Archive for the ‘Nanny Industry News’ Category

We Need to Talk…About Domestic Workers Rights

OK, have I suddenly somehow turned anti nanny rights? The recently introduced CA Domestic Worker Bill of Rights requires among other things 21 days notice of firing, annual raise, paid vacation, and paid sick days. Of course I’m not against any of those benefits. I think they’re all great. But I don’t think nannies are a special class that deserve benefits that other people don’t have. Yes, nannies are a "vulnerable" class but so are retail workers, restaurant workers, etc. And what about other childcare workers? I have a lot of friends that work in day cares that don’t get notice, paid vacation or paid sick days. I’m so torn over this issue. I want to support these new bills but it doesn’t seem fundamentally fair. We need to have a national conversation about this. It’s happening in OUR industry and we’re not talking about it. Who’s in for a discussion?

NY Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Signed into Law

First off, thanks to Kathy Webb for breaking the story.  Her blog is the best in the business. 

The bill pass but with some MAJOR changes.  All the things that got so many people worked up were deleted.  No health insurance, no 14 day notice period for termination, no 7 paid sick days a year.  Instead they got 3 paid days (sick, personal, whatever) after one year employment, 1 required day off a week, overtime (which they already had in NY) and anti-discrimination coverage (was that missing before?). 

The thing I find most interesting about the bill is “The NY Commissioner of Labor is directed to report to the governor, the speaker of the assembly and the temporary president of the senate before November 1, 2010 on the feasibility and practicality of allowing domestic workers to organize for purposes of collective bargaining.”

Now that could have a huge impact on our industry overall.  Imagine if nannies could come together and set real workplace guidelines for wages, hours and benefits.  I want to be on that bandwagon because I think the first stop would be an across the board credential. 

I have very mixed feelings about this outcome.  I think nannies, along with every other worker in this country, deserve health insurance, notice before firing, and paid sick days.  However I don’t feel that nannies deserve special treatment (as the law state) “because domestic workers care for the most important elements of their employers’ lives, their families and homes.”

So, do you think this bill was worth all the effort?  Do you think it’s a victory for nannies or the Domestic Workers group in NY?  Do you think it will make any real world impact?

Domestic Worker Files Suit Over Required Background Test

This article tells the tale of a domestic who applied for a position (housekeeping, errands, and of course occasional care of a child) and was told she would need to pass an HIV test to get the job.  She’s filed suit against the employer and the placement agency that represented the employer. 

I find this interested in two ways.  One, each day more and more domestics are stepping out of the shadows and taking actions against unfair practices by employers.  It seems that we are quickly approaching a tipping point where calling bad employers out won’t be so surprising or unusual anymore.   Oh, I can dream. 

Two, an agency is also named in this suit.  For years agencies have been unscathed by any backlash against bad employers.  Nannies keep going back because they need a job.  So I’ll be interested to see what happens to this agency and if they do suffer a punishment, if it will change the way other agencies do business. 

What unfair hiring practices have you come up against and what did you do in response?

top nannies – check out IAPSP

The International Association for Private Service Professionals has announced their first conference, October 9 – 11 in Dallas, TX.  David M. Bertnick, President of IAPSP, is a dynamic leader committed to growing this organization and providing his membership with a variety of valuable services.  I can’t make their conference this year, I plan on going in 2010.  Maybe it will come to Seattle? 

Nanny, Au Pair…yes there is a difference

But that’s a whole different post.  Today the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote Nanny Agency’s Offer Tries to Soothe Financial Fears.  The article features Cultural Care, an au pair agency, who is now offering parents “a prorated refund for all unused program weeks if one of the parents is laid off.”  I have no doubt that this reassurance will be a big incentive to parents looking at hiring an au pair but unsure about the commitment required.

So with the current economy making parents get creative about affording childcare, how much do you think the au pair industry impacts the nanny industry?

Let me be clear, I think au pairs can be great caregivers and the perfect in-home solution for many situations.  I think they are a great compliment to the US nanny industry.  However, I worry that faced with the current economic challenges, parents may hire an au pair to save money when their childcare needs really require a full-time nanny.  That’s not a good solution for the family or the caregiver.

This points out once again the great need for parents (and the MEDIA) to understand the difference between a nanny and au pair. 

Nanny v. Babysitter

The battle in our industry rages on.  Nanny vs. babysitter.  They each perform similar tasks.  The titles are used interchangeably by almost everyone, even many who work as in-home caregivers.  But like many things, the difference lies in the details.  It isn’t enough to know the difference.  We must be able to explain the difference.  I attempt this feat below.  Close?  Confusing?  Let me know.  And I’d love to know how you would explain the difference between a nanny and a babysitter.

One of the biggest hurdles the in-home childcare industry faces is the common confusion between a babysitter and a nanny.  A babysitter provides custodial care, keeping a child safe and entertained.  A nanny provides care for the whole child, nurturing the child’s emotional, social, cognitive and physical development.  This difference is often hard to see because on the surface, the activities of a babysitter and nanny seem similar.  But as with most things, the difference lies in the details. 

Imagine a continuum with a babysitter on one end and a nanny on the other end.  The babysitter represents a custodial approach, the nanny represents a whole child approach.  For example, a babysitter will see two preschoolers arguing over a toy and quickly take away the toy to end the argument.  A nanny will recognize the argument as a teachable moment and use age appropriate question prompts, role playing and brainstorming to build problem solving skills and develop empathy.  A babysitter will read a favorite book to a toddler.  A nanny will read a favorite book to a toddler, incorporating imaginary and reading games into the activity to make it an interactive and creative experience for the child. 

No caregiver provides custodial care one hundred percent of the time just as no caregiver provides whole child care one hundred percent of the time.  Individuals fall along the continuum at different points, depending upon their overall approach.  The parents’ job is to honestly evaluate their needs and to decide where on the continuum they want their caregiver to fall.   

Copyright, Brawley and Associates, 2009

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