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So, the last three weeks have been kind of insane for me. We have a PSW for my MIL who comes in for 5 hours, 3x a week. Unfortunately, the week she was set to begin, my 5 year old broke out into hives, and the dr recommended a covid test. I told the PSW about it, offered for her to come if she wanted, but she was freaked, so declined. She was there for the Tues, but not the Wed & Thurs.


Week 2, he broke out with a cough and cold, so another covid test, and again she didn’t want to come in. Fine. I’m not going to make her (as she has other elderly clients she’s concerned about).


Week 3, my son had a + case in his cohort, so had to stay home for 3 days self-isolating again (no covid test required this time, thank God - they’re murder for 5 year olds…), but she was kind of mad and acting like I was trying to fire her. I clarified things, that hello! These are all completely out of my control, and my whole world stops when this happens - I cannot even visit my sick father in the hospital while I’m waiting for results. Anyway, she remarked that it’s getting hard for her to pay her bills, and I couldn’t help but wonder…am I being unreasonable? Should I have paid her even though she didn’t come in? She seems like a nice PSW (not hired through an agency), but I felt that I had given her the chance to work, but she said no thanks, so not my fault. Just curious as to other’s opinions if I’m out of line here…. I’m new to being people’s employer…. Thanks, everyone!! I

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Thank you everyone for your response and time to weigh in on my quandary.

In the end, I don’t think I’m going to pay her because I feel justified in that I gave her the opportunity to work and she said no. I’m on a leave to help deal with my father who suffered a severe stroke, but before that, I work in an elementary with special needs children who cannot wear a mask, much less cough in their elbow. At work, I wear the full gear: gown, gloves, shield, mask. If she wants the added security, I’d be fine providing it.

If my kids are sick, I have to take an unpaid day. I am not allowed to use sick days, as they are for me being sick ONLY. Had I not been on a leave right now, I would have had to take 9 non-paid days for my kid, only to turn around and pay her for refusing to work? No.

I sincerely appreciate everyone’s arguments. If nothing else, I feel more confident in my decision, and I’ll understand if she wants to work elsewhere.

Thanks again!
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Isthisrealyreal Oct 3, 2021
How is your dad doing Liz?
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I don't know if you work a job (I don't mean caregiving at home) or not, but try to consider the situation from the caregiver's point of view.
Say your boss told you to stop coming into work and you will not receive any pay or unemployment bnefits. Would you continue to wait with no pay and make sure those work hours were available in case the boss says you can come back?
My guess is no. I'm pretty sure you'd quit that job and look for another one. Yet you expect your employee to be fine waiting it out with no pay because you have a tough time at home.
The answer to your question is YES you are being unreasonable. Your domestic difficulties are not your fault. They aren't the caregiver's fault either.
Instead of flip-flopping about maybe she comes to work, maybe she doesn't, grow a set and fire her. Do the right thing and give her a few weeks pay for all the hardship your situation put on her. Then let her go. She will be able to take other work during the 15 hour block she was keeping in unpaid reservation for your MIL.
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Lizbitty Oct 3, 2021
Had I told her to not come, I’d agree with you. Except had you read my full question, each time I gave her the opportunity to work and she refused.
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Isthisrealyreal,

Yes, I have been in homecare for near to 25 years and in that time I have never had so much as a Post-It in my employment file. There was the one time when an overly zealous nurse threatened to call APS because the bedbound invalid I took care of was left alone for half a minute while I went out to my car. To get a pair of gloves since they weren't supplying them.
I even handed her the phone and told her to go ahead. Even offered to dial the number for her. She didn't do it.
I don't know how many years or how many people you did care for single-handed on your own in the home. Sometimes you have to take an unorthodox approach because the work must get done. There is no choice involved. It sounds harsh and terrible to an outsider not doing the work to imagine some elder being yelled at. I'll tell you the truth. Skin breakdown, sores, and UTI's because some senior is being stubborn and refuses to wash or have a diaper changed are far worse than being yelled at a bit. The recovery from a bit of verbal intimidation on my part (that's pretty much forgotten a moment later in most cases) to get done what has to get done is a lot easier on a person than recovering from the other things.
Then you would know this already being an expert in senior homecare and all.
You mention the "entitled" caregiver expecting to get paid for not showing up.
Do you get paid sick/vacation time when you're not showing up to your job? Do you get personal days too that you get paid for when you take them?
If your job can't have the employees coming for a bit, does your boss furlough the workers (yourself included) so you can all collect unemployment benefits until everyone can come back?
If the work environment becomes a potential hazard (Like Covid exposure) do you have a union steward you voice your concerns to who then takes the matter to the boss on everyone's behalf and if that doesn't work, do the employees strike for better conditions?
Does any of this sound familiar to you? If it does then you don't work as an in-home caregiver because we get none of this. Yet people like you couldn't care less about about the workers in this field, but will expect the very best of us when you need us. You expect a caregiver getting low pay, no benefits, no paid time off, and no respect to do for your elderly "loved ones" what you cannot or will not do yourself. If that isn't the very definition of hypocrisy.
Cheers.
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Yes, pay her. It's good business, plus keep in mind she has reserved that time to work for you and the work wasn't done through no fault of her own.
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Cover99 Oct 3, 2021
PSW decided to not go; that puts the OP in a bind, because not only is she caring for her sick child, but also doing services (or getting someone else) to for her MIL that the PSW would have done those days.

PSW knows the OP has a small child in the home that can get sick, if she can't deal/handle that then she should give notice to the OP so she can find someone who can.
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My hubby's caregiver got Covid. She was off for 5 weeks. She is a single mother in her 40's (she adopted her biological nephew when he was a baby) and not working for those 5 weeks meant she couldn't pay her bills. I paid her what he agency would have paid her.
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BurntCaregiver Oct 3, 2021
Maple3044,

God bless you for paying your employee when she got Covid.
She probably didn't tell you the whole story about single-motherhood and how she provides for the child.
More likely foster care put the child into her care and she gets a check for him every month. Or social security is paying for him.
Also, agency-employed means on the books. If she was working in the United States legally and came down with Covid-19, President Biden made legislation which meant that she had more income being at home then she earned working. Under that legislation she qualified for unemployment benefits with an extra $600 a week added then it dropped to an extra $300 weekly. This went on for over a year. You paying her on top of this, well God bless because she was likely able to put away a bit.
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I'd say yes. She's budgeted that time to provide caregiving for you instead of someone else, and if it's cancelled through no fault of hers she's out of a portion of her income.
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Cover99 Oct 3, 2021
The PSW decided not to go, that was her choice.
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Perhaps apply the old rule that if the cancellation was so late that she was unable to book something for that time, then she should be compensated for the income loss. My mom used to use this for things like haircuts, but the underlying principle seems fair. It's a plus that she's concerned for her elderly clients, some of whom may be long-standing.
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Cover99 Oct 3, 2021
PSW knows there is a small child in the home that can get sick. Deal with it or move on.
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Sounds entitled to me. Is she not vaccinated?

All this rhetoric about get the jab and then not going to work out of fear? I call BS. She is a short term employee that has shown her true colors and I think you would be well rid of her.

Safety protocol for masks, handwashing and social distancing is being touted as effective, why could she not utilize those efforts and do her job that she now wants paid for not doing? Nope. No work, no pay.
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BurntCaregiver Oct 4, 2021
Isthisrealyreal,

Entitled, eh? Oh, yes because us caregivers are a spoiled and entitled bunch who are used to ridiculously high wages, easy work with endless benefits like sick/vacation time, personal days, raises and so much job security that we never worry. Don't let me forget all the respect and admiration our line of work gets from the facilities and care agencies we work for, the clients and families themselves, or even from the world at large.
Spoiled and entitled bunch we are, there are some who aren't eager to risk coming in contact with a deadly virus. Many of us work for families other than yours and we have families of our own as well. I know this might be hard to believe, but washing and diapering your LO's ancient a$$, feeding (which is equally disgusting), and listening to a dementia loop for hours on end, which much of the time it's done in some filthy, stinking, hoarded house, is not what caregivers live for. We don't anxiously lay awake in our beds at night unable to sleep like a kid on Christmas Eve anticipating the joy of taking care of your elderly, stubborn, ornery, and often downright nasty senior. No, we don't actually relish this because contrary to how the industry tries to sell it, the work is NOT rewarding. That's an excuse for homecare agencies and care facilities to justify low pay with no benefits.
So really I hardly think 'entitled' is the right description for people who work as caregivers.
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No work. No pay.
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BurntCaregiver Oct 5, 2021
Go pound sand. I hope you never need a caregiver. Clearly you have no respect for this line of work or the people who do it. If you ever do need one, don't expect anyone of quality. Not with an attitude like yours.
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Liz, this is in no way a criticism of you! I just have to shake my head at your son's doctor recommending a covid test on 2 occasions where there was little evidence of exposure, but NOT the third time when your son had potentially been exposed??!!?

So a few questions: were the tests rapid tests? Where you got the results in short order to be able to tell your CG that your son was negative? And she still was too "freaked out" to come to work?

Here's what I think: for the first no show (hives) I would not pay her. Hives are not a common indicator of covid; unless your pediatrician told you they were indicative of some other infectious disease (chicken pox, mumps, etc) that your CG was concerned about bringing to her other clients, then her not showing is all on her.

Second time: the cough/cold... I have somewhat more sympathy with CG, because those ARE common covid symptoms. However, once your found out your son was negative, that should indicate that CG can come back into the home.

Third time: I can't lay blame at the CG's feet for that one. There was a possible direct exposure, and the CG needs to take into consideration her own health, as well as that of her family and her clients.

In your shoes, I think I would compensate the CG for time missed in full on the 3rd incident; I would compensate half-pay for the time missed UNTIL she was informed your son's covid test was negative in the 2nd incident, and no compensation for the 1st incident, where your son had hives. I think that would be reasonable, it would show her that while you're willing to make allowances for fear of exposure, you're not willing to write her a blank check every time she's "freaked out" by someone in the house getting the sniffles.

Good luck and (((hugs)))
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