My concerns over the pilot program
An opinion piece on the pilot program from a professional nannyâ€™s point of view.
The governmentâ€™s nanny pilot program has been all the talk within the parenting and nanny community lately.Â Earlier this month the draft guidelines were released for the program outlining the logistics on how it will work.Â There have been major concerns surrounding these guidelines with funding and quality standards being at the forefront of discussions. A media release issued by the Australian Nanny Association (ANA) outlines the opinion that the pilot program is set up to fail. Â As a member of the Association and a professional nanny myself, I agree.
The introduction of the rebate has been highly anticipated and itâ€™s important to mention a few points in the guidelines that work.Â Itâ€™s targeting families who cannot access regular childcare and they are the ones who need it most.Â The purpose of the pilot is to complement existing approved services and offer solutions where they canâ€™t such as care outside of centre operating hours, children with special needs, and childcare in remote communities.Â Quality assurance will be monitored by selected service providers who will facilitate the employment of participating nannies.Â Service providers include existing family day care, a centre based organisation, a nanny agency or another type of organisation.Â Unfortunately the costs involved for a service provider to participate, outweigh the funding allocated.Â The SMH released an article that outlines the figures behind this conclusion.Â Itâ€™s not that service providers wonâ€™t make enough money, itâ€™s that they will be operating at a loss.Â Once again, I completely agree.
Now letâ€™s talk about my concerns as a nanny.Â Itâ€™s important to mention that itâ€™s unlikely Iâ€™ll take part due to my higher rate.Â I charge the rate of a Diploma trained educator so my fee may fall outside the budget of pilot approved families.Â Whether you participate or not, all nannies need this program to succeed.Â With this spotlight on the industry the success of the program directly affects every nanny currently working in Australia.Â Hereâ€™s why:
The program needs to represent the current high quality of care nannies provide.
As mentioned, qualified nannies may be too expensive for participating families, so itâ€™s likely pilot approved families will hire less experienced nannies.Â I think itâ€™s great that the rebate will open the door for those who love working with children. It will offer an alternative career to childcare and I look forward to all the great nannies that will join the industry.Â Untrained and inexperienced nannies will need guidance, coaching and training to ensure quality standards are met.Â With the nation watching the pilot these untrained nannies will represent all nannies, no matter how experienced or established you are.
Better employment conditions.
For too long nannies have had fight for reasonable employment standards.Â Too often I see a nanny job advertised requesting a 2 hour shift for $15/hour.Â Most nannies represent themselves when they enter their employment agreement with families and unfortunately they can be taken advantage of.Â This rebate will help establish things like minimum wage, improved work place laws, and I hope to see an introduction of a nanny award with Fair Work Australia.Â Nannies work hard and they deserve the right to fair employment.
Itâ€™s our chance to shine!
Nannies are such a fantastic solution for child care.Â I love coming to work each day and making a difference in the lives of every family I work for.Â Itâ€™s an ongoing joke in the nanny community to be asked â€œWhen are you going to get a real job?â€Â This is our chance to show Australia that this is a viable career option and how the role of nannies is vital for our countryâ€™s growth.
On top of this the rebate will help separate nannies from the stigma of being compared with Au-pairs.Â There is misconception in the community that the roles are the same.Â You only need to have a conversation with a nanny to find out, they are completely different.
This pilot is what nannies around Australia have been waiting for.Â It will help establish our profession and highlight the great work we all do to support working families.Â Without the right funding we run the risk of the pilot failing and the nanny industry will be overlooked for the great solution it is for Australian families.