As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, parents with children are in a unique situation
You may be working from home or still going into work as an essential employee. Either way, with schools closed and no daycare option, you need the help of a nanny now more than ever.
However, there are new things to consider when hiring a nanny during a pandemic. The typical childcare interview routine must be adjusted to incorporate new important questions to ensure all parties are staying safe and healthy. Now, there’s also the trend of parent and nanny video interviews.
Is it legal for a nanny to work during the coronavirus?
Before you begin your search for a nanny, know what the current work-related travel restrictions are in your area and what the government says you can and cannot do.
Regarding nannies, the guidance from the government is as follows:
- Nannies who work in a family’s home can continue to work as long as the nanny is healthy and has no COVID-19 symptoms.
- Absolutely no work will be carried out by nannies who have coronavirus symptoms (however mild), or when someone in their household is exhibiting symptoms.
- As much as possible, nannies should remain at least 2 meters away from the household occupants that they are not providing care for.
- Nannies cannot work in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being quarantined unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household (i.e. a young child’s parents must go to the emergency hospital).
Parents should not rely on grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying health conditions for childcare. These people are in a stringent social distancing category.
If you choose to continue with hiring a nanny
When employing a nanny to work in your home, the government recommends only one nanny per family. Any nanny share situations must be negotiated, as you are both employers.
When possible, ask your nanny to walk or cycle to your home. If this isn’t possible, you can collect them and drop them off. If you have space in your home, ask the nanny to temporarily become part of your family and stay with you. This decision is one that you both should come to together.
Have open and clear communication about COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic should impact the nature of the conversation you have with any prospective nannies. You and the childcarer will have several questions. Here are a few items worth discussing:
- Social and physical distancing practices (both in and outside of the home)
- Any potential exposure outside of the home (i.e. do you leave the home to work? Does the nanny live with others who leave their homes?)
- Daily temperature checks before entering the home
- Any hygiene expectations before entering or leaving the home (i.e. removing shoes or changing clothes)
This is the time for everyone in your household to have open and clear communication. If you, someone else in your family, or your nanny is showing signs of sickness, talk directly with each other. Use your best judgement when it comes to cancelling future bookings.
As the situation around the pandemic evolves, we strongly encourage families to continue to refer to the government’s guidance for recommendations of what’s appropriate moving forward.
Hosting Parent and Nanny Video Interviews
Now that you know how to safely interact with a nanny in your home, it’s time to move on to the interview process.
You don’t want too many strangers in and out of your home, but it’s still essential to interview the person who will be spending so much time around your children.
Conducting the video interview and making the hiring decision is your responsibility, but don’t forget to include your children in the process. This is the time to see whether the kids and the nanny get along well together. If they don’t, the nanny may not be the best fit for your family.
Meeting remotely is certainly more difficult, but it’s still an essential step for the nanny to familiarise themselves with the children, and them with the nanny. Involving the children however you can during this process will make for an easier transition if you hire them.
Virtually interviewing nannies is also an excellent way to see if hiring virtual care is an option as well.
Tools for Recruiting a Nanny Virtually
In a very short time, video conferencing has become our society’s primary form of communication. As you schedule interviews, request to have the call over a free video-conferencing platform, such as:
- Google Meet
- Microsoft Teams
What Isn’t New About the Interview Process
Virtual recruiting may sound daunting, but it’s not that different than the traditional interview process. A lot of interview best practices remain the same for virtual interviews, such as offering fair, competitive rates if you’re looking to attract high-quality nanny candidates.
You should still ask for references (with both the phone number and email address) that you can contact easily. Speaking with previous employers of any potential candidates will give you peace of mind about hiring them.
As the COVID-19 situation changes, it’s essential to be on the same page about safe working practices to keep your nanny and family healthy. You want to ensure that the nanny has the awareness and diligence to ensure safe working conditions to protect all involved.
What If My Nanny Develops Coronavirus Symptoms?
If your nanny has symptoms of COVID-19 or contracts the disease, they need to quarantine at home. Self-isolating will slow the spread of the virus and keep your household safe.
If you’re concerned about how they will be paid while not working, you can review what your employment contract says about paid time off and sick days. Your nanny might want to use the paid time while they can’t work.
The government updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to state that employers of nannies are eligible for a grant. You can furlough your nanny and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their average monthly salary, up to £2,500 a month. The grant also covers Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions on the subsidised furlough pay.
How Does Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Work With Coronavirus?
If your nanny is advised by Public Health to self-isolate, they are entitled to SSP, which is currently £95.85 per week.
Reasons your nanny may be asked to self-isolate include:
- They have been diagnosed with COVID-19
- They display coronavirus symptoms
- They have been advised to self-isolate by a doctor of NHS 111
- Someone within their household is exhibiting coronavirus symptoms
Consider Virtual Childcare
The internet has been a vital way for us to connect to others from a distance—especially through video. If you’re unsure about engaging a nanny who will be in and out of your home, consider a virtual nanny instead.
There are several activities nannies can do with children virtually, such as:
- Science experiments
- Choreographed dance
- Help with school packets
- Reading together
- Online video games
- Pretend cooking show
- Thinking games
- And more!
What to Consider for Virtual Nannying
Virtual nannying is obviously not the same thing as in-person interaction. When you employ a virtual nanny, they’re only entertaining the children for a short period of time. Think short sessions to assist your children with homework or play along with an interactive game.
Virtual nannying is not a replacement for physical care, and families and nannies considering this route should still view safety as their top priority. Parents and nannies should keep in mind the following when considering virtual childcare.
It’s Vital to Build Trust
While the nanny isn’t physically in your house, they’re still spending time with your children. You should never leave your child unattended because no one can physically supervise or control a child when only connected via video.
Have an Activities Plan
Not all children have the same experiences with technology. Your nanny should work with you to determine what activities are appropriate for your child.
Improve Your Lighting Set-Up
It’s easier for nannies to connect with children when they can see their faces. Make sure your children and the nanny provide natural light that is shining on your face and not coming from behind them.
Establish a Phone Connection
Nothing is worse than a bad internet connection while video conferencing. Ensure that there’s a backup plan if the call drops or someone hasn’t shown up on the video call. You need to be on the same page about what happens if you get disconnected.
Find Your Next Nanny
If you’re ready to begin the nanny recruitment process, we’re here to help. We can truly match your childcare needs with the highest quality, vetted professional nanny staff.
Whether you’re seeking a one-time nanny, a nanny to travel with, or a nanny to assist you with your new normal during the COVID-19 crisis, we can match you with a childcare professional.
With our years of experience, we will walk you through the process, and can even offer advice on parent and nanny video interviews. Start hiring today!