FAQs

What qualifications does a nanny need?
Open What qualifications does a nanny need?

There are many educational qualifications available to nannies in the UK:

Early Years (or equivalent) (CACHE Level 3 Diploma)

Most commonly nannies are now completing a degree in Early Years or similar, these are offered at various universities in the UK, the most famous is Norland College in Bath.

This is a three year degree and includes course work and placements to offer hands on experience in a variety of childcare settings.

National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Early Years

Candidates can also study a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Early Years. This qualification is completed whilst working full time, normally in a nursery.  It normally takes a year or two to complete, depending on how quickly the candidate completes coursework.

In order to be considered able to work as a nanny, we expect a Level 3 or above to be completed.

Diploma in Childcare & Education (CACHE Level 3 Diploma)

Traditionally candidates studied the Diploma in childcare and education offered by NNEB (Nursery Nurse Examining Board) which was then superseded by the CACHE issuing body.

These two courses included practical experience as well as time in the classroom and took two years to complete.

Montessori Diploma & Other Teaching Degrees

You can study a Montessori Diploma, or a teaching degree or you could specialise in working with children with additional needs.

Outside of UK

Each country will have their own courses; in Australia this could be a TAFE Diploma in Community services whereas in New Zealand there is a government based initiative which aims to teach parents and child carers alike the best way to look after young children. A few nannies will have gone through the PORSE system and completed their qualifications.

If you’re unsure if your international qualification is applicable in the UK, we advise you to contact NARIC, the UK government body which compares international diplomas and offers a statement of comparability.

Does a nanny need to take out insurance?
Open Does a nanny need to take out insurance?

As a childcare professional we also highly recommend you hold liability insurance. Two of the most well known providers in the UK are Morton Michel and Nannytax, but of course there are many more out there.

Your Signature Staff consultant will be able to advise you on this.

How many years’ experience working as a candidate must I have in order to register with Signature Staff?
Open How many years’ experience working as a candidate must I have in order to register with Signature Staff?

We require a minimum of 3 years’ experience of working in a private household.

Is a DBS Required and how do I apply for it?
Open Is a DBS Required and how do I apply for it?

If you are working with children, will be required to apply for the enhanced DBS.

Signature Staff are an authorised body and consequently can assist you and fast-track your DBS application.

The cost of an enhanced DBS is £55.

What qualifications does a maternity nurse need?
Open What qualifications does a maternity nurse need?

There are a number of qualifications a maternity nurse may have including:

  • Maternity Practitioner Award - Level 4 (ONC accredited)
  • Maternity Practitioner Award - Level 3 (OCN accredited)
  • Breastfeeding Course - Level 3 (OCN accredited)
  • Sleep Training Course - Level 3 (OCN accredited)
Professional Development courses – do I need to do them and what courses can I do?
Open Professional Development courses – do I need to do them and what courses can I do?

There are many development courses qualifications available to nannies. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) provides the children in your care the best possible start in life, as well as helping to future proof your career.

Attending courses both online and in person will help develop your knowledge and skills as well as offering you the opportunity to meet and network with other likeminded professionals.

Some companies and courses we recommend include;

Be Ready to Parent

Safe and Sound

MNT Training

Unicef

There are of course many other course providers on the market so have a look and see what fits for you.

Is a first aid qualification required to register as a Signature Staff nanny or member of household staff?
Open Is a first aid qualification required to register as a Signature Staff nanny or member of household staff?

Only candidates who are working with children must hold a Paediatric First Aid certificate.

This fully incorporates all the necessary modules and is valid for 3 years after which time you will need to repeat the 2 day course.

Does Signature Staff charge candidates a fee to register?
Open Does Signature Staff charge candidates a fee to register?

No fee is paid by candidates at any time during their interaction with Signature Staff.

What background checks do Signature Staff run on you, the candidate?
Open What background checks do Signature Staff run on you, the candidate?

References: we require you to have at least 3 years’ experience with checkable references – we don’t just stop at two referees

Face-to-Face Meeting: We ask you to attend a face to face meeting at our Central London office, during this interview, we’ll verify your identity, working rights; site your documentation and make sure we have a thorough understanding of your skill-set, experience and what you are looking for in a job.

Certificates

  • Your Photo ID: either a valid passport or driving licence
  • Your identity documentation: Passport, Driving Licence, NI No, etc.
  • Proof of eligibility to work in the UK if you are seeking a position in the UK
  • Reasons for any gaps in your employment history
  • Certificates to evidence your qualifications
  • An up-to-date DBS certificate (for those working with children)
  • An up-to-date First Aid certificate (for those working with children)
For overseas positions how does payroll, tax and other employment obligations differ from the UK?
Open For overseas positions how does payroll, tax and other employment obligations differ from the UK?

Most countries have differing tax legislation. Your Signature Staff consultant will advise you on this if you apply for an overseas position.

Equivalently your holiday entitlements will differ too, and will be set-out in your employment contract.

Who provides the employment contract to be agreed between the nanny or other member of household staff and the employer?
Open Who provides the employment contract to be agreed between the nanny or other member of household staff and the employer?

Your Signature Staff consultant can provide a draft contract of employment although sometimes your prospective employers will provide one.

Your Signature Staff consultant will advise you as to the standard terms currently prevailing in the market at that particular point in time to ensure you are treated fairly.

How do I use Nannytax as a nanny or member of household staff in the UK?
Open How do I use Nannytax as a nanny or member of household staff in the UK?

Your employer will register with Nannytax, having inputted your gross pay and other relevant information into the Nannytax portal.

Nannytax will automatically generate a monthly payslip for you which will set out your gross pay and your net pay with the difference being deductions for tax, pension contributions, student loan repayments (if applicable).

How long does it take to hire a member of household staff?
Open How long does it take to hire a member of household staff?

The average time from start to finish is 2-6 weeks.

The Signature Staff team spend a significant amount of time drawing up a shortlist of candidates whom, based on both your domestic staff requirements and their skill-set and personality, are the best-fit for your domestic staffing requirements.

Additional time needs to be factored in for the client and candidate schedules for interviews.

How many years’ relevant work experience must a candidate have in order to register with Signature Staff?
Open How many years’ relevant work experience must a candidate have in order to register with Signature Staff?

We require a minimum of 3 years’ experience working in a private household.

As a nanny or other member of household staff in the UK, what determines whether I am employed or self-employed?
Open As a nanny or other member of household staff in the UK, what determines whether I am employed or self-employed?

All permanent employees in a household who work are employed, not self-employed.

Those candidates who work on a temporary basis (full-time or part-time) are self-employed and responsible themselves for declaring their income and meeting the accompanying tax obligations.

We advise all staff to talk in terms of a gross salary when accepting a new position, the agency can advise on standard rates of pay to expect.

How do I convert gross salary to net salary as a nanny or member of household staff in the UK?
Open How do I convert gross salary to net salary as a nanny or member of household staff in the UK?

The easiest way to determine your net pay (salary into your bank account after deductions) is to call your Signature Staff consultant and we’ll be able to advise you.

Does the client incur travel costs when the employee starts a new position?
Open Does the client incur travel costs when the employee starts a new position?

The client is responsible for covering travel expenses at the start and end of the employment.

Over and above this, for overseas placements, 1-2 return flights to the candidate’s country of residence are typically included and will be set out in the employment contract.

Is there usually a trial period with overseas positions?
Open Is there usually a trial period with overseas positions?

A trial period is normally built into a probationary period in the contract.

What kind of visa do I need to work as a nanny or member of household staff?
Open What kind of visa do I need to work as a nanny or member of household staff?

In the UK, you need to hold a full working visa – there are a few options currently available, including a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa, a Spousal Visa, and an Ancestry Visa.

Currently, household staff are not able to be sponsored by employers to get visas.

For overseas positions (ex. UK), your Signature Staff consultant will ensure the requisite visas are applied for by the Client, and the Client will also bear the costs of these.

What are the best household staff interview questions?
Open What are the best household staff interview questions?
  • Please outline your relevant qualifications for the role.
  • What do you enjoy about working in the role?
  • What skill-set do you have as a domestic staff member that make you a valuable asset to the household?
  • Our expectation is that within your role you would complete certain duties. Are there any duties outlined in the job description that you aren’t happy to undertake?
  • Do you have any dietary requirements?
  • Do you intend to stay in the house on your days off or go home?
As a part-time nanny or other member of household staff, how do I get paid and declare tax in the UK?
Open As a part-time nanny or other member of household staff, how do I get paid and declare tax in the UK?

Those employees who work on a permanent part-time basis will be classified as employed.

If you are employed in a part-time role, your employer is responsible for operating a PAYE scheme.

What is a nanny housekeeper?
Open What is a nanny housekeeper?

The duties of a nanny housekeeper are wide ranging, depending on the requirements of the household, but in general they involve general household cleaning and tidying, laundry and ironing, cooking/help in the kitchen, and some lighter childcare duties including babysitting, school runs, etc.

What qualities make a good housekeeper?
Open What qualities make a good housekeeper?
  • Self-starter as opposed to needing significant direction
  • Strong cleaning and ironing skills
  • Good time-keeping organisation and appearance
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Easy to live alongside (if live-in housekeeper)
  • Ability to cope in an emergency
  • Respond well to direction
  • Reliability, honesty, and trustworthiness
What qualifications does a maternity nurse need?
Open What qualifications does a maternity nurse need?

There are a number of qualifications a maternity nurse may have including:

  • Maternity Practitioner Award - Level 4 (ONC accredited)
  • Maternity Practitioner Award - Level 3 (OCN accredited)
  • Breastfeeding Course - Level 3 (OCN accredited)
  • Sleep Training Course - Level 3 (OCN accredited)
What qualities make a good maternity nurse?
Open What qualities make a good maternity nurse?
  • Ability to establish a routine
  • Helpful with advice and suggestions
  • Easy to live alongside
  • Ability to cope in an emergency
  • Reliability, honesty, and trustworthiness
How long should I book a maternity nurse for?
Open How long should I book a maternity nurse for?

The average is a 6-12 week booking for maternity assistance, though could be as short as for a 2 week period and as long as an 18 week period.

What is the appropriate start date for a maternity nurse?
Open What is the appropriate start date for a maternity nurse?

Most maternity nurses commence the role at or around the due date of the baby.

How long does it take to hire a maternity nurse?
Open How long does it take to hire a maternity nurse?

The average time from start to finish is 2-4 weeks.

The Signature Staff team spend a considerable amount of time and effort drawing up a shortlist of candidates who represent the best-fit for your household based upon both your maternity care requirements and their skill-set and personality.

Further time needs to be allowed for the schedules of both the client and candidates for interviews.

When should I start looking to hire a maternity nurse?
Open When should I start looking to hire a maternity nurse?

Most Signature Staff clients wait until 12 weeks into the gestation, when the pregnancy has progressed and they know whether they are expecting a single, twins or triplets.

We would encourage clients to register early to ensure an excellent selection of maternity nurses.

What are the best maternity nurse interview questions?
Open What are the best maternity nurse interview questions?
  • Please outline your maternity care qualifications.
  • Why do you enjoy working in maternity care?
  • What makes you a good maternity nurse?
  • Are you happy to educate me about my baby?
  • What is your chosen approach to routines?
  • When do you normally manage to get a baby sleeping through the night?
  • Will you support me if I change my mind about routine?
  • Are you happy to share a room with the baby?
  • Do you have experience helping breastfeeding mothers?
  • Can you give advice on diet and breastfeeding?
  • Are you willing to support with night feeds?
  • Can you give advice on expressing breast milk and how to store it?
  • Do you expect meals or are you happy to cook for yourself?
  • Are you happy to give the family some alone time?
  • Do you have any dietary requirements?
  • Will you be happy to make cups of tea or food for the family occasionally and help with some household chores such as the washing up?
  • Do you intend to stay in the house on your days off or go home?
  • Do you expect your own tv?
What is the difference between a maternity nurse and a nanny?
Open What is the difference between a maternity nurse and a nanny?

Maternity nurses are trained to look after newborn babies and infants so their tenure with a family tends to be of short duration. They work longer shifts than nannies with many being on call for 24 hours, 6 days a week. They are self-employed unlike nannies who are employed by the family.

Nannies, on the other hand, look after infants aged 3 months and older and their contracts are long-term. Nannies work 10-12 hours per day for 5 or 6 days per week. Typically a nanny doesn’t do night duties, although they are often prepared to babysit if given sufficient notice.

What qualifications does a nanny need?
Open What qualifications does a nanny need?

There are many educational qualifications available to nannies in the UK:

UK

  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education
  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Practice
  • NVQ Level 3 Certificate in Work with Children APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experience and Learning)
  • NVQ Level 3 in Early Years Care and Education (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • Edexcel Level 3 BTEC National Certificate
  • SVQ Level 3 in Early Years Care and Education (Scotland)
  • LCCIEB NVQ Level 3 in Early Years Care and Education
  • Advanced Modern Apprenticeship in Early Years Care and Education
  • The Chiltern College Certificate
  • The Norland Diploma
  • The Princess Christian College

Outside of UK

Each country will have their own courses; in Australia this could be a TAFE Diploma in Community services whereas in New Zealand there is a government based initiative which aims to teach parents and child carers alike the best way to look after young children. A few nannies will have gone through the PORSE system and completed their qualifications.

What is the difference between a live-in nanny and live-out nanny?
Open What is the difference between a live-in nanny and live-out nanny?

Both live-in and live-out nannies would have similar respective experiences and qualifications.

A live-in nanny would either live with the family in their home or she would have separate accommodation provided for her which would include food and all household bills being paid.

A live-out nanny would arrive for work early in the morning and leave in the evening at the agreed time stated on her contract of employment and would provide her own accommodation at no cost to the family.

What background checks do Signature Staff run on its candidates?
Open What background checks do Signature Staff run on its candidates?

All candidates who register with us need to meet our rigorous vetting process;

References: we require them to have at least 3  years’ experience with checkable references – we don’t just stop at two referees, we will try and reach every one of their past employers.

Face-to-Face Meeting: We ask all candidates to attend a face to face meeting at our Central London office, during this interview, we’ll verify their identity, working rights; site their documentation and make sure we have a thorough understanding of their skills, experience and what they’re looking for in a job.

Certificates:

  • Photo ID: either a valid passport or driving licence
  • Identity documentation: in date Passport, Driving Licence, Birth Certificate, NI No, etc
  • Proof of eligibility to work in the UK if seeking a position in the UK
  • Reasons for any gaps in employment
  • Original certificates to prove qualifications
  • An up-to-date DBS certificate (for those working with children)
  • An up-to-date First Aid certificate (for those working with children)
What are the employer’s obligations in the UK?
Open What are the employer’s obligations in the UK?

You, as the employer, will be responsible for paying all necessary tax, national insurance and pension contributions in addition to the employee’s net salary.

Signature Staff recommend using Nannytax, a specialist outsourced payroll provider to undertake this. Nannytax will charge you an annual fee to look. after this.

Nannytax will generate a monthly payslip for the employee detailing the net amount (after tax, pension contributions & student loan deductions) to be paid into the employee bank account by the employer.

The employer will also then settle both the employer & employee’s tax, pension and other obligations in a monthly payment to HMRC.

Your Signature Staff consultant will be able to secure a 10% discount on the Nannytax service.

What fee does Signature Staff charge as an agency?
Open What fee does Signature Staff charge as an agency?

For permanent placements we charge a % of the candidate’s gross annual salary, payable when an offer of employment is made by the client and accepted by the candidate.

For temporary placements we charge a weekly fee.

Our fees are extremely competitive, please do contact a Signature Staff consultant to find out more.

What is the difference between a nanny and an au-pair?
Open What is the difference between a nanny and an au-pair?
  • The most underlying difference is that a nanny is a trained professional, whereas an au pair is an untrained ‘volunteer’ with no official childcare qualifications.
  • For nannies, their job is a chosen profession in which they can practise their learned skills and gain valuable experience with each role to further their career. As such a nanny is employed by a family and earns a salary for her services.
  • Au Pairs are specifically aged between 17 and 27 (averaging 20 years old) who come to the UK to experience a new culture. Their primary goal is to learn English and in exchange for full board and a little bit of weekly pocket money (c.£100 per week). They help around the house and with babysitting whilst attending language classes.
What are the best nanny interview questions?
Open What are the best nanny interview questions?
  • What is your current position and why do you want to leave?
  • Please outline your childcare qualifications?
  • Have you ever had a period without a job? If so, why?
  • How do you like to balance work and life?
  • How would you make meal time/ bath time/ homework time more enjoyable for a child who doesn’t like it?
  • Why did you choose to get into childcare?
  • What do you think makes you a fantastic nanny?
  • Our children are X and X, how would you entertain them?
  • Have you ever looked after a fussy eater? How did you work with them to encourage them to try new things?
  • Do you have experience with weaning, potty training, table-manners, reading and writing?
  • Have you cooked evening meals regularly in your past jobs or at home? Did you enjoy this aspect of the role?
  • If I needed you to cook a certain meal, would you need to follow a recipe/ instructions?
  • Are you comfortable managing difficult situations with children?
  • Our expectation is that within your role you would complete certain duties. Are there any duties outlined in the job description that you aren’t happy to undertake?
  • Sometimes there could be additional babysitting required. Are you happy to babysit?
What qualities make a good nanny?
Open What qualities make a good nanny?
  • Ability to engage children
  • Discipline and patience with children
  • Organisational skills
  • Flexiblity
  • Easy to live alongside (if live-in nanny)
  • Ability to cope in an emergency
  • Reliability, honesty, and trustworthiness
Should my nanny join me on our family vacation?
Open Should my nanny join me on our family vacation?

Your nanny may be required to travel within the UK and overseas with you. Prior notice and agreement needs to be given. If your nanny accompanies you on family holidays this will not be deducted from their holiday entitlement.

What holiday allowance are nannies entitled to?
Open What holiday allowance are nannies entitled to?

By law, an employer is required to give any employee the statutory minimum of 28 days holiday (including 8 days of bank holiday) per annum in the UK.

Holiday as a nanny, may be taken only at times convenient to the employer as previously arranged by notice.

Typically the employer will choose two weeks during which the employee is required to take leave, whilst the employee may choose when the remaining two weeks are to be taken, with prior agreement from the employer. All holiday arrangements should be discussed and agreed with your employer.

Does Signature Staff charge candidates a fee to register?
Open Does Signature Staff charge candidates a fee to register?

No fee is paid by candidates at any time during their interaction with Signature Staff.

How long does it take to hire a nanny?
Open How long does it take to hire a nanny?

The average time to recruit a nanny from start to finish is 2-6 weeks.

The Signature Staff team spend a considerable amount of effort to draw up a shortlist of candidates whom are the best-fit for your household based on your requirements and their skill-set and personality.

Further time needs to be allowed for the schedules of both the client and candidates for interviews and possible subsequent trials particularly for overseas roles.

If you require and position to be filled urgently please advise your consultant of your anticipated time frame and we will work out hardest to fulfil your request.

For a temporary nanny the process can prove to be over a significantly shorter time frame (as little as 1 hour).

How does a nanny or other member of household staff in the UK pay tax?
Open How does a nanny or other member of household staff in the UK pay tax?

Your employer is responsible for operating a PAYE scheme for all permanent employees in their household.

This means you, the employee, will receive the net amount (after tax, pension contributions & student loan deductions) into their bank account on a monthly basis, with the tax, pension and other components automatically paid to HMRC, pension providers etc. respectively.

This will typically be done through Nannytax or an equivalent payroll provider.

How do I convert gross salary to net salary as an employer in the UK?
Open How do I convert gross salary to net salary as an employer in the UK?

The easiest way to convert gross salary into net salary (salary into your employee’s bank account after deductions) is to call your Signature Staff consultant [insert link to contact us page] and we’ll be able to advise you.

What kind of visa does an employee need to work in the UK and overseas?
Open What kind of visa does an employee need to work in the UK and overseas?

In the UK, you need to hold a full working visa – there are a few options currently available, including a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa, a Spousal Visa, and an Ancestry Visa.

Currently, household staff are not able to be sponsored by employers to get visas.

For overseas positions (ex. UK), your Signature Staff consultant will assist you to ensure you apply for the requisite visas for your employee, and you, the Client, will also bear the costs of these.

How do you pay a part-time member staff in the UK?
Open How do you pay a part-time member staff in the UK?

If you employ a nanny in a permanent part-time position, you are responsible for operating a PAYE scheme for all permanent employees in their household.

It is suggested that employers use Nannytax, a specialist outsourced payroll provider to undertake this. Nannytax will charge you an annual fee to look after this.

A temporary part-time nanny will be self-employed and hence an employer will pay the nanny the gross amount.

Are nannies or other members of household staff employed or self-employed in the UK?
Open Are nannies or other members of household staff employed or self-employed in the UK?

All permanent employees in a household who work are employed, not self-employed.

Those candidates who work on a temporary basis (full-time or part-time) are self-employed and responsible themselves for declaring their income and meeting the accompanying tax obligations.

We advise all staff to talk in terms of a gross salary when accepting a new position, the agency can advise on standard rates of pay to expect.

What happens if a permanent placement doesn’t work out?
Open What happens if a permanent placement doesn’t work out?

Signature Staff employ a rigorous matching policy to ensure the chosen candidate is the best-fit for your household based on your requirements and the candidates’ skill-set and personality.

However, extremely infrequently unforeseen challenges can arise for either or both parties.

Should the original candidate leave in the initial 10 week period (10 weeks from the start of employment) for reasons other than employer misconduct, Signature Staff will seek to find a replacement (at no cost).

Who provides the employment contract to be agreed between the member of household staff and the employer?
Open Who provides the employment contract to be agreed between the member of household staff and the employer?

Your Signature Staff consultant can provide a draft contract of employment for you should you require this.

The consultant will also advise you as to the standard terms currently prevailing in the market at that particular point in time.

Is there usually a trial period with overseas positions?
Open Is there usually a trial period with overseas positions?

A trial period is normally built into a probationary period in the contract.

Does the client incur travel costs when the employee starts a new position?
Open Does the client incur travel costs when the employee starts a new position?

The client is responsible for covering travel expenses at the start and end of the employment.

Over and above this, for overseas placements, 1-2 return flights to the candidate’s country of residence are typically included and will be set out in the employment contract.

For overseas positions how does payroll, tax and other employment obligations differ from the UK?
Open For overseas positions how does payroll, tax and other employment obligations differ from the UK?

Most countries have differing tax legislation. Your Signature Staff consultant will advise you on this if you apply for an overseas position.

Equivalently, your holiday entitlements will differ too, and will be set out in your employment contract.

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