The pandemic has had an enormous impact on every aspect of life, including how we recruit and hire private service professionals. In this post, we’ll be sharing some best practices for everything from interviewing/trialing, to establishing a COVID-19 protocol for the home, and discussing the vaccine.
As you begin the process of hiring a nanny, you may find that some candidates have recent gaps in their employment history. While this would typically be concerning, it is important to remember that so many nannies have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, and many have been laid off or have experienced significantly reduced hours. Some candidates may even be supplementing their income with short-term childcare roles and babysitting positions as they work diligently to survive this difficult time. Consider approaching recent gaps in employment with a sense of curiosity as you interview candidates, keeping in mind the likelihood that their employment history has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic. We recommend holding all interviews remotely, preferably with a video platform like Zoom or Skype. This allows both parties to get a good sense of one another, and can even provide an opportunity for the candidate to interact with the children prior to being physically in the same space. When it comes to setting up a trial, we recommend having everyone tested and quarantined leading up to the trial, and establishing mutually agreed-upon COVID-19 protocols/social distancing guidelines for the home.
Establishing A COVID-19 Protocol
Most families and nannies are having regularly scheduled check-ins to openly discuss their agreed-upon COVID-related precautions and preferences, rather than modifying their contracts. This is because, in addition to the fact that state-wide recommendations are continuously changing, employers cannot legally give direction over how their employees choose to spend their unpaid off-duty time. Many of our families have created a policy that requires temperature monitoring, social distancing, mask-wearing expectations, and both parties agreeing to alert the other if there is any cause for concern about exposure, or if either family or nanny are not feeling well. In any case, whatever the family asks of the nanny, they must be willing to offer in kind. Facilitating open and honest communication is the most important piece to the puzzle during these unknown times.
Discussing the COVID-19 Vaccine
The CDC is working together with local government and health officials to vaccinate as many people as possible as we all work together to combat COVID-19. At this moment in time, there are some hiccups regionally when it comes to vaccine availability and dispersal, so we recommend checking with your local public health officials to determine when and where you and your family members can receive the vaccine. In some states, nannies are considered Essential Workers and in those states, they may be eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1B. This is based on the US Department of Labor Statistics which states that nannies are childcare providers and the recommendations of the CDC, which state that child care providers are essential employees. Take a look at this blog post for more information about how your nanny may be able to access the vaccine. Many families are asking that their support staff obtain the vaccine as soon as they are able, in an effort to reduce the risk of exposure for the entire household. We recommend having a candid conversation with your employees about the benefits and risks associated with the vaccine to come to a mutually agreed-upon action plan. As with any decisions impacting you and your staff, it is important to approach the conversation with clarity and kindness to establish a plan that suits all parties involved.
Explain COVID offers excellent resources compiled by a team of researchers including Emily Oster, a professor at Brown University, Galit Alter, a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Susan Johnson, an immunologist working in the biotech sector, and Lindsay Shultz, a physician, and public health analyst. You can find their informative insights here!
Maven, an organization dedicated to supporting families navigating the healthcare system, has collaborated with Emily Oster, an author and a Professor of Economics at Brown University who holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard, to create a dynamic and thorough COVID-19 resource for families. You can find out more about this here!
Navigating the pandemic can be extremely challenging for hiring families and their household staff, but with clear, open communication based on scientifically sound information from the CDC, we can get through this together.
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