Zug, 07.02.2020

The demand for nannies is greater here

Cooking, playing, doing homework: nannies take fully care of the children. In contrast to babysitters, they work for a family om a regular basis and for an extended period. There is no clearly defined job title. and, apart from a course provided by the Swiss Red Cross, there is no special training for the profession. The professional background of nannies is correspondingly broad: you are a childcare specialist, for example, or a playgroup leader or are changing career.

The search for a nanny often took place on bulletin boards or through acquaintances in the past. For some years now, however, parents have increasingly been looking for the right nanny online. The canton of Zug is an important market, as a small survey of intermediaries shows.

“Babysitting24” claims to be the largest nanny broker in Switzerland. Typical “nanny jobs” are more popular in the canton of Zug than the Swiss-German average, says their marketing manager Christoph Seitz. Due to the higher average income and the high expat density, more households are able to have the children looked after by a nanny on a daily, or even full-time basis. Compared to local families, expats are less likely to make use of grandparents for childcare, and often came from countries with a more pronounced nanny tradition.

Tanya Jeannet, who works in Walchwil and is responsible for the Swiss department of the international placement platform Rockmybaby, says that “In addition to Zurich, Zug is one of our most important business areas”. The demand across Switzerland exceeds the supply, especially in Zug, where there are currently 50 vacancies. The starting wages of nannies are often higher in Zug, at CHF 30 to 35 per hour, compared to CHF 25 to 35 in Zurich. The reason: fewer nannies lived in Zug. The cost of living is also higher here, and there are the travel expenses, because many nannies live outside the canton. Where necessary, you can also look for nannies abroad, says Jeannet.

Ruth Nachmansohn looks after the three children of a family in Zug - and their household.

And how do you become a nanny? In the case of Ruth Nachmansohn, by chance. She has been a nanny for four and a half years and works with a family in the city of Zug. She trained as a dispensing chemist and was employed in an office, until a colleague asked her whether she would like to work as a nanny for a friend. In the beginning, she "only" picked up their children from the crèche as a 30 % workload. Today she works full time - still for the same family. In addition to the care, she takes care of the entire household.

"The best thing about it is experiencing the development of the children," she says. You can see how the children learn what you teach them. Compared to a day care centre, you probably have more time for a child, and can thereby support it more individually. "But it isn't always easy to do justice to each of them." Distancing yourself is a challenge, says the mother of two grown children. For example, if you disagree with certain decisions about the upbringing: "I had to learn to accept this." Either way, a pleasant personal relationship does exist.

Ruth Nachmansohn, who lives in Affoltern am Albis, works 42 hours a week. Her working hours are irregular, and she usually finishes work at 6 or 7 p.m. She can handle it well, but admits that: "My social life suffers." The latter has to take place at the weekend, because she never agrees to do anything during the week. She is satisfied with her hourly wage of CHF 30, and all the administration, including social security contributions, is handled via an online app. She attended the Swiss Red Cross's nanny course in Winterthur two years ago, and does further training every year.

"Not all nannies have a correct contract or a reasonable wage – and many work illegally," says Szasa Schaefer. She looks after children herself, and is responsible for the website www.nannyverein.ch. Using this website, a group of nannies aim to reach out to professional colleagues and inform them about their rights - especially those from abroad, who the family brings with them. Many run the risk of being exploited, says Schaefer. She recently saw an advertisement in Zug for a nanny with a 58-hour week workload. This is above the applicable maximum working hours (see below). There is also still a widespread public opinion that the job is fun for women, and that it’s enough to pay a small amount of compensation. The hourly wage recommended on the website is between CHF 19.20 and CHF 35.

"The specifications for a nanny include all the tasks related to looking after the children," says Schaefer. Additional work should be recorded as such in the contract. It is essential that the nanny should ensure that the family has registered her correctly with the social security system, and is paying the contributions.

Szasa Schaefer’s wish is that her professional colleagues should work together more strongly for their rights.

The legal framework in the canton of Zug
The federal government introduced a minimum wage for “domestic workers in private households” in 2011. Depending on the level of training, this is currently between CHF 19.20 and CHF 23.20 per hour. This also applies to nannies if they work more than five hours a week. Au pairs and young babysitters who only work occasionally are excluded. The other working conditions in the canton of Zug are regulated in the normal employment contract (NAV) for private households. These include holidays, sick pay, overtime, probationary period and termination. The weekly working time is a maximum of 50 hours. According to Bernhard Neidhart, head of the Office for Business and Employment in Zug, a new NAV for private employees is currently being developed.