Childcare and Education in the COVID-19 Era
Fall is quickly approaching, and families face a very different childcare and educational experience than ever before. With one or both parents working from home, the challenges families with young children face have become even more complex.
Employers have come to expect that their remote work force can juggle the work, childcare and educational challenges ahead. This has families across the country looking for solutions. If your local schools are not reopening this fall, or your prior childcare facility is temporarily or permanently closed, what are your options?
A nanny share is when 2 families (occasionally 3) share the services of an individual nanny. In a nanny share, both families pay the nanny and both families are responsible for payroll tax, regulatory and insurance compliance.
Will the nanny be responsible for supervising remote or distance learning as well as lesson completion? You will want to ensure that the nanny’s background qualifies her to assist in this regard, and having the children of both families near the same age is ideal. Do look into specialized tutoring if necessary as nannies are not professional elementary or secondary school educators. Specific subjects such as common core math challenge parents and caregivers alike! Ask for help where you need it.
Private educators and tutors are no longer just for the children of celebrities, corporate executives, and professional athletes. Many families are considering withdrawing their children– either temporarily or permanently – from their school and hiring a private educator to fill this role. If your child is not thriving in a distance learning situation, their school has reopened and you are uncomfortable sending them back, or school is closed and you simply cannot effectively balance your employment with the time commitment to supervise remote learning, this may be an option for you. Some families are even setting up formal and informal educational cooperatives where two or more families engage the same private educator to provide small group instruction.
Homeschooling with a private educator may not be as simple as finding a teacher and writing a weekly check. State laws around notification and licensing requirements vary, so you should look into what is required where you live. A summary of rules by state can be found at the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.
You will also need to consider employment clossification, whether you hire an educator solely for your children or establish a co-op or “pod” with other families. Factors such as who controls the work schedule, financial risk and dependence of the worker, as well as direction on curriculum will determine if you have an employee. If you hire through a tutoring company who pays the educator, you are not an employer. When hiring an educator directly, employment taxes and labor laws apply. Unless a formal organization or school has been established, each family participating in a coop would be considered an employer, as with a nanny share.
While teachers in schools are exempt from the FLSA's Overtime Rules, a private educator is not and must be compensated at time-and-a-half for hours over 40 in a week.
Unless you have created a licensed educational establishment, the overtime rules of the Fair Labor Standards act apply. Employees should be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 in a week, as a teacher cannot be considered "exempt' unless they work at a licensed educational establishment.