Employing a Nanny during COVID-19

“Do I have to wear a mask inside the house” and “Do I have to pay the nanny if I ask them to stay home because a family member is not feeling well” – are just a few of the questions we are getting as we adjust to our new normal of providing in-home child care during a pandemic; where there are more questions than answers at this time.  Like most of you, we also feel as if we are drinking water from a fire hose.  If we all work together, we can do this.

Phase 2 Guidance
Up until the Phase 2 reopening guidance dropped, the essential workers in need of care and the online market placement services and agencies placing said care, have been left to navigate risk mitigation and harm reduction on their own with regard to the ubiquitous pandemic. 

As a leading placement service in the Seattle area, we have looked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), the Seattle City’s Office of Economic Development (Seattle.gov), the Office of Labor Standards (OLS), and the Seattle Domestic Workers Standards Board (DWSB) for guidance. 

In the loose (and sometimes dark) history of domestic work, we trust there may have never been a greater moment to demonstrate the critical interdependence between a domestic worker employer and their employee.  A parent’s ability to remain employed rests on their caregiver safely returning to work to provide the services that appear to underpin our entire economy.  After several months in a holding pattern, families and nannies are ready to get back to work. 

Here is what we know 

Early on we offered our nannies and sitters who visit the homes of essential workers Covid-19 specific training.  At the time CareAcademy had a rapid response certification that we utilized. 

Since then, the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) has partnered with NextStep to create a comprehensive up-to-the-minute Covid-19 specific training that I have personally taken and recommend.  A series of videos, including the University of Washington’s own Dr. Vin Gupta, world renowned pulmonologist and leading expert, take the viewer to school in a condensed and digestible manner. Unless you are a medical professional, you will likely learn something from this training. For example, did you know that a nurse washes their hands about 100 times in a 12-hour shift? Neither did I.

Certification is offered upon completion of the course, and with the discount code from NDWA, there is no cost at this time.  The slick tech behind the training offers a text notification of any updates around changes to best practices as information around the virus evolves – and we know this is happening rapidly!

Employer Toolkit & Employee Resources

The Seattle Domestic Workers Standards Board has a dedicated page for best practices that includes guidance and links to educational videos and resources for workers, including Hand in Hand Domestic Employer Network’s Nanny Employer Checklist during Covid-19, and National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Tips for Nannies.

Here at Seattle Nanny Network, Inc. we are sharing information with our clients and virtually meeting often with our field team to share updates and lend support.  We have taken the lead with PPE, offering disposable thermometers to the already comprehensive supplies our backup caregivers use

This is an industry where workers labor alone in isolation, providing important work.  During this time when there is a pronounced and global feeling of isolation, it is more important than ever before for community members to be here for each other.Emily Dills is the founder of Seattle Nanny Network, Inc; a stakeholder in the Washington State Child Care Collaborative Task Force (C3TF), member of Hand in Hand the National Domestic Employer Network, and a current board member of the Seattle Office of Labor Standards Domestic Workers Standards Board as an employer entity.

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