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Five things to remember when hiring a nanny

Whether you’re hiring your first nanny or your second or third, there are a few things worth keeping in mind every time.

Here are the five things we recommend that everyone considers during the recruitment process.

  1. Start by being really clear about why you are hiring a nanny, and having a clear job description. A nanny is someone who will provide proactive, professional, educational child care for your children in their own home. She is not a housekeeper, a personal assistant or a home renovator. She is not even a babysitter – in the sense of someone who passively minds the kids. It is amazing how often this is misunderstood. A clear job description is essential, right from the beginning, in order to avoid potential confusion and misunderstandings. (We can provide help with compiling this if you need it.)
  2. Be careful to screen applicants properly, including reference checks. This is obviously really important but as it can be time consuming there’s a tendency to cut corners. Make sure that you are shown the originals – not copies – of documents like a current Working with Children Check and written references. It is always a good idea to check references with a phone call as well. It’s also wise to agree on a trial period to make sure that all the various parent/nanny/child relationships look like they are going to work. This benefits everyone involved.
  3. Nannies must be formally employed and paid the award wage as a minimum. If you are employing a nanny yourself, as opposed to hiring one through an agency, it’s important to remember that the same basic rules apply. For instance, many people don’t realise that nannies cannot be employed as contractors working under their own ABN. This is because contractors, under the ATO definition, must be operating as if they were a business. That means setting their own working conditions, such as hours of work and job description, and replacing themselves with someone else if necessary. Obviously none of these apply to a nanny you employ exclusively to look after your own children.
  4. As employees, nannies must have their superannuation payments, work cover insurance and ‘pay as you go’ tax instalments managed by their employer. Again, just because you are employing a nanny yourself doesn’t mean that these things don’t apply. Of course it can get complicated and time consuming to manage the administration of all this, which is why many people choose to use an payroll service like Just Family Payroll to look after the paperwork. It’s just simpler. But however you go about it, the important thing to remember is that your nanny is an employee and so entitled to the same rights as any other employee in a family or business context.
  5. Include plans to give your nanny professional development opportunities. Being a nanny can be a lonely experience in many ways, especially when a nanny is directly employed and so has no regular interaction with other nannies or even other adults. As much as all nannies love working with their children, they need adult conversation as well, and most don’t usually get to even speak to an adult except at the start and end of the day. For this reason it’s important to look out for frequent professional development opportunities for your nannies. These give carers a great chance to bounce ideas off one another (while keeping details, including names, confidential), as well as keeping them in touch with all the latest thinking in child care and related areas. Professional development keeps nannies energised and excited about their work. Our sister company .

Of course there is so much more to employing a nanny than just these five things, but these are the most important things to consider at the start.