The decision has been made and you are about to return to work! The new parents are bombarded with many child day care options, one of which is the choice to employ a fulltime nanny (or domestic worker).
For so many South African parents, the option of employing a fulltime nanny is a very feasible choice and to this end, on a daily basis working parents leave their children in the capable hands of a nanny or childminder.
As with all decisions in life, one needs to consider the pros as well as the cons of this option – weigh them up and decide if this choice is right for them.
- A nanny is able to offer one-on-one care. In a crÃ¨che or with a day mother, caregivers are forced to divide their time and attention and give care to more than one child.
- A nanny can offer at-home care, and this means that moms don’t need to pack nappy bags, bottles, clothing, food, etc for the child in day care facilities.
- A baby is cared for in their own, familiar environment and are not be exposed to as many germs or viruses as babies who attend crÃ¨che.
- When the baby begins on solids, parents will have more control over the types of food given to the child.
- Employing a full-time nanny is one of the most cost effective choices when it comes to child. Depending on the area, a crÃ¨che can cost up to R2000 per month, while a minimum wage for a child minder is R1200 (dependent on the region). If the nanny works more than eight hours a day, an overtime rate must be paid (approximately R6.00 per hour).
- S Parents with multiples will find crÃ¨che costs crippling and therefore a full-time childminder will be the best option.
- In South Africa, most child minders offer both childcare services along with more common domestic services, such as washing, ironing, general cleaning, etc. For a working mom this is an added advantage (and a Godsend), as all the household chores will be tended to and the new mom can focus all her time purely on baby.
- There are a large number of agencies in the country which specialize in providing trained and experienced nannies or domestic workers. Through these agencies, parents can obtain references, and also select nannies that have undergone training in childcare and first-aid.
- A large number of domestic workers prefer to live on the premises, which is a big pro. An additional fee can be negotiated with the caregiver to provide after-hour babysitting services, if required.
- A crÃ¨che will not be willing to accept an unwell or sick baby, however if the baby is unwell, a nanny trained in childcare (or a nanny who is a mom, herself) will be more than capable of caring for the unwell infant.
- In the event that a nanny falls ill or is required to attend to personal matters, parents are forced to seek alternative (short term) child care, while still having to continue to pay the salary of the worker.
- Parents often feel anxious about leaving their child with a nanny as the level of childcare is not being monitored (as it is in a crÃ¨che)
- After the age of two, it is advisable for the toddler to attend a formal child care facility to develop their social skills and for stimulation. Therefore employing a fulltime nanny is not seen as a long-term solution, whereas a crÃ¨che usually offers care from three months to the age of six.
- The monthly cost for a nanny may be affordable, yet employers will need to consider paying a bonus or holiday pay (usually a full month’s salary).
- A domestic worker or nanny in South Africa needs to be registered for UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) by law. Parents may find this to be an added complication.
Before the decision is made to employ a full time domestic worker, parents should familiarize themselves with the Domestic Workers Act. This act covers issues, such as the minimum wage, the number of hours which a worker is permitted to work, as well as leave pay, etc.
A wise choice is to consult with a domestic worker agency. Their role will be to find a childminder that will suit the needs of the employers. The agency charges a fee, but this fee will provide parents with the peace of mind that their child is in the hands of a trained and experienced childminder. The agency will attempt to match up families with minders, and particular requests can be made by the families, such as a childminder with experience in caring for multiples, or a nanny with a First Aid certificate.