Domestic Help, Nannies & Babysitters
Close to the end of your pregnancy, or once the baby has arrived, you may need some help with the work load at home, the care of other siblings, or just an extra pair of hands, so you can get some rest. It is very important to be aware that many people seeking domestic help positions, arrive in Cayman untrained in many aspects of housekeeping and childcare.
As explained in great detail on our page entitled Domestic Help, we explain that many families in Cayman hire a nanny/domestic helper to help with childcare as well as cleaning and laundry. It is an affordable luxury in Cayman that many take advantage of. There is a large domestic network of mostly Jamaican and Filipino nannies, and you can usually ask around if anyone is leaving the Island (and their nanny is coming available) or if they have a sister or cousin that would like to move to Cayman. You do have to show reasonable need (to hire a helper and get a work permit for them) but writing a convincing cover letter (to a work permit) explaining that you have young children and a house to run is usually sufficient. You will need to include certified copies of your children’s birth certificates with the work permit application.
Another alternative is you can ask an agency who they have on staff that might be suitable. That way you can meet the person, have them work for you for a day or two and try someone else if they don’t fit with your family and style of doing things. You could also post an ad on ecay trade and the CayMums facebook page saying you are looking for a nanny or domestic helper. With every case you must ask for references and call every one of them. As we said there is a lot more information on hiring a domestic helper or nanny in the Cayman Islands, including what to pay them, how much holiday they are entitled to and what benefits to offer them on this page on Domestic Help in the Cayman Islands.
8 Points to Consider When Hiring a Nanny in Cayman:
1. What type of care do you need? Will your children be in school? Do you need full or part-time help? What about the school holidays or when your child is sick? Do you need a nanny to help with homework? If your priority is house-care then you will find it easier to find a person to clean the house and babysit occasionally. You may find it more challenging to find someone to be the primary source of education, development and stimulation, as well as help with the cleaning and laundry.
2. How much can you afford to pay? As with any job the most qualified and experienced candidates will require a higher salary. There is a huge scope of range from an early childhood trained nanny or teacher, to a cleaner with occasional evening babysitting experience. Both a full-time nanny and domestic helper require health insurance, however, the law does not require you to pay the pension of a domestic helper.
3. Do you need a driver? If you require help with driving your child to and from school or after school activities then a nanny that can drive is essential. Please consider whether or not the nanny’s car is suitable for your children to be driven around in, or whether you will provide a car for the nanny’s use.
4. Live in or out? Some positions that require long or late hours are more suitable for a live-in person. If opting for a live-in caregiver, you will be required to provide accommodation with sufficient space. If you are considering bringing a nanny on-Island, it is important to be mindful of the cost of living in Cayman for a single person, and factor that into your salary offer. Many families include a yearly ticket back to their nanny’s home country as part of their contract.
5. Education Early childhood care greatly impacts childhood development. If you are hiring a nanny to take care of a young baby or toddler, it is essential to find a candidate with the ability to educate and aid in your child’s development. Does the nanny have experience and qualifications? Do they speak clearly? Are they warm and engaging? Do you feel comfortable and relaxed in their company? Do they have a similar set of values as you? Does their outlook on child rearing and education match with yours? Are they willing to learn through on-Island workshops and training? Do they have an up-to-date infant first aid CPR certificate?
6. Where to Look? The best reference for a nanny is a positive referral from a friend or colleague. However, if you are new to the Island, take a look on ecay trade, CayMums or ask an agency (AAA Caregivers and Best Home Care). Cayman is a transient place and when families leave the Island they will often try their best to find their nanny another position. You could also place an advert yourself on ecay trade or reach out to the CayMums Facebook group saying you are looking for help.
7. Family Support For many families who have moved here from overseas, the lack of family support can make life difficult for them if they have children. Your children’s nanny or family helper will, if chosen carefully, become an important person in you and your child’s lives. Finding a person who you feel comfortable with and you can trust to help raise your child is not easy. Be sure to set out a clear idea of your needs prior to interviewing. Using an agency to help in the interim or having a family member join you while you look will ensure you hire the best person for your situation, instead of rushing this important decision.
8. Be Realistic Could you care for a baby, entertain a toddler, clean a house, do the laundry, iron, cook, run errands, do the school run and homework with your children? Doing all of those things to a high standard is challenging for anyone. Prioritise your requirements and understand the difference between a nanny and a cleaner.
Potential Interview Questions to Ask a New Nanny or Helper:
• What kind of activities would you plan for my child?
• What is your approach to potty training?
• At what age would you start reading to the baby?
• Can you swim? Can you drive? Are you CPR certified?
• What would you feed an eight month old baby, a five year old, a ten year old?
• How would you make homemade baby food?
• What would a regular day look like to you if you had a seven month old versus a five year old to care for?
• For how many hours would you allow a two year old to nap?
• What are your approaches/views on discipline?
• How much TV/iPad time would you allow?
• What sort of snacks would you offer my child?
• How often do you get sick?
• Why did you leave your last position?
• Are you able to work longer hours with little notice?
• Do you smoke or have any health problems?
• What would you do if my child had a fever or fell unconscious and you couldn’t get hold of us?
The Formalities of Hiring a Domestic Helper or Nanny in the Cayman Islands
Hiring a Domestic Helper Through an Agency
Expect to pay CI$12 per hour for a minimum of four hours if hired on a full-day or half-day regular weekly basis. On a temporary basis allow CI$14 or more per hour. The convenience of using an agency is that they train the staff, pay their health insurance, pension, and will replace them if they can’t work for any reason. Agencies also interview and trial potential domestic helpers.
Hiring a Domestic Helper
A domestic helper is primarily employed to clean the house, prepare food and babysit the children. They would transport the children to activities but they would not be expected to plan activities or get involved with doing homework.
The top salary for a domestic helper that works five days per week, for a nine hour day is CI$400 per week. You would expect this person to be able to drive. If you only want the person on a part-time basis then expect to pay CI$80 for an eight hour day. For occasional babysitting you will find that almost everyone will ask for CI$10 per hour. For non-agency helpers, you will need to take care of their health insurance, give them at least two weeks paid vacation per year and pay them double time for working any public holidays. By law, you do not have to contribute to a domestic worker’s pension. A good employer will also pay for one airline ticket home per year.
Hiring a Professional Nanny
A professional nanny is expected to have a university degree and/or some form of childcare training. Their role is to focus on the children and not household chores.
For a professional nanny working part-time (1pm-6pm Monday to Friday) you would expect to pay CI$2,000 per month. Overtime pay is either CI$15 or CI$20 an hour, depending on their qualifications. Typically a nanny’s job includes washing the children’s laundry, doing dishes, doing the household’s grocery shopping, preparing a weekly menu, preparing a healthy well rounded dinner or homemade baby food, arranging age appropriate activities, helping to organise and drive children to after school activities, assisting with homework, hosting and organising playdates. They would be expected to help develop a well-rounded, responsible child with a strong moral compass. They encourage the child’s independence and ensure they have healthy relationships with their friends and adults. The nanny would not be expected to clean the house. You can find professional nannies by word of mouth, through www.care.com or through www.norland.co.uk/agency. If you are looking for a live-in au pair then visit www.greataupair.com.
Most nannies would expect to be provided with a car to use seven days a week, a monthly fuel allowance of CI$50, a flight home once a year, two weeks paid vacation, non-contributory health insurance and to be paid their monthly salary whether the family are away on holiday or not. It is not unusual for a nanny to travel with the family on vacation and stay overnight as needed. For overnight stays the going rate is a sleep fee of CI$10 an hour or CI$40-CI$50 a night and then CI$15-CI$20 an hour for the hours the children are awake but outside of the nanny’s regular working hours.
Things Worth Noting
If you are an expat then you cannot submit your domestic helper’s or nanny’s work permit paperwork until your own work permit has been approved. It is illegal to have them pay for their own work permit. Helpers are not allowed to have dependents on their work permit and the absolute maximum time they are allowed to stay on the Island is ten years. You can take out a work permit for any nationality of a helper or nanny as long as you can demonstrate a genuine need.
It is worth noting that the Department of Immigration does not usually grant expatriates a work permit for domestic help or a nanny, unless they show sufficient need i.e. they have children who need looking after. If this is the case you will also need to provide certified copies of the birth certificate of each child to be cared for and think carefully about the information you provide in your cover letter to support your application. Please note, a work permit for a ‘Nanny’ needs to be advertised in the newspaper for two consecutive weeks but a work permit for a ‘Domestic Helper’ does not need to be advertised. The work permit for a domestic helper costs CI$250 per year while for a nanny the cost is CI$650.
If you would like to contact a reliable and well respected agency, which often will take the risk and stress out of finding a caregiver or domestic helper, then we recommend the following two companies: