Before making a decision, you need to take into consideration a number of factors, such as:
· Your child’s age
· The amount of hours you need childcare for (full or part-time)
· The days of the week when you need assistance (evenings, day-time, weekends)
· Your budget
· The options available in your area
· How experienced your childcare service provider has to be
Let’s have a look at the main childcare options available for you in Ireland and how they could suit you.
A crèche is a day care centre that provides care for children between 3 months and 5 years of age, 5 days a week (Monday to Friday). It is possible to choose between part-time (between 3.5 and 5 hours) or full day care (above 5 hours a day). Many crèches are open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. In the case of full day care, children will be provided with food and will have suitable sleeping facilities for children who require it. Children are minded by adults with previous experience and/or qualifications. Many crèches also offer after school care for school-going pupils and will often drop and collect children to and from school. They will usually do homework and do activities with older children. They will also provide full-time childcare during school holidays. The average cost for a full day care crèche in Ireland can be around €1,000 a month, after school care will be substantially less than this.
Recommended for: parents who need somebody to look after their children only during working hours and need no help at home, at weekends.
An au pair is considered to be childcare support and is not considered to be suitable as the exclusive form of childcare for full-time working parents. An au pair is a young person who is treated as a family member in exchange for help with minding the children and a small amount of light housework. The au pair is given her/his own bedroom and food as well as weekly pocket money. Pocket money for a standard au pair is usually around €120-€150 per week for 30 and 35 hours per week. Please bear in mind that an au pair is on an au pair exchange programme and as such must be provided with time off to study their English classes and will also participate in some of the family's activities and family meals.
Recommended for: parents who need somebody to help look after their children and with some help around the house for only a few hours a day. It would suit a family in which one parent does not work, works part time or have school-going children. Families who would like their children to get in touch with a different culture and learn a new language could also benefit from having an au pair also. Bear in mind that your au pair will need their own bedroom so you will need to have a spare room for them.
A childminder is a self-employed person who works from his/her own home and takes care for up to 5 pre-school children from various different families for more than 2 hours a day. Childminders have to be over 18 years of age and have to be insured. Parents will usually drop and collect their children to the childminders' house. Times are usually 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Some childminders will also collect children from preschool or school and mind these children in the afternoon.
Being self-employed, childminders are responsible for making annual tax returns and need to register with Revenue if their annual earnings exceed €15,000. Childminders set their own fees, terms and conditions and their weekly rate will vary according to their qualifications and experience. In Ireland a childminder usually charges €9 an hour.
Only childminders looking after 4 or more kids have to notify the HSE and are required to have Paediatric First Aid training, other than that childminders only need to have a few years of childcare experience and no qualification is required.
We always recommend that you check your childminder’s qualifications and that you visit her house and take a look at the equipment (toys, play materials, books, toilet facilities etc.).
Recommended for: parents who need an experienced person to look after their children for a good few hours a day at weekdays and/or weekends and who don’t mind to let their children stay at the childminder’s house with other children. Childminders who have notified the HSE are subject to HSE inspections.
A nanny is a person with childcare qualifications, who is employed to care for a child(ren) in their own home. There are different types of nannies:
· Daily/live out nannies who come to the family home each day
· Live-in nanny who lives with the family, usually in a flat or annexe
In Ireland a nanny is considered a domestic worker and being an employee, her employer, the family, needs to take care of taxes, PRSI, etc. If you are employing a nanny and you are paying her more than €40 a week, you must register as an employer with Revenue and you are responsible for deducting the PAYE (tax), PRSI and USC from your employee’s wages. You also must pay employer’s PRSI contributions for you employee to the Social Insurance Fund.
A nanny is entitled to receive a payslip, annual leave, paid holidays, extra pay or paid time off if working on a Sunday.
Nannies usually earn between €500 and €600 per week although a live-out nanny will usually earn more than a live-in nanny.
Nannies must have a minimum of qualifications in children’s care, learning, health, nutrition and development and have Paediatric First Aid training.
Recommended for: parents who need somebody fully qualified to look after their children in their own house and for long hours each day and/or weekends. This option is perfect if you want to make sure that your children will receive the nanny's complete attention and will avoid the stress of picking them up and dropping them in a crèche or in a childminder's house.
If you are looking for an au pair, please don't hesitate to contact us on 01 485 3774 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about childminders and nannies, we advise you to visit the Citizens Information website and the Revenue website.
*Please note that in Ireland nannies are often referred to as childminders, hence the confusion between the 2 professions. When in doubt, think about whether the person who’s providing you the service is providing it in your own home or not. If so, then you are responsible for her wages, taxes and social contributions.