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Should I consider a nanny instead of childminder?

(17 Posts)
gallicgirl Mon 29-Jun-15 11:38:47

I have a child starting school in September and I'm currently on maternity leave.
We are considering me returning to work part time as after paying for childcare, I think we will have the same amount of disposable income whether I work full time or part time. However there is no guarantee that a request to change hours would be granted and I may have to return full time.

The plan was to find a childminder who could pick up DD from school and look after the baby all day. The problem is I can only find 3 childminders locally. One hasn't replied to my email, one is full and the other was a bit vague about whether she would have space or could do pick ups from school.
In reality this gives me no choice over childcare and although I might leave my elder child with a mediocre childminder fora couple hours, I'd prefer the baby was with a minder who can offer a longer term commitment and who will engage with his learning and development when he's older.

So the other option is a nanny. There are lots locally but I'm reluctant as I don't wanttobe reresponsible as an employer. Are there advantages to having a nanny which outweigh my perceived disadvantages? Is the paperwork and tax etc a huge faff? Are there any websites I can look at to see exactly what I would be taking on?

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Mon 29-Jun-15 12:24:34

Nannytax has a good website though I understand that there are cheaper payroll providers. Their service has been excellent so far. I have to pay HMRC quarterly myself [bank transfer] but they could also do this for me if I'd employed a nanny who would be paid monthly.

V little paperwork involved. Nannytax provided employment contracts, letters /addenda relevant to all sorts and you can consult them free of charge for guidance if you have issues with sick leave or need to end the nanny's employment for any reason.

TranmereRover Mon 29-Jun-15 12:29:38

advantages: they'll do the children's laundry and change their sheets so fewer jobs for you when at home
they'll come in when your child is unwell so fewer days off work for you (you have to consider both child's sick days AND child minder's sick days on top of any you might have otherwise)

It's not a total administrative nightmare at all - pay £130 / year and get a company to do it for you - we use PAYE for nannies and they're superb

eeyore12 Mon 29-Jun-15 12:52:53

No rushing around in the morning to get everyone out the door and the children will be at home relaxed and depending on when you get home ready for bed etc so you can spend that time with them rather than bath etc. will look after sick children, will prob run small errands for you while out and about with the children. Will cook for the children and often leave enough in the freezer for you to use on nannys days off if needed. Children in their own home great for routines etc and eldest child to wind down after school. Lots of flexibility for trips out etc during holidays which the childminder may not be able to do due to the other children.

Childrens laundry done and rooms kept tidy.

gallicgirl Mon 29-Jun-15 13:50:08

Thank you everyone.

Think I should add that the one childminder who may be available may not be mediocre- I just don't have any other option and she may not have space anyway!

I'll have a look at nanny tax, thank you. We only live in a 3 bed semi so not a lot of housework etc. Am I right in thinking that any housework they would be prepared to do would only be related to the children? So they would tidy up the toys from the living room but not clean the living room? Just want to be realistic about what to expect.

I understand that I would be responsible for sick pay and holiday pay etc but do I get any of this back from the government?

And can I use childcare vouchers assuming the nanny is ofsted registered?

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Mon 29-Jun-15 14:10:48

Normal nanny duties are only child related duties but there are always variations especially as the kids get older and start nursery/school. With a small baby, her ability to do housework is fairly limited esp if your oldest finishes school at lunchtime?

When I get home at 6 my kids have already eaten and had a bath so we spend an hour or so doing DD's [reception] reading, read some stories and do an activity. It's nice and chilled. The reality for our nanny though is that come 4.30, she's running baths, drying hair and sitting the kids down to eat. There really isn't a huge amount of time to do other stuff unless you have kids that are very good at entertaining themselves.

You get squat from the government unless it's to cover maternity pay. Removing the right to reclaim Statutory Sick pay was a recent unwelcome development and you will also need to fund a pension very soon.

Childcare vouchers can be used but only if the nanny is Ofsted registered.

Main benefits of a nanny for me:
Kids are bathed and fed when I get in from work. No fraught pre bedtime hour with overtired kids
Freezer is full of kid friendly home made ready meals so on the weekend or if the nanny is unexpectedly ill, you aren't suddenly wondering what to cook.
There isn't a huge panic in the morning if a child is running a temperature
Someone else does the meal planning for them and concentrates on encouraging them to eat a varied diet.
They can have playdates at home or do an afterschool activity
They aren't spending time watching other kids do activities or on a series of school runs.
Their bedlinen are regularly washed and changed
It alleviates my working mum guilt to have one on one care.

The cost. In London for a fulltime nanny 8-6 you are looking at £33k-£40k per annum out of taxed income. It's crippling.
Loss of ability to claim back SSP. I don't know how we would cope financially if our nanny became seriously ill.

gallicgirl Mon 29-Jun-15 14:32:07

I know I don't get a lot done at the moment so wouldn't expect anyone else to either! Just tidying means I can do the other housework more easily.

It sounds like it might suit us. 6pm to 9pm is just manic in our house so anything to alleviate that would be helpful. I guess I just have to get my head around the cost. We're not in London but the calculator is suggesting a nanny for 2 days a week will cost almost £11000 which is around £3000 more than a childminder would cost us.

In regards to SSP, how is the ability to do the job built into contracts? I work in the public sector so it's not unknown for people to have months off work sick which could work out expensive if you have to pay for alternative childcare. I'm sure you can't fire someone for being sick but what is allowed legally?

nannynick Mon 29-Jun-15 21:10:43

The new tax-free childcare scheme can be used instead of childcare vouchers, possibly from September. So if you are in an existing childcare voucher scheme use that until the scheme anniversary and just before then have a look at what other schemes are available as TFC may be better (it is 20% of childcare cost, up to £4000 in the case of 2 children - though it is being phased in so you eldest child might not be eligible at first).

With 2 children, other forms of childcare are cheaper than a nanny usually but may be restrictive. A nanny may be 12 hours a day, a childminder probably would not be open that long. The times at which childcare is needed is therefore a factor to consider.

Nanny pay rates vary a lot and you are the person who decides what to pay, so you could advertise the role with a salary specified and see who applies. It must be paid at least NMW, though I would suggest you pay at least £7 gross an hour, probably more than that to get someone with baby experience. Calculate what you can afford to pay and then offer below that amount and see if you get anyone.

In the past I have done cost estimates, so have a search on my username and you may find one from the past. Not sure I have ever done a 2-day nanny estimate but the calculations for more days will give you costs to think about such as activity budget, mileage, employers NI. will give you the Employers NI due for any particular gross salary.

It is tricky if someone is off on long term sick. Nannies do not tend to take much time off sick, SSP is not much money for them to earn so they will be keen to get back to work as quick as possible - alas things like broken bones do happen.

If an employee is off on long term sick, they can be fairly dismissed if it is considered that they will not be fit to work within a reasonable time.
Not sure how 'reasonable time' is defined but at a guess I would say we are talking a few months.
In such a situation you would need to:
- investigate the reason for the sickness and find out how long it is likely to be before they are able to return to work.
- meet the nanny to discuss the situation with them.
- pay contractual notice at their normal pay rate or statutory notice (whichever is better, usually contractual).
ACAS has a booklet about managing staff absence which may be useful.

I am not legally trained, so get professional advice if you need it (some insurance policies offer access to a legal helpline).

As a nanny I have had one day off due to being in hospital (so sick leave) in the past 7 years, so I would not hugely worry about a nanny being off for a long period of time. It can happen but it often will not. If it does happen, then contact the payroll company (my employer has used PAYEforNannies for many years and I have met with NannyPaye who are a lovely friendly bunch of people. How about giving a payroll company a call and asking them this question about Long Term Sick Leave, see what info they will give you without you being their client). Payroll companies will be able to assist with the procedure to go through for doing Statutory Sick Pay and may help with how to terminate the employment should that become necessary. ACAS also has a helpline that can be useful for how to follow correct procedure in this situation.

nannynick Mon 29-Jun-15 21:14:25

With babies I consider 5pm-7m is Witching Hour (should be known as something else really as it can last way more than an hour). Tired children do not always react that well to a sudden change, such as a parent coming home. A good routine can help - such as you always aim to be home to read them a bedtime story, have a snuggle, do the bedtime feed. Sometimes though they will be asleep before you are home, though then they may wake you in the early hours!

electionfatigue Tue 30-Jun-15 08:56:58

SSP is 40% of my nanny's salary as she is only part time - 40% of pay for 6 months is a significant amount to pay whilst also finding other childcare.

gallicgirl Tue 30-Jun-15 10:32:28

Thank you nannynick. That's hugely helpful. The nannytax website mentioned by a pp was very useful too.
I had a chat with DP last night and he could immediately see the benefits which surprised me as I'm the one usually running around sorting childcare! I even thought we might have found a nanny through (someone who used to care for my daughter at nursery ) but she says she's self-employed so couldn't accept childcare vouchers. We're building up a stash while on maternity leave so I definitely need to use them.

I know the proposals for tax free childcare are a bit vague but does anyone have any idea how this will work with a nanny when there isn't a definitive charge per child?

I really appreciate all your help here. It's a big step to take and I don't want to get it wrong for the sake of the children and nanny as much as our finances!

LibrariesGaveUsPower Tue 30-Jun-15 10:43:39

Not sure if anyone has mentioned bit school holidays are a plus of a nanny. A childminder offering an after school place may not have the ratios to take your older one in holidays, especially if they have their own children.

Watch put on the self employed thigh. Generally nannies should be employed by you and if HMRC disagrees with being self employed it can be you who gets a big bill!

gallicgirl Tue 30-Jun-15 11:59:01

Thanks libraries. The nanny in question explained why she's classed as self-employed which matched what I'd read elsewhere so seems legit. Sounds like a self-employed nanny is a no-go anyway if we can't use childcare vouchers.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 30-Jun-15 12:02:16

a nanny can be employed and se, esp if your job is only 2 days, so you would employ her for 2 days and she could se doing ad hoc/temp stuff the other 3 hence making her se and employed

rollonthesummer Tue 30-Jun-15 12:05:08

Loss of ability to claim back SSP. I don't know how we would cope financially if our nanny became seriously ill.

I hadn't considered this really. If they off work for 6 month-are you as the employer then expected to pay SSP?

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 30-Jun-15 14:35:07

I'm no expert but I thought she just had to be registered with Ofsted [and willing to do the paperwork for the vouchers]

gallicgirl Tue 30-Jun-15 15:03:57

Maybe it was a polite way of saying she didn't fancy doing the paperwork?

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