Nannies are not Mary Poppins but they could do with some of her magic with longer working weeks and additional responsibilites of household work. Photograph: Rex Features/Everett Collection
Nanny salaries have risen by up to 11% in the past year, with the average gross salary in London and the Home Counties topping £29,000, and £34,000 in central London, according to research by payroll support service Nannytax
But although these rates of pay
exceed the £25,879 median salary in the UK
, Nannytax still believes that many nannies are underpaid for the work they do.
Nearly all (98%) of the nanny agencies surveyed for the research stated that full-time nannies now work between 40 and 60 hours a week. Part-time nannies are no better off, working nearly as long as a regular full-time working week at up to 30 hours. To put this into perspective, the typical full time job is just 35 hours per week, excluding an hour for lunch.
“On the surface, the increase in nanny wages could seem excessive,” stated Stuart Maclean, managing director of Nannytax. “However, when you think about the increased responsibilities from employers and the hours that they are now expected to keep, nannies still have to work even harder to justify their salary.”
The 2010 Nannytax Wages Survey also revealed that 61% of employers did not know about or therefore have employer liability insurance.
It also found 98% of employers being aware of the financial implications of having to take responsibility for tax returns and paying extra if income tax or National Insurance increases, 69% of them still agree on net salaries.
“It is crazy that the only two professions still to negotiate salaries based on weekly net pay and not gross pay are footballers and nannies,” said Maclean. “This leaves employers wide open to all fluctuations in tax. In addition, the lack of awareness or number of people who have employer liability insurance is really worrying and much higher than we would have expected given the current regulations.”
Above inflation rises were found nationwide, with an average weekly net of £360 for live-out nannies, giving them an annual gross salary of £24,335, an increase from 2009 of 10%. Last year was also good salary-wise for live-in nannies, with those in central London earning an average of £380 net per week, giving them an annual salary of £25,842 and an increase of 7% on 2009.
However, the survey also showed that nannies across the UK are now expected to work harder for their money, with 75% of employers requesting housekeeping and other chores from their nannies.
There seems to be little change in the demographic of employed nannies in the UK with 61% of agencies saying that they have seen little or no increase in nanny sharing since 2009. However, 40% of the nannies placed in 2010 were to work part-time or in a nanny share, showing that it is still a popular solution for many families.
In addition to looking at salaries, the survey also looked at the perception of the Ofsted Voluntary Childcare Register
, introduced in 2007 to provide light-touch regulation of nannies and enable parents to claim tax breaks. Only 60% of nannies working for those surveyed are actually Ofsted registered, and 82% of these that are not registered do not care about becoming Ofsted registered. The survey showed that 77% of employers claim financial relief to be the primary reason behind requesting Ofsted accreditation.
Nanny agencies had many criticisms of the Ofstead registration process, however, saying it was lengthy and complicated and citing instances of nannies being approved despite not meeting the requirements. “It is clear that the current system is not up to scratch,” said Liz Roberts, editor of Nursery World
. “We know from the survey that only 21% of agencies think that the present register is credible. The government needs to reconsider this as it is clearly not doing what it has been set out to do.”
The Nannytax Wages Survey questioned 485 employers and 80 nanny agencies.