Learn English, Experience England

At Antler Languages we believe learning English should be enjoyable, professional and effective.  We are a small, independent language academy, highly professional and caring.

Many of our families improve on these benefits, but these should be offered as a minimum.

The Programme

The au pair programme is a cultural exchange programme giving a young person the opportunity to learn about British culture and improve language skills through interaction with children. The au pair is there to help the family and is not in charge of the house and should be welcomed as a member of the family. The vast majority of au pairs are young people taking a 6-12 month gap in their studies to improve their knowledge of language and culture

Register

Thinking about becoming an au pair, register online here

Age

An au pair is aged between 18 and 30 although an au pair without visa requirements (from EU) can be older.

Hours on duty

Au pairs can be on duty up to 30 hours per week to include any evening babysitting that is required.

Keep in mind that an au pair is an unqualified child carer and their hours and duties should reflect this. An au pair should not be expected to have sole charge of a child all day unless exceptional circumstances occur.

An au pair cannot perform regular night duties – it is not recommended that an au pair regularly babysits or is solely responsible for a child or children overnight. e.g parents cannot leave the au pair regularly in charge overnight, whilst they are away on business/holiday or working night shifts.  In addition, the au pair cannot be given responsibility for looking after a child or children at night (given baby monitor etc) whilst parents are also in the home.  If the au pair is ever required to do this, a responsibility payment should be given.

Pocket Money and Additional Incentives

  • Pocket money must be a minimum of £85 per week for 30 hours and to include any evening babysitting requirements, regardless of whether the minimum hours are worked.  All expenses relating to the au pair’s role must be paid in full by the family.
  • It is also recommended that the host family contributes at least £20 per month towards language school costs or equivalent benefits.
  • It is recommended that the au pair is paid a completion bonus equivalent to at least 1 week’s pocket money on completion of their agreed length of stay with the family (for placements of 6 months or more). This completion bonus should be agreed in advance.

Babysitting

Additional pocket money should be paid for any additional evenings. Au pairs should not be asked to babysit on either of their two free days. Babysitting hours are evening time only when the parents are out. For extra babysitting, we would recommend a minimum of £4 per hour.

Leisure time

The au pair’s schedule must provide sufficient time to attend language school, and the au pair should receive two free days each week with one full weekend off per month.

Holidays

It is recognised that the au pair is not a worker or employee and recommends in best practice 4 weeks’ paid holiday per 12-month period (1.66 days per month pro rata) plus Bank Holidays with pocket money paid during this time. The au pair should be encouraged to take holiday at a time that is convenient to the family with holidays ideally being mutually agreed between host family and au pair at the start of the placement.

Childcare

An au pair should not have any sole charge of children under the age of two. An au pair is not a qualified childcare provider and some daily formal childcare arrangements for pre-school children is recommended.

House Rules

House rules have to be clear at the beginning of the placement.  Families must take time, when the au pair arrives, to explain and set out the family expectations when on and off duty.

Room and board

The au pair receives full room and board from the family throughout the stay. He or she must have their own private room with a window and not be required to share with children, and should be given facilities to study. Families are requested to send a photo of the au pair’s bedroom and accommodation when registering.

Travel and Travelling Costs: The au pair is required to pay their own travelling cost to and from the UK, unless the family offers to pay for this. The family should, wherever possible, collect the Au Pair from the airport.  If this is not possible, they must pay for collection by taxi or organise reasonable onward travel and the family must be at home in time for their arrival.  For London placements, long Tube journeys with a year’s worth of luggage are not acceptable.

Insurance

An au pair from the EU must travel to the UK with an EHIC card which lets them get state health care at a reduced cost or sometimes free. They may may also wish to take out additional health insurance and travel insurance to cover loss of belongings, repatriation in case of accident, death etc.

Language School and Costs: Au pairs must be given enough time to attend language school. Antler Languages, based in Oundle, offers quality, affordable English course for au pairs placed locally. The au pair’s host family or Antler Languages will be able to help find some good local options. Some families will offer to pay for their au pair’s language course and others will offer a contribution but the au pair must be prepared to bear the majority of the costs.

Written Offer

Our agency will ensure that the au pair receives a written offer in the form of a Letter of Invitation from the family covering pocket money, hours, holidays, description of the au pair’s bedroom and the help that would be expected etc.

Notice Period

The host family can terminate the arrangement by giving two weeks notice to the au pair.  If they wish the au pair to leave before the end of the notice period the host family must pay for their B&B accommodation or flight home and two weeks pocket money. 

Light Housework

An au pair’s primary role is childcare; light housework should be a lesser part of duties and it is recommended  that up to 20% of the au pair’s hours is spent on household duties. Acceptable standards of cleanliness must be maintained by both the au pair and host family. 

List of housework tasks accepted as light housework

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

List of tasks considered unsuitable for an au pair

  • Gardening
  • Window cleaning
  • Spring cleaning
  • Cleaning the oven, other than simple wiping out
  • Washing carpets
  • Washing the car
  • Weekly shopping
  • Pet training
  • Clearing up after untrained pets
  • Making parents bed
  • Ironing for parents
  • Cleaning parents’ en-suite bathroom
  • Polishing silver and brassware
  • Cooking the family meal, unless the au pair enjoys cooking and has chosen to do this for the family

N.B. Au pairs should not be required to do housework such as ironing, when looking after children of primary school age or toddlers, due to safety reasons.