Employing a Nanny 

What is a Nanny?

Care that takes place in a child’s own home does not need to be Ofsted registered. However, some Nannies choose to or at the request of the parent, who is their employer. 
A Nanny must be at least 18 years of age, there are no other set entry requirements. Ideally a nanny should have:

  • first aid training
  • child protection training 
  • qualifications in childcare such as an NNEB, CACHE Diploma, NVQ or BTEC

It is preferable that a nanny have 2 years practical or theoretical experience, the parent employing them will decide if that is desirable or essential.

Some nannies will live-in, while others will commute to your home to work.

Night nannies 
A night nanny has a special knowledge of caring for babies from new born up to 1 year. You can employ them for a few nights to several weeks and usually work 8 to 12 hours a night. They will be expected to take care of all your baby’s needs throughout the night such as:

  • changing the baby
  • settling the baby
  • supporting the baby to get into a good sleep pattern
  • feeding the baby by taking the baby to the mother to breastfeed, or bottle feeding
Shared nannies
Shared nannies are where two or more families share a nanny between them. This can work well but the employment and tax situations can be complex. It's worth investing time in getting appropriate advice.
If more than 2 families use the care at the same time, the nanny will need to register as a childminder.

Nannies, also known as home-based child carers, provide childcare in the child’s home. They can look after children of any age and can provide care at more unsociable hours.

The pros and cons of using a nanny or home-based childcare

The benefits of using home-based childcare
  • Your child can form a close bond with the nanny in the comfort of their own home in familiar surroundings
  • Siblings of different ages can be looked after together
  • You have a high degree of control over your child's routine
  • The Nanny can offer care for more days and times than other forms of childcare
  • You and your child don't have to travel to and from the childcare setting
  • Children can be looked after even when unwell
Factors which might make home-based childcare less suitable
  • Your child may be happier and better stimulated when around lots of other children
  • Continuity of care is important - au pairs can only stay in the UK for 2 years, and a nanny may move on
  • You will have the responsibility of employing someone. This will include:
    • arranging contracts,
    • sorting out payslips,
    • tax and national insurance contributions
    • work place pensions
  • If your nanny is not Ofsted register you may lose out on financial support with childcare costs
  • Nannies whether registered with Ofsted or not are unable to offer government funded free childcare

Finding a Nanny

You may be able to find a suitable nanny for yourself, through a friend of the family or by word of mouth. The other option is to use a Nanny Agency. The Association of Nanny Agencies, list 20 London based Nanny Agencies.

Why use an agency?
Agencies will check the suitability of individuals before putting families in touch with them. This includes

  • verifying qualifications
  • obtaining and checking references
  • police checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • arranging visa applications in the case of au pairs
  • to assist in the drawing up of contracts
  • Advise on things such as pay

If you choose to find someone yourself, see what you need to do and to be aware at www.gov.uk/au-pairs-employment-law

Financial support with childcare costs

By using a nanny who is on the Voluntary Register with Ofsted, you may be able to get financial support through:
  • The childcare element of Working Tax credit
  • Employer supported childcare voucher schemes
  • Tax Free Childcare
For more on these schemes please visit the  Childcare Choices  website.
Nannies are unable to register on the Early Years Register so cannot receive government funding for 2, 3 and 4 year olds

Other childcare based in your own home

Au pairs
An Au Pair travels to the UK to live with your family to experience a new culture and to learn a foreign language. They will provide childcare and domestic help in exchange for:>
  • board,
  • lodging
  • the attend a local language school

You will give them ‘pocket money’ and they are not classed as an employee. They are not entitled to employee benefits or normal tax and national insurance contributions. More information about employing someone as an au-pair to work in your home 
A babysitter can look after your children whilst you go out for an evening or for short periods of time. Often these are family friends, but you can find them through agencies. Babysitters are usually paid by the hour or the evening, and this is for you to negotiate. You are responsible for ensuring the safety of your child at all times. The NSPCC recommend that a babysitter should be at least 16 years of age.
Mother's Help
Mother's Help is someone with childcare experience but no formal qualifications. They are 'extra pair of hands' to support you looking after your children. They are generally more prepared to undertake light household duties. The cost of a mother's help depends on the duties and hours they work.
Family and friends
If a member of your family or a friend looks after your children in your own home, they will not need to register with Ofsted as long as:

  • they do it as an occasional favour rather than for payment
  • your children are all aged eight or over
  • the care happens in your home.