Things to consider before embarking on a nanny share

A nanny share can save you money, but there are things to consider before going down this route, says Alison Hull, founder of nannymatters.co.uk

For many parents, sharing a nanny with another family is a way of making an otherwise unaffordable luxury into a cost-effective childcare solution. Specialist websites such as www.nannyshare.co.uk and www.childcare.co.uk make it much easier to find a local family with matching needs. There are advantages and disadvantages of course, and there is a right way and a wrong way of setting up. Here are some of the things to consider.

COST

The biggest advantage is that you share the costs with another family. However, that’s doesn’t mean that your costs will automatically drop by 50%. A nannyshare nanny will normally expect a premium rate, because she has to manage the needs of two separate families. She must also be experienced enough to look after two babies or small children at the same time. So, you need to budget for a more expensive nanny, and then apply your 50% calculation. That’s still a considerable saving of course, and you have the added benefit of a very good nanny.

Who will pay for the nappies? Whose house and whose toys? Whose food? Most importantly, how will the money work?

EXPECTATIONS

A nannyshare nanny may not be able to keep both nurseries and kitchens immaculate, and sometimes the children’s laundry might not get done. This will be particularly true if she is looking after 3 or even 4 children, e.g. at the end of the school day, or during the school holidays. You do need reasonable expectations.

COMMUNICATION

You will have to communicate well and often. You may think that a good friend or relative will make an excellent share partner, but our children bring out our strongest emotions, and you must have a pre-determined way of dealing with the frequent hiccups and occasional disasters that will inevitably arise. If the share is to last, you must tackle problems between the families head on, and present a united front to the nanny.

SICKNESS, HOLIDAYS & MORE

In practice, this means deciding up front how annual leave will be agreed, and Babieswhat will happen if either family’s children are sick. Will you expect everyone to baton down the hatches together, as if they were siblings? Or should the family with germs keep away? In the rare event that the nanny is sick, will each family take care of their own, or will the parents take it in turns to take time off? Who will pay for the nappies? Whose house and whose toys? Whose food?

Perhaps most importantly of all, how will the money work?

PAYROLL AND CONTRACT

This is where you need some expert advice, because the legislation is complicated. For example, if two families join together to employ a nanny for 5 full days a week, then this is quite clearly one job, with one employment contract and one payroll. However, if one family is using the nanny Mon, Tue, Wed, and the other is Wed, Thu, Fri, then the overlap is only on the Wednesday, and this could be set up as two separate employments. Each arrangement needs looked at in its own right, and the costs worked out professionally. My company www.nannymatters.co.uk specialises in shares and is the only nanny payroll company that will give you a free illustration, showing how your share could be set up and the total cost involved for each family.

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