From a Nanny point of view….. Thank you Jo Smith for sharing this and speaking on behalf of the professional nanny

Even professional nannies need somewhere to go to for help and support! Nanny meaning

  • Have you been treated in an unprofessional manner whilst on duty as a nanny?
  • Have you been dismissed unfairly and had pay you are entitled to withheld?
  • Have you worked for a family and they didn’t pay your tax and national insurance?
  • Do you fear to ask for a pay rise, approach your employers on contractual issues?

I hear of nannies on a regular basis who have had bad experiences in their employment, some who are working without contracts, where no tax and national insurance is being paid, au pairs doing a nannies role, nannies being treated in an unprofessional manner (being shouted at on a daily basis), nannies told to leave without the correct grievance procedure being followed and having payments withheld which they are entitled to.

Many nannies often feel very alone and some even angry that there is no support for nannies, some lose confidence in their job ability when they are excellent nannies and I wouldn’t hesitate to employ them for my children. I hear regularly of nannies who fear to discuss contractual issues with their boss. After all, as nannies we are looking after a families most treasured things – their children!

There seems to be a big feeling amongst nannies that there is no support out there, but the TRUTH is there is. Support is there, there are trade associations working to support us as nannies but we don’t seem to know about it.

Many nannies find work through their own means through the internet, social media, employment websites. Whilst some jobs can work out brilliantly, there are other jobs that can go horribly wrong. It is important for us as nannies to ensure we are taking the right job, without being rushed or pushed into something which we are not sure about, it is not all about taking the job with the best perks. We need to look carefully at the job and ensure that is a good match for us. Children become attached very quickly, and parents rely on our support, and if the job is not right for the nanny and we are unhappy in our work this is where things can go wrong

When these jobs go wrong we then complain that there is no support for nannies, but if we get jobs from the right sources there IS support available to us.

I have heard of nannies saying they were searching for jobs online through childcare websites and they were contacted by a man posing as a parent and after initial contact was made the parent began to ask very inappropriate intimate questions, the internet can be a dangerous place for us as nannies, we find a job online, write to someone we have never met, often giving some personal details, and then go to someone’s house, we are putting our own safety and wellbeing at risk at times through not knowing who we are meeting.

Nanny Agencies can offer a lot of support, help and advice to nannies as well as the family on how to employ a nanny correctly, they offer contract advice for parents as they make families aware of their role as an employer, some families can also in many cases be known to the agency as the agency may well have placed nannies with the family before.

Many of us feel unsupported and many may have had bad experiences with agencies, but a good agency can be a real benefit for us as nannies as they can guide us, advise us and be a real support if there are any employment issues.

The Association of Nanny Agencies are a private not for profit Trade Association which monitors and checks Nanny Agencies to ensure all member agencies are working towards providing the highest standards of care and good practice. Check out this list of agencies registered with ANA in UK. I know I have taken a job because I really needed employment and money, I was also attracted by the location and the job perks, there were some warning signs but I swept them under the carpet. This job ended up in a disaster and I was left with money being owed and the correct dismissal procedure wasn’t followed.

A really good nanny agency, should be there to support BOTH the family AND the nanny on an impartial basis and Nanny Agencies registered with ANA will do that.And what’s even better…. it is FREE for nannies to join these agencies.

Which would you prefer?

  1. To find a job on the internet where you don’t know who the family are and have no idea if they understand the responsibilities of being an employer, or any understanding of how to treat a nanny, the person they are entrusting with the care of their most precious beings – yes…. they may be paying more and have a car for use on duty with thrown in gym membership – will that all be worth it when things go wrong and you are left high and dry
  2. or would you prefer to find a job through a reputable nanny agency who is accountable for their actions, an agency who will advise the family of their responsibilities when choosing a nanny for their children, ensuring they understand and have access to advice with contracts of employment, correct payroll processes, rates of pay, paid holiday pay, sick pay, correct procedures in case of grievance or dismissal.

Certainly for me I would prefer option 2, having the knowledge that I am with a Nanny Agency who will advise me and support me in a non-biased way should I have any problems or concerns.

Additional support is also available via another private, not for profit organisation who are all about raising the professional profile of nannies! The British Association for Professional Nannies (BAPN) – providing support, influencing policy, representing you – the professional nanny. Nannies are not the same as babysitters, nor are we Au pairs! We chose to train, gain skills and experience in childcare because we chose this as our career path!

In working towards raising the professional profile of nannies, BAPN will offer support, guidance and ongoing training to nannies and provide a high standard to which all nannies can work towards. A Nanny who is a member of BAPN shows they do work to a high standard of care and professionalism, we understand what our role as a nanny involves and we do believe in continuously developing our own skills to enable us as professional nannies to provide the best care and support  the children who parents have entrusted us to care for.

So here we have 2 organisations, BAPN (raising standards of professionalism for nannies) and ANA (raising standards of best practice for nanny agencies) who are now joining forces to work together on something exciting for the future for the benefit of both nannies and nanny agencies so watch this space!

It is our responsibility as nannies to ensure we are making sure we have these things in place (contracts, insurance) to ensure a good working relationship for everyone, parents, children and nannies. By working with BAPN and ANA, Nannies can have access to a bigger range of support and resources to ensure we know where to find information to make sure any family we become employed by will set things up correctly.  By working together, we can reach out to payroll companies who can help with the paperwork side of employing a nanny, ensuring we have payslips, correct deductions from our ages, pension advice, and other entitlements. By working together we can reach out to relevant training providers, this may be first aid training, safeguarding, nanny training, refreshing our skills.

By working together, and using accredited agencies who are committed to working to best standards and practices, we as nannies should be able to build a great relationship with our agency, we should feel they listen to us, they should be approachable, and by having great communication between both parties, this will help nannies to find the best possible placement. The best nanny agencies, especially those registered with ANA are there to provide the best impartial advice and support for a nanny and the family. And all of this peace of mind is FREE! A nanny should never have to be in a position to have to pay for someone to help them look for a job!

By working together and getting involved with BAPN, as nannies, we can access the relevant support, advice they provide to ensure nannies are being treated fairly and respectfully. BAPN may also enable opportunities of meeting of other nannies in your working area to ensure being a nanny is not such a lonely profession after all.  BAPN does a lot of work behind the scenes to promote UK nannies as a professional and not just a babysitter. And by working with ANA and their member agencies, this will make a great difference for us working in the nanny world.

Working together we are stronger!

Joanna Smith

Nanny and Founder and head of UK team for Nabasa Trust (a charity working with orphaned and vulnerable children in Kabale, Uganda)


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