What to look for in a Nanny agency!
Looking to hire a Nanny and feeling a bit overwhelmed by where to start? There are up to 40 Nanny agencies in Melbourne, so how do you sort the best from the rest and choose the right agency for your family?
Though there will be all sorts of factors individual to your family's unique situation, there are some absolute non-negotiables you should require of any Nanny agency:
1) The child always comes first
You should always choose a Nanny agency that puts the safety, health and happiness of your child first. As such, Placement Solutions Nannies undertake child-related tasks only. This could include making your childrens' lunch or doing their washing, but even these should be done only when the children are sleeping. If you would like household chores completed as well, you can employ a household manager separately. Or, if you'd like a blend of Nanny and household manager, you can make a specific agreement with your Nanny, and they will undertake these extra tasks only when the children are not present.
You should also always hire a Nanny that is able to identify common hazards in the home that could harm the children. At Placement Solutions, we perform in-home visits to check whether your living environment is safe for children.
2) The Nanny agency has systems to ensure this
This means choosing a Nanny agency that has a range of systems and background checks to ensure your child will always be healthy and happy. These should include:
- Experience - it's important to choose a Nanny that's already got experience looking after children. At Placement Solutions, we require a minimum of three years' experience before a Nanny can work with us, and they must be at least 21 years old
- References - from reliable and reputable sources that have been personally checked and verified by the agency. We believe that this should always be done personally, and the Nanny should also be personally screened and inducted, not interviewed over the internet, phone or by Skype
- Minimum requirements - including a National Police Check, current First Aid certificate, and a verified, current Working with Children Check. All Nannies in Australia must also be trained in mandatory reporting of child abuse
- Valid visa or right to work in Australia
These systems and checks will give you peace of mind that you are leaving your children in safe hands. This is an absolute essential - if you're going to work and you don't feel 100 per cent certain that your child is healthy and happy, there's no point hiring a Nanny in the first place. So choosing an agency that will give you this peace of mind via the systems it has in place is a must.
3) All Nannies go through training
As part of these systems, you should choose a Nanny agency that provides sufficient training. Placement Solutions prefers all its Nannies to have or be working towards Certificate III in Children's Services, and we also have a training company (Nurture Training College), to provide specialised training of childcare professionals.
This means that our Nannies are professionals, capable of dealing with a large variety of situations that can occur. This includes separation anxiety (which sometimes develops in children when their mother leaves them for the first time), as well as what to do in various emergency situations.
4) You're provided with a choice
Not all Nannies will work with all families, and it's important you're able to get the right fit. To do this, you should seek a Nanny agency that provides you with choice when you're looking to hire. Then, you can interview a range of Nannies, and introduce them to your children early on to see how they interact. Different children will have different needs, so it's important you get a Nanny that can adapt to whatever your child and family situation requires.
For Jayde Draffin, a Placement Solutions client, the degree of choice was one of the things that drew her to us. "We got given five and then narrowed it down to three to interview. One of our children can be quite shy and sometimes has speech delays, so we wanted a Nanny who would be sensitive to him," explains Jayde. "The amount of choice Placement Solutions gave us meant we were able to find the perfect fit."
5) The Nanny agency respects its employees
"I believe around 65 per cent of Nannies are being paid cash-in-hand," says Louise Dunham, MD of Placement Solutions. However, if a Nanny isn't paid legally this means they miss out on essential employee benefits such as sick leave and superannuation. It's important for the Nanny, therefore, that you choose an agency that pays its employees legally, to ensure they are able to access their statutory rights. Additionally, it is the legal and moral thing to do.
At Placement Solutions, we have a dedicated payroll company called Just Family Payroll to ensure all our Nannies are paid above board. Again, this is something that will give you peace of mind when you are at work, as you'll know that the agency you hired respects its Nannies and their rights.
There are hundreds of Nanny agencies out there, but once you start thinking about your non-negotiables, you'll be able to narrow the choice down significantly. Here at Placement Solutions, we pride ourselves on the stringent security checks and training we require of our Nannies.
Our most important concern is the health and happiness of your child. Contact us today to find out how our bespoke Nannying solutions could benefit your family.