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Toddler Clinic


Finding a nanny

Whether you are returning to work or need extra help around the house to look after your toddler, a nanny can be the best option, if you can afford one.

What does a nanny do?

The benefit of having a nanny rather than putting your child in nursery or with a childminder is the one-to-one care they can offer your toddler.

Unlike a childminder, who usually looks after more than one baby or child at a time, and tends to be based at her own home, a nanny comes to your house for the hours of work you require. Some nannies can live with you if you want them to, but this is usually more the case with younger nannies or au pairs. More experienced nannies will usually work at your home each day – for the days required each week – and then leave each evening.

Most nannies will have undergone childcare training but it will be up to you to decide if a nanny’s experience and qualifications meet your needs.

If you want a nanny to spend all her time with your child and then do additional housework while the child naps, make this clear from the start. Some nannies will expect only to do housework related to the child – for example, the baby or toddler’s laundry, cooking meals for the child, tidying in the nursery – but some might be prepared to do other general housework.

Finding a nanny

You can find a nanny by placing an advertisement in a local shop or online, or more commonly you will be able to find a nanny through a reputable nanny agency. Families have all kinds of needs – from varied hours to working weekends to expecting a nanny to travel with them abroad – and an agency can help put you in touch with the right candidates.

Interview for the job in your home. Don’t feel you have to accept the first nanny you see just out of politeness – go with your gut instinct, see how the nanny reacts to being in your home and with your child, and ask any good candidates to come back more than once to talk about the job. After all, this person will spend a lot of time with your child and trust, mutual respect and being able to get on with each other will be hugely important.

Employing a nanny

If you find a nanny through an agency you will have to pay a fee once you take her on. However, beyond this, you will be her employer and it is up to you to ensure that she is legally entitled to work in the UK and to sort out her payroll details each week or month.

You will find useful advice regarding the specifics of employing someone’s services at the website for HM Revenue & Customs.

You will need to take into account employers tax and national insurance as well as her own employee’s tax. Many nannies quote a weekly rate that is net (that is, they are paid a fee that does not have tax deducted from it and you pay any tax yourself on top). This can mean that you agree a wage of say, £25,000, but you have to take into account her tax, your employer’s tax and any national insurance payments as well.

Employing a nanny full time, five days a week, can easily cost more than £30,000 and you should think about other costs such as whether or not she will be able to use your car and need to be added to any insurance cover.

For many parents, taking on childcare is their first experience of being an employer, and it can be well worth your while paying a reasonable fee to a company who specialise in nanny payroll and employment law, to cover yourself.


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