This topic is for discussing childcare options. If you want to advertise, please use your Local site.

First nanny - tell me everything!

(21 Posts)
MrNedSchneebly Sat 09-May-15 19:44:36

Have hired a nanny (live out) for my two DC, DS (3) and DD (8 months).

She's accepted a lower offer than she'd like so I want to try and be a really great employer.

Nannies what do you expect as the basics when you arrive at a job?

I've got a very old changing bag with a broken zip so can't close. Is that the kind of thing you'd think ffs? Shall I get a new one?

How much money should be in the kitty? We are massively stretching ourselves to have a nanny so hope she won't need to spend a lot but don't want to be stingy. At the being at home moment I spend £3-5 a week (not including bills, mortgage and food shopping of course) but I'm guessing this isn't enough! grin

Should I do a welcome pack with list of things to do in the area, routines, food etc? All with the caveat that they are very much a guide and I trust her to do what she wants.

Should I provide food for her and ask her what she wants?

Do I need to draw up a proper contract? How do I do this?

How much of a handover should I do?

And any other information at all!

Thank you in advance!

LotusLight Sat 09-May-15 20:06:11

We had a daily nanny too (teenagers now so don't need one).
Yes we always had a written contract. In fact by law it's required. It should say all the obvious things like holidays, pay, hours. Best to say no sick pay except statutory sick pay (as that encourages them in rather than staying off sick being paid).

You can probably find examples on line. Don't let her start until you've both signed it.

Handover each day and night - few minutes usually. I cannot see much point in long discussions. She can make a note in a kitchen diary if anything notable has happened. Don't regularly get back early and let her go early or she'll think that's what will always happen. Don't let he come late ever. if she's 5 minutes late do mention it. She needs to arrive just before the start time every day.

I cannot remember about food. I think we fed ours at work but discuss and agree before she starts.

She's lucky to have a job. If the zip is broken on the bag I'm sure she can live with that. Just be nice to her, smile, praise her - gets you a very long way. On the kitty sometimes it helps to ask what happened in her last job so you can keep things as she's used to.

DearGirl Sat 09-May-15 20:10:58

Kitty - depends what she will spend a week. If I am just paying for groups of can be £5 a week if I do trips more, also I pick up milk/new shoes/post parcels etc so some weeks spend £30 or more.

I don't agree that she has to be in before she starts work. Agree a start time that enables you to have a good handover on the morning and be home before her finish time so you can handover.

MrNedSchneebly Sat 09-May-15 20:22:38

Is that deemed ok the sick pay thing? Don't want her thinking I'm being unreasonable.

How much time should I spend with her initially? Shall I just leave her to get on with it or spend a morning or something with her?

Thanks for the help!

threegoingonthirty Sat 09-May-15 21:00:17

Yes, first 3 days unpaid then SSP is standard. You can always pay more on a discretionary basis if she is seriously ill - if paid from day 1 you risk lost of days off for coughs and colds.

Kitty depends entirely what you want her to do with the kids! She should arrive at her start time - I personally allow 15 minutes before I need to leave and 15 minutes after I expect to get home to allow for traffic etc.

nannynick Sat 09-May-15 21:29:49

Cost of activities varies. Some toddler groups are a pound, others can be a couple of pounds, things like softplay can be £4+.
I would set a budget, say 2.50 per child per day... so if working 5 days then £25 for the week. See how it goes. If you feel that is too much, then drop it a bit. Let nanny manage the budget but ask them initially to make a note of what is spent so that you can work out between you what is a reasonable weekly kitty amount.

Travel, how will they get to/from places? If using their own car, pay 45p per mile. Cars are costly to buy, maintain and insure. 45p is the mileage rate HMRC permits before it is classed as a taxable benefit.

Make sure you register with HMRC as an employer as soon as possible (can do it up to 2 months before first payroll run). It takes a few weeks to register. Learn how to do payroll, or use a nanny payroll company.
Make sure you pay on time, a frequent complaint from nannies is that they are not paid on time. So make sure you pay when you say you will, such as the last working day of the month. Always give a payslip everytime you pay your nanny.

Handover times are not needed most of the time. Use digital calendars, photo sharing, email, to keep in touch with what they do during the day.

Allow plenty of time for delays getting home from work. Far better to be back early than to keep nanny waiting. If you run late, then tell your nanny at the earliest opportunity. Do not say "just leaving office now" an hour after you usually leave the office, let them know as soon as you know you will not be leaving on time.

Contract Examples:
nannyjob.co.uk/information/employment/employment_contracts
www.childcare.co.uk/information/nanny-contracts
ACAS: Info about what a Written Statement needs to contain

nannynick Sat 09-May-15 21:33:23

Food wise, nanny should get all meals whilst on duty. This in reality tends to mean lunch and teatime. Eating with the children, eating same/similar to the children. I would not buy them anything overly special but do ask them what they do/don't eat. Expect them to cook for themselves plus the children.

Personally I prefer to just be left to get on with it but all nannies are different. The children need to get used to you not being there, so start as you mean to go on in my view.

Callaird Sat 09-May-15 21:36:19

I have two weeks paid sick pay in my contract. I also have references that state that I never took many sick days and some say that I came in when I really should have been in bed. (9 days in 28 years!)

I also don't think she needs to be in before she starts work, if there is anything you need her to know, write her a note or text her during her working day, there is no need for a hand over in the morning, but 10 minutes at the end of the day is nice. Don't do what one of my ex-bosses did and spend 10 minutes telling me about her day and then asking about our day when I should be leaving to go home.

It depends what she will be spending kitty money on. If she is working 5 days then she'll probably want to do classes, I don't know where you are but where we are, classes range from £2 to £8 per child per class although there is usually a lower rate for a second child. We do classes 3 mornings a week and swim one day, which comes to £23.50 a week for one child! I also buy bread, milk, etc, dry cleaning if needed out of kitty. Last month I spent £180 but included new shoes, two dry cleaning bills and a birthday present for a friends party. It soon adds up.

I quite like to be thrown in at the deep end with older children, it's quite difficult to bond with a child when they only want mummy! However, I have only had babies for the last 21 years so have had one to 6 weeks hand over, babies don't care as long as they are fed and cuddled. I also disagree with not letting nanny go early, start late if you are going to be around, your child will only want you after not seeing you all day. If you come home early to do something, then try to sneak in and stay out of the way until you are finished. Its not fair to make your nanny the bad guy, having to tell your toddler, no you can't go and see mummy, and drag them screaming away from the room you are in.

Yes you should at least offer your nanny lunch, I eat whatever my charge is eating, maybe a slice or two of toast for breakfast, tea/coffee and biscuits/fruit for the odd snack. Ask her what she wants for lunch, show her where she can make a shopping list or give her the password for on-line shop so she can add things. (I do the on-lube food shop for my employers and leave them a food plan for the week!)

Always leave the house as you expect to find it when you get home, don't leave a full clean dishwasher and all the washing up from the previous evening congealing in the sink! I can let a couple of mugs and a bowl go, anything more than that pisses me off. Say thank you, show respect if you want respect returned, appreciate her if she does a good job and occasionally tell her how you couldn't cope without her!! The best one from my current boss is - having a nanny makes me realise that we needed a nanny way before we had children!

I think this is long enough now!

nannynick Sat 09-May-15 21:40:57

Nanny payroll companies can create a contract for you. If using that service please remove any Lay-Off clause. It is really not good for the Employer:Employee relationship to have such a clause in the contract to enable you to spend as long as you like on holiday and not to pay your nanny their usual amount.

Talking of holiday... nannies holiday entitlement is a minimum of 5.6 weeks. If working 5 days per week this is 28 days.
As employer you can dictate when all holiday is taken. In reality though it is better if you try to let your nanny have some choice, such as letting them decide when 1/2 of it occurs. Try to fix as many holiday dates in advance as possible - you can probably think of some right now, such as Bank Holidays, period between Xmas and New Year. Though it depends on what holidays you will be taking yourself, you may need your nanny to work over Xmas period - if so, tell them as soon as possible so they can make appropriate plans.

nannynick Sat 09-May-15 21:53:26

Practical thing: Check your Home Contents insurance policy covers employing a member of staff (Employers liability insurance). Some policies do not have that option, helps to reduce the cost, so you may need to call your insurer to add it, or take our separate employers liability insurance (it is quite costly as a separate, around £100 a year). MortonMichel: Employers Liability Insurance

Try to make things easy, does your 8 month old prefer a sling to a buggy? Would nanny wear a sling? I did not like the idea at first having never done it but having done it I far prefer to Sling A Baby than to use a buggy.

Taking carseats in and out of cars can be a pain, try to avoid it if possible. Might mean buying additional seats which can be quite a cost, so factor it in to your cost calculations.

Cantkinsale Sat 09-May-15 22:13:24

Re the broken zip-she's lucky to have a job comment. I'm glad I never worked for you Lotus. Everyone should take pride in their work and the appearance when going out and about with LOs, so no I wouldn't be too chuffed with a broken zip. That said, I'd try and repair it rather than expect employer to rush out and buy a new one.

Kitty - I always suggested a float of around £40 per wk. sometimes I used more, most times I used less. As long as there was £40 in the float on a Monday. That did go towards nappies, wipes, dry cleaning, milk etc etc as well as the odd playgroup. Each household is different and it would depend on the individual requirements. I no longer use a kitty as such, I have an account card which is topped up on a monthly basis. Ask your nanny to keep receipts for everything, then you can keep an eye on what the money is being spent on.

Welcome pack sounds a very good idea, especially if she hasn't worked in your area at all. Local playgroups, parks, GP surgery (Drs name). List of contacts including those people she can call upon in an emergency especially if she can't get hold of either of you.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 10-May-15 09:01:26

Never get in early and let nanny go. Lucky to have a job?? You are lucky you had a nanny who wanted to work for you?

Basically treat your nanny as you would like your boss to treat you. Respect listen and don't ever undermind

Kitty varies as people have said

Yes all meals on duty

I don't get to work 15min early - not do I expect to leave early or late. Just on time

Make sure you pay your nanny on time many don't sad

LotusLight Sun 10-May-15 09:15:45

I did say be nice to her, though. I have always been good to a nanny. Our first stayed for 10 years (cannot remember if changing bag was broken or not but a lot of our baby equipment was second hand as we didn't have much money - I was 22).

The being on time and sick pay issues I would put first in priority and having a written contract as for full time working parent whose life collapses if childcare breaks down it is the most core issue.

We never paid her late once. Make sure that is absolutely top of any list.

I agree about arranging holidays early. We have booked our Dec 2015/Jan 2016 holiday already and some people need to book time off work very early indeed to get the dates they need. We have a kitchen calendar with every holiday date on and the main things happening too. You might want to do it digitally but a week per view paper diary certainly is vital in this family including now for the older teenagers.

Also if she's good do whatever you can to keep her. With our first we let her bring after 5 years her first baby and then her second and first to work. Then we basically taught her to drive and took her out on loads of driving practice etc etc. It pays off being good to people. However there are a lot of awful people - nannies and employers - out there and unreliable people and if the contract says statutory sick pay which means no pay for the first 3 days and then at statutory rates then someone prone to taking to her bed with a slight cold will usualyl make the effort to come in. If she's good and hardly ever off sick after a few months you could on a discretionary basis choose to pay her when off sick. To be fair ours were hardly ever off sick anyway. We did though have two nannies away on maternity leave (one twice) which was pretty difficult for us although lovely for them.

livsmommy Sun 10-May-15 16:48:18

I really don't agree with the don't come home early and let nanny go or never let her come in late, of course not every employer gets to ever come home early/go in late but if you ever do and it's convenient I would say allowing your nanny the same privilege goes a long way to keeping them happy! I wouldn't like to use a changing bag with a broken zip, when I had littlies I would only use the changing bag and not a handbag so my purse etc would be in there to. Definitely need a contract, there are many sample contracts online that you can look at. Worth looking into using a payroll company if you can afford it, will make your life much easier. Kitty for 2 children per week I would say around £20, if they are doing the odd 'day' out ie to the zoo will be more. Expect to provide lunch/snacks, I just eat whatever's in the fridge but it's nice if you find out a couple of things she likes and get them in. Sick pay I always have written into my contract 5 days full pay, not every employer will agree, mine always have though and it certainly doesn't 'encourage' me to
stay off for the slightest thing as someone has suggested! Always say thank you at the end of the day!

threegoingonthirty Sun 10-May-15 22:07:06

Definitely give her time off when it works for you! Breeds goodwill.

I have my nanny until 6. I am almost always home by 5.45 and quite often by 5 or 5.15 and she goes when I come home - I wouldn't dream of keeping her hanging around. Similarly when I had a late start and early finish a while ago she got nearly a whole day off. I assume that this will translate into a little give and take if I am ever late, though has never happened yet.

Nanny company will sort payroll - nannytax is the best known but I use payefornannies who are great and much cheaper. They do a standard contract and will adapt it if you want. For a bargain £20 per year you have access to their employment lawyer.

Welcome pack - I printed out a local map and marked the playgrounds, library, shops etc. and did a list of phone numbers.

I did one paid day before she started (really for me to be sure I'd made the right decision - stayed home with her for a bit, then went out and left her with the little one and we did the school run together) then I think I took the first day off work but made myself scarce for most of it, but she knew I was local if needed. My 3 year old is quite clingy so if I was there he wouldn't have played with her much!

You provide food - I always ask what they like and make it clear they can help themselves to anything in the house - on the odd occasion that there is something in the fridge that I'm keeping for a special occasion I just mention it that morning.

Kitty - how many days a week does she have them? If 5 days, then I think you do want to allow for the odd toddler group which will need paying for, if only 1 or 2 days then maybe not necessary. Depends what you have locally that is free - does your library do rhyme time for example?

Will post again if I think of anything else!

MrNedSchneebly Mon 11-May-15 09:10:43

How does the kitty work? Should I have an actual jar in the kitchen or something? With a notebook next to it to keep track of costs?

Have ordered a new changing bag!

Also DS bedroom is a total disaster as we are going to be redoing it soon. So toy and book storage etc a bit rubbish and his chest of drawers is too small so a bit overflowing and have to squeeze things in. Is this the kind of thing that would piss a nanny off a bit?

MrNedSchneebly Mon 11-May-15 09:13:10

She's doing four days. We live in fairly central London so there are lots of things to do for free or for a quid or two locally. Should I be funding her bus travel? Obviously if I was asking her to take them somewhere on the bus but say she decides she wants to meet friends somewhere or prefers a Playgroup that is a bus ride away should I be funding that?

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 11-May-15 09:45:35

You need to cover all the costs incurred while she's looking after your children, including bus fare.

You could ask her to stay local/not use the bus, but that is something that would really grate after a while. It's also quite limiting for the children. I work in London and there is masses to do locally, but it's also nice to go somewhere further afield occasionally. If she's limited to walking only, with a three year old, then she has a mile radius at most?

You need to find a balance were she is staying locally mostly, but is also free to get on a bus without it being an issue. I would initially let her get on with it and then if she is using the bus too much you can bring that up at her 6 week review.

MrNedSchneebly Mon 11-May-15 09:54:41

Thanks that's a good idea. Id be happy for her to go on bus etc sometimes I just am spending my whole salary + more on her wages so really need to cut spending as much as possible but obviously don't want her to feel like she is having to struggle in limits etc.

threegoingonthirty Mon 11-May-15 14:48:25

I have a wallet in a kitchen drawer, I put £20 in it occasionally and my nanny leaves receipts for whatever she spends in it.

Cantkinsale Mon 11-May-15 20:14:04

I used a note book to mark all out goings, with dates and shop names etc. I then had a Tupperware with a lid on in which I kept all the receipts, kept it tidy too rather than having scraps of paper lying around a drawer. Every last detail right down to the last 1/2p was accounted for in that book, to the point boss said I should have been an accountant grin

The drawers overflowing, I'm sure she can deal with it in the short term. Long term I'd do some rearranging, perhaps a shelf in your room/spare room for say things like sweaters, they are very bulky, I have the same here, but, thankfully we do have a spare shelf or two elsewhere. She'll manage somehow. There are always ways around things smile

Good luck.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now