Employing a Nanny
What are my responsibilities as an Employer?
If you employ a Nanny etc. in the UK you have the same legal responsibilities as a commercial employer and the law requires you to:
- Register as an employer
- Set up and operate a PAYE (Pay As You Earn) scheme on your nanny’s behalf
- Keep tax records on her behalf
- Provide your nanny with regular payslips
- Provide her with an employment contract
- Pay employer’s National Insurance Contributions
- File an employer’s annual tax return
These obligations also apply:
- In short-term employment (i.e. a week or longer)
- To any employment taking place in the UK – irrespective of the country of origin of the nanny or employer
Failure to register as an employer if you are paying your nanny above the weekly threshold is an offence, which can potentially lead to heavy penalties and career-damaging publicity.
Always agree a gross wage
If you agree a fixed net wage you are committing yourself to paying all of your employee’s income tax and NI to make up their gross wage, irrespective of their individual tax code or tax position.
Parents often agree a net (i.e. take-home) wage with their nannies, but in reality a nanny is always paid a gross salary, with tax and National Insurance Contributions deducted and paid to HMRC on a quarterly basis by the employer. Although many employers tend to look on this as an additional cost, it is actually part of the nanny’s gross wage.
Please also be aware that a gross wage is not the total cost to you as an employer. In addition to this you have to pay an Employer’s National Insurance Contribution, which is not part of the employee’s gross wage. This extra sum will be advised to you when we send your first payslip for your employee.
Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Explained
All successful candidates, who have resided in the UK for a minimum of six months, must undergo a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service). However, if the candidate has been in the UK for fewer than six months, we endeavour to obtain a police check from the candidates’ home country.
Little Scallys does not rely on DBS or Police Checks alone. In addition, we also undertake verbal references for all candidates – before the interview stage even begins.
DBS is NOT the same as a UK Police Check. The DBS checks:
- Any criminal convictions, including those that would normally be considered ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1997
- Whether the applicant is on ‘List 99’ (secret register of men and women who are barred from working with children)
- Whether the applicant is on the Protection of Children Act List
- Whether the applicant is subject to any Disqualification Orders
- Any other information the police consider to be relevant (this could include the fact that the candidate’s family has been subject to a child protection investigation).
The Criminal Records Bureau is an executive division of the Home Office, established in 2002, in order to provide businesses employing people in positions of trust with a secure and streamlined recruitment process.
Suggested Interview Questions for you to ask
The questions below are for guidance only and will vary depending on the individuals requirements. You should add questions on issues that are important to you. For example, you may wish to ask about the nanny’s attitude towards things like discipline, sweets, television, etc.
- Refer to the candidates CV in regards to previous Nanny Positions.
- What aspects of this particular job do you think you will enjoy?
- Tell me about your training in childcare and child development.
- What do you think are your particular strengths when working with children?
- Do you intend to further educate yourself and in what areas?
- What would you do if… (give an example of an emergency or similar situation where an individual’s initiative would need to be used) …?
- How might you spend the day with my child? (Ask them to give examples of the sorts of activities that they might fill the day with and take note of developmental opportunities and variety offered.)
- Why are you looking to leave your current position? (If appropriate, otherwise ask what made them leave their last job as a nanny.)
- What difficulties, with parents or children you were/are caring for, have you experienced as a nanny and how did you resolve these issues?
- What are your views on families sharing a nanny? (If appropriate – if you want to set up a nanny-share.)
- How many days in sickness absence have you had in the last 12 months?
- How do you prefer to discipline a child in your care?
- Do you have views with regards to how Television fits into the day time activities?
- Do you have views with regards to mealtimes?
- How do you see your role within the family, in view of a daily nanny or live in Nanny position?
Discuss a Contract and its Details
- The wage or salary (with details about tax and National Insurance arrangements).
- How payment will be made, monthly or weekly, by cheque or directly into a bank account, etc.
- The hours and duties of the job, referring to the job description if necessary.
- When you would want them to start.
- What holiday entitlements will be and whether they would be willing to take them at certain times – for example, to fit in with school terms or your annual leave.
- The length of the probationary period.
- Positive discipline strategies – Remember a trained childcare worker would never use physical punishment as a form of discipline.
- Child safety: in the home (including dealing with pets); when using public transport; and, where appropriate, when using a car (seat belts, car’s capacity, etc.) – the Child Accident Prevention Trust produces leaflets and checklists on all aspects of child safety in the home and all childcare settings for both parents and childcare workers.
What do your Children think?
It is important to let your children meet the potential nanny. You do not need to tell your children that this might be their nanny when they are introduced. Observe how the individual interacts with your child. It may be a good sign if they pay more attention to them than to you. Take note of how your child responded.
What does the Nanny want to ask you?
Interviewing is a two-way process. Make sure you offer the nanny the chance to ask you questions.
What you should expect:
- Training – childcare qualifications tell you the nanny is committed to this career and they have taken the opportunity to learn about childcare and child development.
- Experience – a new nanny will need more support from you.
- The nanny to respond to children’s individual needs.
- A resourceful approach to working with children – the nanny should look for new ideas.
- Planned activities from day to day and week to week.
- Plenty of fun opportunities for children to learn – to develop their strengths and help them with their weaknesses.
- Regular feedback from your nanny about the children’s well-being, the activities of the day, etc. and the job in general. The use of a diary shows commitment to the structure each day and is a great way for you as the parents to have an account of what they have done today!
- Your nanny to tell you if there is a problem and to ask for help when necessary.
- Trust and respect for you as a family and confidentiality concerning matters private to your family.
What you should provide:
- Clear details of hours and duties.
- Discuss breaks – what you expect whilst the child/children may be sleeping.
- Good working conditions and a well thought out job description.
- A written contract of employment.
- A safe, clean home with plenty of ‘fun-to-learn’ equipment, like dough and paint.
- Information about local parks, playgrounds, nanny clubs and drop-in clubs. (Although a nanny will probably research this themselves as well and develop their own information.)
- Contact numbers for you, your partner, if applicable, a relation or another responsible adult who knows the family well.
- Details of the family doctor.
- Contact numbers for the school(s) of any older children or any other childcare facilities you may be using.
- Clear guidance on your child’s health (including allergies, medicines, diet, and sleep preferences), discipline, special routines, favourite toys and games, etc.
- Written permission to administer medication to your child and to seek medical advice when necessary.
- A regular time to talk with and listen to your nanny.
- Employer and public liability insurance – you can get this from your home insurance providers. (If you do not let your insurers know you are employing a nanny you may invalidate your household insurance.)
Listen to your children
Inevitably, there will be ups and downs, but listen to your children and give them the opportunity, without interrogating them, to let you know how they feel about their nanny. Your understanding and support will help the nanny to help the children.
With babies and younger children pay attention to how they are feeling and be aware of any behavioural changes. A quiet time with you can give your children the chance to let you know about any troubles or worries that they may have.
Your children need to know that you trust their nanny and they also need to know you will listen to them and will take action if necessary.
Listen to your nanny
Plan time, at least once a month, when your nanny can tell you how things are going. This is in addition to the times each day that you and your nanny exchange information on handing over the care of your child or children to each other. Your nanny should let you know what is going well and if there are problems that may need your attention. Ask questions about issues such as tantrums, crying babies or meal times.
A well trained nanny deserves your trust, respect and confidence in their abilities at all times. However, if either your nanny or your children let you know that there are difficulties, it is important that you try to resolve the problem.
Little Scallys Nanny and Babysitting Service goes beyond the recruitment process. We are always on hand to offer advice and mediate if required. All discussions will be treated in the strictest of confidence.