Coronavirus: Advice for nannies

COVID-19 and Childcare – What Should Nannies Do During these Uncertain Times?

With the daily updates from the Prime Minister and senior ministers within government, the advice around COVID-19 is changing at an unprecedented pace, and this uncertainty is having a knock-on effect on much of the population.  A lot of employees are being sent home to work, and some are losing their jobs altogether as a result of the coronavirus.

Whilst Chancellor Rishi Sunak has provided outlines and guidance for businesses within the United Kingdom, there is less clarity around the rights of the self-employed, domestic and caring staff, whose roles within society are vital to uphold normality of which nannies and nursery workers are key.

There have been numerous articles advising small employers what to do, but what about those they employ, such as nannies and housekeepers?  This article is for those who work for a family and need to understand what is expected of them as of present (18th March 2020) and we will update this advice as circumstance warrants.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is disease caused by a coronavirus, a common virus that can cause what doctors call a respiratory tract infection. It can affect your upper respiratory tract (sinuses, nose, and throat) or lower respiratory tract (windpipe and lungs). Most coronaviruses aren’t dangerous.

In early 2020, following a December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified a new type of coronavirus. Officials named this new virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This is the virus that causes COVID-19.

The outbreak quickly spread around the world. It spreads the same way other coronaviruses do, through person-to-person contact. Infections range from mild to serious.

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Early symptoms are much like those of the common cold. But the virus can lead to pneumonia, respiratory failure and, in some cases, septic shock.

If you’re exposed and infected, symptoms can show up in as few as 2 days or as many as 14. It varies from person to person.

What is the current government advice about COVID-19?:

  1. Working parents are being told to work from home, if they can.
  2. Schools and nurseries are closing on Friday, March 20, to all pupils or those considered vulnerable or who’s parents are key workers, eg those in the NHS, delivery drivers and teachers. A full list is to be confirmed.
  3. People with symptoms which could be COVID-19 are being asked to self-isolate.
  4. We are told that it is a relatively mild illness for most, but can be fatal for elderly, particularly those with underlying health issues (well, that’s many in this category)
  5. The situation will worsen and will continue for some time before we stop its spread or develop a workable cure/vaccine.
  6. It will end, at some point.
  7. In the meantime, expect incredible change to our way of living, to shopping, travel, socialising, working, hobbies… really every aspect of our lives, globally.

What does this mean or me as a nanny/employee of a family?

We appreciate that nannies need to work in order to sustain their own financial commitments and livelihoods, however there is a little confusion as to what they need to do should their employer being working from home or self-isolating.

We thought the following table would be of use:

Household level of exposure Description Should I go to work? What pay am i eligible for?
Working from home due to new government recommendations Family is symptom free and has not had contact with any COVID-19 sufferers Yes You should continue to work as long as you are fit and healthy to do so and you have not come into contact with anyone with COVID-19. You should you receive full pay.
Confirmed case diagnosed with COVID-19 Employee and/or member of the family has COVID-19 and has told you not to come to work even though Nanny is fit and symptom free No If you are fit to work but told not to come into work, you are entitled to full pay. If however you are forced to self isolate as a result of contact with an infected individual, you may only receive Statutory Sick Pay
First degree contact with confirmed case High-Risk Exposure Within the past 14 days

Close Proximity: Within 6 feet for even a brief period or

Extended Duration: In the same room or floor of a building for a period of time that would have provided access to the common space and items with a reasonable opportunity to transmit the virus
No You may be required to self isolate as a result of contact with a suspected COVID-19 exposure and you will need to wait until you are 14 symptom free days since contact before returning to work. You will be entitled to SSP
high risk travel Travelled to the CDC designated level two or three areas within the last 14 days No If your employer has returned from a high risk area and is in self isolation you should wait until they are 14 symptom free days since contact before returning to work. You will be enetitled to full pay as you are able to work but asked to keep away by your employer.

What do I do if I suspect I may have the coronavirus?

What do I do when I get a temperature?

The most common symptoms of the coronavirus are a temperature and dry cough.  If you have either of one of these symptoms, then you will need to follow the following NHS and government advice and self-isolate.

What happens if someone in my house get symptoms?

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill

How long should I self-isolate for if I get symptoms?

If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

How long should I self-isolate for if someone I live with get symptoms?

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill

It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community

What happens if I develop symptoms at work?

You will need to inform your employer immediately and arrange safe travel home.  Ensure that you keep a safe distance away from other individuals and find the best route home without causing infection to others.  If you have to take public transport home, then try to ensure that you take protection with you (gloves and disinfectant wipes to wipe down any area you may touch).  Follow the advice below on what to do if you believe you have the coronavirus.

If you have coronavirus symptoms:

  • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
  • testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home
  • plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household
  • ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
  • if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 onlinecoronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999

Stay at home

If you have symptoms, you and all household members should remain at home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis.

If possible, you should not go out even to buy food or other essentials, other than exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others. The 14-day period starts from the day the first person in your house became ill.

If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you will need to ask friends or relatives. Alternatively, you can order medication by phone or online. You can also order your shopping online. Make sure you tell delivery drivers to leave items outside for collection if you order online. The delivery driver should not come into your home.

What you can do to help yourself get better

Drink water to keep yourself hydrated; you should drink enough during the day so your urine (pee) is a pale clear colour. You can use over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol, to help with some of your symptoms. Use these according to the instructions on the packet or label and do not exceed the recommended dose.

If you or your family need to seek medical advice

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness or the illness in any household members is worsening. If it’s not an emergency, contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. If it is an emergency and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999 and inform the call handler or operator that you or your relative have coronavirus symptoms.

All routine medical and dental appointments should usually be cancelled whilst you and the family are staying at home. If you are concerned or have been asked to attend in person within the period you are home isolating, discuss this with your medical contact first (for example, your GP, local hospital or outpatient service), using the number they have provided.

Do not have visitors in your home

Do not invite or allow social visitors, such as other friends and family, to enter your home. If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use the phone or social media.


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If you are a nanny looking for a new position please register at candidates@parentalchoice.co.uk or call the team on 020 3818 1236.

If you are looking for a new nanny or alternative childcare get in touch with us on familycare@parentalchoice.co.uk or call 020 3818 1236.

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