Planning for the Holidays: The Conversation Families and Nannies Should be Having Now

White House Nannies Jobs

Nov 2nd, 2020

Planning for the holidays has begun. Now is the time for families and nannies to sit down and discuss and strategize — before arrangements are solidified. 

Nothing about 2020 is ideal. Let’s start there. Both nanny and family should approach the conversation and scenario planning from a place of understanding, compassion, and mutual respect. You may need to adjust your plans. In the end, we believe that successful planning will boil down to one word: Compromise

For many folks, the holidays are the first opportunity they will have to see family since the Pandemic. If a nanny or employer family will be traveling or seeing extended family—will quarantining after be part of the plan? Will testing? Get a calendar out. Discuss all upcoming holidays. Can you work together to avoid multiple occasions requiring quarantine periods (if that will be required)? Is there one holiday you each can take to celebrate with family—ideally the same one? Or is this the year that there is no travel or large family gatherings—obviously the safest option.

In the end, decisions around holiday travel and gatherings remain between each individual caregiver and family. 

Here are some scenarios to consider:

1. If a nanny or sitter chooses to travel for the holidays (or celebrate with a large group of family that has traveled to them) and the employer family asks the nanny or sitter to quarantine before returning to work even if there is no known exposure, is that 14-day period paid or unpaid?  

    1. If you do not have a formal contract in place that includes guaranteed hours, legally there is no requirement for the employer to cover the quarantine period. 
    2. If you have a contract in place that includes sick/vacation leave, the quarantine period may be covered by using vacation days.
    3. If a medical professional directs the nanny or sitter to quarantine the FFCRA  would apply


2. If a nanny or sitter’s employer family traveled or celebrated a holiday with a group and the nanny or sitter is uncomfortable returning to work without a 14-day quarantine period for them, is this time paid or unpaid? According to experts at HomeWork Solutions, under this scenario, the quarantine period would be unpaid, unless the caregiver’s contract says otherwise, or unless the family wants to compensate them for the time.   


3. What happens when both nanny and employer family travel or celebrate with a large group and mutually decide to quarantine after – paid or unpaid? This scenario is the same as #2 – it is up to the employer to determine if the time will be paid, unless the contract specifies otherwise, or if the quarantine is directed by a medical professional or governmental jurisdiction, in which case the FFCRA is at play.

If you decide to rely on testing after holiday travel or gatherings, please keep the following points in mind:

  1. Testing is not foolproof. 
  2. Make sure you are getting a PCR test NOT a Rapid Antigen or “quick” test, which is not very accurate unless you have a high viral load (after the onset of symptoms)
  3. It typically takes 2-3 days to get results back for a PCR test – wait times will likely be longer around the holidays
  4. You need to wait at least 3-5 days after an exposure to get a test. 

Know your local/state-specific travel requirements for testing and quarantine: Dr. Ashley Moss of Spring Valley Pediatrics advises that families and nannies understand health department mandates for travel in DC, MD & VA. (Note: requirements are based on where you live but could impact a nanny’s ability to travel to work).  

  1. MD requires all residents who travel outside of MD (regardless of state’s positivity rate) to be tested upon return. VA and DC are exempt from this.
  2. MD requires all residents who traveled to areas with test positivity greater than 10% to quarantine and be tested upon return.  
  3. Any nonresident traveling to MD should have a negative COVID test within 72 hrs of arriving in the state. Here is MD’s travel advisory (last updated July 2020.)  
  4. DC requires 14 days of quarantine when returning from states with high positivity rates. The most recent list is here and will be updated on 11/4.  
  5. Virginia does not have specific quarantine requirements but makes general recommendations regarding staying home after traveling to high-risk areas or after potential exposure.

COVID-19 is impacting us in so many unique (re: unfortunate) ways. Navigating the holidays is completely new territory and there really is no precedent. Our guidance is based on 35-years of experience, what we are seeing as the current industry standards, and advice from medical professionals (Dr. Ashley Moss of Spring Valley Pediatrics) and household payroll and nanny tax compliance experts (HomeWork Solutions). 

Email us at [email protected] if you have any other specific questions.

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