For Parents: What Do We Do With Our Domestic Staff During The Pandemic?

 

 

As we all work to navigate the unknown in response to COVID-19, we want to address the question on so many minds: how does the pandemic impact your nanny, housekeeper, estate manager, and beyond? Should they continue to come to work?

 

First, it’s imperative to acknowledge that the recommendations for managing your personal safety are changing regularly, mostly because this virus is new and therefore all of the risks are not currently known. We are sharing some recent information from The New York Times, but you should absolutely be checking local and federal government updates regularly. In many states, those parents who work in essential roles are legally allowed to have their childcare employees continue to work in their home, but again you’ll want to check with your local laws when making the decision around how to manage childcare for you and your family.

The most important thing to keep in mind as you work through this situation is, of course, the safety of your family and nanny, and leaning into clear communication will be crucial, now more than ever. Be sure to have a direct conversation with your childcare provider about your role, the current laws in your area, and get a sense of what works best for everyone involved. Weekly check-ins are always a great idea, but particularly right now. Work to create a work environment for your caregiving team that welcomes open and honest discussions, and continue to check in with them often to reassess the situation. Now, we’d love to share some helpful information and relevant links from The New York Times outlining some excellent tips for moving forward with childcare during the pandemic.

 

 

“If your babysitter is still legally allowed to work and you want [them] to work, keep in mind that every person who comes into your home could bring germs and also be exposed to your family’s germs, so it’s important to minimize potential risk. So, educate yourself by reading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for businesses and employers.

If you hire a nanny, you are an employer and your house is a workplace. Among other things, you’ll want to routinely clean frequently touched surfaces in your home, such as doorknobs and bathroom fixtures, and actively encourage your caregiver to stay home if they’re sick.

“It’s really on the parent to broach the topic — to sit down and have a conversation about keeping everyone safe,” said Lindsay Imai Hong, the director of the California chapter of Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network.

Share guidelines and other important information with your caregiver, too. For instance, the government now advises Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. Talk to your [nanny] about how the infection spreads and how they can reduce risk by washing their hands, using hand sanitizer and not touching their face. Make sure they understand the symptoms of COVID-19, and tell them to inform you immediately — and stay home — if they develop any symptoms, such as a fever or a cough. And of course, be open with your caregiver about your own situation.

If your nanny gets sick or is under mandatory quarantine, the best practice is to offer paid time off. Keep in mind that if your caregiver isn’t working for you, they may have no source of income. If you pay your [nanny] legally, and you can’t afford to pay when they’re not working, see if they are eligible for short-term disability or unemployment benefits. Eligibility varies, but some state governments are expanding benefits during the pandemic.” — The New York Times

 

 

This is such a difficult time for all of us, and as an employer, it is imperative that parents understand the impact that their decisions around childcare will have on their nanny. If you are interested in additional resources to gain an even better understanding of best practices for hiring parents, we strongly recommend visiting the National Domestic Workers Alliance website for ongoing updates.

 


 

We’d love to hear your thoughts, do you have any advice for parents and caregivers navigating this time?

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