Now that the election is over and a new administration is preparing to take office, there is a lot of uncertainty about the future. At BANANAS, we work closely with families who employ in-home caregivers—nannies and babysitters—and with the loving community of people who provide in-home care. We know there is fear about the potential changes coming with new poliltical leadership. In response, our friends at Hand In Hand: The Domestic Employers Network put together a list of ways that employers can support caregivers during this time of unpredictability. We encourage you to share this with friends, family, and anyone who may be looking for resources as we enter a new year with a new administration.
From Hand In Hand: The Domestic Employers Network:
Hand in Hand’s fundamental premise is that “the personal is political.” Living our politics begins at home, especially when our homes are someone’s workplace. After the election, many of us feel outraged, sad, and confused about what to do. As employers of domestic workers, who are among the people who have been and will likely be most targeted, one thing we can do is to support women, people of color, and/or immigrants who work in our homes.
1. Engage in a dialogue (but don’t assume).
Ask questions, communicate clearly, and give the caregivers and domestic workers in your life space to share how they are feeling. We don’t know what’s going on for people at this time, so don’t assume anything about your employee, their immigration status or that of their family members, or how they’re feeling about the election in general. Instead, ask open-ended questions (“How are you feeling about the election?”), and create space for them to talk about about how they’re doing and what they are concerned or worried about.
2. Assure and affirm that you will show up for them and that you have their back.
Let your employee know how you feel about the election, and that you are committed to standing up for anyone who comes under attack with this new administration. Commit to working together to find resources to support them or others as necessary, and make it clear that your home is a safe space. If many of your neighbors employ domestic workers—nannies, housecleaners, or home attendants—consider developing a collective affirmation that you all will show up for the workers in your community. And let them know you welcome hearing about anything that comes up in the future, from specific resources needed to concerns about safety.
3. Provide concrete supports to ensure their health and safety.
- Check in to see if the person you employ needs any time off to be with family. One of the profound challenges in this moment has been the fearful reaction of children to the election results—even young children. Many of us have had to provide extra love and support for our kids, and in some cases, our caregivers have been the ones reassuring them and providing added emotional support. Let’s make sure they are able to be with their own families as well.
- If they are afraid of taking public transportation late at night or worried about getting home, offer to order and pay for cab rides, or make sure you or someone you trust is driving or accompanying them home. Again, this can be something you arrange collectively with neighbors or in your community.
- Offer to help with concrete resources, such as legal support on immigration, advice on health care or other benefits they might be concerned about losing. While this may not be immediately necessary, it is a way to show that they will not have to figure this out alone. Hand in Hand will be providing more information, particularly on immigration, as we learn more about the policies of the Trump administration.
- Trump will not become president until January 20, 2017. Now is the time to know our rights, and prepare—immigrant and U.S.-born alike—to stand up for each other. Be vigilant of notaries or unscrupulous attorneys. There is a list of trusted immigration attorneys on the Step Forward website.
- If your employee has DACA and has applied to travel under the Advanced Parole program, they should complete the trip before January 17th. We do not recommend applying for Advanced Parole now. We are waiting for more information.
4. Be a Fair Care employer.
We may be in unknown territory politically, but being a fair employer remains a constant in our homes. Are you paying a fair wage? Are you being clear about your flexibility in this moment? Are you giving them the paid time off they need to talk to lawyers, be with family, or attend community meetings or protests? Find ways to work together and take action now, when so many people might be under attack:
- Attend a rally or organizing meeting together (invite them, or let them know you’d be interested in hearing about such events).
- Talk to people who you know also employ domestic workers. Ask if they’ve discussed the election and see if there are shared concerns.
- Organize a community meeting for workers and employers. We can support you.
P.S. Don’t forget to involve your family members in this effort to support workers in your home. If you have children, this is a great opportunity to help them practice living out the definition of solidarity.