COVID-19 Update 12/05/2020

After the country’s VE celebrations and the long, sunny weekend to lift our spirits, at the top of all of our minds is how we will see the country reverse itself from lock-down and what form the Government’s strategy will take. The news from our Prime Minister on Sunday evening has provided some direction but as always I thank you for allowing us time to us review the detail provided in the gov.uk publications. 

The key questions our clients are raising surround if a nanny should now be encouraged to be in work and if so what steps can you take to ensure it is a safe workplace.

Before we launch into this topic may I relay two other recent developments:

  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today announced the Job Retention Scheme (furlough) will continue to the end of October however from August employees will have the opportunity to return to work part time.  We lack any further details but they have been promised by the end of this month.
  • We have had reports of some clients being told to expect but not receiving their PAYE Online access code through the post. Subsequently when logging in to request the code is resent finding they have already been granted access to PAYE Online.  If you are still waiting for your access code you may wish to attempt to start your furlough claim to see if you have already been granted access https://www.nannypaye.co.uk/applying-for-covid-19-grant-3.

Should a nanny be coming into work

We note that the Government has reconfirmed that should you not be able to work from home then you should continue to go to work.  This has always been the case for a nanny which (due to pressure from varying groups) was explicitly confirmed by gov.uk on 1st May in section 12 of their Coronavirus Outbreak FAQ’s. 

“If you provide paid for childcare in a child’s home, you can go to your place of work – this is in line with Government guidance that you can travel to work if working from home is not possible.” 

This has been further reinforced by an update on this guidance that can be found linked here under the section ‘Working in people’s homes as a tradesperson, cleaner or nanny’.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance#working-in-peoples-homes-as-a-tradesperson-cleaner-or-nanny

This has always been a contentious point but in our view we have always felt the guidance issued by gov.uk has been unambiguous.

I trust that all clients are aware that a nanny should not be working if she/he has shown any symptoms of COVID-19, if she/he is isolating due to coming into contact with an individual with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, or if the household is isolating because one or more family members have symptoms or where an individual has been advised to shield.

How do I ensure I have a safe workplace for my nanny?

The guidance issued in the last 24 hours has been helpful in allowing employers to encourage employees back to work against a backdrop of measures to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.

Gov.uk has started to issue specific guidance to different sectors to help employers ensure their workplace is as safe as reasonably and practically possible.  We have linked below the guidance surrounding working safely in other people’s homes but we do note that it states ‘This guidance does not directly apply to nannies who spend all their time with one household, or to their employers.’. 

We are unsure if this statement is directed at ‘live in’ employees or simply daily nannies that work for a single family.  Our aim is to provide you with the guidance in its entirety so you may review and make an informed decision but also an example of some measures you may wish to take.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes

Step 1 – Think about the risk to your nanny, to you or to your child and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise it, recognising you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19. Involve your nanny in this process so you can work as a team to identify any areas of concern.

Step 2 – Manage the risk by following at least the subsequent steps in your household.  We have extracted these ideas from the multiple pages of guidance in an effort to provide some practical advice. We note that as the employer will be avoiding contact with the nanny many of these guidelines must be put in place by your nanny.

  • Agree an increased frequency of hand and face washing throughout the day and especially when entering or leaving the home. Wash hands more often than usual for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose.
  • Reducing the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue and throw the tissue in the bin immediately, then wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Agree an increased frequency of cleaning regularly touched objects (toys, high chairs, play equipment, kettles etc) and surfaces (worktops, lift buttons etc) using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
  • Maintain social distance so far as possible by keeping two meters away from adults in the house.  Any interactions with adults should be side by side rather than face to face to reduce risk of infection.  The nanny if possible should interact with only one parent in the household.
  • Ensure your nanny has a key to avoid you having to open the door.
  • Wash your clothes regularly. There is some evidence that the virus can stay on fabrics for a few days, although usually it is shorter, so if you are working with people outside your household wash your clothes regularly.
  • Avoid touching everyday items without considering if they are a risk such as the house phone & TV remote.
  • If your nanny has use of your car please clean all controls before and after each journey.
  • Keep the home well ventilated. Evidence suggests that the virus is less likely to be passed on in well-ventilated buildings and outdoors. In good weather, try to leave windows and doors open in places where people from different households come into contact – or move activity outdoors if you can.
  • Enjoy the garden more often than normal to limit the time indoors and if indoors try to keep contained in one room if possible.
  • Limit the number of toys or pieces of equipment used in the day to help you keep account of items touched. Put aside any that have been used and ensure they are cleaned with a child friendly product.  Avoid where possible allowing a child to place a piece of equipment in their mouth if it is has not been cleaned.
  • Leave all internal doors open to avoid the need for touching door handles.
  • Avoid using stairs as these are narrow and potential for congestion.
  • Your nanny should bring own food and drink to the household rather than using food prepared in the family home.
  • Your nanny should remove all waste and belongings from the home at the end of each day.
  • If leaving the home (following gov.uk guidance) ensure your nanny has hand sanitiser in case hand washing facilities are not available.
  • Wearing a face covering is optional and is not required by law, including in the workplace. 
  • Your nanny should consider not using public transport and travelling using a bike, walking or car with single occupant if possible.
  • If public transport is the only option then using a face covering whilst traveling may provide some benefits and if possible travel at quieter (off peak) times to avoid crowds.

We ask that you continue to provide us with any changes to your payroll as early as possible to allow us time to action these on your account. The best way to provide changes to us is through the client login section of our website, if you have not yet used this then you will need to create your own username and password before being able to submit changes to us using the most appropriate form.

As always, we will continue to update you as more guidance is released, we thank you for your patience in allowing us to review the available information in order to provide you with the correct information.