A babysitter charged parents $480 when they cancelled a weekend of services at the last minute.
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Should Parents Have To Pay Their Babysitter A Cancellation Fee? Reddit Thinks So

A babysitter is asking to be compensated her for lost wages at a rate of $480 after the parents cancelled at the last minute.

Asking someone to care for your children for three days is a big deal. Especially when you are going to be out of state the entire time. Especially when you are asking someone who is a “friend of a friend” and babysits to supplement their income, as a babysitter recently described in a viral Reddit post. The babysitter in question prepared herself for three days of 24/7 work, only to be told last minute that her services were no longer needed. And now she wants to charge the parents who cancelled for leaving her in a financial lurch.

The babysitter in question took to Reddit to explain that she had been asked by a woman she called “Claudia” to watch the sons of a friend of a friend for a long weekend so she and her husband could attend an out-of-state wedding. “She wanted me to stay 3 days, 2 nights. I babysit a lot to supplement my income and was interested,” the babysitter wrote. “For overnights, I always charge my usual rate for all waking hours and then a flat rate of $100/night while they’re sleeping. This covers me still being on call. I can’t leave the house and if the kids wake up, I’ll tend to them.”

The price for three days came to $840, which the babysitter acknowledged is “a lot,” but as she said, “this is a luxury service.” She added, “I have 10 years of experience, am expected to clean, cook and drive her kids places, as well as sleep at their house. Unlike other jobs, I’m basically working 3 days straight.”

While Claudia initially balked, she researched other options and discovered this was the least expensive and agreed. Unfortunately, her husband did not agree. When the Reddit user was visiting the home ahead of their departure to babysit and make sure the children were comfortable with her, Claudia’s husband was made aware of the cost and was not impressed.

“This morning, I got a text from Claudia saying ‘hey, so Richard’s decided he wants to take the kids to the wedding after all! We won’t need you,’” she explained. “I checked with my job and they have no need for me this weekend as they found coverage. Basically, I’m out 3 days pay.”

The Reddit user decided that the fair thing to do would be to compensated her for lost wages at a rate of $480 as they cancelled with only four days notice, but the couple refused, saying she was “being ridiculous and the whole point is they don’t feel it’s worth it to pay that much.” Unfortunately for her, there was no contract signed. So she took her frustration to Reddit where she got loads of support.

“That was super late notice to cancel and cost you 3 days wages,” wrote one user. “Also, never baby sit for them again, even if they pay you. But don’t tell them that until they pay you. Also, if you’re in the know with sitters in their area, give them a heads up.”

Another person pointed out that she can treat this as a learning experience for the future. “Treat this as a learning experience. In the future, if you have to take off work, ask for 50% deposit up front. Maybe have a receipt that specifies ‘non cancellable.’”

This Reddit user agreed, “They cancelled at the last minute. They should pay you something to compensate you for the steps you took to make yourself available for them. You should consider coming up with a cancellation policy for future clients and require your clients to agree to your policy before you put their date in your calendar.”

The general feeling in the comments section was simply that this was an unfair situation, but lesson learned. “You are 100% accurate that they should pay you the amount you would have made in your job for those three days. Unfortunately for you, you didn't see this coming. In the future you should consider asking for a partial payment up front before you take time off of work. Lesson learned.”

Sadly these parents don’t seem to understand how much they inconvenienced a reliable babysitter and have now burned that bridge. The average cost of a sitter who is caring for your children overnight is $25 per hour for every hour they are on hand, so really this babysitter was an absolute bargain.