I have a 9 month old, and am not going back to work until she is 1, but a friend with an 8 month old is going back to work next week. I offered to look after him as she was really worried about leaving him with strangers, so we have agreed that for the 2 days a week I will take my DD to her house for the 8 hours and look after them both there. She said she will give me £50 per week as she doesn't want to feel she's taking advantage, and also knows I have been a bit tight on money (am a single mum) Does this count as work or is it just babysitting as it's nothing formal?
It is allowed in her house, yes. You don't have to be registered. But you'll be a nanny and must get minimum wage etc. Minimum wage is currently £6.19 if you are over 21, so for 16 hours childcare your friend should be paying you nearly double what she is proposing.
She may be concerned about leaving her child with strangers but the arrangement as she is suggesting it would also be saving her a considerable amount in childcare costs as two days nursery or childminder would cost more than that.
Realistically though, no one is going to investigate you. If you and your friend decide on an arrangement that works for you, keep the money in cash, and don't tell anyone you are being paid then it will be fine.
£25 for 8 hours is very very low pay. If you go to her house there is no registration or anything as it is being a nanny not a child minder. So the issue is whether your maternity leave allows it - most employment contracts say you cannot take a second job (read your contract and check). Secondly as said above you are not being paid the minimum wage. However I think it could probably be for expenses - petrol etc so I do not think you need to worry too much about the pay rate. Also it is £2600 a year if you do it for 52 weeks so is well under your single person allowance IF you have no other pay in that tax year. If you do have pay in that tax year then you should put it on your tax return and pay tax on it unless it is just for your expenses.
Hundreds if not thousands of people use informal arrangements with friends for babysitting with small amounts of money changing hands. I really don't think that HMRC have a Babysitting Investigations Unit to ensure everyone is paying tax.
If the OP is happy to do some childcare for a friend in exchange for a small amount of money, and neither are claiming it's employment or complaining about holiday pay or minimum wage, then talk of tribunals seems a little... far fetched.
Any suggestion of "reward" over and above expenses effectively gives status of employee not volunteer so entitled to holiday pay, sick pay etc. I didn't think you could care for 2 under 1 without dispensation.
16 hours childcare is not "informal babysitting". Informal babysitting is for a few hours on a Saturday night occasionally or similar.
Plenty of people may take advantage of people willing to work as a nanny without giving them employment rights and the legal minimum pay, but that doesn't mean it's ok.
Talk of tribunals is not at all far-fetched. If the OP and her friend fall out, which isn't, you know, outside the realms of possibility when childcare for little money is being provided by a friend, the OP may quite rightly decide that actually she does want her employment rights, and no one could blame her.
I've dealt with countless situations where employees have said at the start of an arrangement that is technically illegal that they are fine with it, only to change their mind later on and it all end up going very pear-shaped for the employer.
We have been close friends since we were children, so if it wasn't working well I would just say at that point. I definitely wouldn't ever sue or anything like that!!
Friend has said she will leave food ready to be warmed up, and going out he can go in the buggy and DD still goes in her sling quite often (she's very petite) but they have a garden so plan to mostly stay home.
She's giving you £50 a week. This isn't a wage for employment, it's an informal exchange of favours. If you're going to be at her house two days a week, you'll be saving costs at home. Will you be eating your friend's food, maybe even using her washer & dryer?
I'd advise discussing all the details with her, so you both know what your expectations are. Then ring up HMRC to ask if you need to declare it. I suspect they'll say no, but rather safe than sorry!