One of the biggest highlights of having a nanny is that your child will be exposed to far less illnesses than those that attend daycare. And when your baby is sick with symptoms that can often times last for days, you will not be forced to miss work or pay for backup childcare.
But what happens when your nanny becomes sick?
Parents should be aware that anyone who works in close contact with young children is bound to get sick from time to time. As part of her job, your nanny will be changing diapers, kissing germy cheeks, spit up on, sneezed on and have little fingers touching her face all day long. No one enjoys being sick but this miserable experience is compounded when combined with the financial worry of missed pay and placing your nanny family in a bind.
Most parents do not mind covering a few days within reason but nothing will turn a the employment relationship sour like a nanny who calls out sick last minute or repeatedly leaves their family expensing unexpected vacation time or additional funds for backup childcare. On the other hand, a nanny expecting payment for the days she was ill, may feel disrespected if she believes paid sick time is the standard in a professional employment or feels she missed work after properly caring for your ill child.
In many cases, a contagious employee may chose to come to work to skip the stress of calling out, which is unfair to all parties, as your family will be exposed to illness, your child will be left alone with a caregiver unable to give 100%, and your employee is not given the time needed to care for herself.
While paid sick days is not required by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, there are some states that do require payment or unpaid time off without penalty so be sure to check with your state’s regulations. For example, New York requires 3 paid sick days after a year of employment for domestic employees that work more than 80 hours per calendar year according to the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. For those that have not worked a full calendar year for the same employer, these workers are entitled to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave. Employers in NY must give their workers written notice of their sick time policy and the law at time of hire. Guidelines for this can be found on the nyc.gov website.
The key to any healthy relationship is clear communication and expectations! Whether or not you are required to pay your nanny for sick time or a last minute call out, be sure to have a discussion during the interview process and write the details of your agreement into your “Nanny Contract”.
Here are some questions to consider and discuss during the interview or “Nanny Contract” negotiation:
What is the “Sick Day” policy with your nanny or nanny family?
Do you need more guidance on how to create your employment expectations and a detailed “Nanny Contract”? Choice Parenting would love to help! Check out our Childcare Coaching Sessions or our Hourly Custom Service and let us assist you to make your nanny relationship a success.
Hi! I am Holly...
For over a decade, my career focus has been centered in and around NYC in the childcare, education, and family support industries.