Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Difference Between a Nanny and a Babysitter

What is the difference between a babysitter and a nanny? This is a question I have been asked many times over the last 21 years. Usually nannies ask me because they are frustrated when they are paid as a babysitter when In fact they are a nanny. A caregiver is not a babysitter just because an employer wants that to be their relationship. The distinction is based on a number of criteria. These criteria include the job description, the age and experience of the caregiver, the hours of work, the nature of the employment relationship and the commitment between the employer and caregiver.
Babysitters tend to watch children on an on call basis whereas nannies are usually hired to work on a permanent predictable schedule. Sitters will often be hired for the weekend or evenings and tend to have a more casual relationship with the family. Generally babysitters are not responsible for any duties outside of childcare and are often even paid just to be in the home while the children are sleeping. The majority of babysitters are teenagers or college students with less direct experience and training than a full time career nanny.
Babysitters are usually paid a lower salary than nannies and they are not considered employees. This means the employer is not required to make remittances for income tax etc to the federal government and not required to follow many of the labour laws set by your province or state.
Nannies are paid a salary or hourly rate that is negotiated with the employer before the job offer is finalized. They usually sign an employment contract outlining duties and details of the position. Nannies are also entailed to overtime pay and vacation pay and often receive additional benefits like use of a car, bonuses and medical coverage.
Before you begin your search for childcare it is important to know what you are looking for— nanny or baby sitter. Regardless of which type of childcare provider you select communication is the key to a good relationship. Whether you hire a nanny or babysitter it is important to clearly outline your expectations to avoid a break down in communication and misunderstandings.