Top 3 COVID-19 Provisions to Include in Your Nanny ContractNovember 30, 2020
A thorough nanny contract is a valuable tool for any new nanny-family relationship. A good nanny work agreement provides clear and transparent guidelines, boundaries, compensation information, house rules, and covers important position details for your nanny. Today, we’re sharing three important provisions that all families should consider including in their nanny contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Everyday Health and Safety Precautions
Everyone has a different risk tolerance when it comes to COVID-19. Some kids are in school, some parents have to go into an office, some nannies live with roommates, and many people in metro areas like New York City have to take public transportation. We recommend that families incorporate everyday health and safety precautions into their nanny-work agreements. For guidance, we refer to the most up-to-date information provided by the CDC, including wearing a mask or face covering when outside your home to protect others, washing and sanitizing your hands frequently (especially when preparing meals or arriving into a new space), practicing social distancing with others outside your immediate household, taking extra precautions when taking public transit, and avoiding touching surfaces and your own face while out. Agreeing that both parties will practice the same level of daily precautions will help you and your nanny feel safe as the pandemic continues to evolve and change.
Testing Protocols for Illness, Potential Exposure, and Travel
In your nanny-work agreement, we recommend thinking through and documenting how you’ll handle symptoms of illness, potential or known COVID-19 exposure, and out-of-state travel. Decide on a testing and quarantine plan and make sure you’re holding yourself and your nanny to the same expectations. Of course, keeping an open and transparent line of communication about everything, including some seemingly mild sniffles, will put everyone at ease and build a trust and bond that will inevitably lead to a successful and respectful relationship.
We recommend agreeing to notify each other of cold symptoms like a runny nose, cough, sore throat, body aches, or even digestive issues. If the symptoms seem mild and not consistent with COVID, you may choose to continue as scheduled, or you may choose to cancel out of an abundance of caution. This is important to discuss in advance to make sure you and your nanny are on the same page. If your nanny is more COVID-cautious than you are, they may not be comfortable working when you expect them to come in, and this will cause a strain in your relationship. Due to the possibility of community spread, you may both agree to a PCR (swab test) for any cold symptoms, regardless of whether there was a known COVID-19 exposure. If you or your nanny believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, we recommend that everyone agrees to getting a PCR (swab test) right away, cancels and quarantines while awaiting test results. Regarding travel, have a travel plan in place and document it in your agreement. If you’re in the New York area, there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon return unless you test. Viewing the most up-to-date guidance from New York and agreeing that you will follow city guidance is something that can be built into your agreement.
Time Off for COVID-19
If cold symptoms are concerning enough for either party to cancel, it is important to continue paying your nanny’s regular salary or providing enough paid sick time to ensure that your nanny’s salary isn’t significantly impacted. If the time off is due to your family’s need to quarantine, detail in your contract that this time off will be paid and sick time will not be impacted. If the time off is due to your nanny needing to call out, sick time should be used. Detailing this in your contract eliminates the need for emotional game-time decisions.
Additionally, discuss how travel will impact your ability to work together and how that may impact compensation. For example, some families and nannies are choosing to take a swab test 3-5 days after travel and quarantine until the results come in. If a nanny is unable to go to work for a week due to the family’s travel, be sure to include that the nanny will be paid during that time. If your nanny decides to travel and as a result, must quarantine for two weeks, discuss in advance if this will be unpaid time off. Get on the same page so everyone feels confident in returning to work after potential exposure or travel.
In addition to typical PTO/Holiday pay, be prepared for the possibility that your nanny may be exposed to, test positive for, or need to care for a family member who has COVID-19. The CARES Act requires that employers provide up to 10 days of emergency paid sick leave to any one who is directed to quarantine by a medical professional or who has to care for a relative who has COVID-19. The cost of the leave, up to $511/day, will be reimbursed to the employer by the IRS. Your nanny tax service can offer more guidance if and when you need to file for these reimbursements. Should there be extenuating circumstances surrounding COVID-19, having a strong relationship and open communication with your nanny will be a huge benefit. You can openly discuss what is best for your family and the nanny and plan on how to move forward.
At its core, a nanny work agreement sets the stage for any new position, acts as a resource, and simplifies many complicated situations by laying out plans in advance. Aside from outlining the important details of a new position, cover your bases in relation to the pandemic. These additions to your work agreement, along with an open line of communication between you and your nanny, will help to make things easier should any unforeseen Covid-19 related situations come up. Work smart, not hard, and sit down with your nanny to discuss these details today!