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Old 18.04.2019, 00:22
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Babysitter accident with baby

I would like to share my experience with the babysitter of my 9-month daughter. One year ago, this babysitter, that I will name Fabienne, had a serious accident with my daughter that I will name Alexandra. At that time I managed to forgive her, but one year later I can't help blaming myself for hiring her. And not because of the accident. I will explain why.

Fabienne started working for us last year, she was reasonably well paid CHF 32 net per hour at her request, she took days off whenever she wanted, I was at home so it was ok, relationship was cordial.

Fabienne had a first serious accident with my daughter while having a walk with her. Basically she did not put the brake of the stroller while she was doing something else, so the stroller had gone down the sidewalk, without her noticing, fell down in the street and literally flipped over. My daughter was seriously injured, one teeth was moving, the nose full of bruises and bleeding like hell. Fabienne came with us to the doctor, she nearly fainted while listening to him explaining potential long term consequences on the child. We decided to keep her, thinking she would have learnt the lesson. We thought the probability of her having a second accident with Alexandra was lower than with a newly hired babysitter that we would not know. WRONG. I wish I had listened to my parents and fire her at that time. Sometimes, trying to be smart by taking decisions rationally does not work out.

We did not know by then, but Fabienne was actually two months pregnant when the accident happened. Now we know from a trusted legal opinion that we could have fired her immediately without serious financial repercussions, but we did not.

Four months later, Alexandra had another accident at home, while under the supervision of Fabienne. I could not handle it anymore so we decided we would talk to her and ask her resignation (because she was pregnant), expecting she would agree with a fair settlement. She refused to resign. Fabienne was aware of all her rights as a pregnant woman and even threatened of suing us. I could not tolerate her coming back at home after the discussion we had, so anyway we did not have an alternative. We fired her. During the conversation, she even complained that ‘we were overprotecting our child’. That was a killer in my ears, specially coming from someone who did not have children. I can assure you we are not that kind, but yes we define security rules for babysitters to follow, whether they agree or not. Bad strategy for her, choosing not to follow them. Anyway, the trust was lost, so no alternative for us.

In the end, Fabienne had indeed the guts to sue us. She hired a lawyer (not a good one though, but cheap I suppose). She and her lawyer had the guts to lie twice in front of a judge. One of the lies, we could prove it wrong, the other it was out of despair, and the judge obviously could not believe it. Indeed, the second accident was my daughter climbing on the sofa and falling on the floor, head first. The noise was really loud, I could hear it from another bedroom, my daughter had a bruise, ’the size of a prune’ as per the doctor report, that lasted more than a week. She cried very badly, like I had heard only once, after the first accident. Fabienne said to the judge, that what I heard was the milk bottle falling on the floor, not my daughter.

Since then, I really regret from the bottom of my heart 1) forgiving her after the first accident, 2) keeping her after the first accident, and 3) even hiring her in the first place. This was a total lack of respect for Alexandra, the real victim, and although I can accept that accidents happen, I cannot accept such a lack of respect for a child. I really hate myself for having put my daughter in her hands.
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Old 18.04.2019, 08:20
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

So the lesson to be learned here is: if someone is grossly negligent when caring for your offspring, do not give a second chance.
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Old 18.04.2019, 08:24
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

Don‘t hate yourself for being kind to your babysitter!

You can‘t change history. Just be thankful your child is well and move on to future with her growing up...
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Old 18.04.2019, 08:25
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

This just sounds so much like rubbish
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Old 18.04.2019, 09:12
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

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So the lesson to be learned here is: if someone is grossly negligent when caring for your offspring, do not give a second chance.
It raises an interesting question, though. If someone is put in charge of young kids and babies, found to be grossly negligent, and subsequently found to be pregnant, does that mean there's no way out for the employer? Basically you have to keep a crap (dangerous?) employee on till after her maternity leave is over?

I'm all for protecting women's rights but that seems to go a bit far.

I guess the same goes for all similar situations; a pregnant woman loses a bank thousands because she was reckless or negligent but can't be fired. I guess then there's an alternative to put her in charge of paperclips and loo rolls instead of currency and ETFs but as a nanny, the options are limited.
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Old 18.04.2019, 10:50
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

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Four months later, Alexandra had another accident at home, while under the supervision of Fabienne. I could not handle it anymore so we decided we would talk to her and ask her resignation (because she was pregnant), expecting she would agree with a fair settlement. She refused to resign. Fabienne was aware of all her rights as a pregnant woman and even threatened of suing us.
I don't think the protection from termination during pregnancy also protects from justified termination with immediate effect. If the 2nd accident provides sufficient reason for that, you probably could have let her go with immediate effect then. But such a termination must occur quickly, like within a few days (subject to circumstances).
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Old 18.04.2019, 10:58
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

So the lesson here is if you're home then look after your own kids and don't pay someone on minimum wage and expect them to do a good job.

Why would you even need a babysitter if you're home full time?
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Old 18.04.2019, 11:02
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

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So the lesson here is if you're home then look after your own kids and don't pay someone on minimum wage and expect them to do a good job.

Why would you even need a babysitter if you're home full time?
Because everybody and their dog needs a nanny, a babysitter, a cleaner and a gardener these days!
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Old 18.04.2019, 11:03
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

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Why would you even need a babysitter if you're home full time?
If you work from home maybe?

She said she was "home" not "unemployed".
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Old 18.04.2019, 11:15
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

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So the lesson here is if you're home then look after your own kids and don't pay someone on minimum wage and expect them to do a good job.

Why would you even need a babysitter if you're home full time?
That is none of your business and in fact, 32 CHF/hr is not minimum wage but in the top 20% of babysitter/nanny wages
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Old 18.04.2019, 11:18
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

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That is none of your business and in fact, 32 CHF/hr is not minimum wage but in the top 20% of babysitter/nanny wages
I pay my cleaner more than that. If you pay a babysitter 32 bucks an hour, don't be surprised if they drop the baby on its head.
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Old 18.04.2019, 11:22
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

OMG IMPRESSIVE that means you are more generous than 95% of the Swiss population.
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Old 18.04.2019, 11:24
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

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OMG IMPRESSIVE that means you are more generous than 95% of the Swiss population.
I know, and I still wouldn't leave her to look after my kids.
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Old 18.04.2019, 11:41
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

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I pay my cleaner more than that. If you pay a babysitter 32 bucks an hour, don't be surprised if they drop the baby on its head.
If you are home (working or whatever) and need some help, it makes more sense to hire a babysitter. Why would you want to go for a full-blown nanny if you are mainly there, too?

I could understand it if you are out of the house for 8 hours a day working but basically for someone to give you a hand and take on the brunt of childcare so you don't have to juggle nappy changes and conference calls it doesn't need Nanny McPhee, does it?
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Old 18.04.2019, 12:50
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

Accidents can happen (and often do) when parents are in charge, not just babysitters...



At worst, you would have to pay her for the rest of her sick leave during pregnancy, then the insurance covers her maternity leave, plus 3 months notice after the birth.


The difference is that you decided to try to fire her due to negligence, and if this is not supported by the court, the court will decide the cost payable to her for both loss of income, any slur on her reputation, and her legal costs as well as yours...
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Old 18.04.2019, 13:27
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

We lived in Singapore for over 10 years, and most of the expat community (and many locals) had a live- in "helper" as the cost for a live-in was relatively inexpensive. Our kids were older and we never went that route.

Cannot tell you how many times I saw some disturbing situations where the "helper" was texting on her phone while supposedly "watching" the children under her care. And don't get me started about the supervision of dogs. Too often I would see a group of helpers chatting and laughing on a random corner with dogs sitting next to them getting no exercise (and the unsuspecting employers assuming that Fido gets plenty of exercise given the number of walks the helper gladly takes him on!)

What I found really amusing was how many expats/friends who had helpers told me how "amazing, intelligent and special" their helper was and how fortunate they were. Whatever works for you I would think, but why the sales pitch to me?

It has been a rude awakening for many once they leave expat life and return to their home country. Some have really struggled as they never had to shop, cook - let alone clean during there many years as an expat. And, I wonder if it has helped their kids who always had a helper picking up after them. But to each their own.
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Old 18.04.2019, 16:22
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

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I pay my cleaner more than that. If you pay a babysitter 32 bucks an hour, don't be surprised if they drop the baby on its head.

At least you don't get banned for doing that
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Old 18.04.2019, 17:05
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Re: Babysitter accident with baby

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At least you don't get banned for doing that
That claim may turn out to be premature.
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