As parents and guardians know, the pandemic has pulled back the curtain on the often invisible, yet completely essential, labor that happens inside of our homes. While for many of us having child care and additional support in the home is a necessity, it has also been overwhelming to navigate best practices and protocols for keeping ourselves, our loved ones and the people who work in our homes safe as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to evolve.
Knowing that none of us has a human resources department in our homes, Hand in Hand has developed and collected the following resources along with our partners at the National Domestic Workers Alliance to help families navigate this challenging time.
Having difficult conversations
So much of being a good domestic employer comes down to being able to have conversations about topics that are sometimes taboo or unspoken in our culture, such as money, personal health and choices, or our values and parenting styles. COVID-19 safety, vaccines and personal risks are particularly difficult and critically important topics to broach. Here are some tips on how to approach difficult conversations, and some specific conversation topics and starters that might be helpful.
Working with a child-care provider or nanny during the pandemic
- Nanny Employer COVID-19 Checklist: A checklist for you to consider as you make arrangements to hire a nanny during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Sample Nanny Agreement: If you don’t already have a written agreement set up, you can use this sample as a starting point to create an agreement with your nanny.
- Ensure equity and fairness with the person hired to facilitate your child’s virtual learning. See the Employer Guide for Nannies Facilitating Virtual Learning and the Employer Guide for Online Pod Supervisors Facilitating Virtual Learning.
Working with a house cleaner
- House Cleaner Employer Checklist: Hiring a house cleaner? This checklist outlines things to consider when engaging a house cleaner during the coronavirus pandemic.
Working with a home attendant
- Homecare and Attendant Employer Checklist: The coronavirus has changed what it means to hire attendants or provide caregiving in the home. This checklist includes tips to consider when it comes to getting the support we need and keeping everyone safe.
- Tips for Managing Attendants/Caregivers: This guide, created by Hand in Hand and Senior and Disability Action, offers ideas, recommendations and thoughts for getting through this crisis safely.
Paying workers in your home
Last but definitely not least, the pandemic has been especially hard for domestic workers, the majority of whom are women of color and immigrants who still lack basic rights and protections under the law. Most domestic workers do not have paid sick or vacation time, or health care, even if state or local laws entitle them to it. As employers, it’s important to do everything possible to support the people who work in our homes and provide us with essential care and support.
Perhaps the most impactful thing you can do is to continue to pay the workers in your home, even if they cannot come to work in the event of quarantine, illness or exposure to the coronavirus. Thousands have taken the Hand in Hand COVID-19 Employer Pledge to do so; if you haven’t already, you can do so here.
We’re in this together.
As this crisis evolves, Hand in Hand will continue to offer resources to help employers make sure that workers stay safe and receive the dignity they deserve.
About Hand in Hand
Hand in Hand is a national network of employers of nannies, house cleaners and home attendants working for dignified and respectful working conditions that benefit the employer and worker alike. To learn more or get involved in the organization’s work in Washington state or beyond visit the nonprofit’s website.