What Work Rights do Childcare Providers Have During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Childcare providers and their employers have a whole new set of issues to face as new realities set in with government officials enforcing executive orders to have 100% of non-essential workers stay home. Childcare providers, such as nannies, have been deemed essential and are allowed to report to work, however, many of their employers are unsure how to proceed in the coming weeks as the pandemic unfolds. Many parents are concerned about having their non live-in nannies risk exposure to themselves or their families by commuting to and from their homes. The question arises, should the childcare provider be asked not to report to duty? If so, what policies or guidelines should be followed in terms of compensation?

Fitapelli & Schaffer’s of counsel, Steven Sack, was recently interviewed by the NYPost and gave some very solid insight into the matter. He believes that although relationships between employers and nannies are “especially complex” during this time, employers should be focusing on the “right thing to do” in this situation which is protecting “their child care providers in this time of crisis as well as their own families.” 

Mr. Sack notes that if an employer is considering laying off or cutting the hours of their nanny or childcare provider, they should consult their employee contract first if one exists. This document should  “outline the terms of severance, notice and number of sick days.” If they do decide to lay them off for the next few months, for example, they should “definitely give them notice pay, and possibly severance pay, with an invitation to re-hire the nanny when times get better.”

He advises that parents have the right to request doctors’ notes from their nannies if they are showing symptoms, such as a cough or sore throat, to ensure they are able to report to work. He adds, that if the family is concerned, they can opt to send the nanny to a local doctor or urgent care. But, by doing so, “should consider paying the bill.”Even though these are uncertain times for many, it is important to know that you do still have rights as a worker during the coronavirus pandemic. It is always helpful to discuss your situation with an employment attorney if you are unsure about your rights. Fitapelli & Schaffer offers a free and confidential phone consultation and is available to discuss your potential claims. You can reach us at (212) 300-0375 or can visit our website for additional information.