Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Privacy and Nanny Placement Agencies

The Responsibilities of Nanny Referral Agencies.

When discussing issues of privacy for nannies we must include privacy and confidentiality of nanny placement agencies.

A diligent nanny employment agency will ask for sensitive private information from prospective nannies so that a thorough search of the candidates can be conducted.

The research examines and verifies the information provided by the job seekers. This knowledge is then used by the agency to try to establish the best match between employees and employers.

Nanny candidates can expect that the agency will keep their job search information confidential and not reveal the name of the candidates to the nanny’s current employers.

Nannies also expect that the personal information given to the agency will not be sold to solicitors or to mailing lists.

Most nanny referral agencies make a concerted effort to protect the privacy of both the employers and the nannies.

It is prudent to question the agency you intend to use about the privacy policies in effect.

Annie Davis,
President of the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies http://www.theapna.org/ created a checklist for Best Nanny Newsletter in April, 2008. Here is her agency confidentiality and ethics checklist:

Agency Confidentiality and Ethics
By Annie Davis, President of Association of Premier Nanny Agencies
http://www.theapna.org/

Good Nanny Referral Agencies:
1. Do not talk a nanny into taking a position that just came up when the nanny is with another family and is happy in the job.
2. Do not give substandard service after the fee has been paid.
3. Do not over promise and under deliver.
4. Do not advertise as a family looking for nannies to get out of paying the advertising costs.
5. Do not gossip with nannies about clients or with clients about nannies.
6. Do not bad-mouth other agencies.
7. Do listen to any grievance, even if it is unwarranted, and then they try to make it right.

© 2009 Annie Davis, President, Association of Premier Nanny Agencies

Have you ever had a privacy issue with a nanny placement agency?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I applied at a nanny agency in New Jersey that has now moved to a different. When I called to fill out an application a staff member of the agency announced “Oh, you are friends with (a friend's name! She just applied with us too.” Great. I didn't think anything of it.

But, after I asked me friend how she liked working with the agency my nanny friend had a fit. She was looking for a new job but didn’t want the family she worked with to know yet. I didn’t care and wouldn’t have told the parents that she applied with agencies but my nanny friend was very upset that the agency staff member had even mentioned her name to me. I really tried to calm her down. No biggie I won't say anything, that sort of thing.

But, much worse, days later that same agency staff member called me and “told-me-off!!” She said she could have gotten fired and why did I tell my nanny friend that she (the agency staff)had mentioned she said her name to me???!!! It was my fault?!!

I won't list any names (mine, nanny friend, or agency). I never told anyone else this story actually. Just an example of privacy not being respected by an agency staff member.

Anonymous said...

Although there are many agencies that strive to make the nanny industry more professional so so so many do not.

I asked an agency owner once if they have any support group names or ways for me to meet other nannies in the area. She said "We aren't a nanny placement agency. We just refer nannies, so we don't get into all of that."

Huh? If you refer nanny candidates to potential employers it's the same thing. But some people don't want to do the extra work.

We are always learning so I applaude The Association of Premier Nanny Agencies, this newsletter, agencies, parents, and nannies who inform us how to be more professional.

Thanks, Sophia

Anonymous said...

I was working at a ok, so-so, nanny job but looking for better positions. I wasn’t frantic. I didn’t need to leave my job. I just wanted to know if other better positions ever became available I could interview for them. I asked the agency if I could do that without them contacting my current employer until I was ready to consider a possible job seriously. They said that was fine. They could contact former employers but not my current employer until I was seriously going to consider switching jobs.

A nanny staff member called the mother I was currently working for to get a reference anyway. The mother was extremely upset and it forced me to explain that I was looking for a new job. The mother starting interviewing new nannies that next weekend becaue they got scared and I accepted a new job a week later.

I was angry with the agency. They did place me in a great job, but because they called prematurely I won't work with them again.
Other professionals in other fields use "head hunters" and employment agencies too. Same issues apply.

Nanny in America

Anonymous said...

I am a parent and my experience with nanny agencies has been that they are less professional as described above. They did send me all the information on all of the job candidates they referred to me. They are lucky that I am ethical because they included the candidates' driver's licenses, social security numbers, and phone numbers of their references by fax. All the info was available before I even interviewed them. We just don't have a lot of options in my part of the country.

I hope agecny owners read the advice of Ms. Davis.

Anonymous said...

So should nannies and parents be signing confidentiality agreements with nanny agencies too?

Agencies have to rewrite their contracts too?

Nanny Megan New York

Anonymous said...

Yes, Megan. Agencies should be respecting nanny and client privacy as much as possible. So should parents and nannies. I think the majority of agencies, parents, & nannies do not respect the privacy enough.

Nannies and parents gossip about one another all the time. Imagine my disgust when I heard my employer (parent) had told other mothers how much she pays me. So disrespectful. Does she share how much she makes with those same parents? Parents should be asking their in-home caregivers to sign agreements allowing them to search their room and property as described yesterday.

Everyone should make a concerted effort to respect the confidential information they know about one another and be as professional as possible.

Nanny Laurin

Anonymous said...

I had a problem with an agency calling for my employer's reference too soon also. I think this happens a lot. It may only be that one staff member simply forgot to check the file before calling but it's a serious problem for the nanny candidate.

I give one month's notice. It's up to me to decide when to give notice and I would have much preffered telling the parents myself instead of making them feel side-blinded. I think the parents think I was withholding information, when in fact I was just waiting to make sure the new family was ready to hire me before I told the current mother to expect the reference call. By the agency calling the mother too soon the agency really screwed up my relationship with that family.

Telling my employers I was considering leaving was supposed to be my decision not the agency's responsibility.

I have also called agencies and told them what questions I won't answer when they have had a inappropriate question on their applications. Years later, they still include those inappropriate questions anyway.

Anonymous said...

While I waited in a reception area of an agency I heard the staff complaining about a nanny. I stayed for the interview with the staff since I had driven all the way there. But that always left a "bad taste in my mouth." I have not ever called them again.
Sharon Sanchez Nanny in NY

Annie Davis said...

It has been quite interesting to me to read the comments posted about people's experience with agencies. As the President of the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies, I would hope that every agency follows the APNA guidelines when working with nannies and families. Thanks for all of the feedback. Please give the same feedback to agency owners when you feel that you have not been treated well or fairly. We all want to know how we can serve you, our customer, better. Most of us really do appreciate each and every one of you.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, Annie Davis I want you to know that I am a nanny and don't want great agency owners thinking that all nannies do is gripe about bad agencies.

The first thing we do when looking for jobs is to ask our nanny friends and their employers what nanny placement agencies they use, who they like, what are their phone numbers!!

I am thankful for agency owners like Annie Davis above, and APNA, this newsletter, and the agency I have used three times to find three awesome jobs!

I have quite a few bad stories myself: one agency made me pay for the background check (only later was I told that the parents pay that fee); another swore no nannies in New York area make more than $650 a week (I make double that); rude receptionists; no return calls; and the worst was the agency that never ever contacted me after I sent in the application, then 2 years later I got a call from a mother that she got my name and number from that agency owner!!! Tow years later! Seriously!! I had to tell the mother I had a secure job for 2 years since I applied with the agency and I had never spoken to that agency owner over the phone or by email -- not once, not ever. That agency owner dug her own grave.

But, the agency that has placed me three times is stellar. I didn't hear from them daily or even weekly but whenever she had something in my area she called. They didn't lie or sugar-coat what's available. But, they were kind and respectful too. It took me from April to August to find my last nanny job and they weren't frustrated about my being picky.(Oh, one agency staff got so frustrated with me because she said I was being too picky -- it's my life I get the final choice who to work for). With the agency I use and with their reference I found just a fantastic job.

I ALWAYS REFER EVERY GOOD NANNY TO THEM. I'm watching my agency's back too. I don't send them mediocre caregivers. Just the women who I think are really great nannies too.

My agency (and notice how all good agencies have nannies saying "MY" agency with a sense of pride) educated my employers and myself with plenty of help constructing a work agreement, tax forms, volunteer list of nannies in my area, and so on...

Some of us love nanny agencies too. But hopefully we all will learn from others mistakes by sharing these stories.

Nanny that loves her nanny placement agency

Anonymous said...

I am a full-time student and wanted a temporary full-time nanny job in the summer. I wanted to make money in the summer, but back to full-time school with just weekend babysitting in the fall. The agency told me to lie to the parents and say I was interested in a full-time job then tell them I've decided to leave after the summer. I'm the one that needed the job and I couldn't even say what the nanny agency OWNER asked me to say. Flat out mean and disrespectful. Awful.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why isn't it listed that nanny agencies don't discriminate against people with accents, from other countries, wrong color skin, their age, their religion... I'm just wondering. I know not everyone is like that. But why isn't anything mentioned on this privacy and ETHICS list about not discriminating for race, religion, age, and so forth? Those facts should remain private until I am ready to share it. And agencies should tell parents about fair hiring laws, anti discrimination.

I know my accent keeps me from giving as good phone interviews but are the agencies making sure to not share my race, religion, age and so forth with the parents? Are they telling parents how to (and not to) hire nannies fairly? Isn't that privacy and ethics?

I think most nanny agencys do follow fair practices. But I'm not finding that listed under ethics and privacy list for agencies.
Nanny Barb

Anonymous said...

I am a british nanny that also worked in the U.S. I have been working as a domestic for 30 years. I have ran across bad domestic agencies, bad clients, and bad domestic staff. I feel there really is no way to police agencies, parents, or the caregivers. I feel they all can take advantage of one another. When nannies choose to work under the table or work without contracts they have no way to protect themselves. Plus, they can flat-out lie on their resumes.I know some that gave false refeences. Parents ask agencies not to refer caregivers from "the islands" which is discrimination, but happens all the time since they think they are protected from fair hiring law since it's their house. Agency owners are willing to turn blind eye when nannies or parents say they want to pay off the books. And you bet they are referring those domestics that fit the strict profile the parents are looking for such as white, english first language, young or mature and the list goes on.
Bristish Nanny 30 years +

Anonymous said...

Whoa Bristish Nanny:
American nanny here and I strongly disagree. I see good intentions all around. I have never known a nanny or parent that didn't have the best of intentions. Same with business owners? Why would a nanny placement agency not do their best? I strongly think everyone is just doing their best and no one is perfect. I've never known a nanny that lied on their resumes or given fake references. Never heard of an agency treating people differently because of accent, race, country of origin, or telling parents to not pay taxes. I never met a parent that was intentionally a bad employer. It's just we are all human and make mistakes.

Nannies, agency owners and staff, and the parents that employ their services are some of the nicest people I've ever known.

If for some reason a parent or agency doesn't follow fair hiring practices it's probably due to ignorance rather than purposely being liars. All nannies I have ever met are very hard working. They work long hours, at a less than glamourous job and tend to be so kind and loving and honest.

I just think the last two comments before me were way off base.
American Nanny for almost 15 years

Anonymous said...

I know a disgruntled nanny that started a new nanny agency. She started an agency because she felt that the only local agency in her area was a terrible agency. So the disgruntled nanny opened her own agency. Although she is passionate she bad-mouths the other local agency all the time. She emails people and speaks openly at nanny conferences that her competition is a bad agency. The negativity pulls me down. If her local competitor is really so bad she ought to just let them be and "dig their own grave." I've mentioned it to her but she just doesn't get it.

We all just need to do the best we can and let the cards fall where they may.