When is a Nanny Too Sick to Come to Work?

Springing for private, in-home childcare usually means that the particulars of your schedule will be met with far more specialized attention than is available through traditional, center-based care. Still, even the best and most accomplished nannies are only human, and they will get sick from time to time. While a little headache or muscle fatigue is no reason to call out of work, there may be times when it’s in everyone’s best interests for your nanny to stay home until she’s well. Investing a sick day of your own into staying home with your children or even scrambling for last-minute back-up care may seem like a major burden, but it is a more favorable solution than allowing a sick, possibly contagious nanny to be left in charge of the most vulnerable members of your family. These are a few of the signs that your nanny is too sick to come to work, and that you might want to start figuring out a temporary alternative plan.

She Has a Fever or Other Obvious Symptoms

When your nanny has a fever, is coughing or sneezing uncontrollably and refuses to be separated from her box of tissues, it’s a good time to start looking for a back-up childcare plan until her symptoms abate. In the end, the one day of work that you’re able to avoid missing may cost the entire family in terms of health. Despite her efforts to wash her hands religiously, sterilize every surface she touches and avoid direct contact with your kids, she could still pass along a nasty cold or flu that makes the rounds through your family. The amount of time you and your partner could miss from work while you’re nursing your own illness may not seem like such a smart trade when held up against the loss of a single day to allow Nanny a bit of sick time.

She’s Vomiting or Has Diarrhea

Even if vomiting and diarrhea are not symptoms of a contagious illness, you still don’t want a violently ill nanny caring for your children. When trips to the restroom are urgent and can’t be put off, your children may be left unattended for just long enough to get themselves into trouble. If her symptoms are the result of a communicable illness, the last thing you want is for everyone in the household to battle with a nasty stomach bug. Gastrointestinal symptoms are a sure sign that your nanny should take the day off to care for herself, even if it leaves you in a temporary bind.

Her Treatment Affects Her Judgment

Some cold medications make people drowsy, while treatments for other illnesses can come with a wide array of side effects that could ostensibly affect your nanny’s judgment. If you know that she’ll be treating an illness with medications that can cause dizziness, sleepiness or any changes in mood or behavior, you may want to have a conversation with her regarding the duration of her treatment and what alternatives are available to you until she’s back to her old self again.

She’s Too Fatigued to Focus

Even after the most devastating cold and flu symptoms have passed, a lingering exhaustion and fatigue can make it difficult for your nanny to focus on her job properly. A childcare provider that’s devoting all of her energy to just staying awake may not be able to chase a busy toddler around, could be more easily distracted and suffer from an overall lowered job performance than she would if she were well-rested and healthy. If you know that your nanny is completely drained from an illness or that she’s going to have trouble maintaining order in your household while you’re away, it’s wise to carefully think about any other options you have available until she recovers.

She HasĀ  a Chronic Condition That’s Dramatically Worsened

For the most part, a nanny with a chronic illness will have learned how to manage it so that her daily life is only marginally affected. Should her condition worsen, however, she’ll be forced to completely readjust her self-care routine and may not be able to devote as much energy and attention to your children as she normally does. Until another plateau has been reached and self-care is brought back under control, you should discuss alternate childcare options and ideas with your nanny.

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