Has a Nanny Agency Ever Disrespected Your Confidentiality?

No Nanny Should be Issued an Ultimatum by a Nanny Agency
By Judi Merlin, A Friend of the Family

Stephanie Felzenberg, editor of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter contacted me because she has noticed nannies on social media networks complaining about nanny placement agencies giving nannies ultimatums to tell their current employers they are looking for a job before sending them on interviews.

She asked me if job seekers can complain to the Alliance of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA) Ethics Committee if a member nanny agency is giving nanny candidates such ultimatums.

My answer is: if a nanny placement agency is a member of APNA and that agency is not treating a job seeker with respect or safeguarding their confidentiality, then that nanny can make a complaint to APNA’s Ethics Committee. APNA has a process for handling every complaint and the same process applies to nannies as it does to clients.

Nannies should be aware that if they are working with an agency that is a member of APNA and feel they are not being treated fairly, they can and should go to the APNA web site and complete a complaint form. APNA will handle everything from there. If after the investigation, the agency is found in violation of the standards of APNA, they may receive an official reprimand or they may have their membership revoked by a majority vote of the board. If the agency is not an APNA agency, we have no recourse or authority.

But, there is no one standard for nanny placement agencies working the nannies that they have placed. Each APNA member may have their own policies. However all APNA agencies would agree that no nanny should be issued an ultimatum by an agency.

APNA agencies don’t solicit nannies who we have placed on any job, but if the nanny comes to us, asking to find a new job while they are still on the job, then agency policies vary.

If a nanny is currently working for a family, nanny placement agencies can encourage the nanny to give notice to her current family. However, they can work to find the nanny a new placement, while respecting her request not to contact the current employer for a reference until she has given proper notice. The job offer may be contingent on completing the last reference, if there is not a strong work history of other families or she has worked for this family for a length of time. But each nanny placement agency requirements may vary.

Whatever agency you choose to work with, ask them up front about their policies regarding checking references and finding your next job once you have been placed. If you don’t want the agency staff to contact your current employers their answer will help determine which agency you want to represent you.


  1. The only reason a nanny would use a nanny agency now instead of inexpensive online web site is if they don't want their current employers seeing they are looking for another job on a web site.So to encourage their business it's in the best interest of agencies to respect confidentiality.Sad to read that APNA will allow agencies to support the client more than the nanny when they say agencies can make up their own policies re: nanny confidentiality.Oh well, they can't equally support nanny and parent confidentiality. The clients pay the bucks so they are always more important than the nanny

  2. This is great news because I thought I couldn't start interviewing before telling my boss. I am a live in and I haven't been happy. I don't want to post my resume on-line because they will ask why I am looking for a job. I hear it can take months to find a new nanny job. After the holidays I will use Judi's advice and ask before working with an agency.

  3. From an agency in Arlington, this is a really tough position. We are essentially the "friend stuck in the middle" when it comes to parting ways and helping a nanny find new employment. I am a huge fan of honesty being the best policy, and while I haven't had to replace many nannies or "re-place" them with another family, both parties usually feel the same way. Obviously an agency should honor confidentiality on both sides, but it is unfair to ask them to potentially ruin their relationship with a family by what may feel like going behind the family's back. I should also mention that I am a nanny AND agency owner.

  4. I will definitely be contacting a member of APNA next time I need to find a nanny job. Good info.

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