Furlough rules: Can you furlough your nanny and cleaner?

Furloughed workers are entitled to receive up to 80 percent of their wages and acts as an option when you and your employer agree they are unable to keep you on the payroll or have no work for you due to the coronavirus crisis. But can you furlough your nanny and cleaner?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared the UK would go into lockdown on March 23.

From that time, Britons were not permitted to leave their home except to undertake essential shopping, exercise once a day, for urgent medical need or to provide care, or, to travel to and from work.

The escalation of these social distancing measures prompted confusion for many about how childcare and cleaning arrangements would work.

Many parents were left befuddled about whether they could still employ a nanny, could pay for private nursery care and whether they could still invite their cleaner to work at their home.


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The Government has said anyone other than key workers should stay at home to combat the spread of coronavirus.

According to gov.uk, key workers are defined as those in:

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Key public services
  • Local and national government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services.

Can you still use a nanny to care for your children in your home?

If you have a nanny who lives in your home, you are permitted to continue to use their services to care for your children.

However, if you have a nanny who lives outside of your home, this is more complicated.

Technically, live-out nannies cannot undertake their work from home, but different households are not supposed to get within two metres of one another.

Maintaining this distance is very difficult when looking after young children.

Ofsted’s advice to statutory, not private, child carers is to implement social distancing measures where able.

Although technically you are permitted to allow your nanny into your home, if anyone in their or your household is vulnerable, you are potentially putting both households at risk.

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Can you furlough your nanny?

In March, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced “unprecedented measures” to support individuals, families and businesses who faced hardship amid the coronavirus outbreak.

If you decide you do not want your nanny to work for you during the coronavirus lockdown period, you can agree to make your nanny a furloughed worker and continue to pay them despite them not working.

This means you can receive a grant worth 80 percent of their salary backdated from March 1 to June, after which the scheme may be extended for longer.

This Government bailout will cover the nanny’s monthly wage up to £2,500, but employers will likely not see a rebate until May and therefore will need to cover this cost until then.

You can find out more about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme here.

Can you still employ a cleaner for your home?

There is no specific guidance from the Government as to whether you are permitted to hire a cleaner for your home.

However, if someone is coming into your home they must consider if they live with any vulnerable persons which may prove risky for them.

Additionally, cleaners should ensure to apply all social distancing measures when in your home and remain two metres away from any person.

Another consideration should be how your cleaner can safely travel to your home.

Can you furlough your cleaner?

If you pay your cleaner through a pay as you earn system, you are able to furlough them.

Many cleaners work on an ad hoc, cash-in-hand basis, meaning it might be difficult for you to furlough them.

However, they can claim up to 80 percent of their average monthly profits if they are self-employed cleaners, up to £2,500 a month.

Self-employed cleaners can find out more about how the Government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme works here.

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