Policy & Guidance
Here at SENNIES we understand the events of the past year have caused a lot of trepidation and disruption to the lives of our Sennies and our SENNIES families.
We want to assure you that SENNIES is here for you every step of the way, and our team is always on hand to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and how it could affect you, your work and/or your family.
You can find some of our FAQ's and current advise/guidelines here:
Can I still employ a Sennie during national tier restrictions / lockdowns?
Under current Government rules, domestic childcare is considered ‘key work’, meaning you can continue to search for and employ a Sennie during ‘lockdown’ and other tier restrictions.
We do ask that our families remain transparent and open with us during their search regarding any change in circumstances that might affect the following:
Changes that may put anyone entering their home at any additional risk i.e if anyone inside the family home is travelling to and from work environments in close proximity to others, or members of the household are mixing with more than one other household.
A member of the household tests positive for COVID-19 / Coronavirus meaning they must now self-isolate.
A member of the household comes into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 / Coronavirus meaning they must now self-isolate.
If there are any vulnerable / high risk members of the household, and what that means for a potential employee i.e wearing a mask inside the house, self-isolating with the family if/when necessary, personal rules/preferences outside of government guidelines.
This is not an exhaustive list, so please do keep us informed of anything you feel we need to be aware of.
Can I still work as or interview for positions as a Sennie during national tier restrictions / lockdowns?
Whilst it is legal for our Sennies to continue working during tier restrictions and ‘lockdowns’, it is entirely at your discretion as to whether you feel comfortable interviewing, trialling and/or accepting work at this time.
We expect all Sennies who are actively seeking employment to keep us informed of any living arrangements, changes in circumstance relating to their personal health or the health of those they share a household / are in close proximity with, that may affect their ability to work or increase the risk to another household outside of their own.
All Sennies are required to sign our ‘Code of Conduct’ which stipulates the following:
‘Since the worldwide pandemic relating to the Novel Coronavirus, SENNIES requires all registered Sennies to ensure they are following guidelines, as set out and stipulated by the UK Government, when undertaking any work that has been organised/introduced by us. By signing this form, you agree to inform SENNIES and any employer of any reason why you may not be able to work, due to COVID-19 or suspected illness as soon as possible’
Should a Sennie be found to be in gross breach of the guidelines and UK law surrounding COVID-19, in such a way that could result in additional risk to any potential employer or current employer and their household - their contract of engagement with SENNIES will be terminated and SENNIES may have grounds to take further action.
As an agency specialising in supporting those with additional / special needs, we understand that other physical and mental health conditions that may have been brought about or exacerbated by the current regulations, could affect a Sennie’s ability to follow guidelines and/or remain in employment during the pandemic. SENNIES will always endeavour to offer support and understanding to our Sennies with any difficulty they may be facing due to COVID-19.
How does COVID-19 affect the SENNIES search and interview process?
Due to current restrictions, we cannot meet and interview potential Sennies face-to-face. This also means we cannot collect and verify documentation such as; DBS Certificates, Passports or Driving Licenses in person. However we are still able to complete all compliance checks and verification, even virtually, taking the following steps:
Collecting and checking clear photos of all relevant and important documentation including but not limited to: Passport, Enhanced DBS Certificate, First Aid Certification, Drivers License, Any necessary ‘Right to Work’ documents etc. BEFORE first interview stage.
FIRST INTERVIEW: A telephone interview organised by one of our recruitment agents who double checks the information provided on their application and C.V.
FULL COMPLIANCE CHECKS including: verifying Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificates through the government online portal to confirm the validity of the certificate provided and that there are no outstanding convictions and obtaining at least TWO professional references including full contact details for the referee. Any hard copy references provided to us that we have not collected directly will be confirmed via phone call.
SECOND INTERVIEW: This is held by a senior member of the team via video call. Candidates must have their video and audio switched on and we may record these interviews for identification and training purposes.
Whilst SENNIES collects all the important information so that our families do not have to, and provides all photocopies and relevant documentation digitally once a Sennie has been made an offer of employment, Families/Employers are encouraged to ask their Sennie to bring physical copies of their documentation for personal review.
How should I conduct interviews with Sennies / What can I expect from an interview as a Sennie during restrictions?
At this time, we suggest that any initial introductions set up through SENNIES are held via video call (for example, we can create and organise ZOOM meeting links on your behalf).
We then suggest organising any proceeding face-to-face interviews outside where possible (for example in local parks or gardens) however we understand this may not always be feasible owing to weather conditions etc.
Should meetings take place within the home or if you are trialling, please try and observe social distancing as much as possible. We ask every family to make us aware of any specific COVID-19 precautions they would like to have in place so that we can inform the Sennie ahead of time, fore example:
Washing hands upon entry
Removal of shoes or outside clothing before entering the house
Wearing a mask indoors
It is very important for both families and Sennies to immediately cancel / reschedule a face-to-face interview if you or anyone within your household/bubble begin to display any symptoms of the virus, are waiting for a test result / have a test booked, have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, or if you begin to feel unwell.
What advice should I follow as an Employer during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
As mentioned previously, childcare is considered key work and can continue to take place even during lockdown.
The safety and wellbeing of our families and their Sennies is incredibly important to us and so we advise the following:
If your Sennie thinks they might be beginning to show symptoms or starts to feel unwell, they need to stay at home and not mix with your household until either a negative test result is received to avoid putting anyone at risk.
The above also applies to the family, if any member of the household displays symptoms or starts to feel unwell, the Sennie should not be expected to work within the house to avoid putting them at risk.
Most of our SENNIES families have high risk or highly vulnerable members of the household, most of whom are the charges / children our Sennies care for. Some families may wish to ask their Sennie to isolate with them or require their Sennie to take regular testing for peace of mind. We will always support our SENNIES families needs but any changes to contract due to COVID-19 or new stipulations, will need to be discussed directly with the Sennie and the Sennie should not be expected to follow, or be financially liable for any additional or new changes outside of this, if it is not legally stipulated under UK law.
For full Government guidance on employing someone to provide childcare within your home at this time, please click here.
What advice should I follow as a Sennie/Employee during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
As previously stated, domestic childcare providers may continue to work even during lockdown and national restrictions.
As a Sennie, you are responsible for ensuring that you do not expose yourself to any additional risk that could affect your ability to work and/or that may pose serious health and safety issues to those in your care.
As a working Sennie you must:
Inform your employer immediately if you begin to show symptoms or come into contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus.
You should not go to work until you have received a negative test result or unless a significant time has passed without developing further symptoms.
If you receive a call or message from the NHS Test and Trace system asking you to self-isolate, you must inform your employer as soon as possible. It is a legal requirement to self-isolate, if you break your self-isolation to go to work, you are breaking the law and putting yourself and others at risk.
Take every precaution to reduce the risk of catching the virus and passing it on to others by maintaining social distancing when travelling and out of your home and practicing good hygiene.
If you are a live-in Sennie, ensure you discuss any COVID-19 related clauses with the family that you are happy and willing to commit to, such as isolating with the family should yourself or a member of the household test positive and/or if the family are taking extra measures they would like you to adhere to whilst living in their home.
We will always do our best to support our Sennies during any point of their employment, but speaking directly to the employer should always be the first port of call.
For any government guidance please click here.
Where can I find further information including sick pay and employment queries?
Nannytax has put together a fantastic blog post outlining further information here.
Due to COVID-19, I need emergency childcare, what do I do?
SENNIES are always on hand for your Special Educational Childcare Needs. Should you require emergency childcare to cover things like support during school closures or temporary support if your Sennie has to self-isolate or take time off due to illness, please reach out to us and we will do our very best to help you at this difficult time.
We sincerely hope all of our lovely families and hard - working Sennies keep safe and well and we are delighted that SENNIES can continue to offer important and necessary support and care for those with additional needs.
If you require further assistance, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will be in touch.