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Home childcare and nannies

What is a home childcarer?

A home childcarer is a person who provides care for children in the parents own home. Parents can also share a nanny with another family. Nannies and au pairs are the most common examples of home childcarers.

Home childcarers do not need to register with Ofsted but can choose to register on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register.

Home childcarers can often provide quite flexible childcare, fitting in with unusual working hours, or they may even live-in. Some may also agree to do additional jobs around the house, such as cleaning or cooking. 

Home childcarers are employed by the parents.

These are some of the things you will be responsible for as their employer:

  • paying their wage
  • tax and national insurance contributions
  • sick pay
  • holiday pay

You may also consider:

  • providing a mobile phone for emergencies
  • adding them to your car insurance to drive the family car

Wages for home childcarers will vary depending on their experience, the number of hours they are expected to work, whether or not they live-in, and other factors.

As an employer you will also need to take out employer’s liability insurance. For your peace of mind you should also ensure that your home childcarer has public liability insurance. They may already hold this. If they do not you should discuss who will pay for this: will you as the employer pay for this, will they, or will you split the cost 50/50?

Most home childcarers will likely hold a recognised childcare qualification or nursery nurse training, but this is not compulsory. There are no legal requirements regarding people who are employed as home childcarers. It will be your responsibility to ensure that the home childcarer you employ is suitable to look after your child or children.

Ofsted registration

In order to be eligible for help with childcare costs (such as through the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or through employer supported childcare vouchers) the home childcarer will need to be registered with Ofsted. For further details about the Ofsted registration process see the guide for home childcarers.

Tips for parents:

Here are some suggestions for what to look for or ask when interviewing for a home childcarer:

  • Proof of identity: two forms of ID, one of which should carry a photograph e.g. passport or driving licence. Another suggestion includes a full birth certificate, bank statements, Council Tax, or utility bills, etc.
  • A CV containing their full employment, education and training history.
  • Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS).
  • References: at least two, including the home childcarer’s last employer.
  • Organisational skills.
  • Positive, caring attitude.
  • Drivers Licence?
  • Public Liability Insurance?

Questions to ask

  • How long have you been working with children, and what qualifications or experience do you have? (Ask to see the originals of any qualification certificates).
  • Do you enjoy being with children and why?
  • How would you encourage my child’s learning and development, and what sort of activities would you prepare for my child?
  • How do you encourage good behaviour, and what are your views on discipline?
  • Why did you leave your last position?
  • Have you undertaken first aid training, and would you be prepared to undergo any refresher training, including paediatric first aid, if required?
  • Would you be prepared to undergo a medical check through a GP to confirm your fitness to work with children?
York FIS