See below for information on Nannies, Mother's help and Au Pairs
What is a Nanny?
A nanny may be a qualified child carer and/or be experienced in childcare. Qualified nannies / nursery nurses are generally trained to provide care and educational development for children from birth to 7 years. Nannies may be employed on a live-in or live-out basis. This will depend upon the domestic circumstances and preferences of the family. It should be pointed out, however, that live-out nannies usually expect to earn more than live-in nannies.
The role of a Nanny
A nanny should work in partnership with the family, taking responsibility for the safety and development of the children. A nannies specific duties include the children’s laundry, maintaining the cleanliness of equipment, toys and rooms used by the children and, if required, the preparation of the children’s meals. Nannies are also expected to drop off and collect children from schools or nurseries. Other activities such as visits to the swimming pool and library will also be the responsibility of the nanny so as to promote the social and educational development of the children.
A nanny is not normally required to undertake general household duties unless this is specifically agreed within the job description.
How to find a Nanny
The most common way to find a nanny is through a nanny agency. Agencies will use their experience and procedures to identify unsuitable candidates and provide guidance on employment formalities. The nanny agency should be selected carefully. Be guided by the Federation of Recruitment and Employment Services code of practice and ask about the selection procedure used by the agency. It is also important for the family to double check references and speak to previous employers, therefore not relying solely upon the agency.
Parents may decide to advertise in the local press or specialist magazines read by nannies / nursery nurses such as The Lady and Nursery World. They may choose to advertise on the internet through nannyjob.co.uk. If direct advertising is used, parents must ensure that they have researched employment practices, selection and interviewing procedures thoroughly. The references of applicants must be checked and, where possible, previous employers contacted. This approach should be followed even if the nanny has been recommended by a friend.
Whether employing a qualified or unqualified nanny, it is important to think about the interview carefully. A clear list of questions should be constructed so that the family can get a clear idea of the applicant’s skills, attitudes and suitability. The interview should therefore be well planned and not rushed. Important areas to cover in your list of questions are:
Important questions to include here are how many children the applicant has looked after in the past, their ages, duties, the length of time in each position and reasons for leaving.
Explore the employment history of the applicant. Make a note of any gaps in their employment history and ask the applicant to explain them.
If qualifications are required, ask the applicant to bring original copies of certificates and check them carefully. See the nannyjob information section provided by the Council for Awards in Children’s Care and Education (CACHE) for more details on qualifications and checking certificates.
It is important to discuss how the behaviour of the children will be managed as the applicant’s approach to discipline may differ from the family’s.
This may include questions on organisational skills and questions on what activities the nanny will use to promote the children’s social and educational development.
It is important to question the applicant about safety issues both inside and outside the home.
The applicant should clearly understand the family’s expectations and the type of role required. They will therefore require a job description that provides full details of the position.
It is also important to consider the best time to introduce the children to the nanny. The way the nanny interacts with the children is important, but it is advisable to introduce the children at the end of the interview.
When employing any nanny you should consider the following.
Contract of Employment
The law requires that a nanny must receive a contract of employment within the first eight weeks. It must include, the start date, the period of employment and notice, main duties, working hours, salary, leave, sick pay and offences that will result in dismissal.
Tax and National Insurance
Employers should visit their local tax office or view the Inland Revenue web site for information and advice. Employers are responsible for the payment of tax and national insurance on their nanny’s salary.
Public and Employer’s Liability Insurance
As an employer, the family must check that their insurer protects them against possible claims made by their nanny, such as personal injury.
The level of pay that nannies receive will vary according to:
The location of the position. Salary levels in London are higher, for example, because they are subject to weighting.
Whether the position is live-in or live-out. Live-out nannies earn approximately £20-£40 above the live-in wage.
The age, experience and/or qualifications of the nanny. A Montessori trained Nanny, for example, may expect a salary from £170 - 300 pw net.
The ages and number of children under the nanny’s charge. For example, the salary range for a qualified nanny looking after a new born baby is £150-£250 pw net.
Mother's Help explained
What is a Mother’s Help?
A mother’s help is normally aged between 16-20 and has little or no previous experience of caring for children. Mother’s helps are not nannies and cannot be expected to take full responsibility for the children unless they take occasional sole charge of older children.
A mother’s help will assist the parent(s) with childcare and housekeeping duties. These duties will be carried out under the supervision of the parent.
Salaries start at £50-60 pw net for 16 year olds and rise to about £140 pw depending on age and experience.
There are a number of qualifications that Mother’s helps can take in childcare. See
CACHE Council for Awards in Children’s Care & Education for further details.
Au Pair explained
What is an Au Pair?
An Au Pair is a single person without dependants aged 17-27 who comes to the UK to learn English language/cultural skills and live as part of an English speaking family. Their maximum stay is two years. An Au Pair works between 25-30 hours per week, (including evening babysitting) and is paid at least £60.00 per week (Au Pair+ is £80 per week where the Au Pair does additional cleaning / ironing) in addition to the provision of his/her own bedroom and meals. As far as possible, the Au Pair should be treated as a member of the family.
Duties include, helping with the children, cleaning, washing-up, helping at meal times and ironing. Au Pairs are not trained nannies. They cannot be expected to take full responsibility for the children but at times may work unsupervised when, for example, collecting children from school.
Time should be provided by the host family for the Au Pair to attend language classes. The Au Pair should have two complete days free per week.
The Au Pair should be given the opportunity to visit friends and go sightseeing. The host family should also try to provide information on local events and clubs in order to make his/her stay a rewarding experience.
The host family should check that the Au Pair is covered by their insurer.
The Au Pair should register with a Doctor and Dentist as a temporary patient. This should be encouraged by the host family as soon as possible.