We have been receiving calls and e-mails from Family’s asking if they can require their current or future Nanny’s to get the COVID-19 vaccine, when it becomes available to them. All states have various tiered plans for vaccines distributions, but the CDC is estimating that everyone who choose to be vaccinated, should be able to do so by this Fall. In some states, Nanny’s may fall under childcare providers and be able to get it before the general public. Check with your local health department for details.
When the vaccine becomes available, can you require your Nanny to become vaccinated? Or can you make it a requirement on your job posting? The short answer is: Yes. However, it becomes a little tricky. Your Nanny may not be comfortable with receiving the vaccine. Asking your Nanny to get the vaccine is critical to protecting your Family’s health, after all it has not been approved for children yet. It will likely be easier to make it a requirement of the job if you are hiring a new Nanny, as their employment can hinge on getting vaccinated. Just be very clear on those expectations when interviewing and require documentation. Nanny’s may say that cannot get the vaccine due to health or religious reasons, however, according to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, charges of discrimination can only be filed against employers with 4 or more employees.
These employment limitations are put into place because Family’s with larger staffs can make “reasonable accommodations” for Nanny’s unable to receive the vaccine. Family’s with fewer than 4 employees would have a hard time finding childcare.
Discuss the details of asking your Nanny to receive the vaccine as a Family and then come up with a plan. Schedule a meeting for all of you to sit down and be prepared to stand firm on your decision. If you decide that your current Nanny needs to be vaccinated, get the details in order. If you are requiring it, it is your responsibility to cover any out-of-pocket expenses, as well as appropriate compensation for the time it takes to get the vaccine.
Have a backup plan. Your Nanny may decline your request and you may find yourself in a position without childcare. Research local Nanny Agency’s and find out what their timeframe for hiring a new Nanny will be.
The COVID-19 vaccine can bring relief and comfort to both Family’s and Nanny’s, but it is important to remember that it is a personal choice to get (or not get) the vaccine. Be sure to make an informed decision and do what is best for your Family in the long run.