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Rules for childcare in your own home - total novice would like some help!

(10 Posts)
LovelyDear Mon 28-Jul-08 23:20:21

I'm new to non-nursery based childcare. I had a near-miss with a childminder who took my PFB to the pub on his first settling-in visit so that didn't work out. Now I have two school aged children and i need to work one full day a week at the office (and some time from home) and so I'm thinking of getting a friend's much-loved 'nanny' to pick my kids up and bring them home to my house, feed them and care for them until I get home. She won't have any other children with her. Should someone in this situation be 'registered' like a childminder or is it a different kettle of fish?

I know you are going to tell me I should have a contract but my friend hasn't had one for the two years she's used her (they no longer need her) and I'm very lazy and possibly over-relaxed about it. She's past child bearing age! what else should I think about? I'm meeting her tomorrow. At my house.

catepilarr Mon 28-Jul-08 23:39:50

she is going to be your nanny when in your house , not a childminder.

HarrietTheSpy Mon 28-Jul-08 23:40:56

Hi there
Just a couple of thoughts, and many others will I@m sure pile in, but someone working from your home would be a nanny, not a childminder. A childminder works out of their own home, is self employed, and is inspected by OFSTED. A nanny cannot be self-employed, so when you agree an hourly rate with her, you need to factor in tax and NI contributions. OFSTED does have a facility to register nannies (and if you have company vouchers you can use to pay her, my understanding is she will need to be registerd) but it is voluntary. Nanny NIck and others can tell you more about this. In my experience, people you may interview will call themselves childminders even when they plan to work from your home and/or claim to be self employed but this is not legal, and you the employer will be responsible if the tax authorities get wind of this.

You should have a contract, as it protects you as much as it does her, and covers a wide range of areas (apart from just the maternity leave, since you mention she is past childbearing age) regarding your DCs care. If things start going wrong with the nanny and you don't have one, I suspect you'll feel pretty vulnerable.

LovelyDear Mon 28-Jul-08 23:57:00

I realise she's a nanny not a childminder. I haven't been very clear, sorry! I'm really very inexperienced and don't understand what the difference is between for example a nanny, an au pair, and someone you pay to babysit for 3 hours once a week. Because it's tempting from where i'm sitting to view this lady as a weekly day-time babysitter. If it goes pear-shaped and she can't work for me then i'll change my working pattern - this one full day a week thing is only essential until jan, when i can start working school-hours if i have to.

What is the deal with tax and NI? Do i have to declare something? Do I pay her an amount that she then gives x percent of to the tax man? Should we in theory do that when someone babysits? Aaargghh!

squiffy Tue 29-Jul-08 10:15:33

Once someone earns more than 97 a week they need to have their income declared and taxed (even babysitters) But obviously this is interpreted widely when you employ what you consider to be casual labour.

And when you have a part time nanny it is a really grey area. Because she works for another family she will certainly be over the tax threashold and YOU should register as her employer and pay NI and tax to HMRC on top of what you pay her (it is you who gets into hot water if you don't do this, not her). The problem with doing this is that she will then need to give you details of her earnings and tax from other employment so you can calculate what to pay across and she will almost certainly be reluctant to do this if it is an informal type of arrangement.

She could claim to be self-employed and sign a contract that sets this status out in black and white, which would give you protection if the tax man came after you. Nannies who have multiple employers can sometimes have this status (but not very common) But if you don't want to 'do' contracts then again this falls away as an option.

Given that it IS a babysitting type of arrangement more than anything else (maybe 4 hours a week?) I can see why you might want to simply call it 'babysitting' and put all considerations of tax and contracts firmly away. Yes you are taking a risk but no more of a risk than you do every time you get a babysitter in. Given that the arrangement is only be for a few months anyway, and you already 'know' this nanny and presumably she has proved reliable to date for your friend, I can see why you might want to turn a blind eye (bear in mind though that it is a risk and you could get caught by taxman and fined).

HarrietTheSpy Tue 29-Jul-08 11:21:05

Squiffy I didn't think this was really possible in practice, the contract stating she was self-employed. Do you know anyone who has done this? Do you think this would really offer some protection from the tax man?

squiffy Tue 29-Jul-08 14:10:46

You can do self employed if you work for more than one employer and if certain other conditions are met (such as ability to vary hours, who carries the financial 'risk' in the relationship' and a number of different criteria). It is possible, but not common. And definately not allowable for a full time nanny.

HarrietTheSpy Tue 29-Jul-08 17:49:54

We've always had part-timers who could be working for other people as well. The trouble would be the varying hours bit (and I imagine other parts once we looked closely).

LovelyDear Tue 29-Jul-08 19:20:01

thanks all. Squiffy that really cleared things up for me. I've met her now and she seems great. she doesn't actually work for other families, this is her only childcare thing so i feel even more justified in burying my head in the contract sand....!

annh Tue 29-Jul-08 19:30:46

Actually, if she does not work for other families then you can definitely not bury your head in the sand with regards to a contract and paying tax and NI! You will be her only employer and she cannot be self-employed while working for you - the only way she could do this is if she was working for lots of different families with varying hours e;g; one week she came to you for five hours, the next week eight hours, etc which does not sound like the case here. Ongoing apologies for the typing, still using a French keyboard!

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