Nannies who live in style on £22,000 a year

by DON HUNTER, Daily Mail

Once they did their job primarily for a love of children. But nannies have also learned to love their paypackets, which have risen to as much as £22,000 a year, a survey has found.

With a range of perks also available, many enjoy lifestyles in keeping with their wealthy employers.

Those working for the most appreciative families enjoy private healthcare or gym membership. Free calls on mobile phones are a standard benefit.

Some have the use of a chauffeur, their own car or even a horse. Many employers also offer a nanny flat.

One recently qualified nanny was offered exclusive use of a houseboat, while another was entitled to four free flights a year on a private jet.

The £22,000 figure represents a 10 per cent increase on last year's typical salary. The increases have been fuelled by anxious parents prepared to pay a premium for reliable, trustworthy nannies.

Many will now hand over as much as £2,000 to agencies simply to find them a suitable person.

The salary survey, published in the Professional Nanny supplement of Nursery World magazine, shows pay is rising sharply throughout the country.

While the biggest salaries are offered to those working for City high-fliers, a daily nanny in outer London and the Home Counties earns an average of £17,752, a 14 per cent increase on two years ago.

Town nannies generally receive £15,000, while their country equivalents earn £1,000 less. Both figures represent a 30 per cent rise in their salaries since 1998.

Anne Babb, proprietor of Swansons nanny agency in Chiswick, West London, defended the high costs involved.

'A good nanny is worth it,' she said. 'If a girl has gone through two years' training and has excellent references and is working up to 12 hours a day she deserves a good salary.

'One woman I know who works for a City bank even pays the nanny a share of her bonus. She says she couldn't cope without her.'

Maggie Dyer, owner of the London Au Pair and Nanny Agency, added: 'It's no secret. Most nannies we deal with are earning net weekly salaries of £350, which grosses up annually to £24,500.'

Stephen Vahrman, the managing director of the Nannytax payroll agency, which compiled the survey, said a national shortage of staff had helped increase salaries.

'Because nannies are now earning quite good salaries you would expect more people to go into nannying but they don't seem to be coming through the pipeline,' he said.

The Louise Woodward case, in which a British au pair was jailed and later released over the death of a child in her care, may have discouraged some from choosing it as a career, he said.

Mr Vahrman said demand was growing for part-time nannies.

'The survey shows there are more daily nannies working part-time, partly because there are more career mums at home working part-time and partly because of the expense of employing a full-time nanny,' he said.

More than 60 of Britain's largest agencies took part in the survey, along with a database of more than 3,000 clients held by Nannytax.

The £22,000 salary is only the starting point for those paying for a nanny. On top of that, employer's tax of up to £8,800 should have been paid out to the Inland Revenue. Employers also have to pay National Insurance, which works out at an extra £2,684.

Most parents find calculating these figures too arduous and pay for a payroll service. This supplies weekly payslips at a cost of £140 a year.

For live-in nannies, parents face an extra £20 a week on the food bill. A nanny car costs around £300 a month to lease and £30 a week for petrol.

Mobile phone rental and call bills could mean another £40 a month, while taking the nanny on the family holiday could cost anything up to £3,000 a year.

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