Recent changes around the employment of nannies

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  Published on Wednesday, 07 November 2018

Recent changes around the employment of nannies

Library Home  >  Nanny, Au Pairs & In Home Care
  Published on Wednesday, 07 November 2018
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Although an Award is something a school child is presented with on stage, in the employment context, Awards actually set out the minimum pay rates and conditions for different types of workers.

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, there are more than 100 industry or occupation Awards, and when it comes to child carers, a 2018 legal decision has changed the Award status of some nannies.

Here we look at what this means in practice.

What employment status do nannies have?

Some nannies may be classified as 'independent contractors' who run their own business and negotiate their own fees, most nannies are engaged as 'employees'. This means that they work for an employer who does things such as deducting income tax for them, paying their superannuation and paying their leave.

You can read more about the distinctions between employees and independent contractors at the Fair Work Ombudsman, but the thing to note is that employee nannies can now be covered by an Award called the Miscellaneous Award.

What does the Miscellaneous Award mean?

Previously, employee nannies weren't covered by any Award, although they were entitled to the national minimum wage and National Employment Standards.

However, thanks to a legal decision by the Fair Work Commission (United Voice v Gold Coast Kennels Discretionary Trust t/a AAA Pet Resort) nannies can now be covered by the Miscellaneous Award when they're employed to work in a private home and perform tasks such as:

  • Caring for children
  • Preparing meals for children
  • Planning extra-curricular and educational activities for children
  • Doing light household work

If they are covered by the Miscellaneous Award, then nannies are entitled to the pay rates and conditions outlined in that Award, including its overtime and penalty rates.

What should you do if you currently employ a nanny?

Australian Workplace Lawyers says that employers should, 'Check Award requirements to make sure they are meeting payment obligations and consider any back-pay obligations.'

You can review the Miscellaneous Award Pay Guide here to ensure that your nanny's Employment Contract is in line with the Award, and if you're using a nanny agency, they will be able to provide advice and support. It's also worth reading our article covering your obligations when employing a nanny.

What about au pairs?

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, au pairs are often employees too. They say that, 'If the family has a lot of control over the au pair's day to day activities, they are likely to be an employee' and the au pair can be covered by the Miscellaneous Award.

What Award do other child care workers come under?

Of course, nannies and au pairs aren't the only ones who look after children for a job, and the Fair Work Ombudsman says that the Children's Services Award is likely to cover employees doing child care work in:

  • Day care facilities
  • Family-based child care
  • Out-of-school hours care and vacation care
  • In-home care
  • Kindergartens and preschools
  • Mobile centres
  • Early childhood intervention programs

To see the various pay rates under this Award, search for Children's Services Award here.

All in all, it's important that child carers are paid correctly for the valuable work that they do, so if you employ a nanny or au pair, it's important that you look at the Miscellaneous Award.

For more information on what your obligations are when you employ a nanny click here.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Monday, 27 July 2020

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