Common Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Nanny or Au Pair

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Nannies and au pairs provide excellent options for parents of children of all ages looking for short and long term options but when hiring a helping hand with your childcare, what common mistakes can be encountered? And more importantly, how can you avoid them to find the very best nanny or au pair to cater to your family’s needs?

Nanny recruitment agency, County Nannies, provides their top tips on hiring a professional nanny or inviting an au pair into your home whilst detailing the four common mistakes made by even the most intuitive parents when enlisting childcare help…

Be Thorough With Your Background Checks

Whilst nanny employers often ask prospective employees if they have a police check, many parents don’t dig as deep as they should do when checking references and backgrounds, simply because sometimes it’s not always easy to find out all the information you need. In the majority of cases, time is not always on your side if you are looking to fill the position quickly.

It is advisable that you actually speak to the candidates’ referees about what has been disclosed, as it is often the case that you will be able to have a more candid chat over the phone which may cover not just their professional experience but also personal traits which may help you in your decision over their suitability to your family and wider household.

Get the Rate Right & Communicate

Hiring a nanny or au pair can be one of the very best options in childcare. Providing a stable addition to the family for your children to really rely on and enlisting full-time help can be expensive if you wish to hire the right person for this very special job. Do your research into the local rates for nannies and au pairs, asking fellow parents and nanny agencies for their advice. Never offer below the market rate as even if you do secure a nanny at this low rate, the likelihood is they will leave when a better paying job comes along.

Communicate salary details and how it will be paid from the outset, detailing statutory entitlements such as holidays. Whilst nanny salaries are often discussed in net weekly terms, in reality there is a gross cost with tax and NI payable on top so it is best to put an agreed gross figure in the nanny’s employment contract.

Be Realistic About Housekeeping Duties

Another perk of hiring a live-in nanny or au pair is that they may be able to ease some of your housekeeping burdens, which is a real help when running a busy family home. However, it is important to be realistic when delegating chores; whilst it is expected that the nanny or au pair will leave the home as they find it, taking care of dishwashing, full bins and your child’s meal times, it’s unrealistic to expect them to complete a spring clean every time your child is sleeping!

Always Hire with a Written Contract

When recruiting any employee, it is important that details of your agreement and expectations are put into writing for both parties. Don’t make the mistake of hiring a nanny on an “informal” basis, keep it professional and highlight employment terms and conditions, including rates, benefits, holidays, duties and hours, with a contract.

Whilst au pairs are not formal employees (as they come over to the UK as part of a cultural exchange as a type of student) it is important to have a written agreement of what has been agreed in terms of number of hours to be worked, time off and the weekly pocket money, as well as expectations within the family home.

Hiring a nanny or inviting an au pair into your home is an important step for every family so don’t fall victim to these common mistakes and enlist a childcare professional that is in tune with your household and there for the long run!

This post was written by County Nannies Consultancy. County Nannies is a recruitment agency that helps host families develop strong and long lasting professional relationships and friendships with the very best au pairs and nannies.

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