Sick Nanny Sitting On The Couch

Tips for Handling Nanny Sick Days

When a staff member calls out sick, it can cause stress for the employee and the employer, and can lead to schedule changes for the entire household. While it’s impossible to avoid all stress, there are certainly ways to make these unavoidable days a little easier for all involved. This week, we’ve compiled a few tips to best prepare and handle days when your nanny calls out sick. Remember, BAHS recommends offering staff a minimum of 5 sick/personal days in addition to PTO days for planned vacation. Make sure your staff members have two consecutive days off in a row each week and a reasonable daily schedule to allow them to rest and recharge in between shifts; this will allow employees to be the best, healthiest version of themselves.

Be compassionate.

When a nanny (or any staff member) calls out sick, be kind, keep any questions to a minimum, and then move on to arranging alternate care. Unless specifically agreed ahead of time, it isn’t the sick employee’s job to organize backup care for the day or communicate with coverage. While this change of plans might complicate your schedule for the day, don’t take this stress out on the employee. One day of inconvenience is much easier to deal with than fixing a relationship with a good employee who feels underappreciated or uncared for. Remember, all employees are human and all of us get sick. By making the day stress-free for your sick employee, you increase the likelihood that they can rest and return to work quickly, as well as communicate to them that you care about them as a whole person.

Be proactive & have a backup plan.

We recommend all families have a backup plan in place for instances when the main nanny calls in sick. For families with more than one nannies for multiple children, this might be as simple as asking another nanny to take on an additional charge for the day. In other homes, the housekeeper is equipped to help out with childcare for a day or two. Sometimes, family members, neighbors, or a weekend babysitter can step in. Whatever the case is for your family, make sure that you have a plan beforehand to reduce stress for everyone. Have conversations with the backup care about routines, allergies, and other safety precautions in advance. Set the backup caretaker up for success by filling them in on the current skills, interests, challenges, favorite toys, schedule etc. of your child.

Keep your child in the loop.

While it may not feel like a big change to adults, little ones can be thrown off by an unexpected change to routine. Be sure to communicate to your child that their nanny is sick but will return soon. Give them specific details about how their day will change and who will be picking up them up from school and other activities. Remember to communicate the change in caretaker to teachers and any other adults who might need to be updated.

Check in during the day.

We highly recommend checking in with the backup caretaker during the day to keep both your minds at ease. They will likely need more support than your regular nanny. Finally, it is appropriate to check in with your nanny near the end of the day to see how they are feeling and find out if you will need backup care the following day or if they are hopeful they will be able to return to work.

What do I do if I have a nanny who routinely calls out sick

It can be a very tricky situation when you have an otherwise excellent employee who has started to frequently call out sick. The first step in this situation would be to have a kind, open, honest and direct conversation with the employee; the goal is both to ascertain if something is going on with the employee (perhaps they’re struggling with a chronic illness or are having a problem at home) and also to find a solution that works for both of you. You need reliable care; find out what they need – perhaps this is a temporary problem that can be remedied by a flexible schedule in the short-term (if you can accommodate that) or perhaps it is part of a larger problem that might require extended time off or a shift to a part-time role. Whatever the case is, be clear about expectations going forward – and what support you can realistically offer. If the employee does not engage in the conversation or does not acknowledge there is a problem, be sure to document the conversation clearly and review with them the sick leave policy and future expectations.

You can also find our tips to beat the winter blues by staying nourished inside and out here.