It looks like Mother Nature is ignoring the calendar and has started sending winter weather our way with a month still left in fall. If this year’s winter is anything like last year’s, we have lots of snowy days ahead. With that in mind, here are some guidelines for families and their nannies about how to handle snow days.
The first decision that a family must make is what constitutes a “snow day” (or other form of weather-related condition). Many rely on school or government office closings, a “state of emergency” condition, or road conditions. Whatever policy a family decides to adopt, it must be clear to the nanny and should definitively address whether or not a nanny should report for work. This of course can be tricky – a family might think conditions are good enough for the nanny to come to work, but the nanny may feel the roads are too unsafe, for example. When creating a snow day policy, both families and nannies should discuss relevant factors and both points of view need to be considered.
Certain jobs require their employees to report to work regardless of weather conditions, such as emergency medical staff, police officers, etc. In a situation where a nanny works for someone in one of these types of positions, the nanny must report for work so that the employer can do their job. If a heavy storm is predicted, the family may want the nanny to stay overnight the night prior. Hopefully this can be worked out mutually, but ultimately it should be the employer’s decision if the nanny should stay overnight, with as much notice as possible. In such a case where the family requires a nanny to spend the night, the family may wish to compensate the nanny for the extra hours.
Another factor that should be addressed when creating a snow day policy is whether or not the nanny has any dependents (including pets). If the family is open to it, the nanny may bring her child or pet to stay overnight at the family’s home. Alternatively, the employer may provide extra monetary compensation so the nanny can arrange for backup care.
Some families may choose to offer paid time off for bad weather days, if it’s not critical that the nanny report to work on a given day. Others may just count a snow day as a personal day, and follow their predetermined pay schedule in such an instance. Some families may still want the nanny to come to work even if the employer is working from home or has the day off. Part of the snow day policy should include an allowance of extra time for a nanny to get to work due to road conditions, etc. For example, if a nanny is due at the home at 9am on a bad weather day, she is permitted a grace period of two hours due to weather-related issues.
All of these conditions and factors must be considered when creating a snow day policy, and communication between the family and their nanny is crucial to this process. Discussing these concerns in advance will hopefully allow families to create a policy that is reasonable and considerate of both their needs and their nanny’s.
Please contact us with any questions at (518) 348-0400.