By Jenny Diamond, Nanny Payroll
Having your children taken care of in your own home comes with a host of advantages – not least the peace of mind of knowing they’ll remain in a safe, familiar and nurturing environment when you return to work. However, the red tape that surrounds the nanny-employer dynamic often puts parents off the idea of hiring childcare at home.
Outsourcing payroll to specialist providers allows parents to jump through all the legal hoops on behalf of time-starved Irish parents, so you can easily hire a nanny or childminder safe in the knowledge you are towing the legal line.
Here are just three reasons why this simple parent hack could change the country’s childcare landscape.
1.The law for families hiring a nanny is changing
As of 1 January 2019, PAYE modernisation means that all tax details for your nanny or childminder much be digitally updated – in line with the rest of Europe. This means that if you hire any kind of home help, you are now required to register online as an employer and submit weekly or monthly returns on your employee’s behalf. Families who previously paid their nannies cash-in-hand run the risk of facing punitive tax penalties and possible prosecution. It’s little wonder, then, that many Irish families are turning their back on their preferred option of at-home childcare under the misguided assumption that it’s all too complicated.
Fiona Chandler, a mother of two and co-founder of NannyPayroll.ie, explains, “The transition into childcare can be an unsettling time for children. Having a nanny care for children in their own home often helps alleviate a child’s anxiety and so is the preferred choice of childcare for many families. But all too often, we hear from parents who are deterred from hiring a nanny due to the obligations that go hand in hand with being an ‘employer’.”
“As mothers with young families ourselves, we know how precious your time is, especially if you have been working all day. If a nanny is your preferred choice of childcare, outsourcing your payroll service leaves you with more time to spend with your family.”
2.The way we work is changing
The rising ‘gig’ economy means much more of us are working in short-term contracts and freelance work that offers more flexibility with regard to employment hours. According to a recent study from global freelancing website Upwork and the Freelancers Union, more than one-third of the United States workforce freelanced last year, with the number of freelancers growing 7 per cent in five years. And it’s a trend that is hitting Irish shores, too: recent research from Close Brothers Commercial Finance showed that more than half of businesses in Ireland use freelancers.
The upshot is that the 9 to 5 rigidity of creche or day-care hours doesn’t always reflect the reality of the modern workplace. “Creche or day-care centre hours may not necessarily fit in with your working routine. You often have to book your child in to a creche far in advance and there is limited scope for last-minute changes if your work diary changes. There is also limited flexibility on finish times and you can even incur a fine for a late pickup,” explains Fiona. “Nannies can be more flexible over working hours/days and even working abroad with a young family.”
3.Irish households are getting bigger for the first time in 50 years
With the news that Irish households have grown for the first time in 50 years, according to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), a nanny is becoming an increasingly viable option for many families with two or more children. “A nanny, while a comparatively expensive option, can work out more cost-effective than day-care for bigger families,” says Fiona. “What’s more, they often offer bonus services such as light housework and meal prep in addition to childcare.”
The political conversation has also turned to boosting Irish family sizes with the announcement that the state has set aside €1 million for a new IVF fund for 2019 in a bid to help women have more children.
So, as Mary Poppins returns, make sure her tax and pay statements are properly taken care of.