Costs of making your own personal childcare arrangements


Parents and personal arrangement for childcare Your Costs

For live-in help - the person is helping out primarily for board and not doing this as a paid job:

  • Provide full free board in exchange for childcare help for say 10 to 30 hours a week.   
  • Provide pocket money as you would for a family member particularly if the live-in help is helping out more than 15 hours a week.  

For au pairs:

  • Provide full board for free
  • Provide pocket money and any travel money as specified in the contract you sign with the placement agency or the English Language speaking school who brings the student to NZ. 

For childcare in someone else's home:

  • The going rate is between $5.50 and $7.50 an hour in the hand to the caregiver (it is the caregiver's responsibility to pay tax).  Many at-home parents are willing to care for another child of similar age to their own for company for their child and a smaller hourly payment to cover costs.  Note the caregiver can not look after more than 2 young children who are not her/his own for payment or she/he legally has to to sign up with a home-based provider agency which is licensed with the Ministry of Education.

Arranged childcare exchanges:

  • There is no financial cost in taking turns with another family and having an agreed arrangement as to who looks after the children on which days at whose house and for which hours.  This kind of arrangement is perhaps more common than many non-parents think as it provides a very practical solution to childcare needs whilst allowing children from two families to keep their friendship going by regularly playing together at each others' houses.

Integrating child care with your paid work or running a business:

  • There is no financial cost in fitting your work responsibilities around your children.  Often the two can be integrated well. For example, you may earn money by looking after other children and have your child with you or you may be self-employed such as running a dairy and its no problem for your child to stay with you and fun to participate in work activities.
  • An indirect cost may be possible negative customer reactions to a child in the workplace or customers may judge you to be unprofessional if they hear a child's noise on the other end of the telephone.  However, these may be customers you wouldn't want anyway.  

For a nanny in your own home:  

  • If you are the employer and the nanny is not an independent contractor, pay at least the minimum hourly wage of $12.75 which applies to all workers 18 years and over.  Most nanny employees are paid anywhere between $13.50  to $20.00 hour based on the nannies experience, qualifications, and market demand.  Most nannies with a nanny qualification receive around $14 - $16.00 gross an hour.  If you are employing a nanny for more than $20 hour you are probably paying too much.
  • Petrol or mileage expenses if the nanny is using her/his own car for work.
  • Possibly a bit extra for food and tea/coffee for the nanny.
  • Holiday pay and other costs associated with being an employer. 
  • You will also have some additional wear and tear on the house furnishings, and toys because your child is being cared for at home rather than elsewhere during the day. 

For a NZ professional nanny live-in (often this is a temporary arrangement for parents who are travelling or in emergencies when a parent goes into hospital):

  • Pay at least the minimum hourly wage.  Check with the Department of Labour if you should also pay when the nanny is sleeping but still responsible for the children as this is a bit of a grey area in employment law.
  • Charge separately the cost of board which may come off the hourly wage.


Subsidies You May Be Eligible For



Taxpayer Contributions



Further Information

For information on government funding that goes to a licensed early childhood service if you enrol your child with one, click here.


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