NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As families are asked to stay home and practice social distancing due to the coronavirus outbreak, some are no longer in need of their domestic caregivers.
So what does that mean for their pay? CBS2’s Charlie Cooper spoke to some experts to find out.
The saying goes parenting is a full-time job. With families asked to quarantine amid the outbreak, parents like Genet Gebre have taken on a second one.
The job of a nanny.
“She’s in pre-K, but her pre-K is located in a daycare. She’s usually there from 7 to 4. Now she’s home,” Gebre said.
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Jada Rashawn is a nanny and owner of child care placement agency, No Other Nanny.
“For some of us our hours have increased immensely and then for many of us our hours have decreased,” Rashawn said.
So much so that some caregivers are being asked to stay home.
“Families are finding that they may not necessarily need their nannies and so a lot of families are kind of being concerned about if they should still pay their nannies,” Rashawn said.
Child care experts say beyond the moral obligation, there’s often a contractual one to support nannies during times like this, Cooper reported.
“We have something in the industry called ‘guaranteed hours.’ It’s something this s industry standard. It basically says that the employer agrees to pay the nanny for the guaranteed expected hours she’s normally expected to work regardless of if the employer needs that nanny or not,” Rashawn said.
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Labor and employment attorney Steven Sack stresses the importance of having a contract in place, saying industry standard does not mean pay is legally mandatory.
“If there isn’t an agreement then the nanny becomes an at-will employee, which means that the nanny can be terminated typically with or without warning notice or cause if his or her services are no longer required. But that doesn’t mean that the nanny shouldn’t receive notice pay, shouldn’t receive severance pay,” Sack said.
In Gebre’s case, where her daughter would normally be at a daycare center, she’s forced to still pay a fee due to their policy.
“I’m doing things that I would not be able to do while I’m at work, I am enjoying that. I’m simply not enjoying continuously paying for child care when she’s not attending,” Gebre said.
Experts, however, say it’s a rule of thumb to continue paying your nanny if you can afford it or if you’re still getting paid by your employer.
For nannies trying to hold on to their roles in the household despite parents being around, Rashawn encourages that they offer to do nontraditional tasks around the home that still adds value to the family’s lives.