If you're a parent considering hiring a nanny, you may have found there is more to consider than first meets the eye!
Nannies are official employees, and as such you are legally required to fulfil professional employment standards. That means you need to provide an employment agreement, be clear on hours, salary, holiday pay, sick pay, annual leave, etc., and organise nanny tax. Your nanny is legally eligible for standard employment rights such as redundancy pay and a workplace pension.
NET OR GROSS WAGE ARRANGEMENTS FOR NANNIES
There is a lot of confusion around whether to offer your nanny a net or gross salary. Along with other industry leaders, we highly recommend you to implement a gross salary nanny tax arrangement with your nanny.
If you agree a net nanny salary, you are in the firing line to absorb all of the additional costs that build up over time as a nanny employer. For example, if you agree a net rate of £350 per week, you will be liable to pay NI on top of that. If the NI rate increases, you will be liable to pay for the increase, as your nannies net rate is set.
If you had agreed a total cost (gross) of £450 for example, then this will include your nanny's PAYE. This is just one small example of how a gross rate benefits the employer.
THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is that once you're all set up as an employer, it's easier than you might think to administer a nannies employment. You can organise nanny payroll and tax yourself, but for a relatively small fee you can get a nanny tax agent to do it for you, so you don't have the hassle of the paperwork.
KiwiOz Nanny Agency London works with a reputable nanny tax partner to deliver our families an industry leading tax and payroll service. To find out more, please contact us today for a free, no obligation chat about your needs and how we might be able to help.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Director Rachel Lewis answers popular questions about hiring and managing nannies and au pairs. This weeks question: 'I've had three Au Pairs not show up to prearranged Skype interviews. How can I avoid this and stop wasting time?!'
Recently at KiwiOz Nannies London we were asked this question by a concerned parent:
'My nanny is from overseas and I think she's finding it hard fitting in.
She's very punctual and does what she's asked around the home, but doesn't talk to us much. I think she's homesick or maybe just doesn't like working for our family? It's not great for the children who are a bit quiet around her.'
For me questions like this always pose more questions- for example does the nanny speak English as a first language? Does this behaviour match up with what the references said? Did you do a thorough induction with the nanny to help her feel comfortable around the family home?
The very fact that you've asked this question tells me that you probably a good employer and a nice person. You're clearly concerned about the impact this is having not only on your family, but on the nanny as well.
The transition period
I like to remind parents that the first couple of months of a placement are what I call the 'critical trust building phase.' You, your children and your nanny are experiencing change, fear and doubt.
These are natural emotions to feel at the start of a new relationship with someone who holds such an integral role in your household. It is not having these emotions, but how you manage them, that determines the relationships ongoing success.
Go back to the beginning
If you're feeling like your nanny isn't settling, go back to square one. Call the referees again and let them know your concerns- ask them if the nanny was withdrawn for them in the beginning, and how they worked through it.
If the nanny is simply shy it may take her longer to feel comfortable in your home. Perhaps she needs more space to spend time with the children having fun (without you watching) to really let her hair down.
Ask your nanny to sit down and together review your induction guide. Have you given your nanny enough information about your family boundaries? Have you let her know she is welcome to participate more and be herself?
It could be an option to do something together without the children there- this would help you and your nanny bond and may improve her confidence. Even a casual coffee stop could do the trick!
Don't forget to ask the nanny about her home, family and interests- you could get the kids to do an activity day based around the nannies life- draw pictures of your family home for the nanny to send home to her parents, bake a cake together to welcome the nanny and take some photos for her to share with her friends.
Help find your nanny a support community
It's likely your nanny will grow in confidence as she feels more settled into her routine and private life away from your family. Does she have any/ many friends or a nanny social group yet?
With the internet there are a lot more options now for your nanny to meet other local nannies in her area. Google local nanny groups and don't forget agencies such as KiwiOz Nanny Agency London organise nanny meetups and support groups to help their nannies settle in.
Good luck with your nanny!
If you have a nanny issue and would like some impartial, anonymous advice via our blog, simply contact Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org and keep an eye on our blog posts and Facebook page!
This week I had a call from a busy working mum Chloe who was looking for an 'au pair.' The longer I spoke with Chloe the more I realised that her expectations of what an au pair could deliver were too high.
With two children, aged 4 and 15 months old, Chloe hoped her au pair could care for the children while she worked part time. She expected around 35- 40 hours per week and wanted to pay £150 per week, plus food and board.
As with many parents Chloe was interested in having a high calibre candidate who could drive. A good cook and someone who would be active encouraging the children's development were also on her list.
So why wasn't an au pair suitable for this role?
Typically, an au pair is a young person who wants to travel abroad, live with a family and study or learn English while they help the family with childcare and around the home. They are usually not experienced or qualified child carers. They often speak English as a second language.
Au Pairs are usually reasonably young and will be living a long way from home. They need a good amount of guidance from the parents about what needs to be done in terms of care for the children as well as around the home. It is likely they will not be familiar with basic childcare skills such as how to potty train or how to encourage fine and gross motor development.
An au pair can be a brilliant support to an at home parent who need ad hoc and part time help with the children, however they should not be left in sole charge care of young children on a regular basis, or expected to deliver a high standard of educationally based care to your children.
So what type of help did you recommend?
For Chloe we recommended she considered 'mid calibre' live in nanny candidates. By this we mean an experienced and/ or qualified child carer who has the capabilities to take sole charge of the children on a regular basis.
A mid calibre candidate is usually a younger candidate or 'nanny in training' who has a passion for childcare and good knowledge of skills required- but hasn't had enough work experience to be considered a high calibre nanny.
She will be happy to consider roles offering slightly fewer hours as she builds her CV and professional profile. More mature than a typical au pair she will be capable of taking care of day to day tasks and guiding the educational, social and emotional development of the children.
Yes, she will be more expensive but you may be surprised by how much. We place most of our mid calibre candidates at between £250-300 after tax per week.
As professional nannies in training these candidates are focussed on child care as a career and highly motivated to do a top job. For Chloe, the difference of £100 per week to experience that higher calibre of care was worth it, and she quickly secured a lovely Kiwi nanny who is already proving indispensable!
To speak to a KiwiOz consultant about the type of care that might be right for your family, call us on 020 3427 5423.
In the first blog post for this series I outlined all of the things you need to consider when you're looking to hire a new nanny. Hopefully it goes to show you that there actually is a lot to think about. In this post, we'll go over three important things YOU need to do before you even start recruiting your nanny:
Important tip number 1- Do some research
This might sound silly to say but we speak to lots of families who really don't know what they're doing when it comes to hiring a nanny. Assumptions can be made throughout the process that cause issues in the later stages.
For example, many families don't understand the legal requirements around hiring a nanny. Once you hire a nanny you become an employer, and you are responsible for paying your nannies tax and NI. On top of this, like any employee, your nanny is eligible for paid annual leave and statutory sick pay. You might have to pay a 2ND nanny to cover the role when your primary nanny goes on annual leave. All of this contributes to the cost of having a nanny, and many people don't account for these costs early on.
One family I spoke to recently had lost a brilliant nanny over money- when they hired her they assumed they would simply pay her cash, and the nanny understood the family would register and pay her tax. When at the end of her first month the nanny asked for a payslip, the parents had a nasty shock once they realised they were liable for more pay. They decided they couldn't afford the nanny and they had to cover the cost of the additional tax, pay the nanny notice pay and start recruiting again.
To find out more about the real costs involved in hiring a nanny read over this useful info on the HMRC website or visit the NannyTax website.
Important tip number 2- Plan your recruitment process
Once you've fully assessed the costs involved in hiring a new nanny it's time to start planning your recruitment process. Put simply, there are two ways to do this- the good way, and the BAD way!
What NOT to do when hiring a nanny
It's easy. Please please please don't simply write a job ad, line up some interviews and hope to meet your dream nanny. I've spoken to too many parents over the years who've assumed the process is that quick- then found out the nanny they've hired simply doesn't fit the bill.
If you don't put enough thought into this process, then you will most probably leave out important information that a nanny needs to know about your family in order to succeed in your job. Likewise, you might miss important warning signs that signal interviewees are wrong for your role. Either way, you've wasted your own time, your children's time and the nannies time by not being clear enough about your expectations.
The good way- best practise when hiring a nanny
We'll go into this in more detail in later blog posts, but again, its pretty simply. Make sure you write everything down. Your contract, your job description, your list of things a 'Dream Nanny' would do for your family. What your 'Dream Nanny' looks like- her strengths, her interests and how she would help.
Also, be honest about your family. Nannies are a part of your home and see the good, the bad and the ugly. Mum, if you like every sheet, towel, pillowcase and sock to be ironed please don't tell your interviewees there is minimal ironing involved in the job. If your children are prone to tantrums, be up front with your interviewees and let them know the current behaviour situation. If you're happy with the way children behave you need to source a nanny who is happy with that as well. If you're not happy then your dream nanny will be able to help you guide better behaviour- if you source the right person.
At KiwiOz Nannies London we'll provide you with a nanny hiring toolkit that will guide you step by step through this process. It does take a little bit of time, but I find families who take advantage of the toolkit have a much higher chance of success. To find out about registering with KiwiOz Nanny Agency London and getting your toolkit, call our consultants on 020-3427-5423.
Important tip number 3- Involve your children
Hiring a new nanny is a transition process for a family, and one that can be stressful for both parents and children. Involving your children in this process will help them understand what's happening, and be excited about their new friend instead of being worried.
You might like to help your children prepare an 'about our family' booklet to give to your new nanny, and the children can draw pictures and tell the nanny their age and their favourite toys. As you work through the hiring process your children will understand what's happening and the sudden change in family dynamics will be less of a shock.
Again, our nanny hiring toolkit can help get the children and family involved in the recruitment process- contact us for more details.
The next blog post in this series will explore the difference between nannies and au pairs and what they mean for your family. Sign up below to get the post direct to your email:
Or, skip to the next post- "Nanny or Au Pair, what's right for my family?"
Are you a mum or dad thinking about hiring a nanny? It's a huge decision to bring a stranger into your home to care for your wee ones. But after more than ten years in the industry, I know it can be one of the best decisions you'll ever make.
This blog series is all about helping you, the busy mums and dads of this world, to make the right nanny hiring decisions for your family. I'll let you know my top tips on:
• how to prepare for the nanny hiring process
• how to decide between a nanny or an au pair
• the best ways to source your nanny
• how to shortlist applicants successfully
• how to conduct a useful, productive interview and narrow down applicants
and once you've found your dream nanny, I'll give you advice on:
• the contract process and statutory requirements
• how to complete a successful nanny induction
• how to manage your nanny successfully so that she does a great job for your family
Sign up below to follow my blog and be the first to get your hands on this useful info!
Or skip to my first post- how to prepare for the nanny hiring process.
Good luck- and don't forget to call us on +44 (0)20-3427-5423 if you have any questions at all.
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