Is Working as a Nanny Skilled or Unskilled Labor?

Nannies without any specialized training are unskilled and nannies with childcare training and experience lean more towards skilled labor.

Being a nanny is a huge responsibility. Families trust you with the care and well-being of their most precious family members – their children. Some families seem to think caring for children is an innate talent that doesn’t require any specialized training or experience. Other families want to hire a fully trained childcare specialist.

 

When talking about wages, it helps to understand some basic workforce terms and how they relate to pay. One main concept that needs to be understood is the difference between skilled and unskilled labor. This difference is not as clear cut as you may think.

 

According to investopedia.com, “Skilled labor refers to persons or positions requiring a specialized skill set in order to complete some of the assigned tasks”. This generally requires advanced education or training beyond high school and can sometimes be acquired through experience. Skilled labor is not limited to white-collar positions, but also includes many blue-collar professions such as auto mechanics, HVAC specialists, plumbers and electricians.

 

Typical unskilled labor positions require no specific higher education although many prefer a high school diploma or GED, no specialized experience, and are often comprised of common and/or repetitive tasks. They are often basic positions and are generally low paying. “Unskilled labor is used to refer to a segment of the workforce associated with limited skill set or minimal economic value for the work performed” (investopedia.com).

 

These seem cut and dried, but what about all the positions that fall in between these extremes? What about the home health care worker who is trained by their agency, but not a licensed medical professional? What about the foodservice and retail position worker who has completed require company training? Are these positions deemed skilled or unskilled? There is a continuum between unskilled and highly skilled labor. Positions requiring years of education and training, such as doctors and lawyers, are not referred to as skilled labor but fall under the umbrella of professionals.

 

Many of today’s positions fall into a mid- or semi-skilled category. With the advent of technology, jobs that were once simple and didn’t require training, now do. For example, a call center employee used to be able to perform their job by talking on the phone and writing the necessary information on forms. Now, they have to have computer entry skills, so all data are correctly captured in the company database.

 

So how do Nannies fit into this ever-evolving picture? We entrust nannies with the care and well being of our children – a daunting responsibility. However, there is little to no documented skill set requirements for nannies. Thus, many families view childcare as an unskilled, common-sense position with a low salary. This may be true for babysitters who provide for the safety and well-being of children for short periods of time.

 

However, Nannies differ from babysitters in that they are a consistent childcare provider over a longer period and assist with the development of the children. Nannies may be responsible for one or more children throughout the workday while family members are at their places of employment. In addition to providing for the safety and well-being of the children, a nanny may also provide meals and activities, take them on outings and providing additional support such as transporting children to and from school, from school to clubs, sports practices, playdates, and other activities. Nannies work autonomously and may have full responsibility to care for the children overnight or when families are out of town. Many people view these tasks as unskilled while some families recognize nanny training and view the position as skilled.

 

Nannies without any specialized training are unskilled and nannies with childcare training and experience lean more towards skilled. Some nanny positions may include responsibilities for early childhood education to ensure the toddler is ready for preschool. The optimal candidate for this position would not only understand the age-appropriate basics of care but would also understand the preschool requirements and how to create and implement lesson plans. Other nanny positions may require a special needs caregiver. This position would require very specialized training and experience.

 

If a family is desiring to hire a nanny – they should list the job responsibilities and assess their desired level of training and skill set. When they interview prospective candidates, they should ask about specialized education and training as well as experience. The compensation package they offer should be commiserate with the training and skill level of the candidate.

 

When it comes to compensation, the US Department of Labor Fact Sheet 79B: Live-in Domestic Service Workers Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), states “Persons employed in domestic service in private homes are covered by the FLSA; they must be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and a half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek, unless they are subject to an exemption.” Domestic service workers who reside in the employer’s home and are employed by an individual, family or household are exempt from the overtime pay requirement, although they must be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked.

 

Being a nanny can be a rewarding career. If you are just starting your career or want to improve your skillset, consider taking courses focused on the responsibilities you will encounter on the job. Many nannies may have qualifications that include college degrees in Early Childhood Education, Special Needs Education, or Psychology with diverse work experiences as a nanny, in daycares, teaching, or advocacy positions. Some nannies have specialized training in Montessori, Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE), or Waldorf child development approaches. Nannies who are highly skilled and work for high profile and/or high net worth families and find themselves extremely desirable within the nanny market.

What is the Difference Between a Babysitter and a Nanny?

You need someone to care for your children – but do you need a babysitter or a nanny?

You need someone to care for your children – but do you need a babysitter or a nanny? If it’s an evening out with your spouse and friends, you need someone who will keep the children safe and put them to bed for the night. That’s easy – hire a babysitter. If you are looking for someone to care for your toddler at home while you and your spouse work – you need a nanny. But what about all the situations in between such as before or after school care, school holiday care, or summer care? In order to get the person with the right skill set – you need to understand how babysitters and nannies differ.

 

Babysitters

 

Babysitters provide for the safety and well-being of children for short periods of time. Family members are often nearby and available by phone. Usually working for a few hours in the evening or during the weekend, Babysitters may supervise playtime, provide parent-approved snacks, and help children get ready for bed. Babysitters may also do light housekeeping, such as washing the dishes and putting dirty clothes in the hamper.

 

Babysitters are usually hired on a short-term basis, often once a week or once a month for a few hours at a time. They are generally younger and because of their intermittent work, they are often exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and may not be covered by other regulations that cover wages, overtime, or workman’s compensation.

 

At a minimum, babysitters should be CPR and First Aid certified. When hiring a babysitter, ask if they have any basic childcare training, especially in areas such as emergency care, safety in the home, food safety and water awareness (if you have a pool).

 

Nannies

 

Nannies may be full or part-time but differ from babysitters in that they are a consistent childcare provider over a longer period. Nannies usually have contracted, consistent work for a year or more, although there are some positions for shorter periods of time, such as summer nannies. Nannies are responsible for one or more children throughout the workday while family members are at their places of employment. In addition to providing for the safety and well-being of the children, a nanny may also provide meals and activities, take them on outings and providing additional support such as transporting children to and from school, from school to clubs, sports practices, playdates, and other activities. Nannies work autonomously and may have full responsibility to care for the children overnight or when families are out of town.

 

Daryl Camarillo describes the role of a professional nanny. “Families think of [professional] nannies as in-home professionals who do everything to care, nurture, and develop the children. These include household duties related to childcare and the upkeep of the home such as washing bottles, meal preparation for the children, emptying diaper bins, and the child’s laundry. Families are seeking nannies to take the child to activities and invest in their development and growth. They view the nanny as part of the childcare team.”

 

There are a wide range of nanny positions and the duties vary greatly. Some nanny positions are focused solely on the child(ren) and the nanny is responsible for chores associated directly with that care such as the child’s laundry, fixing meals for the child, washing bottles, ensuring the child cleans up their playroom and completes homework. Nannies also assist with the development of the children and should understand the age-appropriate basics of care as well as being able to identify developmental milestones for the children in their care.

 

There are many different types of specialization based on training and experiences that elevate a nanny’s skillset as a family assistant, early childhood educator, or special needs caregiver. Family assistants (sometimes referred to as Household Managers or Nanny Managers) perform childcare duties with additional responsibilities such as managing a weekly schedule, scheduling and attending doctor appointments, picking up the dry cleaning, planning and hosting birthday parties, household organization, shopping, pet care, meal planning, and preparing meals for the family. They are often committed to the role as their primary employment and have the maturity to work unsupervised while remaining responsible for several children and an allocated budget.

 

Specialist Nannies have varying qualifications that often include college degrees in Early Childhood Education, Special Needs Education, or Psychology with diverse work experiences as a nanny, in daycares, teaching, or advocacy positions. Specialists may also be travel nannies or have specialized training in Montessori, Resources for Infant Educators (RIE), or Waldorf child development approaches. Specialist Nannies are passionate about their work and are often leaders in the nanny industry. Many Specialist Nannies work for high profile and/or high net worth families and find themselves extremely desirable within the nanny market.

 

Like babysitters, all nannies, whether part or full time, should be CPR and First Aid certified. When hiring a nanny, ask if they have invested in childcare training that teaches age-appropriate growth, development, and activities from newborn through primary years. Nutrition, fitness, health, art, music, and communication courses provide practical skills to help nannies excel as in-home childcare providers. If not, discuss childcare training and consider investing in their education. Amslee Institute offers 5 levels of certifications and diplomas that are cost-effective and can be completed online in 4-5 weeks. These courses provide the skills and training to help nannies perform at their best.

Nanny jobs can be customized to each family and when nannies are hired, either part-time or full-time, the nanny is considered a household employee when they earn $2100. Thus, families who hire nannies are legal employers and are required to pay taxes and have worker’s compensation insurance.

 

If you would like additional information on hiring a nanny, the Ultimate Guide on How to Hire a Nanny is a free resource designed to help parents successfully navigate the hiring process.

LinkedIn is the New Nanny Portfolio

The nanny job search has modernized with online job boards and social media networking.

The nanny job search has modernized with online job boards and social media networking. It’s easier and quicker to share a link with potential employers so they can learn about your childcare training, work experience, and professional associations using LinkedIn. Traditional nanny portfolios contained education, work experience, references, and examples of childcare activities. These can all be represented in your LinkedIn profile.

With 133 million users in the United States*, LinkedIn is a great networking opportunity for nannies as 44% of users take home more than $75,000 per year. Many industry professionals who hire nannies and family assistants use LinkedIn to network and recruit employees. Building a LinkedIn profile can help Nannies and other childcare professionals’ network and engage online with prospective family employers.

It is imperative that you take a few minutes to consider what information you want to share before signing up and building a public profile. You should identify your objectives and goals to ensure you share the right information. You may have a broad professional profile with a variety of job experiences and be open to working as a nanny, in a retail child clothing boutique, or an office assistant. Alternatively, you may want to focus only on a specific type of childcare job such as nanny, daycare employee, or summer camp program leader. Your objectives and goals will drive the information you include in the profile.

Building a Great Nanny Profile

1. Add a professional looking photo. Selfies on the beach are great for Snapchat but upload a professional looking photo of yourself, ideally with a uniform background. Also, make sure the photo is recent.

2. Write a key-word headline and your city. The headline identifies what type of position you are seeking. If you are currently working as a nanny or seeking to connect with top families through LinkedIn, use a strong headline. Some examples include: Professional Nanny, Nanny and Family Assistant, Governess and Private Nanny, Certified Professional Childcare Provider. It’s also important to list the city where you want to live and work, but do not include your private address.

3. Be intentional with your introduction. LinkedIn has a section titled “About” that allows you to write a summary of your career or communicate what you are seeking for a new position. Here’s an example: “Live-in Nanny with 8 years of childcare experience with infants through teens including special needs, preemies and twins, and international travel with children (USA passport). Qualifications include a Professional Childcare Diploma from Amslee Institute, Certified Water Safety, and First Aid and CPR Certified.”

4. List your current and past positions. To illustrate your work experience, share up to 10 years of your work history. Here are a few examples to help you get started.

Live-In Nanny (2017-2018, part-time, special needs). Lewis Family. Orlando, FL. Provided special needs care for 15-year-old male including transportation to school, work, and extracurricular activities. Supported family by completing laundry, meal prep and cooking, pet care, grocery shopping, and running errands. Provided household management services when family was on vacation which included pet sitting.

Traveling Nanny (2017-2018, full-time, children ages infant to 12 years). Walker Family. Northridge, CA. Provided full-time care, with duties including meal preparation for children, set up and breakdown of classroom, development of activities/lesson plans, diaper changes, toileting, communication with parents, supervision of 2 childcare workers, and purchasing supplies.

Nanny and Family Assistant (2011-2016, full-time, children ages 2 and 10 years). Family Confidential. Los Angeles, CA. Duties included transporting children to and from school, enrichment programs, appointments, and camps. Assisted family with on-call childcare, as well as overnights for house/pet sitting and long-term care. Prepared healthy and well-balanced meals, assisted with feeding, including administering medicine to youngest child during meals, assisted with dressing and packing lunches/snacks. Coordinated playdates and field trips to strawberry pickings, children’s museums, arts and crafts with weekly trips to the library for events and checking out books. Performed errands such as dry cleaning, prescription pickup, taking pets to the vet, taking kids to doctor’s appointments, taking vehicles in for maintenance, and supervision of contractors working in the home and yard. Also did vacuuming, sweeping, shoveling, dusting, watering plants, and occasionally, when the family was away, deep cleaning and organizational projects.

5. Include your education. While sitters supervise children for a few hours, nannies have invested in childcare training and provide age appropriate child development activities over and above supervision of the children in their care. Highlighting your education will help you stand out from other applicants and it’s important to communicate the additional skills you have obtained through training. Here are examples of education and training that could be included:

Amslee Institute, Sarasota, FL, 2018 Basic Childcare Diploma and Certification Intermediate Childcare Diploma and Certification Advanced Childcare Diploma and Certification Specialist Childcare Diploma and Certification Professional Childcare Diploma and Certification.

Local Community College, Sarasota, FL, 1997-2001 Child Development courses including special needs

National CPR Association. CPR/AED/First Aid Provider, Expires Sept 2020

High School Diploma. Graduated from Anytown High School in 1998.

6. Get recommendations. You can request people provide reference by writing and sharing their recommendation directly on your LinkedIn page as well as endorse specific skills. If you already have written references and don’t want to ask for an online one, you can load a written reference letter as an image into LinkedIn, but make sure you redact private information beforehand.

7. Personalize the additional fields. You can personalize your LinkedIn profile by adding websites, links, videos, and attachments. This can be in the form of published articles or videos. You may want to add a video demonstration your favorite child activity. If you do, make sure that the article is applicable to the jobs you are seeking, and the video is relevant and doesn’t detract from your professional profile. You also have the option to list professional associations, honors you have received, current and previous volunteer activities, and knowledge of additional languages.

LinkedIn provides an opportunity to build a public profile. A public profile is simply a way to share information that lets other people learn about you. Prospective employers can review your public profile and easily identify your qualifications and special skills. It is a quick and professional way to get this information to families.

To learn more, career courses specifically designed for nannies, including resume writing, interview preparation and job negotiation are available with enrollment in the Basic Childcare program at AmsleeInstitute.com.

*https://kinsta.com/blog/linkedin-statistics/

Bad Nanny Advice on Social Media

Social media is a great place to learn more about a lot of things, including tips about being a Nanny or Sitter.

Social media is a great place to learn more about a lot of things, including tips about being a Nanny or Sitter. Engaging online is convenient and a lot of wonderful Nannies share great tips, advice, and recommendations. However, not everything on social media is useful and some Nanny advice is just plain bad. From recommendations to quit a job to sticking it out, you have to consider the information you get and determine what is right for you.

A common post focuses on Sitter and Nannies wages. Many nannies seek jobs paying $15-20 an hour while sitters earn about $10 an hour. Confusion about job titles and differing expectations leads to conflicting advice. Sitters supervise children, often for a few hours while parents are away. Sitters should have CPR and First aid training. Some families are seeking a sitter as an affordable childcare option.

Nannies have invested in training and provide childcare with advanced, developmentally appropriate activities incorporating STEM, music and art while using proven techniques like positive discipline to guide child behavior. The difference between a Sitter and a nanny is not just work experience, but whether the nanny has invested in collegiate level childcare training and certification. Education and experience are required to earn higher than average wages with families seeking a childcare professional.

Let’s examine 2 actual social media conversations and their most popular responses. The posts have been re-created to protect the privacy of the participants, but the comments are genuine. For this article, only the comments that centered around the questionable advice are included. The posts had other responses that are not included here.

 

Nannies should be treated with respected by all employers, but nannies also have an obligation to behave professionally. Whether an office position, working in retail or employed at a restaurant, it’s expected that employees show up on time and successfully complete the tasks of the job. In general, if an hourly employee is late, they are not paid for time they did not work.

Families and nannies count on each other so having a trusting and reliable working relationship with good communication is important. Showing up late can make a family wonder if the nanny can effectively manage her schedule or if the job is important to the nanny. Even if the family doesn’t say anything, the family is forced to adapt to the nanny’s tardiness.

Let’s be honest, for every rule, there is an exception. Some families and nannies are good matches when they both run late and have a flexible view of time. However, this is less common as the majority culture in the United States is time sensitive. To be late to a meeting or appointment implies you put a higher value on your time by making the other person wait. Many employers will get quickly frustrated waiting for an employee.

Let’s consider this scenario from the family’s viewpoint. Here is a post that could have been written by the mom in a mommy Facebook group: For the second time in 2 weeks, our nanny has been late to work. I know things come up, but we have always made sure we were home on time to respect her time off. Do I have to tell her, or can I just deduct her pay for the time she missed? It was only 15 minutes and she apologized, but I’m not sure I can count on her. She works two days a week and I’m wondering, should I be looking for a new nanny?

Now let’s look at another conversation.

It’s important to protect yourself as a nanny and be aware of the laws and norms of working for a private employer. As every family-employer and nanny job is different, it’s also important to take time to understand and ask questions about job responsibilities or terms that are new or not clear.

Family-employers likely work outside of the home and bring their professional experiences with them as they seek to hire a nanny. Employees working for a company are often required to sign non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements and these are becoming increasingly common in the childcare industry. Similarly, working outside the home, employees are under camera surveillance so having cameras in the home is also becoming commonplace.

If the family works in the housing industry, they are used to refundable deposits being required for all persons who rent an apartment, lease a house, and even to vacation in some Airbnb rentals. In this post, the nanny shared that the family-employer was asking for a $1,000 refundable deposit to provide the family-employer with some protection in the even the live-in nanny damages the property. The original poster also shared that if the Nanny was not able to provide the $1,000 refundable deposit, a guarantor would be acceptable. Guarantors are also a common practice in the housing industry for renters with limited or inadequate credit history.

It’s important to note that live-in nannies are not renters, but domestic employees and standard business practices used in the housing industry may not necessarily apply. However, families can take appropriate measures to protect their property. Likewise, live-in nannies should consider getting renters insurance to protect their personal property.

Every position as a Nanny who works for a family-employer is unique and it’s up to the nanny and family to communication well and work together. When seeking advice, social media can provide a lot of great information but be weary. Only you can make the right decisions for your situation and goals.

How to Update and Modernize Your Nanny Resume

Your nanny resume is not just a list of jobs, it should highlight your training and accomplishments.

Finding a great nanny family is important and the first step is to have a strong resume that highlights your childcare experience and skills. Your nanny resume is not just a list of jobs, it should highlight your training and accomplishments. After all, a resume is a tool to market yourself and illustrate how you are qualified for a desired childcare position.

A strong resume has three required components. First, your contact information including full name, phone number, email address, city and if available, your LinkedIn URL. You do not need to share your social security number, home address, or marital status. Second, document your employment history starting with the most recent and going back, up to ten years. The work experience section should include full-time and part-time jobs as well as paid internships. Finally, highlight your childcare training. A primary difference between sitters who often earn minimum wage and nannies who earn higher hourly rates is that nannies have childcare specific training that allows them to develop children emotionally, physically, socially, and intellectually. Highlighting Childcare Diploma and Certifications as well as completed CPR and First Aid training will demonstrate a commitment to provide high quality care.

It may be tough to resist but don’t put everything you have done in your professional life on your resume. This is important for two reasons. First, the goal of the resume is not to get the job but to get a potential employer interested in you and request an interview. Second, resumes should not exceed two pages. And finally, too much information can distract the reader, who often scans the information in less than a minute.

Historically, photos were discouraged on resumes but in an age of online job boards that perform better with a photo, most of us have at least one photo that appears when our name is searched online. Given existing digital footprints, including a professional photo can help potential employers find you on LinkedIn.

Pre-Resume Writing Tasks

Before you write a resume, you should complete these Pre-Resume Writing Tasks.

  1. List all your childcare work experience, dates of employment, job description, contact information, and accomplishments
  2. List and obtain copies of all education and training completed including high school diploma, college transcripts and continuing education or specialist (CPR/First Aid) certifications
  3. Research desired jobs and create a list of the duties and responsibilities for each type of job that interests you (nanny, family assistant, summer camp counselor, et al)

Decide on a Resume Format – Traditional or Visual

Resume formats vary greatly but come in two standard types, the traditional resume and the visual resume. Traditional resumes are structured with standard categories including education, experience, and extra-curricular activities. These resumes are often text heavy with bullet points and lists. Visual resumes are full of graphics and images, allowing for more creative and illustrative ways to communicate your skills and experiences. Maintaining the key elements including contact information, work experience, and education, visual resumes allow nannies the opportunity to share the services offered, accomplishments, and other non-traditional information that may be relevant to a childcare position. The first example below is a more traditional format, updated to include a photo while the second examples is a visual resume by the same nanny.

Traditional Resume

 

visual resume

Writing Your Resume

While you want to be short and concise, you also want to provide enough detail to show outcomes, not just task completion. To do this, use action verbs such as planned, achieved, delivered, motivated or provided. Quantifying results by using numbers and percentages adds powerful detail that communicates the impact you made. Here’s an example – As a professional nanny, I used flash cards with a 7-year-old, increasing his word recognition and pronunciation of compound words numbers by 30%.

When writing your resume, it’s vital to be truthful and avoid misrepresentations. In August 2018, New York announced Lulu & Leo’s Law which criminalizes misrepresentations of childcare provider’s experiences and qualifications. The bill makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months behind bars, for a prospective nanny to pump up their resumes with fake references or other misleading information. Be careful about making experience claims for work completed before you were 16 years old. For example, if you just graduated high school, then you should not claim to have 5 years Nanny experience as a family member won’t find it believable. Generally, Nanny experience is viewed as childcare experience after the age of 18 with prior experience captured as babysitting.

Resumes are personal documents that should be tailored to your goals and highlight your skills. Don’t be afraid to add specialized skills or examples of your favorite child development activities to create a lasting impression on who you are.

To learn more, a Resume Writing course is available with enrollment in the Basic Childcare program at AmsleeInstitute.com.

Top 5 Insights from the Nanny Survey 2019

As an education leader in childcare, Amslee Institute shares key insights into the nanny profession, articulates ways nannies can advance their careers, and educates families about the childcare industry.

As an education leader in childcare, Amslee Institute shares key insights into the nanny profession, articulates ways nannies can advance their careers, and educates families about the childcare industry. To support this mission, Amslee Institute sponsored the Nanny Survey 2019. While working relationships and qualifications were identified as the top issues, nannies and family-employers also face non-traditional work environment challenges including safety, privacy, and differences in job duties and expectations.

1. Nannies tend to want (and have) a close, personal relationship with children and families, but often struggle to navigate highly personal dynamics as an employee. 56% of nannies feel their family-employer treat them as a family member while 31% view their relationship with the family-employer to be a causal or close friendship. Only 13% perceive their family-employers treat them as an employee.

Close relationships often blur the family/friend and employee boundaries, which often leads to nannies feeling taken advantage of, disrespected, and under-compensated. Aspiring to be a family member or friend stems from a nanny’s love of children and being part of their lives but may cause significant challenges. First, nannies face emotional turmoil in the work environment when oversharing or misinterpreting social conventions between family/friend and employee. Second, nannies face greater difficulty determining when it is family/friend time versus compensated hours, generating resentment with misaligned expectations. Finally, nannies are often unable to obtain equitable pay if viewed as family/friend who is just helping.

To combat this issue, it’s important for nannies to be an employee first and a friend or extended family member second. This can be hard for some but is required for the position to be viewed as a job with agreed upon duties. Although nannies may want to be friends with an employer, it’s important to remember that employers are not obligated to be friends and that friendships can and should be found outside of the workplace.

Two teenage girls sitting on the floor in a public library reading in a book

2. Nannies and the families that employ them hold different views about what being a nanny means based on qualifications, training, and skills. In part, this is due to nannies and families holding differing views of professional qualifications which create a disconnect around compensation, benefits, and overall respect for the childcare profession.

Families often equate nannies and sitters, failing to understand the difference in childcare skills. Families viewing childcare as a supervisory position requiring little training or experience offer $8-15 an hour and are best served by sitters. Families who view in-home childcare as an extension of the child’s education and development and are willing to pay $15-30+ per hour seek nannies with these skills. These families seek a childcare provider who can invest in the social, physical, emotional and intellectual development of their children. Distinguishing the job responsibilities between child supervision and child development differentiates sitters from nannies.

The Nanny Survey 2019 found that 59% of nannies believe families seek candidates with college level training (Childcare Diploma and Certification, Early Childhood Education Associate or Bachelor Degree). The majority of nannies report that their family-employers support continuing education or childcare training with 52% of families currently paying for training, 31% of families are willing to pay for training, and only 17% are not willing to pay for training.

Work agreements

3. Work agreements are a tool to establish professional boundaries. Nannies and family-employers have difficulty talking about work agreements and thus fail to use this tool to establish a strong employer-employee relationship. A work agreement is simply a document that provides an opportunity to discuss, align, and capture decisions for all types of job-related topics including hours, job duties, compensation, plan for sick days, and many others. Setting these expectations and clearly defining them clarifies both the nanny’s and family-employer’s responsibilities.

Every nanny job is customized to a specific family, creating different duties and levels of responsibility. Nannies sign up for childcare but less than half (48%) of nannies feel their fundamental responsibilities include housekeeping skills (such as laundry, dish washing, vacuuming) not directly tied to childcare. Only 14% of nannies feel their responsibilities include pet care, grocery shopping or other family services.

Work agreements should be updated regularly as schedules and needs change. Nannies often struggle with expanding job responsibilities and frequently have difficulty getting compensated for additional work. Families may ask nannies to work longer hours and/or complete tasks that were not originally defined in the job description. When this occurs, a discussion between the nanny and family-employer is essential to ensure complete understanding and alignment on the scope and compensation of the job.

professional nannies

4. To be respected as a professional, nannies should ensure they behave as professionals. Knowing that some families do not view nannies as professionals, effort is required to change this paradigm. Changing the perception of nannies as non-professionals starts with how nannies view themselves and handle themselves on the job. It’s important that nannies are aware of their behavior and ensure they are role models for the children in their care. As nannies strive to teach children responsibility, respect for rules, and how to treat others, nannies must exhibit these traits. This means nannies should arrive to work on time, dress appropriately, and be polite.

Although confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements are increasing common as a condition of employment for nannies, families without these agreements still expect a certain level of privacy. Privacy is important to family-employers and 67% of nannies would not report infidelity even with first-hand knowledge. Only 33% of nannies would confront the spouse or partner engaging in infidelity.

Hipster woman with tattoos and child

5. Most nannies feel safe working in the family-employers home but 1 out of 3 faced a workplace issue. Most nannies feel safe working in the family’s home; however, 33% of nannies report feeling unsafe on the job. Verbal or emotional abuse was the most commonly reported issue (27%), followed by being physically threatened (11%), discriminated against (11%), and sexually harassed (9%).

Nannies should protect themselves as well as protect the children. For their safety, nannies should always tell someone where they are when interviewing with a new family. It’s also important nannies tell someone where they will be working, the hours, and how the nanny can be reached in the event of an emergency. It’s easy to rely on cell phones but nannies shouldn’t be isolated if their cell phone isn’t available. This is one reason nannies should memorize an emergency contact number.

It’s important that nannies establish boundaries, not only to be viewed as an employee first, but also to ensure nannies are comfortable with tasks assigned. If a nanny is not comfortable, they should put their safety first and not hesitate to report anything that seems suspicious or is inappropriate.

To learn more about these topics and other issues facing nannies, read Amslee Institute’s Nanny Survey 2019 results. For additional information, please contact info@amsleeinstitute.com.

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