The "Brexit effect" on childcare

Published: 21/02/2020

Since the initial vote for Brexit happened, there’s been a lot of debate and uncertainty around its impact on different industries. Social care, healthcare, financial services, hospitality, automotive, agriculture, chemicals and plastics industries specifically have been cited as sectors that would struggle the most. 

Fast forward three-plus years and the UK has officially left the European Union (EU)! And you may be wondering how Brexit will impact your nanny.

Given there’s still a lot of uncertainty around the impact, we decided to have a look at our data to get a pulse on how it’s impacted the childcare industry. 

Here’s what we found….

Nannies haven’t started to flee the UK (yet!)

A significant percentage (almost half) of nannies working in the UK are from the EU countries. When the vote for Brexit happened, the initial expectation was that the supply side of the market (i.e., the nannies) would dry up. That nannies who were already working in the UK would flee, and new nannies who might normally have turned to the UK for jobs would be put off.  

What’s interesting is that we haven’t seen nannies leaving in droves and we’re still getting as many applications from the EU nationals as we were before. In fact, the mix of nationalities is still the same as it was three years ago. Our data shows specifically that 40% of nannies are British, with 44% coming from the EU and 16% coming from other countries. 

Our advice to you as parents: help your nannies get the settled status

Nannies who were already working in the UK on 31st January 2020 should be all sorted if they already had a working visa in place, at least until the end of this year. But what happens then? 

For the EU nationals, they can stay and work legally at least until the end of 2020. It’s unclear what will happen next (after 2020), so the best course of action is for them to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. If they’ve been in the UK for the last five years they should be able to get the settled status which means they can stay in the UK for as long as they like and may also be eligible for British citizenship. If it’s been less than five years, they should still apply but will most likely get the pre-settled status which they can apply to change to settled status once they’ve got 5 years’ continuous residency. 

There will be no change for non-EU nationals who already have a visa in place.

If you’re a parent who is employing a nanny our recommendation is to help them secure the settled status which should in theory be straight forward, until the end of this year. The only potential complication will be if the nanny hasn’t been properly paid or declared and her national insurance and taxes haven’t been paid. You may be surprised but this unfortunately happens way too often! In cases like these, the government may seek additional evidence to prove their residency in the UK. 

You can find out more about the EU Settlement Scheme here.

The shift from live-in to live-out nannies

While the supply side of the nanny market hasn’t been impacted much (yet!), we have seen the shift on the demand side. Specifically, parents have become even more cost-conscious when it comes to childcare. This means we’re seeing a trend of parents switching from hiring live-out nannies to live-in nannies. And that’s primarily because live-in nannies cost significantly less, providing of course you have the space in your home to accommodate them.

This has caused an imbalance in the market and what we’re now seeing is that 31% of parents are looking for a live-in nanny, but only 19% of nannies want to do a live-in job. This means parents have been struggling to find live-in nannies over the past few years -- it’s taken them much longer than before to find the right live-in nanny and those who have been successful have been losing them to better paid live-out jobs. 

Our recommendation to parents is, if you’re still looking for a live-in nanny, the best thing you can do is offer a fair market salary, which for a full-time nanny at 60 hours a week, is about £450 net a week. As a comparison, a live-out nanny who works 60 hours a week, will be asking for about £660 net a week. When you add up all the taxes, the yearly difference between the two is a whopping £20,000!

If you have any questions or observations on how Brexit is impacting the childcare market we’d love to hear from you at We also have some ideas and suggestions on how to work around the settled status.

Is Brexit costing nannies or parents? Read our blog to find out.

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