Nannies absolutely love being nannies. Some are young, some are old, some have families and others don’t.
What most nannies don’t like is the connotation that a nanny is a glorified babysitter and not a provider of a valued service in educating a new generation of children.
Louise Dunham is a pioneer of the nanny industry having established leading nanny agency, Placement Solutions, 30 years ago. Louise knows intimately what nannies would like parents to know.
“Parents who haven’t used a nanny before, or if they did so many years ago, need to know what is expected of them today, because things have changed in recent years,” said Louise.
Nannies aren’t domestic slaves.
A professional nanny is a proactive carer who provides personalised care to children in their own home. They can be casual, temporary or permanent; part time or full time; and live-in or live-out.
A nanny’s role includes being an educator, playmate and occasional disciplinarian for one to four children from newborns to tweens; they shouldn’t be expected to act as a housekeeper or a babysitter.
Nannies are also professionals, usually qualified to Certificate III or Diploma level. They will have a current first-aid qualification including an annual CPR refresh, and meet the current police checks and working with children checks relevant to the jurisdiction in which they work and they should be Child Abuse Prevention Certified.
“Parents who leave a list of things to do such as ironing, housecleaning and washing, don’t want a qualified nanny, they want a nanny/housekeeper,” Louise said.
Any parent who asks, “What’s my nanny going to do when my child sleeps?” needs to understand that while the nanny is focused on the child they still need to look after themselves, so they are going to have a toilet break, have some lunch and put their feet up for while so they have energy for the rest of the day.
Of course, nannies will do all the many child-related tasks that need to be done such as cooking and feeding nutritious meals and snacks, cleaning up the kitchen and table after meal preparation and meals, managing the nappies and helping children to nap.
But importantly, nannies are employed to keep children safe, help them learn and entertain them.
Lots of nannies are helping parents with the awkward art of ‘Fakebooking’. We discuss, on our podcast for imperfect parents. Post continues after audio.
Nannies want to be paid legally.
Nannies are entitled to the same rights as everyone else in the workforce. And like any employee, nannies must be formally employed, either by the child’s parents or an agency, and paid the nanny/educator award wage as a minimum.
What many parents don’t know is that nannies cannot be employed as contractors working under their own ABN as this doesn’t meet the ATO’s definition. Nor can they work for cash payments. These are both illegal and could get the parents and the nanny into hot water.
Parents will also need to make regular superannuation payments into the nanny’s fund, as well as organising worker’s compensation insurance and ‘pay as you go’ tax instalments.
All this can get complicated and time consuming and is the reason why many parents choose to use an agency who handles payrolls, which gives peace of mind and limits the paperwork parents need to manage.
As much as nannies love the children they care for, at the end of the day it is a job and nannies have their own life and will go back to their own homes with their own family.