DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a wonderful nanny who has been taking care of my daughter for three years. When the quarantine began, we told her not to come to work because that was the rule. We continued to pay her. Since that time, I have lost my job. No one knows when these restrictions will end, and my husband and I don't think we can continue to pay her salary. We love her and know she counts on this money, but we are quickly depleting our savings. We didn't declare her salary on our taxes, so I don't think she is eligible for unemployment insurance. How should we handle this? -- Losing the Nanny
DEAR LOSING THE NANNY: Sadly, there are thousands of families in your position. Paying workers under the table, so to speak, has always been dangerous -- and illegal -- even though it is a common practice. The reality is that if you did not declare your nanny as an employee and pay the proper payroll taxes for her, she cannot receive unemployment insurance now. If you can no longer afford to pay your nanny, talk to her and explain your circumstances. Let her know that because of your life changes, you cannot continue to pay her.
For those who did declare their nannies, housekeepers or other workers, there are provisions in the Emergency Paid Leave Act of 2020 that require employers to pay any workers diagnosed with COVID-19 with two weeks' pay if they are quarantined by doctor's orders, with the promise of being reimbursed by the government. To learn more, go to bit.ly/NANNYCARE.