What you need to know when employing your first nanny


A good nanny can be a great asset to working families.

The peace of mind that your child is being given undivided one-on-one attention while you are at work is a strong factor in choosing this more costly form of childcare over others. Apart from the individual attention your little one will receive, there are many benefits that working mothers can enjoy when a nanny joins the team, which can largely outweigh the negatives such as a loss of privacy at home and the extra required paperwork.

Chaotic mornings before work can become more relaxed as your nanny will be more than happy to prepare your children’s breakfast and get them ready for the day. You will be able to enjoy increased flexibility in the evenings compared with strict closing times at nurseries, plus a poorly child doesn’t mean having to take time off work. You can rest safe in the knowledge that your little one is safe at home, amongst familiar surroundings, following their own personal mealtime and naptime routine.

Welcoming the incredible helping hand of a nanny into your home can do wonders for a more seamless, stress-free life, but don’t forget that by hiring a nanny you in turn will become an employer. This comes with its own set of paperwork, plus legal and financial requirements, that you must understand and adhere to before formally offering that contract of employment. Many working-parents may not have considered everything that goes into hiring your first nanny – here we look into exactly what you need to know:

Contract of employment

By becoming an employer, you must create and offer a formal employment contract. This is a legal requirement and should state your nanny’s salary, working hours, holiday entitlement, notice period and a job description. The contract will be your bible throughout your nanny’s employment and should be thought through carefully to avoid any problems in advance. For example, how flexible does your nanny need to be should there be last minute changes to your schedule? What is the maximum legal amount of hours your nanny can work? Is there a certain time that you would like your nanny to take their holiday? When and how can they claim expenses?

In addition, you should also give a clear job description so your nanny knows their exact duties. Will they be preparing meals? Will they have use of a car for transporting the children? Will they be required to take your child to playdates or classes? All of this should be included in the contract.

HMRC obligations

As an employer there is a lot of paperwork to ensure you are meeting financial obligations. You must consider your nanny’s tax contributions, national insurance contributions and pension scheme, plus issue a weekly or monthly payslip declaring this. The tax must be deducted from their salary and paid to HMRC, as any cash-in-hand work is illegal and can result in fines. National insurance contributions must be paid by you and the nanny if they earn over a certain threshold, and you must also pay into a monthly pension scheme if they earn more than £10,000 a year and is over 22 years old. Apart from this, you also need to be aware of statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay and holiday pay. The paperwork can become a bit of headache for already overloaded mothers, so you can always enrol a service to take care of this side of things professionally, such as Nannytax.co.uk which is the UK’s market leader in payrolls for nannies, and offers a one-stop shop for dealing with the HMRC, pensions, insurance and more.

Household guidelines

Every family is different, so it should be made clear how you like your home to be run and how the nanny will function in your household. You need to ask yourself questions like how formal your relationship with your nanny will be, and then set up some house rules to ensure everyone is on the same page. Can your nanny use the phone and WiFi? Can they use the car for personal errands? Are they allowed guests? What are the rules of the fridge? Would you or your partner prefer to be left alone when at home? By understanding how your home is run, your nanny will be able to ease into your routine and become the help you need rather than a hindrance. Once the house rules are established, they can focus on creating the perfect routine and begin to feel comfortable and relaxed around the household.


An important point to consider when hiring a nanny is their salary. Remember that they are making a professional career out of caring for children and may have their own expectations on how much they would like to be paid. You need to take into account an individual nanny’s experience, qualifications and skills. An experienced nanny may command higher fee’s but will also bring a wealth of knowledge to the table, including tried-and-tested fun and educational activities. You also need to take into account the duties of your nanny, and adjust the salary accordingly. For example, if they are required to complete housekeeping duties, the salary should be higher. When becoming an employer, you need to be aware of minimum wage rates, although you may find yourself paying more than this. As an hourly rate, 18-20 years olds should get at least £5.90, 21-24 year olds should get £7.30, and over 24 year olds should receive at least £7.83.

About the Author

Kirsty Wild is Sales Administrator at Nannytax, the UK’s market leader in nanny payroll. Nannytax has supported tens of thousands of families since 1993 by providing a complete employment service including payroll, pensions and insurance.

Since joining Nannytax in 2006, Kirsty has grown with the company, the nanny industry and everything that comes with it. As a busy working mum, Kirsty’s passion is to ensure the stress and hassle of nanny employment admin is taken care of for Nannytax’s clients so they have more time to devote to their families.

For more information please visit www.nannytax.co.uk

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