While states are opening up and businesses start to bring workers back to the office, cases of COVID-19 are increasing in many areas. That is our new reality. We are getting “back to normal” but still need to be wary that the pandemic is not over, and the risk of infection is real.
In the middle of all this, parents are among those heading back to the office, which raises questions about childcare. Some daycare facilities have shut down while those that remain open are limiting enrollment to help with social distancing. Daycare may not be an option even if parents think it is safe to send their children to a center. A more appealing option may be private, in-home childcare as families can limit the number of people their children are exposed to. That could mean more work for professional nannies but also a more competitive job market.
What should nannies be doing now to prepare for childcare work during the pandemic and what should they expect once they are on the job?
9 steps to landing a nanny job
1. Stand out from the crowd
As we mentioned, the competition for nanny jobs may be great. Thousands of nannies lost their jobs when the health crisis first broke and many are now looking to get back to work. Others – who also may have been laid off – could look at nannying as an easy way to find a job to get back on their feet. So how do you distinguish yourself in this job market?
Highlight the qualities that differentiate you from other caregivers. What makes you special? Do you have an advanced education degree or lots of experience? Do you have skills you can teach like art, music, or foreign languages? Do you have a specialty like caring for newborns or working with special needs children? Make sure whatever it is that helps you stand out is emphasized on your resume.
2. Take stock of your talents
Not sure what distinguishes you as a nanny? Then list every skill, talent, and quality you have as a nanny. Look at the jobs you are applying for and their job descriptions. Do your talents match what families are seeking?
3. Add training and education
If you are lacking some skills that would make you a more attractive candidate for nanny jobs, then consider taking a training course. You can take courses online through NannyTraining.com, the International Nanny Association, and others. Including certificates on your resume will help show you have mastered those skills and are serious about your profession. They can also help you earn more money.
4. Broaden your job search beyond childcare
Would you consider other types of household employment besides childcare? Could you look for positions as a tutor, personal assistant, housekeeper, chef, chauffeur, gardener, or senior companion? You could also offer these services in addition to nannying for an increase in pay. Families may be looking to limit the number of people who come into their homes during the pandemic. What if you could offer to care for their younger children and tutor their school-aged children?
5. Assess your social footprint
Now that your resume is in good shape and you are an attractive candidate for jobs, don’t let social media derail your efforts. It is very easy – and common – for families to check out potential nannies online. What do your social media profiles say about you? Do you come across as professional or do you bad mouth former employers online? Do you appear caring and community-minded or do you use social media to be harshly critical of others? Do social media images show you abusing alcohol or drugs? Clean up your profiles if needed to ensure families see a professional caregiver they want to entrust with looking after their children.
6. Call your references and past employers
The nanny job market can be tough. Getting a position through a referral can be a much easier way to land a job. Reach out to your references and past nanny families. Tell them you are looking for new opportunities and if they know of families who may be looking to hire a nanny. You may have an edge over other candidates if you are referred to a family by one of their friends.
7. Work with an agency
If you have not worked with a nanny placement agency before, now may be the time. Agencies carefully screen the families they work with and will only send you on interviews if they think you will be a good fit for the position. Agencies may also work with families to help ensure competitive pay and a safe workplace during the pandemic.
8. Review your nanny contract
Before starting any job, you should have a nanny contract or work agreement in place. This important document spells out all the details about the job including pay rates, benefits, job responsibilities, schedule, and more. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way everyone works including nannies. You may want to consider adding sick days that can be taken due to the health crises or ensuring that personal protective equipment (PPE) will be available if you take the children outside of the home.
9. Make certain you are paid legally
Your nanny contract should also ensure that you are paid legally. This means the family has established themselves as an employer and will withhold and pay all taxes. You will have a small amount taken out of your wages each pay period, and this will provide financial protection if you get sick, injured, or lose your job. During the pandemic, nannies are among the workers required to receive paid sick and family leave if you need to miss work due to a pandemic-related reason. You will also receive unemployment benefits if you lose your job through no fault of your own. Workers’ compensation insurance will help replace lost wages and pay medical bills if you are hurt on the job. In this day and age of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to be paid on the books.
What to expect when you are back at work
When you have landed a nanny position, you can expect things to be a little different on the job.
1. Follow a return to work plan
A return to work plan is typically created to help reintegrate employees in the traditional workforce who have been injured or have been on leave. With the current health crisis, it may make sense for household employers to also implement a return to work plan. This document could spell out:
- Disinfecting and cleaning measures
- Social distancing protocols
- Employee screening procedures
- Employee safety training
A return to work plan is designed to help support your and the family’s safety while helping you feel comfortable and confident on the job.
2. Be safe outside of work
While your nanny family can’t dictate how you live outside of work hours, you should do everything in your power to follow state and federal guidelines for staying safe during the pandemic. This may include avoiding large crowds, social distancing, wearing face coverings in public, washing your hand frequently, and limiting exposure to people who have contracted the virus.
3. Have open and honest communications
Let your employer know if you have symptoms of the coronavirus, have come into contact with someone sick with COVID-19, or plan to visit an area with a high infection rate. You may need to work on a course of action that could include self-quarantine. And your employer needs to do the same if they may have been exposed to the virus.
4. Stay safe on the job
Your nanny family could require temperature checks before you start work for the day. Or have you answer questions about your state of health and possible exposure to COVID-19. You may be asked to follow safety guidelines in and outside of the home while you are working. Again, this could include wearing face coverings, social distancing, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer, and cleaning play areas.