Just as parents and caregivers are negotiating unprecedented challenges this school year in the midst of COVID, nannies are also struggling with shifting working conditions and expectations by employers. On August 12th the National Domestic Workers Nanny Council met to discuss some of these crucial issues and larger trends, and on August 20, Hand in Hand and NDWA New York hosted a conversation between employers and nannies to hear their experiences. Below are some of the takeaways from these conversations.
What Nannies Are Saying
Nannies alongside other domestic workers have been some of the hardest hit during the pandemic; many have lost their jobs and still remain out of work. Those who are employed, are reporting ongoing difficulties negotiating PPE and necessary modifications to their work routine due to COVID. While some nannies are being asked to support remote learning, the lowest-wage-earning nannies, many of whom are Black and Brown immigrant women, are not being offered these jobs. Many nannies are being asked to take on additional responsibilities, but not being offered additional pay. Nannies that are parents are struggling to balance work with caring for their own children.
Former teachers are also entering the nanny field, which could push long-time nannies out of the field and potentially drive wages down, since some teachers are reportedly willing to work for less. In instances where parents are forming pods, some nannies are expected to supervise groups of children without any additional orientation or training to adjust to these new working conditions. In other cases, nannies are reporting that employers are making demands of them that go beyond their work. For example, one nanny in New York reported that her employer has requested she not use public transportation on her days off as a condition of employment, and is asking her to limit her interactions with friends and family. In some cases, nannies report that employers are making these demands without holding themselves to the same standards.
In partnership with NDWA, Hand in Hand is working on developing resources to support nanny employers to create fair working agreements in this changing environment. Check out our Employer Guide: Nannies Supervising Online Distance Learning for guidance in working with a nanny to support your child’s learning at home.