The New York State Family Leave Law is now in effect. The below information was compiled before the law came into effect and may be inaccurate. Please also review THIS page on the PSP website about the new law, and THIS page on the PSP website about how the law impacts your working relationship with your nanny. A Better Balance also has this great Domestic Workers Guide to Paid Family Leave.
Take advantage of disability insurance:
"A couple of weeks ago, I posted that my nanny was pregnant, and planned to take at least two months off. I wanted to know if there was a standard period of paid maternity leave that was provided, because we can't afford to pay for the whole time she is out, plus pay for substitute care.
My nanny is paid on the books, and after I posted, the renewal for disability insurance through NYS came in the mail. We were able to increase coverage for her (at an increased premium) which should provide her with half of her pay for six weeks (eight weeks if a c-section). We plan to supplement with a reasonable cash gift.
In terms of length of leave, we plan to provide her with as much time as she needs although most of it will be unpaid beyond the 6-8 weeks that the insurance and our gift will cover."
"Is your nanny on the books? If so, I would look into disability insurance, and either you or she could pay the premium - that is how my own leave was "paid" at my small office job. I was paid 60% of my usual wages through the insurance, once the doctors note of my delivery was submitted. That was 6 weeks for vaginal birth; I think they would have covered 8 for cesarean; and then my last two weeks were all of my vacation for the year paid out in advance. Thank god for 10 public holidays. Best of luck to you and the nanny, and seriously, god bless you for helping her in this time.
Pay maternity leave wages out of pocket:
"I don't know if this will answer all of your questions, but our babysitter had a child of her own 4 years ago, and is currently pregnant with her second.
When she was pregnant the last time, she put us in touch with an aunt of hers, who also babysits and who was at that time free during the week (when we needed her). We hired her to fill in while our sitter was on maternity leave. We all expected that our sitter would come back to work after maternity leave, and she did. The replacement sitter was of course entirely aware that the position was temporary. As it happened, our second child was born two months before the babysitter's child, so in the months after her return from maternity leave, we sometimes used the supplementary sitter anyway (I took the baby to grad school with me for a conference, and the supplementary sitter came to take care of her during sessions, while the primary sitter was home with the 4-yr-old).
This time our kids are older and we have some other babysitting resources, so we'll probably find someone to cover ourselves rather than go through our sitter.
As for maternity leave, we decided that we wanted to pay our sitter at least some for her maternity leave, but our finances had limits, and we were paying a substitute sitter as well. In the end, we told our babysitter we would pay her $1000 for maternity leave (I think that was the number—it might have been $1500—I don't remember now)— that was what we decided we could afford (I think we were paying her around $375/wk at the time for around 28 hrs/wk). We told her she could take as much time as she chose, but we would pay her that flat amount regardless. She didn't take very long—maybe a month or six weeks.
This time, our financial situation is not as good as it was when her first child was born, and we will probably not be able to pay her as much for maternity leave. We have already discussed this with her, as well as assured her that she will not be fired. We will probably again pay her a lump sum (though probably less than last time), and she can take as much time as she chooses.
For me it all comes down, like everything else, to communication and trust. She trusts us and we trust her. We do our best to communicate about what's going on and what we can and can't do."
Find a new nanny:
"I haven't been in your situation, so I have no useful experience to offer. I just want to say that while in an ideal world everyone would get lots and lots of paid maternity leave, this is NOT that ideal world. I don't think there's anything wrong with your basing your plan of action on what's best for your family, and specifically your own child. If that means letting your pregnant nanny know that for the sake of continuity you're just going to replace her outright so be it. It's not the ideal liberal Park Slope approach, but there's a reason that the laws about providing benefits and leave and such (including not firing someone for being pregnant, I believe, but get a second opinion on that) don't apply to small employers; it's too much of a burden on you.
Not saying that's what you SHOULD do, just that if you feel it's best for your child, and if moral support from a stranger matters at all, I think it's okay. And I say this as someone who got no maternity leave because I was working for a very small organization when I got pregnant. In fact, for the convenience of their own timing, they let me go sooner than I had planned or found financially convenient. That's part of the deal for which people who work for small businesses or freelance or are in domestic service sign on.
Good luck with whatever you decide."
Help off set your nanny's expenses by allowing them to bring their child to work:
"A nanny who works for someone in our building basically got nothing on maternity leave—but she had been getting paid full-time for working mostly after school so the family felt that she had been given “more” than enough all along. (That’s one side of the story at least). However, the nanny then brought the baby to work with her (boy was about 4 at the time) so the nanny then saved on her own childcare."
More experiences on letting your nanny bring a baby to work:
"When my kids were little, my nanny got pregnant. She took two months off and wanted/needed to come back to work. I was fine with her bringing her baby to work with her. Occasionally she did, most times she had a childcare situation set up like any professional working woman. Our kids are still friends today."
"Would your nanny be interested in continuing to work after her own maternity leave? Do you like and value her? If yes to both questions, I'd consider trying to hire a substitute nanny for a while (the last couple months of her pregnancy plus 3 months maternity leave, perhaps?) and then take your nanny back. The two little ones will develop a special bond as she cares for them together (like kids in a nanny share), and your older ones will appreciate that their trusted nanny is still part of the family.
If you don't like her all that much and are looking for an excuse to get rid of her, of course you could do that as well. It seems a bit uncool to fire someone for getting pregnant, though. I'd give her a couple months notice and/or generous severance pay. She's not likely to be able to find another job until after her baby is born."
"We had a very similar situation, except that my third was born a few months after our nanny's younger child. It has been a few years now so I don't remember specifics, but I know that I was very stressed but it all worked out fine. Our nanny brought the same care and diligence to the situation that she had always shown. She arranged for another nanny (vetted by her, and known to us) to cover the weeks of her leave. (I think we paid some weeks of leave for her and some she took unpaid). When she came back she brought the baby for a while but not every day or permanently. My kids loved it and remain close to him. I think I scheduled fewer activities and didn't go away or anything for the late pregnancy/newborn months but really it all worked out.
Good luck to you all."
"People have 4 kids & manage well. Her baby can be a lifelong extension of your family for everyone to love. IMO it's just another way to do things. See how it goes. Your children might not get the same thing they will get from a nanny who has exclusive attention for them. But the can gain a lot from extending their "family" & being part of a family who extends love & trust to others in a unique way. I feel I'm having a hard time expressing myself on this, but you trust her, & all love her. That matters!
Many women care for their older children while they are pregnant. I don't see why she couldn't continue to care for yours. It might be tough but so are lots of things. I think you have a lot of logistics to work out. What if she has a hard pregnancy, when will she come back, time off etc."
"Bringing the nanny's baby to work - why not? I had a friend/colleague who did that when her post-hire babies were born and the kids grew up friends, playmates, the nanny was happy and that is the best perk you could ever give her. ( And frankly nannies don't get paid enough to pay others to take care of their babies- so if they have to quit work to take care of their own babies, the cycle of poverty continues...) - if you love and trust her, and trust her to tell you if she is overwhelmed - at least give it a try
As for caring for 3 kids while pregnant, I assume mothers of 4+5 kids have done that and made it work. Same for caring for 4 kids including two babies... mothers do it, and you and your nanny are (going to be) mothers of multiples so why not. I say all of this sounds workable, complicated but totally workable. Count yourself lucky to have a nanny you like so much!"
"I would let her bring the baby to work. It's wonderful that she's in the perfect job to care for her own child while working. And many women have cared for four of their own children... if the nanny feels she's able to do it, I'd trust her assessment. Plus your children may enjoy and gain from the experience of having a baby "sibling."