I am being taken advantage of...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2002
I am being taken advantage of...
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 4:18am

Hello from Oregon! :)

I am a college graduate with a degree in education and work part-time as a substitute teacher, tutor and babysitter. I usually know my substitute teaching schedule in advance, but sometimes it is on short notice as well.

I took a position with four children ranging in age from 5 years old to 12 years old. I explained that my substitute job was my primary source of income but if they could get a child care schedule to me in advance, I would love to be available to them primarily. Both of the parents work outside the home, one is a corporate manager for a company that is an hour away from our hometown and she spends quite a few days of the week traveling so she is not home frequently. The dad is a paramedic that works an hour away and his schedule changes from days, evenings, overnights and weekends. In order for this to care giving situation to work out, we agreed on the following:

-They would have a schedule to me at month at a time, giving me their needed dates a month in advance as to not interfere with my teaching job.

-They would pay me 450 per week on every Thursday, whether I worked 12 hours that week or 30. That way my pay is consistant and their expenses are consistant. This was also agreed upon because I would end up working less hours as a substitute due to their child care schedule. I am needed as early as 4am until I take the kids to school (three different schools!) and after school from 330 until 8pm. Sometimes I also do overnights where I am there anywhere from 330pm until 8am the next morning.

Here are the major issues...

.#1.... The kids are awful. They do not listen to me, they throw fits and tantrums and constantly fight and bicker with each other and are physically violent towards one another. The two older kids want me to drive them all over town to friends houses, batting cages, etc. Getting the two younger ones into the car to go cart the older two around is like pulling teeth. They refuse to take baths, brush their teeth or do their homework. I don't know how to deal with punishments or consequences for behaviors. They all have tvs, Iphones, Ipods, gaming consoles, etc. 

#2... They do not pay me as scheduled. They are behind a week's wages for early January, bounced one check that they eventually paid me cash for, still have not paid me for two weeks in March and bounced another check last week. They will also owe me for this weeks pay on Thursday, which will put them at oweing me $1500 total to have me current in pay. When I figure the hours I work weekly, at a pay rate of $18 which is normal for our area with four children, they aren't even paying me enough for the hours I work in comparison to the weekly wage. If they paid me by hour, they would be paying so much more!

#3... They do not have a schedule in advance so I end up having to subsitute teach the sames days that they need me. I have tried to explain this to them and they say that they hired me with the understanding that I would be available to them first and that if I cannot commit to that, then they will have to find someone else. I have had to decline teaching jobs because they need me to babysit at last minutes notice of a morning and now I'm getting called less frequently for substitute jobs and my boss has repremanded me for not being available to the schools as I had agreed, and for also leaving early to pick the kids up from school.

The dad has come home drunk on two occasions. I see him more frequently than her and the parents are only home together once or twice a week. There is no routine, stability or responsibility in the family. I am so overwhelmed and stressed out from it. I want to quit but I want the pay that I am entitled to for taking care of their children!

What do I do? How do I approach the situation? They did finally give me a schedule until the end of the month but I want it to be my last month because I no longer want to be a part of this mess. I could find another job somehwere that pays me when they should for the hours that I work... not bouncing checks, getting mad at me for not being available on short notice and not paying me for my services.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2013
Fri, 04-12-2013 - 1:14pm

Wow, I really feel for you! What a mess. My very first thought was "just quit and get the heck away from that situation, ASAP". But then I read your concern about not getting any of the back-pay they owe you. So now I'm not really sure what to advise you! You could try still quitting and then keep asking (probably more like nagging, lol) for the pay they owe you but the problem is you can't really "force" them to pay you. Sure you could go the legal route but I'm betting the cost of that would probably outweigh what they already owe you! Did you have any agreement in writing with them?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2001
Wed, 05-01-2013 - 7:44pm
I hope you solved this mess and if so, how did you approach the problem? I think that you being a teacher with fresh ideas and energy started off on the wrong foot with this family. You run the show, not the kids and should have made that point clear at every chance. You are a godsend to those parents and they are too busy to notice.


Linda - wife, mother, grandmum                     &nb