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Old 22.06.2013, 12:35
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Childcare Reality Check

Greetings everyone - I'm contemplating a move to Geneva. This forum has been great in giving a sense for the kinds of child care that exist. I am the single mother of a two year old - can someone please tell me what one can expect to pay for a nanny who is needed 50 hours a week on average? I've seen some online estimates dating back to 2011 and early 2012 but was hoping to get something more recent. I am looking for the least costly option - whether that be someone who lives with me or is paid hourly. Also, if arriving in late September and signing up for waitlists for preschool, how long can one expect to wait for an enrollment somewhere (anywhere) (whether that be on a part time or full time basis). I was excited about moving to Switzerland, but now I'm not sure given the sticker shock factor. Thank you in advance!!
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Old 22.06.2013, 14:22
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

here is a run down about the different types of child care in switzerland. I have worked as a nanny in switzerland for the last 7 years also in day care and as an au-pair. Please only use this as a guide.

NANNY: with out experience or/and certificates you pay 20-25 CHF an hour with experience or/and certificates you pay 25-35 CHF an hour (yes i know its a lot) At 50 hours a week your looking at 1000-1250 CHF a week with out experience or/and certificates or 1250-1750 CHF a week with experience or/and certificates. Most important when hiring a nanny is you have to pay half her AHV the other half comes out of your pocket so you will end up paying more than the weekly figure i have given you. You will get what you pay for if you what some one cheap you will get some some cheap.
You can save a bit of money by give them a set monthly salary but then they get paid holiday (4 weeks a year) sick leave and maternity leave.

DAY CARE: You are looking at a average waiting list of 18 months and 5 days a week will cost you 2000 CHF a month

AU-PAIR: 500-800 CHF a month but they can only work a max of 30 hours a week. You will also pay (most family pay these to get better au-pairs) health insurance, language school and transport. Plus they live with you so you are paying for there food and everything else that comes with it. You are hiring a child more or less. Most are between the age 15 to 22 years of age.

TAGESMUTTER: a day mum. These a child minders that you drop your child of at their house and pick them up later. Most have children of there own. Unsure of how much you pay but they don't get a lot it works out about 10 CHF and hour per child. Some don't work school holiday so you really have to find one that fits you.

hope this helps
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Old 22.06.2013, 18:28
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

You also have to understand that the Gemeinde will send you a letter if they feel you are not paying your nanny enough! It's not a simple matter of negotiating with an individual -- you also have to take into consideration what the state deems is a fair wage.
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Old 22.06.2013, 18:55
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

Firstly, au pairs are not child carers/minders. They can look after kids for a few hours, but only under an adult's supervision. Expecting them to do it all day alone is simply not allowed.

Are you really expecting a nanny to work 10 hours a day, assuming that you want her 5 days a week? That sounds like too much to me. Or are you also contemplating some weekend working?
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Old 22.06.2013, 20:09
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

With one child your best and probably most economical option is to find a day care place, that will cost in the region of CHF2,500 a month whereas a nanny would cost you a couple of thousand more.
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Old 22.06.2013, 21:07
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

Depending on your income, you may be eligible for subsidized child-care.
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Old 22.06.2013, 22:16
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

The single mums I know who have full-time jobs use a combination of full-time childcare, plus a part-time babysitter/nanny/day mum. Group care is cheaper, but you have the problem of them not being able to go there if the are sick, whereas Nanny can look after a baby with the usual round of coughs, colds, spots and dots, but you need a back-up plan if the nanny gets sick.
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Old 22.06.2013, 22:45
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

Finding a daycare for 5 days a week goes much faster than 18 months, especially if your child is older than 2 years. If you're lucky it may take less than a month. Some daycares are open from 7am to 7pm. It will cost you between 2500 and 3500 swiss francs, but probably as a single parent you will be entitled to a subsidy or at least an advantage for the the waiting lists of daycares. Perhaps you should discuss this with your HR manager. Good luck!
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Old 23.06.2013, 00:46
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

I'm in Zurich so it might be different. Moved here the day after my daughters 3rd birthday. Got into the daycare associated with my work straight away, for 3 full days and 2 half days. Manged to find a creche for the extra half dys and had an undertanding boss. After around 3 months got an extra half day at the nursery, then after 6 got full time place.
My fees are 2100 a month, but as I live in central Zurich, I get subvention and pay 1100.
Then another oman, also a single mum coming to work full time, found a full time 5 day place for her 4yr old and ge's not moved here yet. Her place will be 2200 a month, not sure about her subvention yet.
Apply to everything you can find. Single working parents should (and do) get bumped up lists.
Great thing about nursery, rather than childminder, is that you don't have to take time off work becuse the carer is sick.
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Old 23.06.2013, 08:06
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

Also, bear in mind that max. weekly hours for domestic workers are subject to cantonal regulation. In canton Zurich, that means 43 hours per week.
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Old 23.06.2013, 08:14
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

I pay 1200 a month for the nursery my 3-year-old goes to, there was no waiting list. I am in the arse-end of the country though.

He's been there since about 12 months of age.
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Old 23.06.2013, 10:49
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

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Great thing about nursery, rather than childminder, is that you don't have to take time off work becuse the carer is sick.
Conversely, if your child is at a nursery then you'll end up taking a lot of time off because your child is sick - and children tend to get sick more often than adults.
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Old 23.06.2013, 11:53
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

Please excuse the attach to the previous posters, but if you do the math - a full working day has 8 hours, add a bit either end for unforeseen things, a journey to and from work et voila the 10 hour days. Nannies, please contradict me, but how many of you are working 10-hour days, especially if you're live-in.
Also voicing my single, full-time working mom opinion here. I would agree that you'd be better off with crèche due to the fact that it'll be cheaper, easier to get the 10-hour day in. At 2, your child is probably over the worst of dropping at the onset of the slightest cough in his/her environment, so the "risk" of spending lots of time at home with a sick kid is likely to be reduced.
Perhaps you want to look at a backup babysitter/ maman du jour who can look after your kid in those cases where you can't take time off work or (shock horror to me for suggesting this to a single, full-time working mom ) you'd like to take a night off and go out...
All the best in getting started in Geneva and PM if you have questions. I'm based in Zurich, but travel to Geneva often for work
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Old 23.06.2013, 13:51
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

Thanks to everyone for the informative replies. After absorbing the comments from yesterday, I had time to think and do some more research and I am tracking with Swissmama 100% on all counts, especially the part about a 40- hour work week which needs to factor in all those extras like commute time, a meeting that runs late, etc. which does equate to more than 40 hours but less than 50. Anyway I do think the creche option is the best, supplementing it with a Maman du jour (I used the term "nanny" loosely as we would here in the US but came to realize quickly it is a more formal system in Switzerland). My posting to Geneva is only for 2-3 years, with my daughter having just turned 2. I will have to think hard before accepting to see if I can stomach the anxiety over uncertainty of even getting her placed SOMEwhere and a system that seems so daunting and complex. Thank you everyone again for your helpful responses.
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Old 23.06.2013, 18:01
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Re: Childcare Reality Check

It's not impossible, and in return you'll get awesome quality of life and potentially a 5-6 year old who can ski, speak French and have had collected all sorts of amazing experiences
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