5 things to remember when hiring a nanny

By Louise Dunham, Placement Solutions

I was interviewed a few years ago about the ‘ins and outs’ of hiring a nanny, during which I summarised five important things that need to be remembered during the hiring process. While many readers will be familiar with some or all of these, I thought it would be useful to summarise them here, as a reminder for those who might be about to hire a new nanny, or a guide for those looking to employ their first nanny.

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 child care for your children in your 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.

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. Obviously an agent will check these documents ourselves if you are hiring through an agency, but there’s nothing to stop you asking to see them yourself 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 – by the child’s parents or an agency – and paid the award wage as a minimum.

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 in-home child care.

4. As employees, nannies must have their superannuation payments, work cover insurance and ‘pay as you go’ tax instalments managed by their employer.

All of this can get complicated and time consuming, which is why many people choose to use an agency with a full and separate payroll service (just Family Payroll). It’s just simpler. However, whether you employ and pay your nanny yourself or through an agency, the important thing to remember is that a Nanny is an employee and so entitled to the same rights as any other employee.

5. Include plans to give your Nanny professional development opportunities.

Being a Nanny can be a lonely experience in many ways. As much as all nannies love working with their children, they need adult conversation as well. Most don’t usually get to even speak to an adult except at the start and end of the day, and interaction with others in their profession can be very rare indeed.

For this reason we put a lot of emphasis on creating frequent professional development opportunities for all our nannies. Professional development gives 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.

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.

Related topics

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

Gain more Parenting Insights at our Expos

Get your Expo tickets today! View Expo dates