Pulse VIP Blogger Yetty Williams gives some advice on the necessary steps to take and what to consider when hiring a nanny
You might be one of the few people that do not have any domestic staff in your house. A domestic staff is anyone you hire to work in your household, the most obvious is your nanny but also includes your househelp, cook, washerman, driver and security guard.
Most people have at least one domestic staff under their direct employment. Majority of homes are dual income homes which means that both mum and dad hold jobs outside the home. In these situations many times it is necessary to get additional help to assist with caring for the children and running the home.
Recently there has been an increase in reports of children being kidnapped by the nanny. The most recent one was the case of the Orekoya boys who were kidnapped by their one day old nanny. She kidnapped three of the four children! The whole Country woke up, prayed and discussed the situation widely. Thankfully at the end of the day the children were reunited with their parents and older brother.
It is important to review the situation, to discuss what happened and focus on ways to protect our homes and children from such incidences. There are a few people who will react by no longer hiring nanny’s – but this is not the only solution and as mentioned earlier, a nanny is not the only domestic staff that homes hire.
If you are going to hire someone to work in your home and will have access to you, your family and your children then there are real considerations necessary. There are rules of engagement that should guide the hiring and management of nanny’s and other domestic staff.
So what should you consider when you hire
Source: Staff should be hired from a credible and reputable source. A source could be an online job posting, it could an agent or word of mouth. The question is how well do you know the source? If your friends’ nanny refers someone to you, how well does she really know her?
There are agents and there are agents - some agents simply bring people off the street and know nothing about them. If you are going to use an agent, verify that the agent has been in operation for some years and that they have a physical office. Enquire from the agent how they source their workers, also get feedback from other clients.
Background Check: Anyone you hire into your home should undergo a background check. This includes verifying and knowing where they live, where they are from, who their family members and guarantors are.
During the the Orekoya case I heard the police commissioner advise that prior to hiring staff you should check with the police to verify their background. As he said you cannot afford to just bring a stranger into your home.
Reference Check: You should carry out a reference check that includes getting reference from their past employers. Ask them for the last place or two they worked and make sure to call and get feedback from their last employer. I did this once and was saved from being scammed.
Interview Process: Have a thorough interview process, take your time to interview them the same way you would if you were hiring someone to join your team at work. Get to know them and be clear on what your expectations are. Never ever hire out of desperation as you might overlook things.
Health Checks: Carry out basic domestic staff health checks to confirm the suitability of your nanny or other staff for the job. Most hospitals and labs run domestic staff health screening.
Job description: Make the job description clear, many employers are guilty of hiring someone to be a nanny and after she starts, is asked to do laundry for the whole household, cook, go grocery shopping, operate the generator and to do much more than was agreed at the beginning. Let it be clear what you are hiring for – if you want a housekeeper make it clear, if it is a nanny make it clear.
Agreement: Stick to agreements prior to the commencement of the job. If you agreed that your nanny will go off twice a month, do not refuse to let her go off when the time comes. Also if you agree to pay a certain sum, do not withhold her pay. They are working and deserve their pay as and when due as well as their time off to relax.
Security: Keep up the security systems in and around the house. You might want to install CCTV or Nanny cam in the house to be able to monitor what goes on in the house when you are not there. You should be sure to have a passport photograph of al your staff and have protocols in place with the neighborhood security or your security guard. Is the nanny allowed to take the children out? What protocols must they obey?
Lastly stay vigilant and treat your domestic staff with respect. Be prayerful and listen to your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right then take action. There are also stories of successful long-term relationships between employers and their domestic staff so it is possible.
Yetty Williams | Founder of www.Lagosmums.com | a parenting and family life website. Follow @LagosMums | Like us facebook.com/lagosmums