Legal obligations for Australian parents

As the carers work in an unregulated field, there is no official award rate of pay or conditions set by any government for childcare workers working in private homes.

 

There is an award rate for childcare workers in childcare centres. Rates vary depending on qualifications, experience and which state you work in. However, the Australian government has appointed the Fair Work Ombudsman to monitor the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Fair Work Regulation 2009. These act as a guide only and all legal advice should be taken from your lawyer. For more information on Fair Work, please click here.

 

Child carers are an important part of your family. If they are valued for their contribution to your children’s lives, then they should be paid accordingly. This includes superannuation, annual leave and sick pay. A valued employee who is treated with respect and paid a reasonable wage is more likely to be a long-term employee, which reduces disruption to your household and the need for training new staff.

 

 

Worker’s compensation

Workers compensation is required in all states and territories. Please click on your current state for more undated information.

 

QLD: workcoverqld.com.au. or 1300 362 128
NSW: workcover.nsw.gov.au. or 13 10 50
ACT: worksafety.act.gov.au. or. 02 6207 3000
VIC: worksafe.vic.gov.au. or 1800 136 089

 

 

Tax

What a horrible word. But everyone has to pay it and, yes, child carers have to pay it too.

 

Your carer is an employee and you are the employer. As an employer, you are obligated to take tax out of his/her pay just like all other employers have to do with their employees (PAYG). The Australian Tax Office (ATO) classifies a carer as an employee, as he/she is an individual who receives payment in the form of a salary or wage in return for labour or service. You are also an employer if you employ workers under contract, verbal or written, on a full-time, part-time or casual basis. This can be wholly or principally for labour, or if you have some control over your employees, or if you are responsible for the payment of wage or salary and have the power to dismiss or hire employees.

 

The practice of paying cash under the table is illegal and it is unfair to the carers. If they require a loan for a new car, house or for investment purposes, then he/she will need proof of earnings using a payment summary (group certificate). Also, if your carer is in a car accident and won’t be able to work again, their earnings will not be taken into account when calculating loss of earnings or future loss of earnings.

 

Carers are not independent workers. To be self-employed or independent, a carer would have to work the hours they want, leave when they want, state how much they earn, supply the equipment, and decide what to do with your children. The carer would have the power to freely hire other people to perform the work when he/she wants.

 

Nannies/child carers do not work like this and therefore are classified as employees.

 

Also the practice of claiming nannies as a tax deduction for a business expense is also illegal. That is, if you engage a nanny to look after your children, then class them as your PA, admin assistant, bookkeeper etc through your business. This practice is known as tax evasion and fraud. If caught, you will be fined and will need to pay everything back to the tax man. The tax man will class it as a personal expense, then your personal income will increase, which will require you to pay even more tax, which could cost you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. You could even risk a jail term. Nannies are not a business expense – they are a personal expense!

 

For more information about your tax obligations, you can contact the ATO at ato.gov.au or phone 13 28 66

 

 

Superannuation

Superannuation is compulsory for all employees. The amount is 9% of the gross wage. This also includes nannies and child care workers. The amount is only to be paid if the employee works more than 30 hours per week.

 

Care for Kidz provides your children with the very best care available. In order to achieve this, the employer will need to abide by all legal obligations as experienced and qualified carers would expect. Good nannies/child carers are scarce. If they receive the benefits to which they are entitled, it is more likely they will remain in your employ for the long term, which will benefit you and the children.

For more information about superannuation, you can contact the ATO on 13 28 66 or
ato.gov.au, or speak to your accountant.

 

 

Working With Young Children Checks

Most states now require a Working With Children Check (WWCC), which is a federal police clearance check carried out by individual states to make sure that current nannies are suitable to work with children. These checks do not replace reference checks from previous employers – they ensure carers have no criminal record at the time of issue. Nannies must apply for new checks every two years or every new job that they start. For more information regarding WWCCs, please click on the state of your current state residence.

 

QLD: ccypcg.qld.gov.au or 1800 113 611
NSW: check.kids.nsw.gov.au or 02 9286 7219
VIC: justice.vic.gov.au or 1300 652 879

 

 

Motor vehicle insurance

CTP

Compulsory third-party insurance is paid when you pay your car registration. This insurance covers you and passengers for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. It is not usually paid for injuries sustained by the driver at fault. Passengers are covered, but they are only covered if the car is registered and the driver at fault is in a registered car. If a carer or children have been injured in a car accident during employment, then please seek professional advice from your lawyer.

 

 

Comprehensive insurance

If your carer will be driving your car during employment, you may need to add him/her to your insurance policy. In the case of an accident, you might not be covered – even if it’s not your fault. Please check with your insurance company, broker or agent about your policy before you let any carer driver your car, especially if the carer is under 25 years of age.

 

 
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