Childcare UK: Is having a live in au pair the best option ?

Childcare UKHow does having an au pair stack up against the other forms of UK childcare ? There are a lot of childcare UK choices available to working parents, so when is having a live in au pair or au pair plus the best solution ?

Advantages of an Au Pair for Childcare UK

Advantages of having an au pair or au pair plus:

  • Low cost childcare UK in your own home
  • Added bonus of help with household chores
  • Children are collected and taken home after school to do their homework, play, relax and be fed and bathed by the time parents return from work
  • Childcare UK in the home during school holiday

Criteria for having an Au Pair for Childcare UK

To have an au pair or au pair plus here are a few non negotiable criteria:

  • If both parents work outside the home the children the au pair will be responsible for must be at least 2 years of age. 
  • Babies and children under 2 with two working parents must be in full time day care (childminder or nursery), in which case the au pair can take and collect from day care and babysit for a very short period until the parents get home from work. *This child age restriction does not apply to parents who do not work or who only work part time from home
  • If the child in the au pair’s care is 2, the au pair or au pair plus hours of sole charge of the child must not exceed 25 hours a week 
  • The au pair can care for children aged 3 plus on a part time basis of maximum 25 hours a week for an au pair and maximum 35 hours a week for an au pair plus. However both categories can care for children aged 3 or more for longer hours for overtime pay in school holidays.
  • Housework duties such as light cleaning and washing and ironing can be included if time permits and this can be done within the total 25-35 weekly working hours. On average maximum 1-2 hours of household chores a day is acceptable with the rest of the weekly working hours being childcare.  However in families with little or no childcare requirements it is possible to negotiate a housework based role.

You must also meet the following basic conditions:

  • You must have a spare bedroom for his/her sole use
  • You must cover the cost of his/her food
  • You must be able to pay an au pair at least £80 a week for 25 hours of daytime work and  maximum two weeknights of babysitting
  • You must be able to pay an au pair plus at least £90 a week for up to 35 hours of daytime work and maximum 3 weeknights of babysitting
  • He/she must have at least 2 days off a week (preferably the weekends)
  • In addition to two days off he/she must have time during the week to attend an English Language course locally which the host family must help to organise. This can be paid for by the au pair or the family may choose to contribute
  • He/she must have 4 weeks paid holiday a year plus all the bank holidays off (or paid in lieu)
  • If you wish to terminate the arrangement you must give the au pair at least two weeks notice before expecting them to leave your home

We hope this helps outline the advantages and criteria that relate to having an au pair for your childcare UK.