What is a nanny?

A nanny is a professional carer who looks after children in the children’s own home.

If you’re interested in nannies as a child care option, it’s important to find a nanny who’s right for your family. You could start by asking other parents or your friends if they know someone suitable.

Employment contracts and job descriptions for nannies

An employment contract will help you and your nanny avoid or resolve future misunderstandings.

The contract should cover pay and conditions – for example:

  • salary and superannuation
  • hours of work
  • periods of notice for leave and employment termination
  • performance review process
  • overtime
  • sick and carer’s leave and annual leave
  • contract renegotiation conditions – for example, if you have another child
  • reimbursement of expenses
  • confidentiality requirements – for example, you might not want the nanny to post about your family on social media
  • the behaviour you expect from your nanny – you could use Early Childhood Australia’s code of ethics as a guide.

It’s a good idea to include a list of duties as part of the employment contract. This list could form the nanny’s job description. It might cover:

  • what you want the nanny to do, including any additional domestic work like preparing meals
  • live-in or live-out arrangements
  • weekly schedule including activities like naps, walks and play
  • transport arrangements – for example, whether the nanny is allowed to drive the children in his or her car or your family car.

Payment for nannies

As for most jobs, the rate of pay for a nanny depends on:

  • the nanny’s qualifications and experience
  • whether the nanny is your employee or an independent contractor
  • whether the nanny works full-time, part-time or casually
  • when the nanny works – evenings, weekends and public holidays can attract higher fees
  • whether you found the nanny through an employment agency that charges a fee.

You’ll need to decide whether you’re employing your nanny as an independent contractor or as your employee:

  • For a nanny hired as an independent contractor, you’ll need to negotiate an appropriate pay rate.
  • For a nanny hired as an employee, pay rates are covered by Miscellaneous Award 2010. You can check these rates at Fair Work Ombudsman – Pay guides.

You could hire a payroll company to help with some of the legal requirements of paying your nanny.

Income tax for nannies

You can find out about paying income tax for your nanny at Australian Taxation Office – Withholding from payments to household employees.

Leave for nannies

All nannies who are employees are entitled to leave. Entitlements include the minimum 20 days annual leave and 8 days annual sick leave, with these amounts adjusted pro-rata if the nanny is part-time.

You’ll need to think about what you’ll do if your nanny gets sick or goes on annual leave. If you’ve employed a nanny from an agency, the agency can usually provide another nanny. If you’ve employed a nanny privately, you’ll need to make your own plans.

Superannuation for nannies

You’ll have to pay superannuation if your nanny works more than 30 hours a week, either looking after children or doing domestic work.

You can find out more information at Australian Taxation Office – Working out if you have to pay super.

Do you need insurance when you employ a nanny?

There are several types of insurance you might need to think about:

  • Public liability insurance to cover accidents – you might already have some cover if you have a home and contents insurance policy.
  • Domestic workers compensation insurance – contact WorkCover in your state for further information.
  • Car insurance – you’ll need to update your car insurance policy if your nanny will be driving your car.

Background checks on nannies

If you’re organising employment of a nanny yourself, some states will allow you to request a police check from a local police station for a fee. A working with children (WWC) check is mandatory for certain occupations and must be held by a nanny if required by law in your state or territory.

You might be able to access the Australian Government’s In Home Care program to assist with the cost of child care provided in the family home by an educator who meets minimum qualification requirements. You have to be working non-standard or variable hours, be geographically isolated or have complexities or challenges within your family.