The lives of UAE nannies revealed

Dubai at Dusk

A recent study has revealed insight into what it’s like to work as a nanny in the UAE.

Working as a nanny in the UK is a pretty good gig, with many benefits available depending on the employer. However, for those working as nannies and as staff in private households in the UAE it is a slightly different story.

A major survey charting the role of domestic nannies in the UAE (via The National) has revealed that the average salary is just Dh1,800 per month, which is equivalent to about £366. It has also been revealed, rather troublingly, that only 15 percent of nannies have any kind of childcare training.

The UAE Nanny Salary Survey also found that the majority of nannies earn less than Dh2,000 (£407) per month while 40 percent bring in Dh2,000 or more and only one in ten earn over Dh3,000.

Nannies look after 95 percent of UAE children

The UAE also uses nannies in a very large capacity, with about 750,000 of them working across the country and 95 percent of UAE children being in the care of nannies.

As you might expect, experience does play a factor in the level of pay for nannies in the UAE, with those that have three years’ nanny experience earning an average of Dh1,492 and those with over five years’ experience earning an average of Dh1,922.

Like most countries, it pays to be working as a nanny in the more affluent areas. In Dubai, for example, the best areas to work for increased pay are Palm Jumeriah and Meadows, where nannies earn a fair bit more than in locations such as Old Dubai.

For comparison, a fully time live-in Nanny in London earns an average of £314 a week, and outside of London, the average is £250 per week, rising as high as £600 dependent on hours and experience.

Live-out nannies in London can expect to earn an average of £400 per week.

Hero nanny stops thief from stealing a package

Hero nanny

A nanny has shown that those in her profession can be heroes too as she stops a thief from stealing a package.

CCTV footage from Washington, USA, has captured the brave efforts of a hero nanny who chased down and tackled someone who was trying to steal an Amazon package.

Kate Anderson was enjoying her last day as a nanny at a house in Everett, Washington when she noticed that a woman was running up the driveway and stealing a package which had just been delivered.

Luckily, Kate noticed the thief, which caused the woman to run towards a getaway vehicle. The car, however, drove off before the woman could climb inside, allowing Kate to bravely chase after her and drag her down to the ground. Kate could be heard yelling “What are you doing, what are you trying to steal?”

Nannies can be heroes too

This hero nanny then held onto the woman and brought her back to the house. Explaining the situation to Kiro 7, Kate said: “I saw her bending and picking it up, and they get a lot of packages. And I knew. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s taking that,’ so I just took off after her.”

The thief tried to protest her innocence and told Kate to get off her but luckily the nanny had seen clearly what this woman had done via the house’s security cameras.

“She’s just like a straight baller, she’s amazing and doesn’t take any crap from anybody” said homeowner and friend Tanya Smith.

The woman apprehended was identified as Rhieanna Schindler who has outstanding warrants for drug possession and theft, having been arrested more than 20 times since 2010.

This just goes to show the importance of vigilant and capable nannies. Not only do nannies and household staff such as this need to be able to look after small children but they can also be vital in protecting the environment in which they live.

Nanny college looking for families to offer trainee placements

Nanny with child in garden

Norland College is looking for families to send their student nannies on trainee placements.

Norland College in Bath is renowned the world over for producing top quality nannies and ready-to-work staff for private households. Their graduates receive the education and qualifications needed to set them off on their childcare careers – ready to help out families across the country.

But before they get to take on the world’s most prestigious nanny jobs, Norland is looking for local families to send their students for placements.

After all, theoretical training can only get you so far. Real world experience is a fundamental ingredient that must be added to the mix, regardless of one’s chosen career.

The Placement

Norland took in a record number of students during this academic year and now requires more families with whom to place its student nannies. Speaking to the Bath Chronicle, the college said:

“We’ll be sending our students out to family homes for six-week blocks from January 2018 so that students can gain experience and pick up valuable skills based on the theory they’ve learnt.”

Norland has said that it would rather place nannies within local families as household staff are a useful service for the community.

For families that would like to welcome one of Norland’s finest into their homes, they must have two or more children under the age of three, and at least one of those children would need to be at home in the Bath area between Mondays and Thursdays.

The families involved would also be required to complete timesheets and fill in appraisals, helping Norland to keep track of their students’ progress.

For families that qualify and that would like to give the nannies of the future the start they need, contact Norland by email at Jo.Brimble@norland.ac.uk, providing your details and children’s ages.

 

Nannies as essential as “water and air” says mum of two

Nanny looking after child

A mother of two has admitted to relying on four nannies to look after her two kids.

Employing nannies and specialist household staff to help look after children is something many parents depend on, ensuring that their children have the care and attention that they so dearly need.

One mum who couldn’t agree more and fully appreciates the virtues of such services is Natalia Nikulina (37), who has said that the four nannies she employs to look after her two children are as essential to her as “water and air”.

Four nannies

Hiring four nannies herself, Natalia has all her bases covered. First there is the weekday nanny who collects Natalia’s two and three-year-old sons from day care, takes them off to the playground for a few hours of fun, cooks them dinner at home, and then puts them to bed, according to the New York Post.

Next come the weekend nannies, one on Saturday and another on Sunday. Her children’s nannies will at times be on duty for up to 12 hours a day, and just to make sure there are no nanny related emergencies, there is always a fourth nanny on call.

Natalia works full-time as a clinical social worker and is married to a full-time city employee.

“I love my children,” Natalia says, “but I’m not embarrassed to say the nannies are not just to provide child care when I’m at work – they provide mental rest for me [when I am at home] as well.

“I don’t see any way around it – [otherwise] I lose my mind, and then I can’t work. [Having extra help is] a must – water, air and nannies.”

But Natalia makes sure to note that when the nannies are working she isn’t just relaxing with her feet up:

“When I’m with the nanny, I’m never relaxing – if the nanny is with the kids, I’m cleaning up.”

We can’t all be in Natalia’s position of affording four nannies to help take care of our children, but those that do employ household help will understand just how essential the service can be.

Image Credit: Colin Maynard

 

Nanny employers must be aware of auto-enrolment pension changes

Man doing paperwork

Any family which employs a nanny or other private household worker will now need to contribute to their pensions, as the latest phase of the automatic enrolment rules come into effect.

The pensions shake-up – the first stage of which was introduced by the government back in 2012 – was always intended to bring even the country’s smallest employers into the contributions fold, but so-called ‘micro-employers’ will now have no choice but to get their paperwork in order as soon as possible.

As of the start of October 2017, anyone who employs a nanny, cleaner or other domestic staff member (including carers) must contribute the equivalent of a minimum of 1% of their monthly salary towards their employees’ pension pot, provided the worker is 22 years old or over, earns at least £10,000 per year and is not already enrolled in another workplace scheme.

Rupert Jones, writing in the Guardian, notes that – despite the long-established timetable for the rule changes – it is possible that some families may still be taken by surprise because “of course, many of the smallest employers don’t think of themselves as such – they are individuals who just happen to have someone who works for them”.

Further contribution rises on the horizon

Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of the Pensions Regulator, which has an informative help section designed to teach people who are employing workers for the first time all they need to know about their contributions arrangements.

Something else which is important to bear in mind is that employers’ monthly contributions will not remain static indefinitely, even if their employees pay does not change from year to year. Contribution rates are pencilled in for the start of the next two financial years (April 2018 and 2019), which will typically raise employer contributions to 2% and 3% of the employee’s salary respectively.

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Mattel scraps controversial ‘virtual nanny’ device

Baby sleeping

The US-based toy manufacturer Mattel has decided to scrap its controversial ‘virtual nanny’ system, Aristotle, following privacy concerns being raised by a number of campaign groups.

As we reported in January, Mattel announced plans at the start of the year for what it thought could have been a highly lucrative product – an artificial intelligence-powered device which had multiple functions designed to, in the company’s words, “aid parents…to make it easier for them to protect, develop, and nurture the most important asset in their home – their children”.

The various functions of the Aristotle device were supposedly to have included the ability to sing lullabies and tell bedtime stories, as well as being able to gauge when a particular product (such as nappies) was running low and automatically reordering them.

Perhaps most controversial of all, however, was the small camera which came with the device and was supposed to have acted as a visual baby monitor. Campaigners were quick to express their worries that the camera – as it was part of a connected device – could potentially have been breached by hackers.

“Aristotle isn’t a nanny, it’s an intruder”

In July, Mattel appointed a new chief technology officer – Sven Gerjets – who decided to review the feasibility and reputational risk of releasing Aristotle, eventually coming to the conclusion that doing so would not have been worth the potential consequences.

Gerjets’ choice will no doubt have been influenced by the extremely negative press Aristotle has received from some quarters ever since it was unveiled in January: Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an influential US group, released a statement arguing that “Aristotle isn’t a nanny, it’s an intruder. Children’s bedrooms should be free of corporate snooping”, as reported by the BBC.

Mattel’s decision will no doubt be welcomed by the many experienced and highly qualified nannies and other domestic household staff – and their employers – who will be all too aware that there can be no real substitute for the care and compassion of a real guardian.

Image Credit: Jenna Norman

Prestigious nanny college welcomes highest number of male recruits

Man straightening tie

Rightly or wrongly, the role of professional childcare has long been regarded as the domain of female workers. From Mary Poppins onwards, the image of a wise, maternal lady calmly overseeing our precious children is surely what comes to mind when we think of nannies, governesses and housekeepers alike.

With the possible exception of Mrs Doubtfire, there have been no famous male nannies – either fictional or real – in living memory. However, the recent intake numbers for arguably the most famous of all nanny training facilities show that, little by little, the days of professional domestic childcare always being classed as a job for women may be nearing an end.

This Telegraph article recently reported that Norland College in Bath, which it describes as “the world’s most elite nanny training school”, has just reported its highest ever intake of male pupils for its renowned Early Years Development and Learning BA degree.

‘Where do I sign up?’

Whilst this development has made headlines around the private domestic staff industry, it is important not to overstate the numbers of men involved – after all, only four of the 103-strong 2017 first year class are male.

Nevertheless, the very fact that this is a record-high number shows the extent to which being a nanny has previously been a profession so one-sided in terms of gender that being female could almost have been mistaken for a requirement.

Many within the sector, however, are now extremely confident that this apparently small step towards breaking down gender barriers could be the start of something much bigger, with the director of one agency being positively bullish about this prospect when questioned by the Telegraph: “With social barriers slowly-but-surely breaking down, we predict the trend to continue and for there to begin to be a balance in the numbers of females and males entering the sector.”

Being a nanny to the great and good can be a particularly rewarding career choice, and one of the new male recruits at Norland – 19-year-old Gregory Ridley – summarised why it is a path being taken by more and more young people, regardless of sex: “When my mates found out that I was coming to Norland at first they were really unimpressed. But then I told them about the salary and they said ‘Can I come?! Where do I sign up?’”.

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Six-figure salary and supercar access offered in nanny job advert

Interior of Maserati

In August, a job listing for a nanny appeared which gained hundreds of applicants in a matter of days. The reason? Well, that may have something to do with the $129,000 salary, access to a range of supercars, and regular meals provided by a Michelin-starred chef being offered.

The perks available to those who successfully fill household staff vacancies advertised by the rich and famous are well-known, but it would be fair to say that the benefits of this particular job may surprise even the most experienced of nannies.

The family, who are based in London but also have homes in Barbados, Cape Town and Atlanta, have four children between the ages of two and 15, so whoever the successful applicant is will certainly have their work cut out for them, even if the rewards associated with the job are substantial.

Despite the high number of applicants, however, the family may struggle to find the Mary Poppins-like individual they are intent on hiring, as the job requirements include having a certificate in self-defence, 15 years’ nannying experience, and a degree in child psychology.

13-hour days await successful candidate

The advert also includes a warning that the successful candidate will be expected to work for 13 hours each day (this in itself will not come as a shock to the thousands of hard-working nannies across the UK), and may need to travel internationally up to three times each week.

Anyone who has already worked as a nanny will, of course, already be aware that it is not always a life of glitz and glamour, and can indeed be one of the most challenging of all occupations.

Indeed, Business Insider’s personal finance correspondent Tanza Loudenback was quoted in this Independent article as saying that “research on affluence suggests children coming up in wealthy households have ‘comparable levels of delinquency’ to lower-income households”. All potential applicants should be aware, therefore, that just because they will be well-remunerated, being a nanny is never a walk in the park.

Image Credit: Pietro De Grandi