Loading...

Coronavirus: Childcare Information for Nannies and Babysitters

Lockdown measures to slow the spread of coronavirus have shaken up our normal everyday routine, and, of course, the routine of the family we work for. We at Yoopies understand that this may be a stressful and confusing time for nannies and babysitters. Should I continue to go to work? Can I access Government aid? What if my family refuses to furlough me? 

You may have a lot of questions, but you’re not alone! We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions by nannies and babysitters to ensure you have up to date information on childcare during coronavirus. (Last updated 13/05/2020)  

Nannies

1) Should I continue to go to work?

The most recent Government advice from the 1st May and 11th May outlines that if you provide paid childcare in a parent's home, you can travel to work if working from home is not possible. However, the Government urges at-home childcare providers to only work if they are not showing symptoms and to follow the safety precautions outlined by Public Health England. This includes:

  • Regularly washing your hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds, particularly after coughing or sneezing and when arriving or leaving work.
  • Using a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throwing it away immediately after use. 
  • Disinfecting objects and surfaces regularly 
  • Avoiding close contact with family members that you are not directly caring for
  • Avoiding public transport where possible
  • Not meeting up in groups of more than two people when outside of work
  • Avoiding touching your nose and eyes.
  • Not working for a family which is self-isolating or if a family member is in a high-risk category
  • Self-isolating if you or someone in your home are showing symptoms

More information going to work can be found here

We recommend that nannies have an open and honest discussion with their employer about returning to work, the safety measures to be followed, commuting safely, and whether their services are needed at this time- particularly if at least one parent is home. To avoid public transport, some parents have offered to drop and pick their nanny up should they not have access to a car, and others have offered bike subscriptions. This is something you can discuss with your employer.

2.) What government aid can I access? 

The Government has explicitly said that families with a nanny who is currently not working are able to furlough them under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Nannies can receive 80% of their salary or up to £2500 a month funded by the Government. Parent employers can choose to top this up to 100%. Eligibility criteria include:

  • The employer must have registered their nanny on the PAYE payroll scheme on or before the 19th March 2020 and notified HMRC their RTI (Real Time Information) submission on or before the 19th March 2020
  • The employer must have a UK bank account

The scheme is in place from 1 March until October, and payments can be backdated. The scheme can be extended by the Government depending on the economic impact of Coronavirus.

3.) Can I still work for the family whilst being furloughed?

No, the scheme specifically states that nannies are not to work whilst furloughed. This includes virtual nannying and online tutoring. Once you are furloughed, this is for a minimum of 3 weeks at a time.

4.) What if the family I work for aren’t eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

If you were on your PAYE or payroll after the 19th March 2020 and the family did not submit your RTI to HMRC, you will not be able to access the job retention scheme. 

Whilst it may be an uncomfortable topic to approach with your employer, we do recommend an open discussion to ensure you are completely clear about your financial and employment situation. If you are unable to work or worried about going to work, there may be other options such as: 

  1. Discussing whether your employer can continue to pay you your full or partial rate
  2. Finding an alternative way in which to work, such as nannying or tutoring via your webcam through ‘virtual nannying’ 
  3. Working reduced hours and traveling at calmer hours if you're concerned about travel
  4. Discussing options such as temporarily becoming a ‘live-in’ nanny
  5. Referring back to your contract about payment should your contract be terminated

5.) What if the family I work for refuses to furlough me? 

Nannies are able to ask their employer to furlough them and parents are able to ask their nanny to be furloughed. In most cases, the nanny and family can come to a mutual agreement. 

In the case in which a family insists that the nanny comes to work, however, the nanny believes that they are unable to do so safely, and are subsequently laid-off, the nanny may be able to claim unfair dismissal. For more information about your employment rights, click here.

6.) What if I get coronavirus or show symptoms?

Nannies enrolled on the PAYE scheme are entitled to employment benefits including sickness pay. The contract between you and the family you work for should define how much you are to be paid should you become unwell and cannot work. This should be the statutory minimum pay and is available from the first day of illness. You are able to claim this if you:

  • Have been diagnosed with coronavirus 
  • Are showing coronavirus symptoms or someone in your own household is showing symptoms
  • Have been advised to self-isolate by the 111 NHS service

7.) What if the family I work for are self-isolating? 

If you are a live-out nanny and the family you work for are self-isolating due to coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms, make sure you and the family respect the period of isolation recommended by the Government before you return to work. Your family should continue to pay your full salary during this time. More information about the suggested isolation period can be found here

If you are a live-in nanny, you should respect the self-isolation period with the family you work for and have no contact with people outside the household. More information can be found here

8.) Can I take the children I look after outside?

Yes, you are able to take the children you look after to the park and outdoor spaces more than once a day. Activities such as picnics and sunbathing are now permitted. When at the park, keep 2m away from people outside your household and refrain from meeting up with others or congregating in large groups. You are allowed to meet with one person from another household, at a 2m distance.

Avoid taking the children to potentially crowded areas or using public transport where possible. When leaving the house with the children, we recommend you bring hand sanitiser and tissues.

9.) Do I need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when working with children?

Current Government advice suggests that childcare providers and children do not need to wear PPE.

The Government strongly suggests that good hygiene habits contribute to controlling the spread of the virus in the early year's settings and at home. We, therefore, recommend you regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds with hot water and soap, avoid touching your eyes and nose, use a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and regularly disinfect surfaces. Try to encourage good hygiene practice as much as possible with the children too. You could try a fun activity such as asking the child to make their own song for 20 seconds and sing it when they wash their hands.

Further Government advice on cleaning can be found here.
Further Government advice on personal hygiene and adaptation of childcare settings can be found here

Babysitters:

1.) Can I work during lockdown? 

The most recent Government advice says that if you provide paid childcare in a parent's home, you can travel to work if working from home is not possible. However, the Government urges at-home childcare providers to follow the safety precautions outlined by Public Health England. This includes:

  • Regularly washing your hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds, particularly after coughing or sneezing and when arriving or leaving work.
  • Using a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throwing it away immediately after use. 
  • Disinfecting objects and surfaces regularly 
  • Avoiding close contact with family members that you are not directly caring for
  • Avoiding public transport where possible
  • Not meeting up in groups of more than two people when outside of work
  • Avoiding touching your nose and eyes.
  • Not working for a family which is self-isolating or if a family member is in a high-risk category
  • Self-isolating if you or someone in your home are showing symptoms

More information going to work can be found here
More information on childcare at someone else’s house can be found here

The Government has advised that informal childcare should not take place for the moment. Given the nature of babysitting, often being irregular and for non-essential childcare, we recommend that babysitters discuss with their employer whether their care is absolutely vital, and where possible find alternative ways in which to care for children- such as online babysitting or online tutoring (if the parents are home.) We do not suggest returning to normality at this time.

2.) How can I still earn some extra money during lockdown?

There are a few other ways you can continue to work safely:

  1. Offer online babysitting. Parents are looking for trustworthy childcare providers to keep their children company via webcam whilst the parents are working. This should only be done when at least one responsible adult is home.
  2. Offer services such as online tutoring. Many families are looking for students, tutors, and teachers to help their children with school support. This should only be done when at least one responsible adult is home.
  3. Offer to run errands for busy families, such as grocery shopping.

3.) If I am not working, should the family continue to pay me?

There is no legal obligation for the family to keep paying you whilst you are unable to work. We recommend you have an open and friendly discussion with the parents to ensure employment and financial clarity on both sides.