Updated: Oct 26, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted just about every aspect of our daily lives. That includes hiring a nanny for in-home childcare.
While you need to follow the typical hiring process when looking to bring a nanny into your home, there are now other factors due to the pandemic and the new Delta variant to keep your family safe.
On top of everything is a nanny labor shortage due to increasing demand for in-home childcare leading to a competitive job market and higher wages for nannies.
Here are seven considerations for families when hiring a nanny during the pandemic.
1. Virtual nanny interviews
During the pandemic, you may need to rely on virtual interviews when hiring a nanny to limit in-person exposure to applicants.
Eventually, you will want to meet your top two or three candidates face-to-face and have them interact with your children. But during the screening process, when you are narrowing down applicants to the few you think are the best fit for your job, virtual interviews are the way to go.
Here are nine steps to conducting virtual interviews during the nanny hiring process.
2. Nanny and family vaccination status
As a family hiring nanny, you can make a COVID--19 vaccination a condition of employment. You would not be alone in having a vaccination requirement. In a recent survey of household employers conducted by GTM Payroll services, 84 percent of families said they will not hire a nanny who was not vaccinated.
Young children are not eligible for vaccination yet, so parents most likely want their nannies to be vaccinated to create a safer environment.
At the same time, you should consider your vaccination status as well. We also surveyed nannies and 51 percent said they would not take a job if the parents were unvaccinated. In an already tight job market, not being vaccinated can limit your options even further.
3. Nanny risk tolerance level
The Delta variant has caused a recent uptick in COVID-19 infections in many cities and towns across the U.S. Many families are turning to nannies for private, in-home childcare to reduce their children’s exposure to the coronavirus as compared to a daycare facility.
While employing a nanny may be a safer choice, a family and their caregiver still need to be on the same page when it comes to COVID-19. It seems everyone has different behaviors and attitudes toward the pandemic. Make sure you and your nanny have a similar COVID-19 risk tolerance to avoid any potential issues down the road. You may want to ask your nanny if they are working with other families and whether they travel or plan to travel to higher-risk areas.
The Association of Premier Nanny Agencies has prepared a handy COVID-19 Risk Tolerance Scale that can you share with your caregiver or use during the nanny hiring process. It assigns a numerical value to your risk tolerance from 0 for very strict to 5 for very open.
4. COVID-19 pandemic protocols
When you have hired a nanny who has a similar risk tolerance, you will want to have protocols in place to help reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus and keep your family safe.
Elements of a return to work plan can also be used when employing someone in your home.
Your safety protocols could include:
Disinfecting and cleaning measures
Communication is important. Safety protocols should be put into writing and reviewed with your nanny before their first day on the job. Monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as your local health agencies and update your plan as needed.
5. Pandemic-related paid sick and family leave
Nannies and other household employees are eligible for paid sick and family leave due to pandemic-related reasons, which now includes vaccination and recovering from any side effects of being immunized. Families can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on qualified paid leave provided to their employees. While federal paid leave is set to expire at the end of September, it could be extended as it has on a few occasions already.
Your nanny may also be covered by any state or local paid leave requirements.
6. Legal pay
Eligibility for paid sick and family leave and employer tax credits requires your nanny to be paid legally. While legal pay is always the right and smart course of action, now more than ever it is a necessity for nannies. They can receive critical financial benefits in a time of need such as paid sick leave and unemployment insurance.
Our survey of nannies revealed that 46 percent said they are not likely to take a job that did not “pay on the books.” With a shrinking pool of nannies for in-home childcare, do you really want to potentially eliminate about half of your job candidates?
Plus, hiring on the books may save you money because of the increased limit of pre-tax dollars you can set aside in a dependent care FSA and the expanded child and dependent care tax credit.
7. Nanny health benefits
The pandemic-induced job market has driven up hourly rates for nannies. They can ask for more pay because there are seemingly not enough caregivers to meet the needs of families seeking in-home childcare. While paying a higher hourly rate may make your job more attractive, including health benefits may work just as well if not better.
Just about all nannies get paid holidays, vacation time, and sick days. But only about two in ten get health benefits. To stand out as a potential employer, consider offering a QSEHRA - a pre-tax health reimbursement plan – and/or virtual medicine – an affordable way to complement existing health coverage.
Reposted with permission from GTM (www.gtm.com)