Choosing a nanny is an important decision. You must find the best person for the job, who meets excellent standards of care and provides your children with a fun, nurturing environment. And you also need to consider the risks involved in hiring an in-home nanny – and how to minimize them. Here’s what you need to know for a safe, stress-free nanny hire.
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Understanding the Risks and What You Can Do
If you hire a nanny to work in your home you are treating him or her as your employee, and there are certain risks involved with hiring someone as an independent contractor. In order to avoid problems further down the line, you need to identify the risks and manage them effectively. For example:
- Risk of penalties and financial issues if you do not properly register or pay a nanny using the correct channels: In Argentina, for example, you need to register your nanny as a personal employee with AFIP, and ensure that the proper taxes are paid and that the nanny is properly compensated in line with current legislation on hourly rate, holidays, and sick leave.
- Risk of legal action if nanny is injured on the job: Consult a lawyer or other professional about how to protect yourself in the event that a nanny is injured while taking care of your children. There are certain insurance packages that can help with this.
- Risk of injuries to your child: For most parents this is the most important risk to be minimized, and you should make sure that a nanny comes with excellent references and has been properly vetted for any criminal record or background issues. You can also ensure that your home is effectively child-proofed and that the nanny is given clear instructions about what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Risk of misunderstandings and conflict over hours worked etc.: It is very important to set out the standards for care that you expect, and the practicalities of hours worked, compensation, details of duties, and other details. Setting everything out in writing minimizes the risk of conflict in the future.
- Risk of theft: Minimize the risk of theft of personal belongings and cash by running proper background checks and check references.
- Risk of nanny off sick or on holiday: What do you do when the nanny calls in sick? You need a back-up plan that may involve taking time off work, hiring another nanny at short notice, arranging a short-notice drop-off at a friend’s house or a daycare facility, or using family to step in.
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Minimizing the Nanny Risk with an Agency
One of the best ways to deal with the practical risks outlined above is to hire a nanny through a reputable nanny agency.
Nannies are vetted and interviewed thoroughly to ensure they have the correct qualifications and personality to safely look after your child, and provide a fun and educational environment for development. Nannies that work with an agency have all been background-checked and come with verifiable references. A nanny agency will also draw up a contract that includes the details for hours worked, pay, and duties. You can also get advice on how to properly register the nanny. And there are back-up options if a nanny cannot work.
The costs of using a nanny service may be immediately minimized compared to the convenience and peace of mind you get when you use the agency.