Britain's £9 billion domestic help bill

Article date: 13 September 2000

BRITONS spend over £9 billion* a year on domestic help, a newstudy shows today.

Over 2.7 million households now regularly employ help in thehome, some for up to 12 hours a week, says the 21st CenturyHousekeeping report published by Norwich Union.

The study shows that each household employing domestic helpspends an average of £3,493 a year on it - that’s £73 eachweek.

The rate of pay for people employing a cleaner is around £4.85per hour and a gardener earns £6.46. Yet nannies and child carersare earning much less - they’re paid only £3.64 for each hourworked.

But the research by the home insurer shows that busy Britons andtheir army of cleaners, gardeners and babysitters could be puttingthemselves at risk in the home.

Two in three families who pay for domestic help don’tbother to do any research such as checking references before theytake an employee on.

And three in five employees say they have a set of keys to theirboss’ home.

The 21st Century Housekeeping report also reveals:

  • Nine in ten employees are paid cash in hand for theirwork
  • Two-thirds of all ‘domestic bosses’ have neverdiscussed a pay review with their employee, even though a thirdhave employed the same person for over three years
  • Nine in ten employers say they haven’t considered theinsurance ramifications of hiring extra help in their home
  • Two in five employees say their employer did not set out theterms and conditions before they started the job
  • Almost half of homeowners say they never see theiremployee.

Now Norwich Union has produced a free guide to help both thoseemploying domestic help and employees to get the most out of therelationship and protect themselves.

The guide, called Domestic Bliss, gives homeowners and employeeshelpful tips about the things to look for when recruiting orlooking for work, how to form a good working relationship andinformation about the insurance and security issues.

It also has a Service Promise that can be filled in and signedby both the homeowner and the employee. This helps set out theexact nature of the work to be completed, pay conditions, reviewperiods and contact details.

James Duffell, survey director for Norwich Union, said:“Many homeowners have a haphazard attitude to employing inthe home, even though as a nation we’re spending billions ofpound a year on cleaners, gardeners and nannies.

"Our guide not only offers practical advice about selecting theright people, but will help employers plan the job and work betterwith their employee so it’s a positive and safer workingrelationship."

Stuart Neill of Adecco, the world’s largest recruitmentcompany, added: "It’s amazing that people appear to give solittle time and attention to recruiting in their home, yet viewrecruitment for business as a priority decision.

"Basic recruitment and employment practice should never beignored, particularly when domestic staff are entrusted with yourhome or even your children."

A personal copy of Norwich Union’s guide to help boththose employing domestic help and employees has been sent tointermediaries, together with a form to order further copies forcustomers.

Customers can also ring Freefone 0800 093 03 03 for a free copyof the guide.


Notes to Editors:

* Independent research commissioned by Norwich Union showed that2.75 million British households employ domestic help for, onaverage, 13.14 hours a week at £5.54 an hour (on average). Based ona 48 week working year, that means as a nation we’re spending£9 billion on domestic help.

Norwich Union commissioned Brand & Issues to conduct anindependent survey of nearly 500 employers and employees up anddown the country. The survey was carried out in May 2000. Focusgroups of employers and employees were also set up and face-to-faceinterviews carried out.

Norwich Union also commissioned Taylor Nelson Sofres to conductresearch with 1,000 households across Britain. The survey wascarried out on 21 and 22 July 2000.

CGU and Norwich Union merged on 30 May 2000 to create CGNU plc -the world’s 6th largest insurer, the UK's largest insurancegroup and one of the top-five life insurers in Europe withsubstantial positions in other markets around the world.

CGNU's principal business activities are long-term savings,general insurance and asset management with worldwide premiumincome and retail investment sales of £26 billion and assets undermanagement of more than £200 billion.

From October, the combined life and pensions, general insuranceand retail fund businesses in the UK will operate under the NorwichUnion brand, while the institutional business will operate underthe Morley Fund Management brand.

For further information contact: Matthew Buchanan or AnjaKueppers at QBO on 020 7379 0304 or Liz Nicholson at Norwich Unionon 01603 688263



On average, what are British households paying their domestichelp?

EmployeeAverage hourly rate

On average, how many hours are these people working for eachemployer and how many hours a week do they work in total?

EmployeeAverage hours worked
for each employer
Average hours worked
each week
Gardener2 hours20 hours
Ironer2.5 hours7 hours
Cleaner4 hours8.5 hours
Nanny/Child carers24 hours30 hours

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