Do you need childcare that is affordable? Nanny sharing could be the answer and more and more parents are turning to it. Statistics show nanny sharing has increased threefold over the last six months as parents look to cut costs and more are working flexibly.
Nanny shares involve sharing the care provided by a nanny between two families and is often less expensive than a nursery. It’s just a question of finding a match with another local family – you can either split the week in two or have two children cared for in your or the other family’s home.
According to statistics from nanny agency Tinies
and www.nannyshare.co.uk, the average cost of employing a nanny as part of a nanny share including tax and national insurance contributions is around £350-£420 a week which is then split between two families.
Tinies says one in four of the nannies on its books now work for more than one family, up from one in eight a year ago.
Traditionally, nannies have been seen as an expensive childcare option. Tinies reports that their highest paid nanny currently earns approximately £50,000. Amanda Coxen of Tinies says “Nannies used to only be affordable to the wealthy elite, but now parents are finding if they share a nanny it is often cheaper than a nursery.“ Amanda continues: “Hiring a nanny is still considered the best quality childcare option, but without better tax breaks parents struggle to afford a £30,000 plus salary which is the average cost of a nanny in London. Hence the popularity of Nanny Share.”
Ben Black of Nannyshare.co.uk says that part of the motivation for hiring nannies is the individual, quality care that qualified nannies provide. He says: “The debate about what constitutes good childcare has raged over the years and at the industry expert level at least, there seems to be some consensus. For children in their early years – certainly in the first 12 months – consistency of care (continuity of attachments for the child) is the most important factor. In other words childminders, nannies, parents are all very good solutions. But group settings – in other words, nurseries – are not as helpful to a child’s early emotional development. It’s a conflict that every developed country is faced with as economic needs demand more and more mothers return to the workplace.”
Of course, it can depend on the individual care provided and what fits best around parent’s needs. Nurseries would argue that good quality nursery care with low staff to baby ratios has good results.
Interestingly, despite the growing popularity of nanny shares, nannies are the one part of the childcare market left untouched by the Government. Nannies, for instance, are exempt from checks by the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
Ironically the lack of regulation could be doing nannies a favour. When Labour came to power there were 100,000 nannies working and the average cost of employing a nanny was £26,000 per annum. There are now 160,000 nannies and the average cost has come down to £23,000. Eastern Europe, flexible working, and sites like www.nannyshare.co.uk
have been the drivers.
“It is becoming more affordable to hire a nanny, particularly with arrivals from eastern Europe,” explained Ben Black. “And people are more comfortable meeting online. The other big trend is more flexible working, with people working from home or doing fewer days a week. People have far more need for childcare support, particularly in the south-east where grandparents are often more distant. We have seen our business increase by a third this year. If you think of it as a dating website, the principles are the same. You want to find the best match.”
Tinies says that the full-time cost of nurseries in London is around £350 a week, compared to £250 for a nanny share and £500 for a full time nanny. In Cheshire, the costs are respectively £250 per week, £380 per week for nannies and £200 per week for nanny shares. In Brighton, nanny shares are even cheaper with nurseries costing £220 a week, nannies £250 a week and nanny shares £175.
Fiona Jull, a PR consultant, used nannyshare.co.uk and would recommend it. She says: “I just assumed I would put my baby into nursery when I went back to work, but when Max was born I changed my mind and didn’t want to put him in a nursery when he was so young. Then I looked at having a nanny as, to me, this is really the best childcare option, but I realised it would cost half my salary so I decided I would have to share a nanny.
“I found a family through Nannyshare.co.uk just around the corner. I now share a nanny with a lovely family less than 30 seconds from my front door. I drop my son off two days a week and he’s here two days a week. I save over £100 a week compared to the cost of my local nursery which I had booked a place at when I was pregnant.”
Fiona returned to work when her son was six months old. She adds: “A ‘nannyshare’ arrangement works really well for me. It is flexible as you can’t send your child to a nursery when they are ill. Also by having a nanny it makes my ‘work life’ balance so much better. Things like Max’s washing and his home-made food get prepared, leaving me with more quality time with Max at the weekend.”