Portrait of nanny Krista Walsh with Leahy children Isabella, 4, Timmy, 3, Harry, 21 months, and Edward, 7 months.

Portrait of nanny Krista Walsh with Leahy children Isabella, 4, Timmy, 3, Harry, 21 months, and Edward, 7 months. Photo: James Alcock

Mother of four Marie Leahy employs a nanny seven hours a day, five days a week.

But unlike parents who use childcare, she gets no rebate.

Mrs Leahy said childcare was not feasible because, with all of her children under five, it would be too disruptive to their routine. 

She preferred them being able to stay at home and having the same carer in their nanny, Krista Walsh.

''It is really hard for parents to get up early, get the children ready, get them to childcare, go to work then pick them up again,'' Mrs Leahy said.

''If I am running late and need Krista to stay back, she is much more flexible than a childcare centre would be.''

Mrs Leahy and her husband, Michael, employed their nanny five months ago and are starting their own business. Mrs Leahy had missed the stimulation of working and said many of her friends were also trying to get back into the workforce after becoming mothers.

The owner of the nanny agency My Little Friend, Cathy Clark, said she had been pushing for rebates for nannies for years. She said it would free up spaces in childcare centres and prevent ''cash in hand'' nannies from operating, who were often not as qualified as those from professional agencies.