How to hire a nanny | legal interview tips

There are a lot of good sites outlining interview questions and tips for hiring a nanny. Below is some additional compliance issues to keep in mind.

Employing nannies is one of the few areas where you can discriminate in recruitment, based on sex, religion and background, if the care takes place in the home. Even if you are looking for someone of the same cultural background to fit in with your children and your expectations regarding their care, if the care takes place within your home, its unlikely that you are breaching discrimination laws. If you have concerns check with the appropriate federal or state law.

However this doesn’t absolve you from asking questions that are deemed as discriminatory in the interview process. Anti Discrimination laws state that you must not ask questions that result in the applicants providing personal details.

You must base your interview questions on the specifics of the job. Any questions that you ask must revolve around the knowledge, skills and abilities that are required for the position.

Dodgy example questions include:

  • how old are you?
  • who cares for your children when you’re at work?
  • have you ever been arrested?
  • are you married or single?

At the interview you should be clear about all job requirements, wages and conditions and include all agreements reached in their employment contract. It’s a common mistake of all employers  not to be clear about what’s required and then have issues with the employment relationship once it has commenced. In Australia, nannies employed on a regular weekly and ongoing basis are required to be paid as employees and their contracts need to meet with the federal Fair Work Australia requirements inclding the minimum wage, except in WA  where its a state compliance.There is no single national framework setting out the requirements for obtaining Working With Children Checks or Police Checks. Each state and territory has their own procedures and it is necessary to full fill your local requirements.

ACT

No relevant ActNo formal Act or screening program, however, individual employers may require police checks at their discretion.

NSW

Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998 (NSW)The NSW Working With Children Check is an employer driven “point-in-time” system entailing background checks of employees and the exclusion of prohibited persons from child-related occupations.

NT

Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT)Individuals are required to apply for a Working With Children Check, known as an “Ochre Card” in the Northern Territory. The Ochre Card, which is also known as a “Clearance Notice”, is valid for 2 years, and applies to employers and volunteers in child-related employment settings.

Qld

Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 (Qld)Individuals are required to apply for a Working With Children Check, known as a “Blue Card” in Queensland. Valid for two years, Blue Cards entitle individuals to engage in child-related occupations/volunteering.

SA

Children’s Protection Act 1993 (SA)The South Australian system is an employer driven “point-in-time” system requiring employers and responsible authorities to obtain criminal history checks for those engaging in child-related occupations/volunteering.

Tas.

No relevant ActNo formal Act or screening program, however, individual employers may require police checks at their discretion.

Vic.

Working With Children Act 2005 (Vic.)Individuals are required to apply for a Working With Children Check. Valid for five years, the Check entitles individuals to engage in child-related occupations/volunteering.

WA

Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WA)Individuals are required to apply for a Working With Children Check. Valid for three years, the Check entitles individuals to engage in child-related occupations/volunteering.