Back in March of 2014 when we had an unexpected snowstorm, I mentioned that putting a note about snow days into the nanny family agreement would be a great idea. It may be timely to review some of the material that is relevant for the next few months (days) when we are destined to have some real snow—or even a blizzard or two.
We always receive a few inquiries asking about the protocol of snow days in the nation’s capital. Ah, the nation’s capital, a city of federal workers— that fact is exactly why some of the problems have arisen. Here are some basic truths. Nannies are not federal workers. There does seem to be a feeling on the part of many nannies that if the federal government is closed, they don’t have to go to work and should be paid for the time off. Not true. Their employers aren’t necessarily federal workers. Even if they are, they are often considered essential personnel and still have to report to work even when the government is officially closed. Every family has different needs and requirements. The federal government does not determine who has to go to work and who gets to stay home in the nanny world.
Another truth is many caregivers live further out of the city and truly cannot get into work after heavy snowstorms. Some nannies live on streets that don’t get plowed immediately or even for days. Employers have to understand that no matter how easy it may be for them to get to work or how much they need to work, nannies may have no choice in the matter. They may be stuck at home or may require extra time to get to work. Conversely, if a nanny is willing and able to work but told not to come to work, that nanny should be paid for the day.
My best advice is to discuss and decide in addition to holidays and sick days, how many snow days will be paid. Put this in any work agreement or contract renewal paperwork. If you haven’t done this, have that conversation now about how snow days should handled.