Rich New York City families are taking their nannies to COVID-19 hotspots for the holidays, and some nannies fear they’ll lose their jobs if they refuse to go

  • Nannies in New York City are being given little choice but to travel to COVID-19 hotspots with the wealthy families they work for, an investigation by The New York Post found.
  • Nannies and other domestic staff are being taken to ski resorts for the holidays, which means they can’t celebrate with their own loved ones.
  • Some of the nannies fear they’ll lose their source of income if they refuse to go, the Post reported.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised against holiday travel.
  • Wealthy families who drag their staff on holiday “need to lose their sense of entitlement and be less selfish,” one nanny told the publication.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Nannies working for wealthy families in New York City are being taken to COVID-19 hotspots for the holidays, an investigation by The New York Post found.

Some of the nannies fear they’ll lose their job if they refuse to go, the Post reported. One said they were caught “between a rock and a hard place.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged Americans to celebrate the holidays close to home with their own households.

The wealthy families themselves don’t seem concerned about the pandemic, the Post reported after speaking to multiple nannies across the city — it’s household staff who worry about the impact this travel could have on their health.

Traveling to hotspots also means staff will be celebrating the holidays away from their own loved ones.

One nanny told the Post that the Manhattan family she worked for asked her to accompany them to the Vail ski resort in Colorado over the holidays. Wealthy families from across the US have checked into high-end ski resorts for the festive period, and many of these locations are fully booked up, the publication reported.

The Manhattan family is flying by private plane with other staff, including a personal chef, to vacation with “some very high-profile friends,” the nanny said.

Discussing the current travel restrictions, the nanny said the family “feel like they are above it all.”

“They assume they’ll be OK because they go private and adopt pseudo safety measures,” she added. “But again, they don’t believe the mandates apply to them.”

The family doesn’t self-isolate for 14 days after returning from trips, the nanny said, and only their staff follow COVID-19 testing protocols.

Wealthy families who drag their staff on holiday “need to lose their sense of entitlement and be less selfish,” she said.

Read more: Some wealthy parents are eager to give their children multicultural experiences, from elaborate trips to nannies that speak multiple languages. During COVID-19, they’ve had to get creative.

Another nanny told the Post that employers’ travel plans mean that some of her colleagues are caught “between a rock and a hard place.”

She told the publication about one nanny who had planned to celebrate the holidays with her own family, but was told at the last minute that she should accompany her employers to their ski chalet in Whitefish, Montana.

The nanny was worried because some areas in Montana are high risk for COVID-19, her colleague told the Post, but noted that “if she tells her employers she doesn’t want to go, she will probably lose her job.”

The nanny needed to speak up to the family about her concerns, Michelle Brown, who runs support forum Nanny Talk, told the publication.

“This nanny needs be 100 percent transparent with the parents, and it’s on her to speak up,” Brown said. “But she has rights as a worker and there has to be mutual respect.”

Some employees are renegotiating their contracts to add clauses that would bring protection for future pandemics, she added.

It isn’t just during the holiday season that families have been whisking their nannies away. One nanny told Business Insider she left New York with her employers on what they thought would be a week-long Spring Break trip in March — and spent at least two months quarantining with them in a rental house in North Carolina after lockdown measures were brought in.

The pandemic has brought “sudden and devastating unemployment and underemployment” for nannies, Haeyoung Yoon of the National Domestic Workers Alliance told Business Insider in May, as people tried to limit the number of visitors to their householders.

This has led to many domestic staff being furloughed, laid off without pay, or forced to choose between their jobs and health.

Undocumented nannies are particularly at risk because they’re paid off the books and aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits.

“In the end, it doesn’t matter how long you’re with the family, you are disposable,” Brown told Business Insider. “That’s something that all of us nannies have learned.”

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