Advice Column, Parenting

How do you choose the right domestic nanny worker/nanny?

  • Super Nannies
  • Category Advice Column, Parenting

It’s important to prioritise your family’s needs and then look for a nanny that suits your family. There is no such thing as the perfect nanny.A pleasant personality and experience is more important that lots of qualifications.

References are important to check up on. Qualities to look for in a nanny are a good attitude, honesty, reliability, shows initiative and a willingness to communicate and do the tasks the mother’s way.  Skills can always be taught. As a parent, it is important to trust your gut instinct when making your choice. Nobody is perfect but the nanny must fit in with your family requirements and the parent/employer must be realistic about their own expectations.

Points to consider during your nanny interview and trial period

  • Did the candidate arrive for the interview well groomed and neatly dressed?
  • Did she wash her hands before holding your child?
  • Was she punctual, and did she phone if late?
  • Did she apologise if she was late and lost?
  • Does she have a sense of orderliness that is compatible with your own?
  • Is she physically capable of handling the nanny job?
  • Does she show an interest in your children?
  • How does she interact with your child?
  • Does she seem intelligent and have common sense?
  • Do you feel relaxed and comfortable talking to her

What are the rates for domestic nanny workers/nannies?
There are some subtle differences when it comes to the job description and salary rates of childcare’s which we call domestic nanny workers and /or nannies; aupairs and aupairs.

Super Nannies childcare roles and expected salary range:

Job title: Domestic nanny
Description: A person whose responsibilities include caring for young children and doing light cleaning in the home.
Education: minimum education
Salary: R4000 – R5500
Driving: No
Housework: Yes but generally light work as she has to balance childcare and housework
Childcare: Yes
Cooking: Yes/No

Job title: Nanny or childcare
Description: A person whose responsibilities only include caring for young children and doing perhaps some laundry and ironing.
Education: Minimum education
Salary: R4000 – R5500
Driving: No
Housework: Yes but housework associated with the child. Sorting toys, laundry and ironing
Childcare: Yes
Cooking: Yes to cook the child’s food

Job title: Nanny Aupair (Naupairs)
Description: A well-spoken, well educated person whose responsibilities only include caring for young children and doing light housework
Education: Tertiary education
Salary: R6500 +
Driving: Yes but may not have own car
Housework: light housework associated with the child.
Childcare: Yes
Cooking: Yes to cook the child’s food

Job title: Aupair
Description: Normally a young student studying at University or a mature person
Education: Always includes a tertiary education
Salary: R80/R85 per hour/R4500 – R8500 for half day/R8000+ full day
Driving: Yes with own car
Housework: No
Childcare: Yes – playing, helping with homework and driving children to extra mural activities.
Cooking: Yes to cook the child’s food

What about annual, sick and maternity leave

Annual leave

A nanny is still your employer despite being part of your family and home environment. It is important that if your nanny is working for you permanently that you have a employment contract with her outlining her job role and responsibilities. The standard conditions of employment apply to her too.
As an employer you must grant her at least:

Three weeks annual leave on full pay in respect of each 12 months of employment.  The minimum of three weeks annual leave must be granted not later than six months after the end of the annual leave cycle, or the year in which the leave was earned.

The leave earned in one year must be granted over a continuous period i.e. on consecutive days, if requested by the worker.

Sick leave

During every sick leave cycle of 36 months, a domestic nanny is entitled to paid sick leave equal to the number of days she would normally work during a period of six weeks (approximately 30 days). For the first six months of employment, the domestic nanny is only entitled to sick leave at the rate of one day’s paid sick leave for every 26 days worked.

Maternity leave

A domestic nanny is entitled to at least four consecutive months (unpaid) maternity leave. UIF will offer some compensation while she is on maternity leave depending on how long she has been contributing to UIF. A domestic nanny may not work for six weeks after the birth of her child unless a medical practitioner certifies that she is fit to do so.

Would one have to draw up a contract and what should the contract entail
At Super Nannies, we do encourage the employer in this case the parent to draw up a contract with the nanny especially  if its a permanent job role. This is important for two key reasons. The advantage of a written agreement is that the employer and the domestic nanny worker will have clarity about each other’s rights and duties. By providing a written contract it also makes the domestic nanny nanny feel secure in her job and gives her the knowledge that her employer takes her role seriously.

However you don’t need a written agreement to establish a binding contract of employment. A spoken agreement of employment is just as binding as a written one but the law does require that written particulars of employment must be handed to the nanny on commencement of her job.

In an employment contract the following particulars must be supplied:

  • Identities of the employer and worker, and the place of work
  • Is the agreement for an indefinite or fixed period starting date
  • The nature of the job and duties
  • Salary, including the value of any payments in kind
  • Wage, or rate and method of payment
  • Rate of pay for overtime
  • Any other cash payments the domestic nanny is entitled to
  • Any payment in kind that the domestic nanny is entitled to and the value of the payment in kind
  • How frequently wages will be paid
  • Any deductions to be made from the wage
  • Whether there will be a probationary period
  • Is she prepared to work overtime, if so and how much
  • Other possible benefits like a pension, bonus etc
  • Days and hours to be worked
  • Meal and tea intervals
  • Starting and finishing times
  • Pay for overtime, Sunday and public holidays
  • Leave, leave pay
  • Sick leave, sick leave pay
  • Notice periods for employer and worker to terminate the agreement

What does one do if you are not happy with the worker? What are grounds for dismissal?

Dismissal is a drastic measure and should be a final resort. Dismissal is appropriate as a first disciplinary step where misconduct makes the continuation of the employment relationship intolerable. Possible examples are theft (with proof or witness), gross dishonesty, wilful damage to the property of the employer, wilful endangering of the safety of others, physical assault on the employer or any family members and gross insubordination.

Guidelines for disciplining and dismissing your domestic nanny.

You need to understand these guidelines before you can dismiss your nanny.

The sequence of steps taken against an employee who has broken the rules is as follows:

  • Informal advice and correction
  • A written or spoken first formal warning
  • A written or spoken second formal warning
  • A written or spoken final formal warning dismissal
  • It is always best to give a written warning.  First and second warnings are usually valid for three months and final warnings are valid for six months. A final warning would state that further misconduct might lead to the workers dismissal.

What do you do when you move or your children go to school and you don’t require a full-time worker or a worker at all.

If you know longer require your domestic nannies services for a valid legal reason you will need to give her notice according to the agreement.

Notice of termination must be given in writing. You may also pay her out for the notice period instead of giving her notice. This is the benefit of having a written contract.

You must also pay her out for all leave owed to her but not yet taken. This may also be overtime working on public holidays or Sundays and babysitting.

Over and above these payments, a retrenched employee must be paid severance pay at the rate of at least one week’s salary for each year of continuous service.

Do you have any general tips or advice?

Should you need any further advice and assistance:

  • You may  speak to a private expert such as Super Nannies 0861 4 NANNY. We can also refer you to a labour law consultant .
  • Phone your local office of the Department of  Labour (ask to speak to one of the inspectors)
  • Contact your local branch of the CCMA

Remember there is no perfect nanny. As parent you need to find the right personality fit for your family. It is important to not only interview the nanny but trial the nanny for a few days. During the trial period you will be able to assess her and see how you, your child and her interact.

As a parent it is your job to guide your nanny with the topics below as every family has a different philosophy regarding child care rearing and rules in their home. This will help eliminate any misunderstanding due to cultural differences as well.

  • Discipline and tantrums
  • Potty training
  • Giving medicine
  • Putting baby to sleep
  • Safety in the home
  • Activities to keep a toddler stimulated
  • What to feed your child
  • Watching TV and how much is appropriate
  • Putting baby on her back
  • The baby’s routine
  • The nanny’s routine and household chore
  • The nanny’s breakfast and lunch food choices
  • Telephone rules

And lastly remember to thank your nanny for a job well done. We all like to feel appreciated and valued in our jobs and a little acknowledgement can go a long way – it can build the relationship and improve job satisfaction with your domestic nanny.

Lastly get in touch with Super Nannies today when you visit

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