Coronavirus | I'm a nanny and I can't go to work. Can I get fired?

As an employer one mustn’t make assumptions about what your employee can live on.
As an employer one mustn’t make assumptions about what your employee can live on.

The short answer is: No, you can't get fired.

The president has declared a National Disaster and closed schools early, and for longer than the scheduled school holidays. The new holiday dates run from 18 March to, tentatively, 14 April.

Media Liaison for the Department of Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga, confirmed to Parent24 that the president's decree includes all child care facilities.

This has implications on working parents, as they need childcare so they can continue going to work. 

Extraordinary times

This has a huge knock-on effect, as many childminders like nannies must now care for their own children at home and cannot go to work.

Although these are extraordinary times, South African law protects employees. 

SLDP Attorneys explains that if you cannot go to work, you will be required to use your allocated Family Responsibility Leave to take time off.

Employees who have been working for the same employer for more than 4 months and who work for the same employer for at least 4 days per week are entitled to 3 days’ family responsibility leave per year. This excludes domestic employees, who are entitled to 5 days. 

Family Responsibility Leave is not available to to workers who have worked for less than four months for their employer, or for four days a week for one employer, or for 24 hours a month.

Annual leave

Once that is used up you'll start to use your normal annual leave. 

The South African Labour Guide explains that an annual leave cycle is a period of 12 months with the same employer, calculated from the employee's commencement of employment, or from the completion of that employees previous leave cycle.

The entitlement is 21 consecutive days annual leave on full remuneration, in respect of each annual leave cycle, and if an employee works a five-day week then this is equal to 15 working days, or if the employee works a six-day week then it is equal to 18 working days.

No work, no pay

Once your annual leave is used up, the principle of 'no work no pay' will come into play.

Anything above and beyond paid or sick leave technically falls in the area of 'no work, no pay'.

In short, if you are not at work, or working from home, and you are not on paid or sick leave at the time then you will not be paid. 

For how long?

This will be in force until such time as the president or one of the Ministers have anything different to say. Schools and daycares are closed for the next 4 weeks, but may stay closed longer if the virus causes havoc in South Africa. 

Employers need to put an action plan in place to maintain productivity and make provisions for the employees with families. 

However people have to use this at their own discretion and not take liberties of the situation. 

More on coronavirus

School and activities:

Coronavirus: Is it safe to take your kids to daycare, and other questions parents ask

Coronavirus: Is closing schools an effective measure to prevent an outbreak? History has some answers

PRINTABLE | CORONAVIRUS: Handwashing steps for young children and teens

What to tell the kids:

What to tell your kids about coronavirus, and how to help them stay safe

WATCH | Kids, learn how to wash your hands properly with these catchy tunes

Eight tips on what to tell your kids about coronavirus

Compiled for Parent24 by Elizabeth Mamacos

Chat back:

Tell us how you feel about all of this, from explaining the outbreak to your kids, to keeping them home from school for longer.

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