INA Nannies in Zurich
By Ana Felline
Every single one of us plays a part in the nanny industry. By being a nanny you are part of it, and when you connect with other nannies you are being active, an advocate for the industry. There are some who are very active and are able to do many things. There are others who impact the industry with their knowledge and change many nannies’ lives. Some have the role as an inspiration to others and can provide a historical reference for us all.
I live in Zurich, Switzerland where I have been a nanny for many years and I have a story to tell about two nannies that have been an example of persistence and dedication to the nanny industry. These two women have made a difference that will forever change and benefit the lives of all nannies in Switzerland, no matter their background.
Let’s start by saying that there are a few obstacles that nannies, especially the ones coming from other countries, need to overcome to become integrated as a nanny in the canton of Zürich. Since Zürich is located in the German part of Switzerland, the language is Swiss-German, which is German with a local dialect. For a nanny new to Switzerland she has little choice but to learn the language(s) in order to integrate, be able to further her education and advance her nanny career. So it’s a must for any newcomer to engage in learning at least basic German since everything, everywhere, is written in German, and it is highly likely that most public services staff only speak German, too. The Swiss-German language is not taught in schools. First, you need to learn German, and then take private lessons to learn Swiss-German, although this last part is not mandatory as nearly every Swiss adult understands and speaks German. Still, they speak Swiss-German at home and require the nanny to be fluent in both German and Swiss German. A new trend among parents is to wish for a bi-lingual nanny, English as a first language but fluent Swiss-German too.
Another obstacle to a newcomer nanny is the cultural challenges. The German part of Switzerland has many social rules to follow. This can mean difficulties in finding a place to live, making friends, getting advice about fair wages and legal issues, even ordering food in a restaurant among others. Along with the obstacles that nannies everywhere experience comes the stigma of not being recognized as a true professional. These factors make it extremely difficult for nannies to feel comfortable and enjoy a long-term commitment here in Switzerland.
Two exceptional Swiss women I met are Szasa Schaefer and Karin Kälin who established the Nanny Association in Zurich. They lead a group of nannies with the common purpose of recognizing nannying as a profession. Most of these nannies met during nanny and childcare training organized by the Swiss Red Cross and many of these nannies are still involved in working together. The Nanny Association of Zürich set up an excellent website that includes important information regarding contracts, links to essential resources, their activities, becoming a member, and creating a forum to advocate the profession of Nanny. They were very surprised by the need nannies had for legal advice, fair wage information and contract advice.
The Zurich City Government subsidizes families when they use public and private childcare services like daycare, kindergartens, and playgroups recommended by them which they list on their website. Szasa and Karin are working toward having nannies included in these subsidies. To that end, the government must vote that nannying be considered a profession and Szasa and Karin with their group are working toward this goal. Since the beginning of 2019, the government and the media in Zürich became very interested in knowing more about nannying as a childcare option for families. Szasa Schaefer and Karin Kälin have been interviewed many times and there are plans for other interviews coming in 2020. You’ll see a list of these in the resources below.
They also collaborated with Dr. Jasmine Truong, author of Baby Boom – Nanny Boom?. This paper, an exploratory research document about Nannies in Zürich, included the participation of many nannies working in the canton of Zürich with inclusivity of English speaking nannies. Making it possible for the Zürich City Office to create a Nanny Guide for families and nannies. This guide is being requested to be translated into English as well.
Their future goals include going to parliament to urge nannies to be recognized as professionals, change the law to regulate nanny work in the private sector, request for access to more English speaking nanny courses for those coming from other places, and for information to include English translations. The Swiss Red Cross (SRK) Nanny Kongress/Conference, happening next January, with TV video coverage, will announce their first-ever nanny course in English which will take place in Spring/Summer 2020. Szasa is in contact with the Director of the SRK about the conference and English Nanny training course and about the possibility of having more English speaking childcare courses offered in the future. This is a big step forward toward greater inclusiveness for all nannies. What with the international aspect of many families becoming more profound in a globalized world, we are proud to say that the Nanny movement in Switzerland is about changing the type of private childcare being offered. According to a Swiss TV study in September, only about 5% of Swiss households have a nanny with this trend growing exponentially in the coming decade. Well educated Swiss mommies are choosing to return to work and having a nanny at home becomes the solution of choice, both for the parents and for the children. There have been studies saying that children that are cared for at home during their formative first two years tend to be a stronger individual as those children raised in an institute whose social skills, as opposed to individual skills, are enhanced.
If you ever think you could be part of this group and you identify yourself with the same goals, contact them by email at email@example.com.
Baby Boom – Nanny Boom? By Dr. Jasmine Truong
October 21, 2019, Tele Z: In Reporter: Nannys – Work in the Invisible
October 18th, 2019 Tages Anzeiger: Exploitation of the Nanny
October 9th, 2019 Radio SRF: in ‘Heute Morgen’ and in the ‘Regional Journal Züricih Schaffhausen’ contribution to The Work Situation of the Nanny
September 19, 2019, Baby Boom – Nanny Boom
March 11, 2019, Blick: Nanny Boom in Switzerland
March 12th, 2019 SRF 10vor10 post: The Nanny Boom
February 2019, Post in Parents Magazine ‘We Parents’: Mary Poppins Returns
Swiss TV Study:
September 2015 Handout
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