FIND AN AUPAIR TO WORK IN BRITAIN
WHAT IS AN AU PAIR ?
The au pair scheme is a cultural & language exchange programme under which any European Union (EU) member and any unmarried person aged between 17 and 27 from a qualifying non- European Union (EU) country can come to the UK to learn & study the English language and live as a member of an English-speaking family. There are no age limits or restrictions on marital status for an EU citizen wishing to live & work as an au pair or au pair plus/junior mothers help. For au pairs from non-European Union countries please refer to our Visa Advice section for details of any other nationalities who can be au pairs in the UK or Ireland. The host family must provide the au pair with his or her own room,cover the cost of their food and pay them pocket money in the range of 70-136 a week depending on their hours of work. Pocket money is payable in full, direct to the au pair in cash, at the end of each working week. In exchange the au pair will carry out the childcare and light housework duties specified by the host family. Details of suitable tasks and working hours can be found below. Au pairs or au pair pluses are best suited to families with parents who have school age children aged 3 and over or to families with younger children where at least one parent is at home full time or working from home. Typical au pair duties childcare duties will involve helping get the children up in the morning and ready for school, giving them breakfast, taking them to and from school or to after school activities, ensuring they have an evening meal, helping with or taking responsibility for the bathtime and bedtime routine. Supervision and care outside school hours and in school holidays, when they should be paid extra for any extra hours worked. You can also ask your au pair to babysit on weeknights once or twice a week. Au pairs are not trained childcarers and must not have sole charge of children under 2 years of age if both parents work outside the home. However very limited duties, such as dropping off and collecting from full time daycare can be considered for younger children, as long as at least one parent arrives home soon afterwards.Au pairs can also care for children under 2 for limited periods before and after thedaily nanny arrives for work or leaves for the day. They may also do evening babysitting. Otherwise only limited part time sole charge of 2 year olds, for example the equivalent of care on two to three days per week, is acceptable & if adequate training is given and the arrangement is closely and carefully monitored by the parents.If one parent is at home and does not work he or she can use their own judgement and common sense in deciding if and when it is appropriate to leave the au pair in charge of younger children for short periods of time only.
WHAT IS AN AU PAIR ?
An au pair undertakes to live with an English speaking UK-based family for an agreed period of 3-24 months. Their duties include helping with the children and light household chores for a maximum of 25 hours per week or an average of 5 hours per day during term time. In exchange for their help Au Pairs must receive full board and lodging, including their own room for their exclusive use, and weekly pocket money of at least 70 a week outside London (orat least 80 per week if you live in London). They must have two days completely free from daytime work, ideally the weekends. However if the host mother or father have jobs which involve weekend work, it is possible for the Au Pair's day or days off to be given during the week, subject to prior agreement. In addition to their daytime working hours, week night babysitting on up to two week nights is accepted at no further cost to the hosts, provided advance warning is given. However weekend babysitting should be paid extra and optional or by prior agreement. Au pairs may work longer hours during school holidays provided they are paid extra (up to 136 a week to avoid tax and national insurance issues) and covered for all their out of pocket expenses while going on trips or outings with the children.
WHAT IS AN AU PAIR PLUS ?
Sometimes the normal 5 hours a day or 25 hours a weekmay not be enough for a busy family with one or more working parents. In this case you may wish to consider anAu Pair Plus. However please note that the same restrictions on sole charge of babies & small children under 2 apply as much to an au pair plus as to an au pair. An au pair plus undertakes to live with an English-speaking UK-based family for an agreed period of 3-24 months and to help them with their children and light household chores for around 26-35 hours per week. While an Au Pair Plus can work more than a normal au pair, time should be made available for the au pair plus to attend language classes for at least 4-6 hours a week. In exchange an au pair plus must receive minimum weekly pocket money outside London of at least 80 for a maximum of 30 hours and 85-100 for a maximum of 35 hours per week (if you live in or very near London you should pay at least 85-90 for a maximum of 30 hours and at least 90-100 for a maximum of 35 hours). An au pair plus should have 2 days completely free from daytime work, ideally the weekends. However if the host mother or father have jobs which involve weekend work, it is possible for the Au Pair's day or days off to be given during the week, subject to prior agreement. In addition to their daytime working hours, week night babysitting on up to three nights per week is accepted at no further cost to the hosts, provided advance warning is given. However weekend babysitting should be paid extra and made optional or by prior agreement.
Au pairs pluses may work longer hours during school holidays provided they are paid extra (up to 136 a week to avoid tax and national insurance issues) and covered for all their out of pocket expenses while going on trips or outings with the children.
JUNIOR MOTHERS HELP
A Junior Mothers Help is similar to an au pair plus except that her maximum hours can be 40 per week. The rate of pay should be maximum 136 a week to avoid tax and national insurance issues. A Junior Mothers Help is not a nanny, nor is it the same as an experience full time Mothers Help. So the same restrictions on sole charge of babies & small children under 2 apply as much to a Junior Mothers Help as to an au pair plus or an au pair.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE HOST FAMILY
As part of the arrangement, the host family must provide full board – including enough food for three meals a day and any reasonable food products which may need to be purchased specifically for the au pair – and pocket money. Au pairs must also have their own room for their sole use. The size of the room provided for the Au Pair does not matter, provided it is pleasantly decorated and large enough to accommodate a single bed, wardrobe and adequate storage space (if need be one can use space-saving furniture, such as a divan bed etc). There should also be a few book shelves. A television is optional but you should provide a CD/ipod player and internet access somewhere in the house. May au pairs now bring their own laptops so it is advisable to have a wireless internet connection in your home. If possible a small desk and chair in the au pair’s room is desirable. Typical au pair or au pair plus duties include taking and collecting children from school or nursery/childminder and assisting with light housework and washing and ironing. The au pair will of course supervise and be responsible for school children out of school hours, play with them, make sure they keep to a routine, take them to after school activities, help them complete homework etc. She can also prepare a light meal for the children but will require some training in the kitchen in the early weeks. She can organise bathtime& bedtime if required. If the mother is at home or in the house she can help with playtime, mealtimes &bathtimes for babies & younger children. Light housework duties can include tidying, washing and ironing, dusting, sweeping/mopping, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen or bathroom. If your Au Pair will be expected to do more than 1-2 hours housework a day, then it is important that you make this clear at the outset, to make sure that he or she is happy to do the amount required. Traditionally the Au Pair's work is at least 50% child related, so any variation on this needs to be discussed and agreed in advance. If she will be the only person doing the main weekly clean, or if the job involves little or no childcare, this should be made clear in advance to the Au Pair. Au Pairs should not be asked to mow the lawn, do gardening, clean cars either inside or out or to clean outside windows, wipe down skirting boards and paintwork, polish brass or silver, clean out kitchen cupboards, inside fridgesetc. Some male Au Pairs however may undertake certain DIY and outdoor tasks by prior agreement instead of doing indoor housework. An Au Pair must not be asked to clean any place of business or any home other than the host family's, unless he or she chooses to do this extra work and is paid the going rate. It is important to remember that this is not an Employer-employee relationship, but a cultural and language exchange based on mutual goodwill and respect. Your au pair will need a training and settling in period after his or her arrival. During this time you should show them around your home town, explain how to use public transport and take them to and from the childrens’ school and their own English language school. In the house you should show the au pair how to use all the machines and appliances and explain slowly and clearly what household chores she will be responsible for. Once explained verbally hand the au pair a written job description detailing clearly her areas of responsibility and her duties as well as the timings and various comings and goings of the household. Au pairs come to learn and improve their English, therefore your patience & support is vital in the early weeks. Your Au Pair or Au Pair Plus or junior Mothers Help will need to attend part time English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes for on average 4-6 hours per week. Your local Education Department should be able to provide a list of part time courses or tutors or ask at your central library. Most adult education centres offer part time classes as do many local colleges. As the host you are expected to help your au pair to find a suitable course in a conveniently located establishment. Classes at many local authority run schools are charged at a reduced rate to EU citizens but non-EU citizens must pay full price, in which case you may wish to consider contributing towards the cost. If your au pair is not able to afford the cost of attendingclasses in your area again you may wish to consider contributing to the cost to encourage her to stay with your family. A typical part time course requires the attendance of classes for around 4-6 hours a week as well as individual homework assignments.