Au Pair

 

What Is an Au Pair?

 

An au pair is a young person who moves to another country to learn the language and culture. Au pair lives as a member of the family and helps in the home with childcare and light household duties for 25-30 hours a week with at least two full days off a week. In return, the Au Pair receives weekly pocket money as well as room and board.

Au Pair programme is cultural exchange. The host family must welcome you as a family member, more as a “big sister or brother” than an employee. They must also allow time for you to attend language studies.

In most countries, Au Pairs cannot look after children under the age of 2 independently. They can help with babies and toddlers if one parent is present to supervise.

 

Countries

 

We regularly offer Au Pair positions in the following countries:

  • Australia
  • China
  • France
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

Occasionally, there are also families in other countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. We post these jobs on our website and social media.

We currently do not offer an Au Pair programme in the United States. Please note that if you are applying to the U.S., you may only do so through a government approved agency as this is a condition of the required visa. There are many families searching for Au Pairs to work a short time with only a tourist visa. We advise you not accept this kind of position as it is illegal and may have serious consequences.

 

Your Duties as an Au Pair

 

Au Pair’s main duty is to look after the children. It is advised that only 20 % of the working hours should be household duties.

Childcare duties typically include entertaining the children with age-appropriate activities, preparing simple meals for children, taking children on outings, such as to the park or the playground, taking them to and from nursery or school, and generally helping children with tasks, such as bathing/showering, getting dressed and personal hygiene. You should also encourage the children to tidy up their rooms and look after their belongings.

Household duties can include:

  • Washing dishes, including loading and unloading dishwasher
  • Keeping kitchen tidy and clean, including sweeping and mopping floors
  • Loading and unloading children’s laundry into washing machine and putting washed clothes away
  • Ironing for children
  • Vacuuming
  • Dusting
  • Making and changing children’s beds
  • Cleaning children’s bathroom
  • Light shopping (not the entire household shopping)
  • Walking and feeding pets
  • Emptying bins
  • Everything to do with keeping your own room and bathroom clean and tidy

 

Working Hours, Time Off and Holidays

 

In most countries, Au Pairs will work up to 25 or 30 hours per week and will have two days off per week. Au Pairs should not work full time hours on any given day, but the hours should be divided quite evenly over the five days in a week.

The total hours include any evening babysitting. There is no requirement to do extra babysitting. You may, however, agree with the family that you will do some extra babysitting for extra payment.

Au Pairs cannot be in charge of the children overnight when the parents are away from the home and they also cannot be required to have responsibility for the children at night when the parents are at home.

An Au Pair’s day can be divided in two portions but not more (i.e. you shouldn’t have to work short periods of time throughout the day). It is very common for Au Pairs to work 1-2 hours in the morning, getting children ready for nursery or school and then 3-4 hours in the afternoon after the children return from nursery or school.

The two days off are not necessarily on the weekend. However, the family should allow the Au Pair at least one full weekend off per month.

As an Au Pair, you will receive paid holiday according to the employment law of the host country, typically four weeks per year plus public holidays.

The host family must provide you with sufficient time off to attend language classes.

 

Pocket Money and Benefits

 

The pocket money an Au Pair receives varies in different countries. In Europe, it is usually around 80-100 € per week. For example, in the United Kingdom, pocket money is typically £ 100-120 per week in London and £ 80-90 per week elsewhere in the country. Some of our families are willing to pay slightly more for a more experienced candidate.

Typically, the pocket money is not taxed as it is not considered salary, however, there are exceptions to this rule in a few countries. You are entitled to receive pocket money for every week, even when you do not work the full hours.

Some families offer one or two additional benefits, such as

  • A flight home after working the agreed period or flights to and from the host country
  • A completion bonus after working the agreed period
  • A SIM card with monthly allowance for calls, texts and data (and sometimes also a phone for work use)
  • Language classes
  • A membership to a sports club or a gym
  • A car for personal use also.

Please do not expect every family to offer extra benefits in addition to the pocket money. Benefits are not a requirement for the family, and each family decides for themselves if they can offer any benefits.

As a member of the family, if you join the family on outings or trips, the family will pay for your meals and your travel and accommodation expenses.

 

Room and Board

 

You will receive full room and board throughout your stay. This means that your accommodation is a private room within the family home, and you will receive all meals every day, even when you are not on duty.

You cannot be required to share a room with children. The room must have a bed, adequate storage space and a window. You must also be given access to a desk for your studies.

As a family member, you may of course use the kitchen, the living areas and the bathroom. Sometimes there may be a private bathroom for you but this is quite rare.

There are some families that offer separate accommodation for the Au Pair, either adjacent to their home or elsewhere. Technically, you are not an Au Pair if you cook your own meals in your own kitchen and do not socialise with the family. In such cases, you are likely to be classed as an employee, and tax, pension and social security contributions may be deducted from your salary.

 

What Does It Cost for You to Become an Au Pair?

 

Our service is completely free of charge. We charge the families for our service, so we can offer a free service to all job seekers.

You are expected to pay for your own flights to and from the host country, whilst the host family will be responsible for your transport from the nearest airport to their home. Some families offer to pay your flight home if you stay with them the required amount of months.

We also strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance. In some countries, you can get basic medical treatment when you are a resident in that country. However, it is advisable to have additional travel insurance to cover your belongings and any emergencies, such as serious accidents or illnesses that may require medical transportation to your country of origin.

Generally, you are also required to pay for your own language course. Please note that in some countries, attending a language course is a mandatory requirement. There are a few countries where the family is required to pay for your language course, and sometimes a family may offer to pay for it when they are legally not required to do so.

If you are applying to work in a country that requires a visa (Australia, China), you will need to pay for the visa costs yourself. We are happy to advise you on the visa process. In some cases, the family may offer to reimburse you for the visa costs after you have worked for them for the agreed period.

 

Au Pair Agreement

 

We will draft an Au Pair Agreement for you and the host family to sign. This agreement must be signed before you book your travel to the host country. The agreement is similar to a contract of employment as it will cover all the basics for a successful placement.

The notice period is typically 2-4 weeks. Should a family ask you to leave immediately, they will be required to pay for either a flight home or accommodation and pocket money for the notice period for you.

We will also provide you with written instructions as well as personal support before, during and after your placement.

 

Requirements to apply to be an Au Pair

 

  • Citizenship in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland OR you already have the appropriate visa to work as an Au Pair when visa is required
  • Minimum age 18 years; maximum age 31 years (depending on the country); you can be older if you have EU/EEA nationality and want to be an Au Pair in an EU/EEA country.
  • Some childcare experience, such as babysitting in private families or being a club leader or camp counsellor with children, with written references to prove your experience
  • No qualification is necessary, although showing interest in the field by taking a childcare course, for example, is highly recommended
  • First aid and CPR course is not required but highly recommended
  • Commitment to work 6-12 months (most families request 11-12 months)
  • There are additional requirements for countries requiring a visa (Australia, China) and we will advise you on those.