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  • Writer's pictureMarine Lienard

A comparative look at Nanny work in France and the UK

Working as a nanny is a rewarding and fulfilling career that allows individuals to play a significant role in shaping a child's early years. However, the experience can vary significantly depending on the country in which you choose to work.

French child waving.

Qualifications and certification

In both France and the UK, families often prefer to hire nannies with formal qualifications in childcare. However, the specific qualifications and requirements may differ. In the UK, the CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education is highly regarded, while France may require the French equivalent, such as the CAP Petite Enfance.

Working hours and regulations

Nanny work hours can vary greatly, but in general, nannies in France tend to work shorter hours compared to those in the UK. French nannies typically work around 35-45 hours per week, while in the UK, it's common for nannies to work 50 hours or more.

Additionally, France has strict labor laws, including the requirement to pay overtime for additional hours worked beyond the contracted hours. In contrast, the UK has more flexible labor laws for nannies, which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on your perspective.

Cultural expectations

Cultural expectations play a significant role in the life of a nanny. In France, there is a strong emphasis on formal education, and nannies may be expected to engage children in structured learning activities from an early age. The French also prioritise mealtime as a family event, which means that nannies often have the responsibility of preparing and serving meals to the children.

In the UK, the approach to childcare is often more relaxed, with a focus on play-based learning and creativity. Mealtime routines may be less formal, with an emphasis on flexibility and accommodating the child's preferences.

Language and communication

Language can be a significant factor for nannies. In France, fluency in French is often a requirement, as families may prefer that their children be exposed to the language from an early age. Nannies in France may also be expected to help children with homework and engage in conversations in French.

In the UK, English proficiency is typically required, but many families also value bilingual nannies who can introduce their children to a second language. The specific language requirements will vary depending on the family's preferences.

Salary and benefits

Salary and benefits for nannies differ between the two countries. In general, nannies in the UK tend to earn higher salaries compared to their counterparts in France. The cost of living in the UK is generally higher, which often translates to higher wages.

Both countries offer various benefits such as paid holidays, sick leave, and sometimes health insurance, although the specifics can vary based on individual employment contracts and legal requirements.

Working as a nanny is a rewarding career choice, regardless of the country you choose to work in. The key to success is understanding and embracing the cultural and regulatory differences that come with each location. Whether you opt for the structured approach of France or the more relaxed style of the UK, being adaptable and culturally sensitive will help you excel in your role and create meaningful experiences for the children in your care. Ultimately, both France and the UK offer unique opportunities for nannies to make a lasting impact on the lives of children and their families.

Marine, mother and founder of St Pancras Recruitment

Marine Lienard, Founder of St Pancras Recruitment


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