Parents
 
 

Making sure your child is safe, well cared for and happy is one of the biggest concerns of any parent. It can be very stressful leaving your child in someone else’s care and this is an extremely important decision you will have to make. There are no legal requirements on a person applying to work as a child carer (please visit www.ofsted.gov.uk), so it is up to you, as parent and employer, to ensure that you are employing a person who will look after your children well.

Please be aware that nannies talk NET salaries (usually weekly rate), not gross. You are responsible for paying Income Tax and NI contributions on top of that (find out exactly how much it will cost you at www.nannytax.co.uk or www.way2paye.co.uk).

Types of childcare

Nannies are usually qualified and experienced in looking after children of any age and should provide plenty of fun and learning opportunities in the safe environment of your own home. A nanny would take sole charge of your children in your absence.
The nanny is expected to be responsible for all aspects of a child’s life, including having a knowledge of First Aid. This also includes organising the child’s meals, clothes, laundry, bathing, cleaning the nursery and stimulating the child’s mind and imagination. She does not usually do other housework. A nanny earns up to 400/week net pay and can work up to 12 hours a day and usually has two days off per week, as well as 28 days/year paid holiday (which can include bank holidays). Babysitting and extra hours are by prior arrangement and paid extra.

Live-in nannies live with the family they are working for, who provide them with food and a private bedroom in addition to their salary of 200-300/week net pay.
Daily/ part time nannies come to the family home each day and can earn 65-90/day net pay working part time, or 6.50 to 9.00/hour.
Nanny-share is an arrangement where two families (or more) share the employment of a nanny or the nanny can bring her own child to work with her.
Nanny/housekeeper or PA is a nanny who combines childcare with general household duties or secretarial/admin work.

Mother’s helps are unlikely to have formal childcare qualifications but may be experienced. They usually work alongside the parent helping with childcare and general household work. It can be a way for the parent who may be at home during the day, to be able to come and go without worrying about leaving the children for short periods of time. They can earn 200- 300/week net pay.

Maternity nurses are trained and experienced nannies who can take care of new babies for up to three months after the birth. They are on call 24hrs a day and will usually work 6 days/week, employed on a short term basis. A good maternity nurse can provide physical and emotional support during the first few exhausting weeks following the birth of a new baby.

Au pairs are usually single young women (occasionally men) from a number of European countries. They come to the UK to study English, live with a family and help out in the home for a maximum of five hours a day. In exchange, they must have two days off and be provided with a weekly allowance (around £50+), meals and their own room. Au pairs are not registered or usually trained to work with children so are generally considered inappropriate to care for a young baby, but can be a good option when it comes to providing affordable after-school care.

Qualifications

  • NNEB Nursery Nurse Examination Board Certificate (2 years college course & exams)
  • CACHE Council for Awards in Children’s Care and Education (2 years college course & exams)
  • BTEC - Business and Technical Education Council Nursery Nursing Diploma.
  • NAMCW National Association for Maternal & Child Welfare Nursery Nursing  Diploma
  • NVQ in Early Years Care and Education, level 2 or 3.

    Interviewing a Candidate

    Your first point of contact with a potential carer is by phone. At this stage, have a short list of questions to ask such as name, address, telephone, experience, details of last job and reasons for leaving it. If you then feel that she may not be the right person for you don’t waste your time and hers by interviewing her.

    If you do decide to proceed, arrange the interview or arrange to call back once you’ve drawn up a short list. Bear in mind that you should offer to pay travel expenses and allow about an hour for each interview.

    The face to face interview is your opportunity to find everything out about the candidate. Also, to see if she has the personality, intelligence and social skills to suggest that you and your children could get on well with her. And most importantly, to see if her job expectations match your job requirements. You should be very clear about what you want or expect and about what you are offering. Discuss hours of work, pay, duties, notice, discipline, sick pay, holidays, car use etc.

    If in doubt ask the candidate for a second interview, especially if she didn’t get to meet the children for long the first time round. Watch how your children respond to her, it is a good sign if she pays more attention to them that you!

    Be thorough and if you have any doubts trust your instincts and do not employ the candidate. Once you have seen all your candidates and made a decision, please act reasonably quickly as good nannies are in great demand.

    Employees have a legal right to be given a written statement, setting out the main particulars of their job within a month of starting work and to be provided with a wage slip. It can be really helpful and will avoid later disputes to provide your carer with a written contract of employment so that you are both clear about what to expect from each other.

    A specimen contract is available from Coralis Childcare Agency for a fee of £10.

    As an employer you should also ensure that you have employer’s indemnity insurance in case of any accidents. Also, update your car insurance if the carer is going to use your car.

    As an agency we remain in close contact with both the parent and the child carer for a few weeks after a suitable candidate has been employed. Most problems would arise in those first few weeks and we are here to guide you through them so that the relationship between you and your employee can be a long and happy one!

    If at any point, long after the child carer has started work, you need advice on anything from pay rises to maternity leave, please call us and we would be delighted to be of assistance.

    Coralis Childcare Agency Ltd is registered in England and Wales,

    Company Number 6455643.

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