***At Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers, we acknowledge that we are at the height of the COVID-19 crisis as cases continue to rise. It is important during this time that we do everything we can to adhere to Governor Cuomo’s guidelines for the safety of our families, our domestic worker’s safety and most of all for the safety of all New Yorkers. Your assistance is needed to help flatten the curve and bring us back to normality as soon as possible. These guidelines which we suggest are meant to help you through this difficult moment. It is important to remember to continue having a conversation with the person you employ about the risks, consequences of exposure and safety measures being taken. These are not one size fits all guidelines. They can always be tailored to fit you and the person you employ specific situation. Guidelines provided by Hand in Hand and NDWA include:
- How Executive Order 202.6 mandate affects you and your domestic worker
- What employers who are essential workers need to know
- Considerations on how to keep your domestic worker if you are losing income
- What you should NOT do
March 22, 2020
Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network New York
National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) New York
The following is a response to questions and concerns raised by domestic employers, members of Hand in Hand, and seen in social media channels based on the Executive Order 202.6 .
Hand in Hand and NDWA aim to support domestic employers and domestic workers to have more clarity on what to do after the release of the Executive Order 202.6. It’s a challenging moment for everyone and this mandate raises some confusion about the responsibilities of domestic employers and domestic workers in relation to nannies and house cleaners. Hand in Hand and NDWA developed these recommendations to ensure that the response to the Executive Order specifically and this crisis in general does not exacerbate the vulnerable low-wage, immigrant women of color workforce in the wake of this pandemic.
Therefore we encourage domestic employers to follow these recommendations and be vocal about them to make this the norm and not the exception under the current crisis. For additional guidance go to this government site.
What does the Executive Order 202.6 mandate?
Starting Sunday, March 22nd at 8pm NYC local government will start enforcing Executive Order 202.6 restricting operations of businesses considered non-essential and gatherings of 10 or more people. Employers who force employees who are non-essential workers to work may be subjected to a civil penalty in New York. Domestic workers, such as nannies and housecleaners, who are not providing essential care or services are not considered essential workers and thus, must stay home.
We consider that:
- Domestic workers who provide elder care and home health care are considered “essential workers”.
- Domestic workers may be designated as an “essential function” if they provide child care services to both of their employers they are considered “essential workers”.
- Childcare services refer to services at home-based spaces or private businesses where essential workers drop children off.
- Nannies are employees and not a business.
While childcare and home care for people with disabilities and older adults is not prohibited under Executive Order 202.6, this new rule is aimed at minimizing contact and spread of the virus and exposure and/contact with people should be taken very seriously.
If you are a nanny employer who is an “essential worker”
- Please check out Hand in Hand’s toolkit on How to be a Fair Care employer during the COVID-19 crisis in NY.
- Provide a letter to your nanny including your nanny’s full name, your full name, your place(s) of employment and explanation of how you are an essential worker. This is a precaution in the event your domestic worker is stopped by law enforcement and may need to provide documentation of essential childcare services.
If you are a nanny employer who is a “non-essential worker”
Each employer-worker relationship is unique and this is a moment in which we all need to protect each other.
- Offer paid time off to your employees, so that they can stay home safe along with their families and continue to take care of their essential needs as recommended by Executive Order 202.6.
- Talk to your own employer about Executive Order 202.6 and how it’s impacting your work hours. Ask for flexibility so you can take more breaks to take care of your children.
- Use https://www.wiggleroomnow.com/ as an alternative to find childcare in your own network.
If you cannot continue paying your employee because you are losing income during this crisis, we recommend that you:
- Have the conversation as soon as possible so your employee is aware that they may lose their income in a couple of weeks (for example two, four weeks or more weeks).
- Pay the full amount as long as you can. Communicate the specific time period with the employee and give a set date to revisit the conversation within 1 or 2 weeks as conditions change.
- Considering that many domestic workers are unable to collect unemployment, be clear about the agreed time period when you are unable to make full payments to the employee. Consider paying at least half of their wages until a specific time period to ensure the employee does not go unpaid.
- Pay their membership to the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) where they will find a community and support. Ask your domestic worker to text RELIEF to 97779 to get updates from NDWA and learn more about the NDWA Coronavirus Care Fund.
- Join Hand in Hand’s Sanctuary Homes platform to build solidarity. There are other ways you can still support your worker! https://domesticemployers.org/
What you should NOT do?
We recommend NOT to ask your nanny to become a live-in employee. As parents we seek to ensure everyone is safe around us. Be mindful that your employee has their own safety concerns and needs as well. Have an open and direct conversation with your domestic worker to find out what is also best for them.
For more information, visit https://www.domesticworkers.org and https://domesticemployers.org. If you are an employer check out Hand in Hand NY toolkit on How to be a Fair Care employer under the COVID-19 crisis. If you are a domestic worker check out https://membership.domesticworkers.org/coronavirus/.