Many parents who need flexibility in hours with their childcare, who have a young baby, or have children of different ages find that employing a person to care for their children in the family home works better than rushing around to take children to different services.
Its a personal preference also for parents who find it difficult to get time off from work when a child is sick, or to find time to take their child to appointments such as for haircuts and be involved in important everyday learning activities such as supermarket shopping
By employing someone to care for your children, you have the freedom to interview and select who cares for your child, how they will care for your child and be involved in your family, and negotiate an employment contract directly (including what days and what times the person will work, and salary and conditions of work).
If you employ a nanny yourself and do not sign up to a licensed home-based agency you will not have additional forms to read and papers to sign. You will not have other visitors coming to your house and personal information about your child and family will not be shared with agency staff and Education Review Office people. Nor can you be told what changes you must make to your house and property to make it compliant with ECE regulations. However, you will also not have professional support and whether you can manage well on your own as an employer and have time to oversee the quality of your nanny's work is something to consider.
Common places to check as part of your search for a great nanny or caregiver are:
- Jobs wanted and vacancy columns in newspapers and on-line.
- Student job search if you are looking for someone to work over the student vacation period or outside of usual work hours.
- Notices on shop noticeboards.
- Talking to friends and acquaintances who may know grandparents and other people in the community who would love the opportunity to help out.
Selecting a nanny or caregiver
Interview a number of people before you make your decision. Interviewing more than one person gives you a greater perspective on what a nanny/caregiver may offer and what skills are important in this role.
Ask the person you think is best to come back for a second interview and stay for an hour so he/she can also spend time with your child or children and see if you both think it really will work out.
Go through the applicant’s CV in detail and discuss it with the applicant. Contact the references and speak to them personally if possible and do a background check e.g. for criminal record, and reasons for leaving previous positions and cities or countries.
The job description should be detailed, for example, if you do not want the nanny/caregiver to use his/her mobile phone for any reason other than emergency when the home phone is not working then this should be stated.
You should provide an employment contract and this should be agreed on and signed before the first day of work. Take care that you employ the person under the correct specification e.g. casual or permanent, deduct PAYE and Kiwisaver and any other deductions and file the necessary schedules and returns with the Inland Revenue Dept. Contact the Inland Revenue Department for advice on how to tackle this or visit the IRD website.
The story of a parent who was told by the Employment Relations Authority that dismissing a casual nanny was not fair contains lessons for all parents who enter an employment agreement with a nanny or caregiver – see an article about this by clicking here.
Employing a person as an independent contractor lifts the responsibility for tax payment from you and onto the contractor. But if you set the hours and days of work then the person is defined as an employee and cannot be regarded to be an independent contractor.