Nannies have come to realise that they are “disposable”.
Payroll for Nannies knows that many nannies have been furloughed, and others laid off suddenly without receiving severance pay. The Cut reported that over 12 Caribbean nannies have already succumbed to Covid-19.
As the schools across the nation shut down as one of the responses to COVID-19, many nannies turned into “live-in” nannies to care for their employers’ children. In many cases, Brown stated that these nannies were forced into choosing between their financial security and their health.
Tough Choices for Nannies
One of the families went as far as telling their nanny, “We are packing up everything to go and live in the Hamptons. You will need to move with us. If you decide not to, you will lose your job.”
This nanny was using public transport as a means to travel to-and-from work, while she battled with concerns that she would contract Covid-19 and then bring the virus to her own family and children.
The Gender Divide
A staggering 91.5% of the demographic is female and 3 out of 4 are of these domestic workers happen to be the main breadwinner for their families. The domestic worker median age is 45, and many are Asian, black, or Hispanic, this study found.
It also discovered that 52% of the 16,000 domestic workers surveyed stated that they no longer had a job from 30 March and this figure increased to 68% over the next week.
Around 66% of these workers are not sure whether they will have a job to return to when this pandemic ends, this study stated, and more than 55% of these workers stated they were unable to cover their rent in April.
Around 1 third of the domestic workers come from other countries. Around 95% of these nannies are either paid illegally or “off the book”, according to the International Nanny Association. This means that these workers are not eligible for any government benefit.
Yoon stated that many nannies were told not to return to work to care for their employers’ children. There was also no suggestion or conversation around “I will continue to pay you, while we face this pandemic.” Most of the nannies were just told, “Don’t come any more.”
This pandemic has bought about significant economic insecurity.
For the groups that are already plagued by a loss of job security, low wages, no safety net, or benefits, the virus has spurred dramatic financial insecurity. This has forced workers into questioning how they are going to afford to pay their bills, put food on the table, or pay their rent.
Domestic Workers Undervalued
When asked about whether these chronic problems existed, Yoon stated that; “Domestic work across the country has been dramatically devalued.”
Caring for children often involves everything from newborn nutrition and care to ECD (early child development). However, the role of nannies is not regarded as the type of work which will merit compensation since it occurs in people’s homes and most people do not identify a residential home as a type of workplace, Yoon says.
In today’s times, Yoon states that these problems are deeply rooted in “gender inequality.” The work that women carry out isn’t regarded as “real work” when compared to men who go out to do jobs. Nannies who care for children is a type of role regarded as what women should be doing, which has rendered this form of work “invisible,” she went on to add.
Nannies at Risk
Nannies allow workers the opportunity to conduct their jobs.
Across the UK, different levels of Coronovirus-related restrictions are starting lift, with some nannies now returning to work. This has raised concerns since at this stage there is no vaccine or anti-viral treatment.
Yoon also states that the reality surrounding COVID-19 is that it doesn’t discriminate. She adds that; “We are all in this together and the person next to me is as safe as I am.”