Hosting an au pair
The au pair programme is all about cultural exchange based around childcare where the balance is focused on your children. An au pair is a young person, male or female and aged 18 – 30 who provides childcare in exchange for living with a family. Au pairs usually have a strong desire to improve their English while learning about life in a different country. They are welcomed as part of your family; invited to eat with you and to join you on days out and will need their own private bedroom.
Working hours and pocket money
An au pair can be on duty for up to 25 hours per week, divided over 5 days plus 1-2 evenings babysitting a week. An Au Pair Plus works up to 30 hours per week, again over 5 days a week with two complete days off, plus up to two evenings babysitting. Our recommended minimum weekly pocket money ranges are (including 1-2 evenings babysitting):
– £85 for 25 hours
– £130 for 30 hours
– Additional evening babysitting – a minimum of £4 per hour
If you need more than 30 hours help, you could consider working with a Mother’s Help – a carer who holds no professional qualifications, but who has practical experience and a genuine interest in children. They may work up to 10 hours per day, as well as 2 evenings babysitting. A Mother’s Help has a contract of employment and weekly salaries start from £297.50 for a live-out position.
Your au pair should have two free days per week and be offered one full weekend off per month. Please note that an Au pair should not have continuous sole charge of children under 2 years
Your au pair will require two full days off per week and offered 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.
Your au pair will arrive in the UK with a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC or E111) entitling them to obtain free state care or at a reduced cost. Your au pair may also decide to arrange their own private travel insurance.
An au pair’s duties
The au pair programme is designed to give a young person the opportunity to learn about British culture and improve their language skills through interaction with your family. Hosting an au pair will really help you as a family. Duties can vary and depend on your own particular needs but an au pair’s main task is to help with the children. This can include doing the school run, preparing simple meals as well as playing and organising social activities. Most au pairs also help with light housekeeping which should occupy no more than 20% of their working time.
Acceptable light housework tasks:
- washing dishes, including loading and unloading dishwasher
- preparing simple meals for children
- keeping the kitchen tidy and clean, including sweeping and mopping floors
- loading and unloading laundry into washing machine
- ironing for the children
- putting fresh laundry away
- making and changing children’s beds
- cleaning children’s bathroom
- keeping their own bedroom/bathroom clean and tidy
- light shopping (not the weekly grocery shop)
- walking and feeding pets
- emptying bins
Tasks considered unsuitable for an au pair:
- window cleaning
- spring cleaning
- cleaning the oven, other than simple wiping out
- washing carpets
- washing the car
- weekly grocery shopping
- pet training
- clearing up after untrained pets
- making parents’ bed
- cleaning parents’ bathroom
- polishing silver and brassware
- cooking the family meal, unless the Au pair enjoys cooking and chooses to do this
If things really aren’t working out, either you or your au pair can terminate the agreement by giving two weeks notice. However, if you wish the au pair to leave before the end of the notice period, you will need to pay for their flight home and two weeks pocket money and B&B accommodation.
Why work with our au pair agency?
We offer a highly personalised, professional and individual service and will want to understand your family’s unique requirements before starting our search for the right candidate. After a very careful screening process, we will then introduce a candidate to you. We will prepare a written offer to the successful candidate covering all the details such as pocket money, hours, holidays and help required etc. and see that this is mutually agreed. We offer our full ongoing support to you while hosting an au pair as well as our four week guarantee on placements.
Antler Languages Ltd – Our English Academy
We offer the highest quality English tuition at our language school and can help your au pair prepare for the internationally recognised Cambridge English exams at our Certified Preparation Centre based in Oundle. This is a fantastic focus to their time as an au pair as well as a professional enhancement to their CV and as a result we attract high calibre candidates to our au pair programme.
Your au pair should have enough time to attend a language school if they wish to study. Some families choose to contribute towards their au pair’s language course (budget £25 per week) although this is far from obligatory and an au pair will be prepared to fund their own classes. Attending classes is also a great way to make some friends and join our social events as well as our own au pair social network. We also offer a useful Welcome Guide to families before the arrival of their first au pair.
Find an au pair
If you would like our help to find the right candidate to meet your family requirements, please complete our Family Registration and Enquiry Form by clicking below