At myTamarin, we're regularly hearing from parents and nannies who have questions regarding COVID-19, and have responded to some of the most frequently asked questions here. This advice is accurate as of 7 May 2020, and it includes the latest guidance provided by the UK government on 1 May 2020.
Please note that this post is focused on facts, and purposefully does not debate whether the measures are fair or not.
The facts in summary:
- Nannies can continue to work during COVID-19; they do not fall under the same regulations as schools and nurseries or childminders;
- Nannies can travel to and from work,
- Nannies can work regardless of whether they work for key workers;
- The 2-meter distance rule does not apply to nannies;
- Nannies may be eligible to be furloughed, but the employer needs to initiate this; nannies are not automatically entitled to furlough leave;
- Nannies who are self-isolating or shielding can be put on furlough leave.
Can nannies work right now?
Nannies, both live-in and live-out nannies can continue working during the CV-19 outbreak and under the related lockdown.
Despite early confusion around the guidelines, the government clarified on May 1, 2020: “If you provide paid-for childcare in a child’s home, you can go to your place of work - this is in line with Government guidance that you can travel to work if working from home is not possible. However, it is important that you take as many precautions as possible in line with Public Health England guidance
Do nannies have to keep a 2-meter distance at work?
While nannies should be sticking to the government guidelines on hygiene and handing washing, they are not expected to keep a 2-meter distance from families while at work. The 2-meter distance rule primarily applies to social settings, not work settings
Are there circumstances under which nannies should not work?
Yes, the government states that you shout not work:
- If you or someone in your own home has symptoms, in which case you should self-isolate in accordance with Government advice;
- In any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household.
Do nannies need to take any extra precautions when working?
Yes, the government states that you should:
- Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, including when your arrive at work and when your return home;
- When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue in a bin immediately. Then wash your hands;
- Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.;Maintain social distance as far as possible with family members and others that you are not directly caring for.
Can nannies be forced to work?
Of course nannies can’t be forced to work. However, if a nanny is able to work -- according to the above guidelines -- and chooses not to ,then they cannot be guaranteed continued employment. It is at their employer's discretion
If it is ok for nannies to work, why can’t they also see friends and family?
The government guidelines state that you can only leave the house for these reasons: shopping for basic necessities; one form of exercise a day; any medical need; travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.
Going to work as a nanny falls into this last category, unfortunately seeing your friends and family does not.
Schools, nurseries and childminders are all closed, why are nannies still working?
It is a much safer and lower risk form of childcare as there is a much lower risk of spreading infection working with just one family. Settings like nurseries or schools can have classes of over 30 children in them
Does furlough leave apply for nannies?
Yes, but only under certain conditions as laid out in the scheme. Only nannies that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 can be furloughed. Nannies can be on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts. Foreign nationals are eligible to be furloughed.
Are nannies entitled to be furloughed?
When it comes to furlough, it’s important to understand that this isn’t an entitlement of an employee. It is an agreement both parties need to accept. While the Job Retention Scheme is a very generous scheme, nannies cannot expect to be automatically enrolled into it, or stay in it.
Please note that the scheme was primarily designed to protect those jobs that would have no work due to the CV-19 pandemic or would have to be made redundant because their employer couldn’t pay them
Can nannies claim furlough?
Nannies themselves cannot claim furlough, it is at the discretion of the employer to decide whether or not to furlough a nanny and then make the claim.
If a nanny is on furlough, can they work reduced hours?
If a nanny is working, but on reduced hours, or for reduced pay, they will not be eligible for this scheme.
How much can nanny employers claim under the job retention scheme?
Nanny employers can apply for a grant that covers 80% of the nanny’s usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.
Example: Nanny’s annual salary is £38,000 or £3,167 per month. 80% of this salary is £2,533, but the Government will cover £2,500. The employer can cover for the difference, but they don’t have to.
Example 2: Nanny’s annual salary is £27,000 or £2,250 per month. 80% of this salary is £1,800, which the Government will pay in full. Again, the employer can cover the difference, but they don’t have to.
Income tax will be deducted from this salary as will any pension contributions by the nanny. Employers however will be able to claim their portion of the pension contribution as well as their NIC, but only on the subsidised wage
How about when a nanny has more than one job?
If your nanny has more than one employer they can be furloughed for each job. Each job is separate, and the cap applies to each employer individually.
Nannies can be furloughed in one job and receive a furloughed payment but continue working for another employer and receive their normal wages.
Is there a time limit on furlough leave?
Any nannies placed on furlough must be furloughed for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks. When they return to work, they must be taken off furlough. Nannies can be furloughed multiple times, but each separate instance must be for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks.
The scheme will run at last until the end of June 2020, however may be extended beyond that point.
What can nannies do when on furlough?
You cannot ask your nanny to do any work that either makes money for you, or provides services for you. Nannies can however take part in volunteer work or training.
Can nannies work for a different employer while on furlough?
If contractually allowed, nanny is permitted to work for another employer whilst you have placed them on furlough.
Further resources by myTamarin, your trusted childcare partner:
Guidance on how to claim a grant for a furloughed nanny
To find a nanny, parents can sign up here
To find a job as a nanny, nannies can sign up here
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