COVID-19 FAQs

Below are frequently asked questions (FAQs) we are hearing from clients and caregivers (as of April 3, 2020).

We have broken the FAQs out into four sections:

For Families Employing Full-Time Nannies   |   For Temporary Division Clients   |    For Full-Time Nannies   |    For Temp Nannies or Babysitters

If you have any other questions not currently listed in these FAQs, please email us at [email protected]

For Families Employing Full-Time Nannies

Are nannies considered essential employees?

Yes. While the stay-at-home order is in effect in Maryland, DC and VA, nannies fall under the category of “residential service” which is considered essential. If you and your nanny are aligned that they will continue to work during the stay-at-home order, it is advisable that you provide them with a letter of some kind (either as a pdf they can keep on their phone or a physical printed letter) in case they are stopped by law enforcement. This is the recommendation from the chief legal counsel to Governor Hogan’s office. 

What should the letter of employment for my nanny say?

The letter should be very simple. It is just an extra precaution. Here is some sample language you can use:

To Whom It May Concern, 

The carrier of this letter is employed by (YOUR NAME) and is providing the essential service of childcare as a nanny.

If you have any questions, please call me at (YOUR PHONE NUMBER)

Sincerely, 

(YOUR NAME)

 

I want my nanny to continue working, but they do not feel comfortable reporting to work. What should I do?

First, you will need to understand why your nanny feels uncomfortable. We recommend having a candid conversation in order to identify an appropriate solution. 

If there is a specific reason such as knowledge that a member of your household has been exposed to COVID-19, that they personally may been exposed to COVID-19, or that they need to care for a sick family member or children that are no longer able to attend school, then we recommend referring to the FFCRA information from Homework Solutions to understand how you should support your employee. 

If their concern is not specific, ask your nanny what your family can do to ensure they feel safe continuing to work. Below are a few questions we recommend asking:  

      1. Have you made sure your home is a safe, sanitized and a comfortable working environment for your nanny? 
      2. Do you have masks, gloves, sanitizing wipes available for your nanny at all times? 
      3. Is your nanny worried about children or family at their own home? If so, would you be willing to adjust their current working schedule to accommodate them? 

If, after the discussion, it is decided that your nanny will not be reporting for work, but your family still requires childcare, you can contact our temporary division at [email protected] to see if we can help find a short term solution for you. 

I have asked my nanny not to work for the foreseeable future until the risk is reduced. What does this mean? What are my responsibilities as an employer?

This is a question best answered by employment experts, such as Homework Solutions who can help you understand The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), your obligations as an employer, and the most appropriate path forward for your family. 

However, a few key pieces of information we can  highlight are:

  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) includes a refundable tax credit to completely offset an employer’s cost of providing mandatory paid sick leave and paid family leave. FFCRA is intended to minimize the cash flow impact on employers so they can keep employees rather than reduce staff through furloughs or layoffs.  
  • If you will want your nanny to return to work once the risk is diminished, it is important to understand the long term implications of termination or furloughing your nanny during the short term versus providing paid leave. 
    • As HWS says:Helping your employees in hard and uncertain times like this is the right thing to do. Sticking by your employee and providing paid leave engenders trust and loyalty that will be rewarded in the future. Most employers want to do this, and the financial relief being provided by congress through the FFCRA should ease the burden on families and allow them to provide their nanny paid leave at no additional cost.”

We recommend emailing us at [email protected], and we can put you in touch with our direct contact who can walk you through exactly what to do. We understand this situation is unprecedented and overwhelming. But we have found Homework Solutions to be an incredible resource with the ability to easily distill complicated information so that you can make an informed decision quickly and easily.

If my nanny takes time off during COVID-19, does this count as her vacation?

The short answer is NO. We recommend that you refer to Homework Solutions’ FAQ to understand the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). FFCRA includes a refundable tax credit to completely offset an employer’s cost of providing mandatory paid sick leave and paid family leave. 

According to Homework  Solutions FFCRA FAQs: An employer is  REQUIRED to provide up to two weeks (80 hours  maximum) of paid sick leave at an employee’s regular weekly pay if your nanny has a diagnosis of COVID-19 or if they are quarantined at the instruction of a healthcare professional.

An employer is REQUIRED to provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave at ⅔ of an employee’s regular weekly pay if your nanny is caring for another person who has or is quarantined for COVID-19; or if they are caring for their child or other dependents who are unable to care for themselves related to the closure of a school or other care facility.

Employers who violate this act and do not pay for sick time can be prosecuted under Section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206) as a Wage and Hour violation. The employee may file an unpaid wage claim with their state’s Department of Labor to recover the unpaid wages and damages.

For specific questions, please email us at [email protected] and we will connect you with our direct contact at Home Work Solutions who can guide and advise you through the process. We are the childcare experts – they are the payroll and employment experts! 

I want my nanny to take my child(ren) outside, but my nanny is uncomfortable going outside because they are worried that they can catch the virus from the air.

While it may seem extreme, as of April 1, it is still believed that airborne transmission of COVID-19 is plausible. A study published in the peer-reviewed The New England Journal of Medicine this week from scientists at Princeton University, UCLA, and the National Institutes of Health found that the virus could remain airborne for “up to 3 hours post aerosolization.” However, there are ways your nanny can ensure your child(ren) are getting important outside time without making them feel fearful: 

  1. Encourage going outside in private spaces – such as your backyard, front yard, driveway. Walks in the neighborhood, as long as streets are not crowded, are recommended. The change of scenery is beneficial both for nanny and child(ren).
  2. Ask your nanny if they would like to wear a mask or gloves while they are on the walk. 
  3. If you do not have any safe/private outdoor space available, help come up with a  schedule for the day and provide an assortment of educational indoor activities. Local toy stores such as Sullivan’s Toys deliver and there are great resources for ideas available online such as Busy Toddler (not just for toddlers). 

Lastly, make sure to communicate with your nanny more than usual. Try to ease their mind and remind them this situation is not permanent and that you appreciate how important they are for enabling you to continue doing your job.

How do I talk to my nanny about social distancing? I want to make sure our definitions are the same and that we are both taking the same measures outside of the home.

We highly recommend having honest conversations with your employee and visa versa. Topics that for some employee/employer relationships are typically taboo, such as personal life, family members’ behavior, etc. are now important to know during this unprecedented time to ensure both parties feel comfortable maintaining their current situation.

My nanny also works in White House Nannies’ Temporary Division or is a babysitter on nights and weekends. Can I ask them to stop working with other families?

Yes. At this time we recommend that you speak with your nanny and have an honest conversation about your valid concerns.

Is it appropriate to ask my nanny to live with us to limit their exposure to others? If so, would their pay change? How long can I ask them to live with us?

This request is totally understandable if the family has suitable separate living accommodations and the nanny does not have family obligations of her own. If the nanny is amenable to living in, then the arrangement eliminates much of the family’s concerns about outside exposures. There should be no reduction in pay as the nanny is making an accommodation for their employer family and thereby leaving the comfort of their home surroundings. At this time, there is no way to know what will feel like a safe period of time to maintain the live-in arrangement. There should be ongoing conversations between nanny and family.

For Temporary Division Clients

What measures are White House Nannies taking to limit the spread of COVID-19?

While childcare is deemed an essential service, we are asking our clients and caregivers to be thoughtful both about requesting jobs and accepting jobs. The health and safety of the families, caregivers, and children we work with are our priorities. 

Even before the stay-at-home order was in-place, we implemented the following policies to ensure our community is doing their part to limit the spread of COVID-19.

    1. To limit exposure, we are not accepting any assignments that are less than 20 hours/week. 
    2. Since 3/18/20 we are no longer staffing jobs where there are sick children or a sick person in the household.  
    3. If the answer to any of the following questions is “YES,” for you or the caregiver, the recommendation we are seeing is to self-quarantine for at least 14 days. White House Nannies, however, is not the employer. Any decision about your working situation needs to be agreed upon between you (the employer) and the caregiver and should be in line with government mandates. 
      1. Are any members of your household exhibiting cold/flu-like symptoms or have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath?
      2. Has a member of your household tested positive for COVID-19?
      3. Has a member of your household been in close contact with a confirmed case within the past 14 days?
      4. Has a member of your household been directed by health authorities, school, or employer to self-quarantine?
      5. Has a member of your household traveled in the last 14 days?
      6. Is any member of your household (this includes roommates) sick? 
    4. We require that clients agree that they will not ask nannies to do any of the following activities while on jobs. These guidelines were put into place before the stay-at-home order came into effect.:
      1. No playdates
      2. No community playgrounds
      3. No indoor playspaces, pools, trampoline parks, etc.
      4. Continue frequent and thorough handwashing
    5. We ask that families make hand hygiene supplies readily available in their homes and clearly communicate where disinfectant products are stored so that caregivers can ensure surfaces are being cleaned frequently.

 

I heard babysitters are considered essential but need to carry a letter of employment. Is that true? If so, what should a letter of employment look like?

Yes, while the stay-at-home order is in effect in Maryland, DC, and VA, babysitters nannies fall under the category of “residential service” which is considered essential. Chief legal counsel to Governor Hogan’s office recommends that employers provide employees (in this case babysitter) with a letter of some kind (this can be a pdf or email they keep on their phone) in case they are stopped by law enforcement. The letter should be very simple. It is just an extra precaution. Here is some sample language you can use:

To Whom It May Concern, 

The carrier of this letter is employed by (YOUR NAME) and is providing the essential service of childcare as a nanny.

If you have any questions, please call me at (YOUR PHONE NUMBER)

Sincerely, 

(YOUR NAME)

 

Can I ask the caregiver what they are doing to social distance?

Yes! We are encouraging our clients and caregivers to speak candidly with one another about how they are practicing social distancing. It is imperative that both nanny and family feel comfortable with the arrangement. While this conversation may feel a bit awkward, it is important to be on the same page when it comes to outside exposures. Social distancing means physical distancing.

For Full-Time Nannies

Are nannies considered essential employees in MD, DC, and VA?

Yes. While the stay-at-home order is in effect in Maryland, DC, and VA, nannies fall under the category of “residential service” which is considered essential. However, you need to make sure the environment is safe and you feel comfortable continuing to provide care.

Are my full-time employers required to pay me during this time if I am not working?

If your employers are planning to have you return to work, they should be made aware of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes a refundable tax credit to completely offset an employer’s cost of providing mandatory paid sick leave and paid family leave. Three specific provisions address the income disruptions the coronavirus emergency response is causing. One covers workers who need paid sick leave because they or a family member have contracted coronavirus and the other addresses employer reimbursement for mandatory paid family leave paid.  A third covers unemployment benefits to those who lose a job (permanently or temporarily) as a result of coronavirus. 

Please refer to information from HomeWork Solutions for more information. We are happy to connect you directly with a representative whom you can speak with about your specific situation. 

My full-time employer doesn’t need me at the moment, but wants me to return after the virus is over. What should I do in the meantime?

We recommend speaking directly to your employer about their expectations. If your employer has asked you not to come to work for safety reasons and asked you to self-quarantine, they probably want you to use this time to make sure you are keeping yourself healthy, which means not taking other jobs outside of your home.

You should speak with your employer about what plans they have in place to address your compensation during this time. If they are not already aware of The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes a refundable tax credit to completely offset an employer’s cost of providing mandatory paid sick leave and paid family leave, please share the information with them or have them contact [email protected]

I am worried about going to work because of the virus, but my employers say they still need me; what can I do?

We recommend setting up a time to speak with your employers about your concerns. Your work is essential because you empower and enable parents to do their job even during a crisis. However, your health and safety are a priority. Oftentimes there are easy changes and extra precautions that can be taken to make your working environment safer. However, each situation is different. White House Nannies is here to support you. We are available to listen to your concerns and help you prepare for a conversation with your employer if needed. You can email [email protected] or call 301-654-1242 to get in touch with a staff member. 

If my employer is essential at work, is it okay to ask my family about their potential exposure to the virus at work?

Yes. You should absolutely set up a time to speak with your employers about their risk of exposure in their workplace. The goal of the conversation should be to come up with arrangements you can all put into place to ensure YOUR working environment in their home is safe. Your health is a priority and essential to their ability to continue working.

For Temp Nannies or Babysitters

Are nannies and babysitters considered essential employees?

Yes. While the stay-at-home order is in effect in Maryland, DC, and VA, nannies fall under the category of “residential service” which is considered essential. 

While nannies and babysitters are permitted to travel from one house to another and from one jurisdiction to another,  the health and safety of our community is our priority. The decision to work is up to you. And we recommend speaking directly with the family you are scheduled to work for in order to determine if you are comfortable.

If you are continuing to report for work, it is advisable that your employer provide you with a letter of some kind in case you are stopped by law enforcement. If you work any corporate jobs for White House Nannies Employment Services, we will text you a PDF of a letter to have on your phone.

I  hear I need to carry a letter of employment with me when traveling for work. What should the letter of employment say?

The letter should be very simple and is just an extra precaution. Here is some sample language you can provide to your employer:

To Whom It May Concern, 

The carrier of this letter is employed by (CLIENT’S NAME) and is providing the essential service of childcare as a nanny.

If you have any questions, please call us at (CLIENT’S PHONE NUMBER)

Sincerely, 

(CLIENT’S NAME)

 

Before accepting a job, can I ask the client what they are doing to social distance?

Yes! We are encouraging our clients and caregivers to speak candidly with one another about how they are practicing social distancing. Social distancing means physical distancing. It is imperative that both nanny and family feel comfortable with the arrangement.

What measures are White House Nannies taking to limit the spread of COVID-19?

While childcare is deemed an essential service, we are asking our clients and caregivers to be thoughtful both about requesting jobs and accepting jobs. The health and safety of the caregivers, families, and children we work with are our priorities. 

Even before the stay-at-home order was in-place, we implemented the following policies to ensure our community is doing their part to limit the spread of COVID-19.

  1. To limit exposure, we are not accepting any assignments that are less than 20 hours/week. 
  2. Since 3/18/20 we are no longer staffing jobs where there are sick children or a sick person in the household.  
  3. If the answer to any of the following questions is “YES,” for you or your employer’s family, the recommendation we are seeing is to self-quarantine for at least 14 days. White House Nannies, however, is not your employer. Any decision about your working situation needs to be agreed upon between you and your employer and should be in line with government mandates. 
    1. Are any members of your household exhibiting cold/flu-like symptoms or have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath?
    2. Has a member of your household tested positive for COVID-19?
    3. Has a member of your household been in close contact with a confirmed case within the past 14 days?
    4. Has a member of your household been directed by health authorities, school, or employer to self-quarantine?
    5. Has a member of your household traveled in the last 14 days?
    6. Is any member of your household (this includes roommates) sick? 
  4. We require that clients agree that they will not ask nannies to do any of the following activities while on jobs. These guidelines were put into place before the stay-at-home order came into effect.:
    1. No playdates
    2. No community playgrounds
    3. No indoor playspaces, pools, trampoline parks, etc.
    4. Continue frequent and thorough handwashing
  5. We ask that families make hand hygiene supplies readily available in their homes and clearly communicate where disinfectant products are stored so that caregivers can ensure surfaces are being cleaned frequently.

To learn about how we can help you find the right nanny for your family, contact us today at (301) 654-1242.