't like this. It was "inconvenient". They wouldn't be taking their holidays till September. Now, why would they do that, when they knew 15 months ago (they signed on in May, 2004) that August is my holiday month? I took August holidays last year, as well. They were here for that. But we had a chat about it - a stiff little chat, but civil - and I held firm. Dad, who was voicing the complaints, said he'd leave it to Mom to deal with it. That was a month ago. Today I tell them that for some reason, I have no postdated cheques from them for May to July, as I should. I need three more to cover the end of the contract. He uses this opportunity to tell me that they will be taking two weeks' holiday in September. Which would be just fine, except that he's expecting it to be without pay, to "make up for the inconvenience of [my] August holiday". WTF??? I didn't answer right away. I'm sure he could tell by the expression on my face I wasn't pleased, for he immediately offered to "meet me for coffee and talk it over". I demurred in some nebulous way. Mostly, I just wanted to say "No! What's to discuss? And just piss off, will ya??" But I am A Professional. I don't say stuff like that to clients. Much as I might wish to. Much as they might deserve it. I did write them an email, very firm but civil, which I haven't sent yet. First I want to be paid, at least for this month! I am self-employed. If I want these days off, I won't be paid. That's what it is, when you're self-employed: you don't work, you don't get paid. Fine. I've saved the money, so that I can have the extra time off. I have arranged care for the children, if they need it. What more can I do? Why on earth should I agree to give them free childcare in September, when they don't have to pay for my extra time off in August? What makes this reasonable? I am supposed to compensate them for taking time off without pay??? Why is it my fault that they forgot I always take two weeks in August? (Which they did.) If they're inconvenienced, it's because they refuse to take advantage of the backup care I've arranged. How is this my responsibility? Argh!!


Blogger Kat O+ said...

Huh. My child is in two day care centres. For one of them, we get 2 weeks free during Christmas when they close. All other holidays are charged at the full daily fee. At the other centre, we have to give 2 weeks notice of holidays and pay half the daily fee to a maximum of 30 days. So even when the centres are closed, we still have to pay. Those parents don't know how lucky they are!

5/27/2005 09:23:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Thank you! That's how I see it, for sure, but I can't always be sure I'm being objective, even when I'm trying. It's nice to hear it from someone else, who really is objective! (None of my other clients even blinked when I gave them the news, though, which also tells me something.)

5/28/2005 06:44:00 a.m.  
Blogger snaars said...

It seems to me these clients don't understand common business practices.

Any inconvenience you have caused is regrettable - but it is not your responsibility. You gave them notice. You are acting within the bounds of your contract. You don't owe them anything. No one - no one - is ever obligated to work without compensation.

5/29/2005 08:35:00 p.m.  

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