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Babysitter tells parents they still have to pay her $480 for canceling. AITA?

Babysitter tells parents they still have to pay her $480 for canceling. AITA?


Babysitting is often thought of as a good first job for teens.

But, it is an incredibly important service. Parents are entrusting someone with complete care for their children while they are away. One woman with 10 years of childcare experience agreed to watch a friend's children while they were out of town. In order to do so, she had to take off work.

But, the payment they agreed upon would cover the shifts she missed. But then, when the canceled with her last minute, and she was unable to get her shifts back, she demanded payment. The parents strongly decline.

'AITA for asking to be paid when a family cancelled?'


5 months ago, a friend of a friend “Claudia” asked me if I could watch her sons while she and her husband attended a wedding out of state. She wanted me to stay 3 days, 2 nights. I babysit a lot to supplement my income and was interested.

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.

Overall, the price for those 3 days was going to be $840. Which I know is a lot but to me, this is a luxury service. 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.

When I told Claudia, she definitely had sticker shock. But when I broke down the price and she shopped around, she realized I was the cheaper option. I requested the time off work. I don’t get PTO, but figured I was making more doing this than I would working 3 days at my other job, so I figured it’d be worth it.

I’ve babysat in the months prior so I can get to know the kids. I don’t have a lot of communication with Claudia’s husband, Rick. Last week, he was the one to relieve me and pay. He asked how much I was charging for the wedding weekend. When I told him, he was clearly uncomfortable. But he still said “we’ll see you Friday.”

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”. 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.

I texted Claudia and said that she needed to pay me at minimum what I’d make at work in those 3 days ($480). She told me I was being ridiculous and the whole point is they don’t feel it’s worth it to pay that much.

I explained that I took the time off. We didn’t have a contract which in hindsight was stupid. I know legally they don’t have to and I’d have no case. I didn’t say this, just said the right thing is for her to pay. I added if they had told me earlier and I was able to get those shifts back, it’d be different.

My friend that recommended me to Claudia says I’m being ridiculous. I pointed out that if I had cancelled this close, they’d be reasonably pissed and screwed. AITA?

Here are the top comments from readers, varying from support to shaming:


You did have a contract, it just wasn't in writing. You're NTA and should try to collect. 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 cancelable'.


Going with NTA. That was super late notice to cancel and cost you 3 days wages. 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.


YTA. If you wanted a cancellation fee you should have sorted that out in advance.


NTA: You were prepared to work for them for those days, and then they cancelled at the last minute. No, you aren't TA for asking for the money. However, without a written contract, I wouldn't expect to get a dime from them.


I understand being angry that they cancelled so late, but you also didn't give them a time frame that they needed to cancel by. It's not just the lack of written contract, but your lack of clarity on that point. You both handled it badly, so ESH.


You didn't have a contract, written or verbal, that included a cancellation clause. They are also not responsible for your wages at your other work. You tried to juggle two jobs, unsuccessfully, and paid the price for it.

I sympathise with your situation, but YTA. I would never hire you again if I were them either. You can't just ask for lost wages from another job, that's just ridiculous. They're not responsible for your second job.

What would you say is the fair compromise in this situations? Any babysitters been stiffed before? Any parents felt like their babysitter was shaking them down for cash?

Sources: Reddit
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