Nannies: Benefits and Costs
Posted on 13th February 2020
Part One Of My Three Part Series on the Benefits and Costs of Using Paid Childcare.
If you are considering heading back to work after maternity leave, your first headache is probably due to sourcing childcare. Whether you are excited or daunted at the prospect of returning to the adult world, researching your childcare options can be a minefield!
In this and two other articles, I will discuss the three main childcare options – day nurseries, childminders and nannies – leaving you to choose the right option for your family.
Nannies, like childminders and most nursery staff, hold childcare qualifications, paediatric first aid certificates and DBS (formally CRB) checks. They also often hold nanny insurance, although it’s not a requirement unless they are Ofsted registered (more on that shortly!) They are your employee, they come to your house for their working day, and solely care for your child/children.
Nannies look after all ages of children – it depends on your family! If you have a child at home and one at school, you have a complete childcare option rather than using nursery for one child, breakfast and after school club for the other, and muddling through school holidays in any fashion possible.
Nannies working days and hours are set by you as the employer, so are often the most flexible form of childcare. You pay for the hours you need.
Nannies can also be Ofsted registered, allowing them to accept childcare vouchers and payment through the tax free childcare system. However, they are not registered in the same way as nurseries and childminders – nannies are on the voluntary section of the Ofsted register, so are not inspected and graded (although Ofsted inspect around 10% of nannies, it is just to check paperwork is in place).
As nannies work in your home, your children get to spend their time in their own environment, and stick to their usual routine. They are surrounded by familiarity, with their own toys, beds, and pets! Using a nanny allows your children to spend their days exactly as they would with you – attending clubs, classes and playdates, eating the meals you want them to eat, spending time with their siblings and (as we all need now and then) curling up on their own sofa to watch Frozen.
Nannies also take on some jobs around the house where they relate to the children, such as their laundry, cooking, tidying bedrooms/making beds, and sorting out the playroom. This leaves you free to relax in the evenings – your nanny may even make some extra dinner so you don’t have to think about cooking!
Nannies are the most expensive form of childcare, with rates varying (in Hertfordshire) between £13 and £16 per hour (costs updated early 2023), depending on the nanny’s qualifications and experience. However, nannies do not charge per child like nurseries and childminders, so if you have 2 or more children, it can work out more cost effective to hire a nanny.
Points to note if you decide to hire a nanny – nannies are employed by you (they do not meet the requirements to be self-employed, in most cases) so you are responsible for paying their tax and National Insurance contributions (factored into the figures above). There are specific nanny payroll companies that take care of this for you – Rosebud Nanny Agency recommends two companies, Way2PAYE and PAYEfornannies - more info can be seen on our Useful Links page.
You may also need to arrange alternative childcare when the nanny takes annual leave (or take leave yourself to cover it), although you as the employer dictate half of her holiday allowance to coincide with your own. Also, if your nanny is sick, you will need last minute cover or may have to take the day off yourself. Nannies understand the knock on effect of taking a sick day, so any nanny worth her salt won’t take them lightly!
On the up side, if your children are ill, the nanny will care for them so you can still go to work. For chicken pox, or other bugs that spread through the children one by one, this can be a lengthy period where nurseries or childminders can’t accept the children into their setting.
If you have more questions, or would like some advice, feel free to get in touch.
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