An au pair is generally aged between 17 and 27 and lives in another country as part of a cultural exchange programme often organised by an agency. They will look after children whilst experiencing a new culture and improving their English skills. Au pairs without visa requirements from the EU or with the correct passport eligibility can be older.
In exchange for weekly pocket money, depending on hours required, the au pairs main duty is childcare responsibilities. The au pair will work up to 25 hrs per week and receive a weekly minimum of £70 or in the case of an au pair plus, 30-35 hours, the au pair will receive a minimum weekly pocket money of £85 for 30 hours worked and increased up to £148 accordingly if more. *Au pairs from Bulgaria and Romania are restricted to 25 hours per week. The au pair will help with light household duties and up to twice weekly babysitting (we recommend that these are not preferably not consecutive evenings). Au pair’s and au pair plus cannot have sole charge of children under 2 years old.
The au pair will cover their own travel costs and insurance from their home country. We recommend that you meet the au pair at the airport or main bus/train station to make them feel welcome.
Cultural Exchange & au pair accommodation
Au pairs must be welcomed as a member of the family. He/she will have their own room which is not shared with the children. Either a tv, radio or computer should be in the room to allow the au pair to have time away from the family and to study. The au pair’s schedule must provide sufficient time to attend language school to study English as a Second Language. Your local libraries and colleges all have information regarding your nearest institute. The au pair will cover the cost of the English course but many families choose to make a contribution to these courses.
The au pair shall receive two free days each week and should be offered at least 2 full weekends off per month. If the host family generally need the au pair during the week, weekends should be the 2 full days off, however, in the case where maybe one of the host parents works shift patterns or weekends and the au pair is likely needed to work occasionally during these time, these should be discussed and agreed prior to the au pairs arrival. It is important to remember that the au pair is here to experience culture, they will want to explore/travel in their free time.
UK Bank/National holidays are to be given as free time. The au pair will receive 4 weeks per 12 month period. Pocket money will be paid during this time. If the au pair placement is for a shorter time, holiday is calculated pro-rata at the rate of 1.66 days per month. The au pair should not be forced to take holiday to coincide with the family holiday. Holidays should be discussed and agreed at least 3 months in advance.
Accepted light housework duties
Dusting, vacuuming and some light food shopping. Preparing uncomplicated meals for children, assisting with food preparations for the adults i.e cutting vegetables, preparing a salad, washing dishes, including loading and unloading the dishwasher. Ironing for children (if this is required, for health and safety reasons, should be done when the children are in nursery or school). Keeping the kitchen tidy and clean whilst on duty, including sweeping and if required mopping floors. Children’s laundry, cleaning the children’s bedroom and bathroom, including making their beds.
Duties considered unsuitable for an au pair
Cleaning the host parents room/bathroom, cleaning up after family visitors/parties, window cleaning, gardening, ironing for host parents, weekly shopping, deep cleaning the oven, clearing up after untrained pets, washing carpets, washing the car, cooking the family meal, unless the au pair enjoys cooking and has agreed to occasionaly do this for the family.
A Mother’s help will usually work alongside a host parent in helping with the running of the household. They usually have at least 1 years experience. Their experience or qualification will determine the responsibility levels of children of various ages. If the children are older, a mother’s help will, unlike a nanny, carry out light household duties and general assistance of the running the household. Salary for this position will be between £130-£180 net, for around 40 hours per week. This is will incur tax and NI contribution and will be the responsibility of the family. We will be happy to provide you with information and guidance around this.
In the case where the au pair will drive, if they hold a valid community licence they are entitled to drive any vehicle if the full entitlement for that vehicle is shown on the licence. If your au pair is from an EU or EEA country then she / he can use her licence to drive in the UK.
For more information visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing/DrivingInGbOnAForeignLicence/DG_4022556
Au pairs from the European Union (EU) countries have the same rights to live and work in the UK. These countries are currently: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
European Economic Area (EEA) countries are currently the EU countries, plus:
Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. Citizens from these countries have the same rights to live and work in the UK as EU citizens.
Swiss nationals are also able to visit and work in the UK and have the same rights as au pairs from the above countries.
Bulgarian and Romanian citizens will need to apply for an accession worker card.
Find an Au Pair is an agency based in London & Surrey