Have A Nanny? Here's some HELP in getting through Coronavirus

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Kids. Around the house. 9.04 011

Denise and Samantha, 2004

 

Below is a letter from our Founder and President, Susan Fox, posted to our Listserv and shared here for the benefit of our community.

 

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Hey All,

 

I’ve been in touch with the folks from the Carroll Gardens Nanny Association. They had a meeting with nannies who are part of their organization. I wanted to share some of their concerns, as well as some issues that have come up on Park Slope Parents:

 

  • Will I be paid if my employer deems that I shouldn’t come to work? How about if I don’t think it’s safe to come to work?  Will pay come out of my paid time off (if I have any to begin with) or vacation time? 
  • Will my employer pay for transportation (uber, lyft) if they don’t want me to travel on the subway?  Will they pick me up if they have a car?
  • If my employer-family self-quarantines will I also be expected to self-quarantine?  
  • If I’m working for two families part-time, how will I be expected to cover more hours for one or both families due to kids being home from school? Is a nanny share a possibility and how will that work?
  • Is it reasonable to be asked to bring a change of clothes to my employer’s house and shower when I get to work?
  • Will the family have food in the house so I don’t have to go out and get groceries?
  • If schools closes, is it okay for me to bring my child to work?  How will I get to work?  Will I be expected to pay for my travel if I have to bring my child?
  • What happens if my family is unable to pay me because of their own loss of work?  Are they going to help me find a new job if they can no longer afford to pay me? What will happen?
  • If I’m asked to take care of another family’s children along with my current family am I allowed to say, “no”? Will I be compensated?
  • If schools close and I’m taking care of more children than usual will I get a break?
  • What happens if I get sick but have no paid time-off saved? Will I still get paid?
  • How will I be compensated if I am asked to work additional hours for my family (part time to full time, more overtime hours)?
  • Will I be expected to take care of a child with coronavirus? How will I be protected?

Here are some best practices for keeping good lines of communication open and strong relationships:

 

  • Employers, please initiate the conversation. It’s hard for employees to initiate discussions about pay, so help by making the first move and not leaving that burden on your nanny. If any of the concerns above may apply, discuss them with your nanny.
  • Have a daily check-in with your nanny about the latest information and any changing plans (keeping kids home, leaving the city, working from home).
  • If you can, reassure your nanny that you have plans to continue to pay your nanny. There’s a lot of fear right now around money and if you can help allay those fears you’ll keep tensions down in the family. If you are planning on working from home and will likely shorten the nanny’s work day, give reassurance that the nanny will continue to get paid.
  • Talk about how you will negotiate home/work/life if the nanny is there at the same time as parents who typically aren’t there (this is new territory).
  • If you predict that you may not be needing your nanny for a few weeks because of self-quarantine, please pay your nanny in advance.
  • Talk about policies around play dates, contact with friend, and good hygiene practices so everyone is on the same page.
  • Discuss how emotions are heightened right nowand try to offer reassurances and gratitude. This is a tough time. Share the Park Slope Parents message: Coping, Connection, and Strength we posted on Thursday.
  • If you predict needing to let your nanny go because of finances, talk through the possibility of having your nanny take a pay cut. Some may be willing to take a temporary pay cut (and maybe fewer hours if your home) in order to keep a great family to work with. 
  • If you’ll need to help your nanny find a new job, here is how to Post A Recommendation about Your Nanny on the Classifieds.  
  • Help your nanny with technology so they can stay in touch with you (and their family members). Install Zoom, or other skype-type apps (Duo?) on their phones and computers so that they can stay in touch. While it may be in your best interest to have you nanny stay home, it's a disruption to your child's routine and they may miss your nanny.  Staying in contact might help with all the changes everyone is going through. Remember, it's great to have mom and dad home, but staying connected to your nanny is a good idea too!
  • Remember that your nanny has a family of their own they may be worried about... ask them about how they are doing. It's easy to get caught up in our own issues (telecommuting, cancelled vacations, work, fear of COVID-19 at daycares, schools, and activities), but know that your nanny is dealing with a whole set of circumstances you may not know about. How is their home life and family?
  • Work together so your nanny's needs are also being taken into consideration.  While we discussed whether a nanny can bring their child to work, also make sure that there are not other extenuating circumstances that need to be thought through.  If your nanny is afraid to lose their job because they might want to take care of a sick relative, help them not make choices they may regret. 
  • If you're in a nanny share, make sure to connect with everyone about best decisions for folks.  (Do this with the technology you set up above.) There may need to be some give and take depending on preferences at this time.

 

Here are some things I’ve sent before—in case you missed them…

 

REMINDERS:


If you have a Nanny Work Agreement that stipulates a certain number of hours paid per week, you will be expected to pay your nanny for those hours. Check the contract. If you know you will not be able to pay your nanny; you’ll need to give notice sooner than later if you’re not going to be able to pay so they can look for other work.  If you’ve been paying on the books your nanny can earn unemployment.


If you don't have a work agreement there are still laws protecting your nanny. Even if you have not been paying on the books a nanny can file for unemployment and NYS Paid Family leave.

 

If you have any other questions or concerns let me know. We are discussing the best ways to help set up other childcare options (people who might need extra childcare) but we're just not there yet. Also let me know if this is helpful! I need feedback right now on how best channel my energies to help folks!

 

 

psp

Susan Fox
Founder, Park Slope Parents