Good nannies become part of the family, and families are about trust. You trust your family to have your back when you need it, and even when they get things wrong, you trust them to make amends. No nanny expects their employers to be faultless, and in return, no family should expect their nanny to be perfectly perfect in every way. Here are three top tips to consider when deciding whether to entrust yourself to a family as their nanny:
Do they take their responsibilities as employers seriously?
Except in certain circumstances, the vast majority of nannies are not contractors, but legally the employees of the family they work for. Amongst other entitlements, employees have the right to a contract of employment, holiday and sick pay, clear disciplinary and grievance procedures, and to know that employer's liability insurance is in place.
If a family has everything ready to go, that's a great sign. If not, it might be worth a conversation to find out if they just didn't know what was necessary.
Are they clear about the nanny's responsibilities?
Of course, no two nannying jobs are the same, and very likely no two days will be the same. Some nannies perform multiple household duties, including cooking, cleaning and other work in addition to childcare, while others are focussed much more on just some elements of childcare. Whatever the requirements, it is a good idea for a nanny to be very clear from the outset about what they are and are not expected to take on, and the hours they will work.
As long as everyone is happy, there is no problem with different arrangements, but if a family is vague about what they need from the outset, it could spell trouble down the line if they start making unreasonable demands.
What will you do if things go wrong?
Most of the time you will be able to resolve problems informally. As we said at the start of this article, no-one is perfect and families will make mistakes. But if an issue becomes entrenched, for example, a family that consistently underpays, or who insists on longer hours than were agreed, or who consistently makes other unreasonable demands, further action might be necessary. In that case it is important to know where you can go for advice, guidance and if necessary, representation.
It may be possible to get free advice from a Citizen's Advice Bureau or if the problem concerns employment, from ACAS. If you are a member of a trade union, they should also be able to help. Another place to check is your insurance, which will often include access to free legal advice and representation, although you should check to make sure it is independent and provided by qualified lawyers.
Guest post by Daniel Weir, Research Analyst (Morton Michel)
Morton Michel has been trusted by childcare professionals for 57 years to provide insurance, risk management and service solutions tailored specifically for the childcare and education sectors.
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