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Nurses and Babysitters
11 October 2017

Nanny-Finder Service - Information for Parents




Medium and long-term nanny-finder service from profawo Bern


Childcare at home


Specific issues to be discussed between the parents and the carer

Duration and structure of the settling-in period

Why is the settling-in period so important?

Possible problems during the settling-in period

Settling in when time is short?

Payment during the settling-in period

Detachment period


The job interview


Points to consider when making your choice

Brief interview guidelines

What you should bear in mind

Points to set out in writing

Possible points of conflict

Recommendations for the employment of childcare staff

Salary recommendations and expenses

Employment contract information sheet

Sampel salary statement for monthly salary


The profawo Bern nanny-finder service


Basic information

- profawo Bern helps families to find a nanny to work in their home in Canton Bern. profawo Bern can also offer advice and useful documentation (model employment contracts, checklists, etc.) to help with this process

- profawo Bern is always looking for women who would be suitable for this type of work. It conducts a thorough background check (qualifications and experience on the basis of references, aptitude in a personal interview) before making any referrals

- profawo Bern places its emphasis on finding experienced and well-qualified nannies who offer a high standard of childcare. Any household duties must be limited to tasks directly related to the children


The profawo nanny profile

Absolutely trustworthy

Experience in caring for the children of others and possibly training in an educational field

Police record available

First aid course for children attended

Age: 20+; the majority are over 30

Variety of mother tongues and foreign languages

Driving licence/willingness to drive, in some cases

Average pay expectations: CHF 27.00/hour or CHF 4,400/month gross


Referral, follow-up, wrap-up

- profawo Bern makes every effort to ensure that its service matches as many families and nannies as possible. For us, success means finding the right nanny for the family, with both parties satisfied with the arrangement over the long term.

- By entering into an employment contract, the family takes on the responsible role of employer, as well as liability from that point onward (declaration of liability).

- profawo Bern contacts the family shortly before the end of or after the probationary period to find out how the arrangement is working. This marks the end of profawo Bern’s involvement.


Factors that make it difficult to find the right nanny

The request comes at short notice (less than two months before care is due to begin)

The family's home is very remote or outside Canton Bern

The times at which childcare is required are awkward, e.g. shorter sessions spread out across the week, regular evening, weekend and night working

In addition to providing childcare, the family wants the nanny to take on considerable household tasks or cooking not related solely to the children

The family has unreasonable expectations of the nanny (e.g. running the entire household, cooking for the entire family, etc.)

The nanny is not offered a friendly working environment or the trust of her employers

The family is not willing or able to pay a market wage


What should you do if there are problems

Essentially, once a nanny has been placed with a family profawo Bern is under no further obligation to either party. profawo Bern does not act as a mediator in conflicts or problems between families and nannies. Problems are best resolved between the two parties themselves. profawo Bern recommends defining duties in maximum detail in an employment contract and job description.

Any serious incidents should be reported to profawo Bern, which may offer to look for a new nanny or family.

In the case of legal issues related to illness, holiday, accidents, maternity entitlements, etc., free legal advice is available from the Swiss federation of trade union or the Zurich Bar Association (in German) or (change language for information in English).

Childcare in the home

When you, as parents, want to employ someone to look after your children within your home, an employment contract helps to clarify the legal side of the relationship. However, to avoid misun- derstandings, we should like to remind you of a few more points that it is best to clear up in ad- vance.


It is important that, for the good of your child, you are prepared to work closely with the carer, to make the change of carer easier for the child, and to ensure continuous, stable care. This includes agreeing on a reasonable "getting-to-know-you" period before you sign any contract with a nanny. Should difficulties nonetheless arise later on which those concerned are unable to resolve between themselves, profawo can offer limited advice and support.


As parents, you should take plenty of time to hand your child over to their carer. Perhaps, when they get home, mother or father could occasionally sit down and have a quick cup of tea or coffee with the nanny. This kind of ritual is a good opportunity to tell each other about what has been happening, to get to know each other and thus to avoid unaddressed problems.


Specific issues to be discussed between the parents and the carer.

What are the exact times at which care is required (daily/weekly)? Are there likely to be exceptions (unplanned work, holidays – always discuss as early as possible)? It is best to define in advance the timing of holidays and expectations in this regard.

What is the normal daily routine at home? When and what does your child eat? When do they sleep? When do they go to nursery or school? And how do they get there?

What does your child like? What don't they like? Do they have any specific fears?

What is your child already able to do without help, and what new skills are they just learning? Examples include using the toilet, eating, tying their shoelaces, etc.

What special words does your child use, e.g. for the toilet, eating and drinking, and to refer to themselves?


What do you allow your child to do? What is definitely forbidden? Are there any important issues to discuss with regard to upbringing?

What activities do you want to be parents-only? Examples include bathtimes, introducing new foods, etc.

Does your child have a special medical history, such as allergies, susceptibilities or disabilities? Do they need medication? Who looks after your child when they are ill?

What housework, if any, do you want the carer to take on in addition to her other duties?

How exactly will payment be organised? How much will be paid, and when (weekly, monthly, in advance / cash or in to a bank or post office account)?


Duration and structure of the settling-in period


A settling-in period is essential in all cases. It allows the child gradually to get used to the new carer and establish a relationship with her in an unpressured environment. The child does not feel pushed away by their parents, but gradually grows in to the new situation and adjusts to their parents being away for periods of several hours. What's more, the parents are able to go to work safe in the knowledge that they have got to know the carer better and happy that their child is in good hands.


How much time a child needs to settle down depends on a variety of factors.


It is important for the parents to have made a clear decision to leave their child in the care of another person so that they can let go. The carer also needs to be whole-hearted in accepting the position.


The length of the settling-in period depends on the nature of the child, but is also often strongly influenced by their age. It is generally easier for a child to be looked after by a stranger in the first six months than in the subsequent period between six months and two years. At this stage, children are often wary of strangers. They back away from people they don't know, object to being touched and are quick to cry. Of course, not all children are the same. However, this sensitive stage of early childhood does not mean that children should be cared for exclusively by their parents. Rather, it shows that the time allowed to get used to a new person should be geared to the child's needs. In most cases, the settling-in period lasts about 14 days. It may be as much as three weeks in some cases, while one week is enough for other children. Ideally, the settling-in period might be structured as follows:


On at least three consecutive days, the carer, child(ren) and mother or father should spend an hour our two together. This allows the child to be curious, and also to get to know the strange person from a position of security. As parents, you should not make any attempts at separation during this time. Try simply to be a calm presence. Let your child come to you and go away as they wish. Don't force any particular behaviour, just keep an eye on your child. Encourage the child's interest in the carer


The next day is the time for the parent who has been with the child to try leaving them for a short time. If the child cannot be comforted by the carer in this situation, the attempt should be abandoned and repeated later

The parent's absence can gradually be extended once the child has settled down and is used to the carer, and the carer is able to console the child in difficult situations. One parent should always be reachable by telephone.


Why is the settling-in period so important?


The parents are able to see how the carer interacts with their child.


The carer sees the parents interacting with their children. She learns about their approach and gains an insight into the personality, developmental stage and habits of the child.


It creates a relationship between the parents and the carer.

The settling-in period should provide a supportive atmosphere in which the children can experience the pain of separation from their parents - often for the first time in their lives. It is particularly important for the mother or father to face up to this painful situation and not try to sneak away, but say goodbye to the child. Such goodbyes should be kept short, however.

Possible problems during the settling-in period


The settling-in period is rarely without conflicts. It is important for the parents and carer to be able to discuss these openly. It may be, however, that the parents develop a deep-seated un- ease about the carer during this settling-in period. In such situations, you must take the bull by the horns and try to talk about your feelings. It may be the only way to resolve your differences. Ultimately, however, it is far better to decide against employing the carer than to embark upon a half-hearted arrangement. On the other hand, parents may have difficulty giving a child over to another person, especially if the child is still being breastfed, for example. Perhaps the mother does not really want to leave the child, but has no choice in the circumstances. Talk to the carer, but also to other people you trust. profawo can also provide help and support on this situation.


Settling in when time is short?


Sometimes, a settling-in period, as described above, is virtually impossible, and care needs to begin immediately. In these circumstances, what little time is left for settling in should be intensified, i.e. you should work on it for several hours every day. For the carer, this may mean that any other (domestic) duties may have to be set aside so that she can devote herself completely to the child for a time.


Payment during the settling-in period


We recommend paying the normal hourly rate during this period. At this time, the carer is placed under considerable strain as she is devoting herself entirely to your child and their needs. You and the carer are also laying the foundations for the shared upbringing of your child in the future.


Detachment period

If the care arrangement is to end, it is extremely important for a child to be prepared for the separation and change. Explain the reasons for the carer's departure in a way that is appropriate to the child's age. One idea is to have a small leaving party together.


The job interview


You are looking for a person to look after your child(ren) for a time as part of your family.


It is very important that you conduct an interview with a candidate as openly and honestly as possible, and that you provide the potential carer with as much information as possible about your child(ren) and your family. Bear in mind that the carer will be sharing intimate family time with you. This may also impinge on elements of your private life.


As with any professional arrangement, it is very important to lay down clear boundaries and rules with regard to responsibilities, functions, duties, requirements and expectations. We recommend that you draw up a simple contract (see model contracts).


Points to consider when making your choice:


Is it possible to speak to parents whose children have been cared for by this person in the past? Will the candidate give you permission to do so (data protection)?


How does your child respond to the carer? How does the carer respond to your child and your family? How does she speak to you? How does she try to understand you and your family?


Does she appear to be a well-organised, relaxed and warm-hearted person? Does she remain calm?


Do you and your family feel comfortable around her?


Can you trust her? Is she honest, sincere and does she behave appropriately? Pay attention to your feelings and your intuition, and trust your instincts!


Before she starts work, talk to a potential carer about everything that is important to you.


Brief interview guidelines


Why do you want to work in the childcare field?

Is childcare something that you want to do in the long-term, or do you see it as a tempo- rary solution?

Tell me a little about your experience looking after and bringing up children. How much experience do you have? Do you have references from other parents?

What training or practical experience do you have to qualify you for this job?

What are your views on bringing up children? What do you consider particularly important? What are your views on safety, cleanliness and tidiness? (How do these views fit in with your own?)

Do you have any other obligations or difficulties that might affect your work with my (our) child(ren)?

How do you travel to work?

Tell me where you have worked in the past. Why did you leave? Can you give me the names of some previous employers so I can speak to them?

What do you do when a child cries?

What do you do if a child is naughty or whining?

What do you think children the age of mine like to do, what games do they like and what is fun for them?

Can you give me a character reference, or can you get me one?

Have you had first-aid training or are you willing to do a course? Do you know what to do in an emergency?

Do you have the proper insurance for this kind of work? (see also the "Insurance" information sheet)?


What you should bear in mind


Discuss your normal daily routine with the carer: getting up, mealtimes, naps, working hours, free time, when your child(ren) must be at school or nursery, when they need to be collected, and who does this.


Discuss with her:


Where and with whom your child is allowed to play;

When and how your child needs support, care, breaks and help.


Always discuss any differences immediately and directly with the carer. Give your carer the chance to learn in peace, and be patient. In return, she will do her best to get on with you and to bring your child up in a way that is best for them. Given her extensive experience and/or training, she may have excellent, well-founded approaches and ideas that you may not have thought of.


Contractual matters:


When does employment start?

How are working hours, holidays and free time defined?

What will you pay, what does this payment include and what is paid for separately?

What exactly are the carer's duties? We recommend that parents draw up a job description.

Are there any other expenses to be paid or other services to be provided?

Do you still have to pay if your children are not being looked after by the carer, for example, if the children are ill or in other exceptional circumstances?

What pay arrangements apply if the nanny is ill, and perhaps can't work for a long period? What must be paid under statutory continued salary obligations or in the case of daily sickness bene- fit insurance cover (please see the information sheet on the employment contract)?

Payment for care at non-standard times, e.g. in the late evening when you go out, occasional weekend care, etc.

What social security contributions and insurance do you need to pay for the carer? (As an employer, you should have clarified all of these matters – and agreed them with the carer – before signing the contract.)

Define precisely how the employment relationship can be terminated


Points to set out in writing


Instructions about special foods, diets or medicines for your child, as well as about all important and unusual needs

Plans for all conceivable emergency situations, e.g. accidents, illness, fire, etc.

A list of all important telephone numbers: you as parents (work and other numbers), the emergency services, your doctor, a hospital, the fire brigade, the police, neighbours, good friends, grandparents or other close family and friends

Meal and nap schedules for all of the children in the carer's charge, as well as things like doctor's appointments and sporting activities, etc.

Agreements about visitors, friends, using the telephone, listening to the radio, watching the TV, smoking, etc.


Possible points of conflict


You simply don't suit each other: your ways of life, your values and your lifestyles are too different

Your views on bringing up children differ too widely and the carer is not able to meet your requirements and expectations (e.g. time, skills, training, etc.)

Conduct rules relating to the telephone, smoking, going out, visitors, etc.

If different languages are likely to cause problems, it is sometimes important to make absolutely sure that agreements have been understood correctly

There is competition with regard to the relationship with the child – who is the "better mother"?

The family does not keep to the agreements. They don't pay the carer as agreed, or they don't keep to the set working hours, etc.

The child is unsettled by conflicting rules. The carer doesn't work closely enough with you as the parents, and vice-versa

The costs have not been calculated properly, and exceed your financial capabilities over time

Holidays have not been discussed - or not discussed in sufficient detail - before the contract is signed


Recommendations for the employment of childcare staff


Salary recommendations and expenses Hourly wage:

CHF 28.00 to CHF 32.00 per hour gross for qualified carers, e.g. those specifically trained as nursery nurses, nursery teachers, teachers, nannies, etc.

At least CHF 25.00 per hour gross for carers with no specific training.


The hourly rate does not correspond exactly to pay per hour under a monthly salary arrangement, as the monthly salary is also paid during holidays. The hourly rate includes an allowance for holidays, however.


Monthly salary:

CHF. 4,500.00 to CHF 5,000.00 gross for a full-time position (42 hours per week) for carers with many years of experience, as well as any additional training or professional knowledge.

CHF 3,900.00 to CHF 4,500.00 gross for a full-time position (42 hours per week) for carers with limited experience and/or no specific training.


The monthly salary for a trained nanny ranges between CHF 4,300.00 and CHF 4,800.00 gross in the Berne area, with four weeks' paid holiday and an additional monthly salary paid out as a bonus.


Please note that these gross pay figures do not include the employer's share of compulsory social security contributions (AHV state pension, ALV unemployment insurance, BVG occupa- tional pension). These costs must therefore be added to gross pay.


Pay is agreed between the two parties. The following criteria should be taken into account when determining wages: relevant training, age, experience and personal impression. Relevant training covers qualification as a nursery nurse, nanny, paediatric nurse, nursery teacher, playgroup leader, etc.


Pay recommendations are based on average market rates.


Holiday entitlement

Employees are entitled to at least 4 weeks of vacation per year, employees who have not reached their 21st Birthday to at least 5 weeks.



Travel expenses (not including the journey to work), entrance charges, expenditure on food on trips agreed with the parents for the carer and the children. Food purchased to prepare meals for the carer and children.


Mileage allowance for car journeys during working hours (shopping, collecting/dropping off children, etc.): CHF 0.70 per kilometre.

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