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Your questions answered...

1.     We don’t need a full-time nanny, it’s more ad hoc care that we need – can you still help?

Answer: Absolutely. We appreciate that not everyone needs an extra pair of hands at the same time on the same day of every day of the week – and many prospective nannies feel the same way, too. There’s always a chance that the nanny you want may not be available, but it’s our intention at Granny as Nanny to create a pool of ad hoc nannies from which we can provide more flexible childcare.

2.     What happens if it’s not working out with the nanny we’ve chosen?

Answer: If you find yourself in need of a new nanny – for whatever reason – in the six months following your placement, we are here to help provide a new nanny for no additional charge.

3.     I’ve heard that parents are responsible for paying their nanny’s taxes – is this right?

Answer: This is absolutely right, yes. When you employ a person – whether you are running your own business or employing a nanny to work in your home – you are taking on an employer’s payroll responsibility so you have to pay tax and National Insurance on their behalf. Any confusion tends to arise because nannies – unlike other types of employees – typically negotiate their wages net of tax, and it is then up to the parent to pay the tax and National Insurance for them. So when we talk about a nanny’s pay being £350 for week, for example, this £350 represents her take home pay – the tax you pay is in addition to this. NB: If you pay your nanny less than £160 a week (gross) you can apply for a simplified Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme, whereby HMRC does most of the work and you will not be fined. If earnings drop below the lower earnings limit of £136 a week no employer’s NI is due. The employee’s NI is pay only on earnings of more than £136 a week. However, the hourly rate for nannies means that most parents employing their services will be liable for these costs.

4.     What household chores can we reasonably expect a nanny to take on?

Answer: This really varies from family to family. In practice, when there are really young children involved, the nanny is likely to be fully occupied taking care of them and won’t have time for household chores beyond those that relate to the children, for example, children’s laundry, making beds, shopping for and preparing food for the children’s meals etc. If the children are still sleeping during the day, it’s likely that their nap-times will provide the only opportunity for the nanny to complete her nursery duties. With older children, however, especially if they are in full-time education (and you are employing the nanny on a full-time basis), there will probably be an expectation (hope?!) that they will be happy to take on a few household tasks during the day, whether it’s cooking a family meal for the evening, or walking the dog. The most important thing is that you are absolutely clear from the outset in terms of what your requirements are. The worst thing you can do is withhold information that could/would cause any sort of resentment later when you suddenly spring it on your unsuspecting nanny. Broadly speaking, if you are looking for someone who’s happy to muck in in all aspects of family life… then say so!

5.     We want a nanny who is prepared to commit for the long-term – what can we do to ensure this happens?

Answer: This is the million dollar question! We’ve been given all sorts of advice when it comes to trying to secure a long-term nanny and, truthfully, there really is nothing you can do, other than to ensure you provide a pleasant and pleasurable working environment for your nanny. It’s also important to be realistic about the role you are offering and the fact that the role will, in all likelihood, evolve as your children grow older. If you employ a nanny for a 4 and a 2 year old, neither of whom are in education/nursery, then the job will be very different even a year later, when – perhaps – one is in school and one is ready to spend one or two days a week at nursery. When interviewing, be realistic about what you want – and if a long-term commitment is very important to you, say so. Of course, no one knows what the future may bring (our favourite nannies ended up leaving the role due to marriage and/or relocation rather than disaffection), but at Granny as Nanny we make it clear to our nannies that we expect them to commit to a role for at least a year.

6.     How long does it (usually) take to find a nanny?

Answer: This is dependent on so many factors – it’s much like buying a house! The perfect nanny may walk through our/your door a matter of minutes after you submit your registration, whereas at other times, it may take a little longer to find that perfect person. I would say two things: Firstly, the more detail you can provide regarding the role you are looking to fill, the better – we then won’t waste your time sending you nannies who are clearly not right for you; secondly, trust your instinct. If a nanny doesn’t feel right, don’t confirm an appointment, simply because you’re ‘desperate’ – better to take on a temp nanny until you find the ‘perfect person’. This is certainly what I wish I’d done in the past because, without exception, every single time my husband and I have appointed a nanny on this basis (because we’ve been desperate), we’ve regretted it. At the same time, it’s worth considering what your deal-breaking priorities are – and where you can be more flexible: For us, the personality, values and reliability of the nanny have always been the most important factors for us, while – for others – a driver who can cook might be more important.

7.     How many hours per day can we expect a nanny to work?

Answer: 60 hours a week (working form 7am ‘til 7pm for example) is not uncommon, but – again – this is very much up to the individual. Some nannies are more than happy to work extra hours, while others are looking for a more part-time role. Again, be honest about the hours that you need and we can be sure of searching for someone who fits your requirements from the outset.

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