An Inside Look at Being a UK Nanny
Nanny positions in the United Kingdom vary from employer to employer. In general, the career choice entails caring for one or more children of a client. Accommodations, duties and wages along with any perks or additional benefits differ and are typically discussed before the signing of a contract.
1. Accommodations–If a nanny is not required to reside at the client’s home, employers offer locations in and around the property where the caretaker may enjoy meals, take breaks away from the family, or spend time when the children or family is not in need of immediate services. When expecting the nanny to stay on the premises, employers typically provide a room or living quarters where the employee may spend private time during off-duty hours. This area is typically off limits to the family and especially to the children. The nanny’s quarters should provide the option of a locking door. The nanny should also be aware if someone else has a key.
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2. Duties-Employers hire nannies to care for children while both parents work. If living on the property, the nanny may have the responsibility of providing care when the child awakens and taking on the duty of putting the child to bed at night. Nannies may take children to and from school, to extracurricular activities and supervise play of younger children. Older children may require assistance with homework. Employers might also require that duties include meal preparation, doing laundry or taking care of errands. If requirements include services not directly related to childcare, these duties should be discussed during the interview process and agreed upon by both parties.
3. Wages-The salary a nanny receives depends on a number of circumstances. Employees working within larger cities often receive higher wages compared with nannies working in more rural areas. Wages might also depend on the number of children requiring care and any additional duties needed by the family. Nannies who travel to and from the employer’s home usually receive an hourly salary. Nannies living on the premises commonly receive a standard wage determined by the employer. Live-in nannies commonly receive a lesser wage compared to their travelling counterparts. Regardless of the type of working conditions offered, the United Kingdom demands that employers pay wages that lie within the guidelines of the minimum wage standards. Employers must also pay the taxes on those wages and provide National Insurance.
4. Working Hours-Live-in nannies generally work Monday through Friday and provide services for anywhere between eight to 12 hours per day. Nannies who commute to and from the work site often work fewer hours, which the employer determines as needed. Depending on the number of children in the family and the family situation itself, nannies might be required to accompany the family on outings or holidays. Employers might also request 24-hour child care services if the parents plan on embarking on a trip without the children. Parents should discuss wages and working hours with the prospective employee in advance.
5. Meals-Nannies residing with the family typically receive meals above the wages that they receive. The employer cannot charge the nanny for any food consumed during working hours. Meals are considered an additional benefit or perk of the job.
6. Time Off-Employers generally discuss time-off with prospective employees at the time of hiring along with the special occasions that nannies may need to provide child care services. Employers usually award nannies with four weeks of paid time off during the year. Parents commonly determine the date of two of the weeks while the other two weeks are left to the discretion of the nanny. Accompanying the family on holiday is not considered part of paid holidays. If travelling with the family, the employer remains responsible for the nanny’s travel, accommodation and meal expenses during the holiday.
7. Benefits-Benefits or perks vary from employer to employer. These might include the option of setting guidelines for the children, working unsupervised by the parents and having access to the employer’s home. Some families may provide nannies with communication devices that frequently include mobile phones. Nannies might also receive transportation in the form of a vehicle or commuting allowance. Employers often also provide nannies with a special bonus or gift as a gratuity during holiday seasons.
Statistics indicate that only 20% of the nannies employed actually reside with the family. Families and prospective nannies requiring more information concerning the legal mandates involving the position may contact the Professional Association of Nanny Nurses.
Rachael Cherry is a wife, mother, and writer who is passionate about helping connect families in need with high quality caregivers. She has taken that passion and put it to work through NannyPro, a respected online nanny referral service. Learn more by visiting @NannyPro on Twitter.
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