What is an Au Pair ?
Having an au pair is probably the least known and most underused childcare option. Au pairs provide affordable low cost childcare in the home and are much cheaper than external childminders. A live in au pair can cost as little as £80 a week and for this they will take care of the children out of school hours and be an extra pair of hands in the home to help with the cleaning, cooking, washing and ironing. As well as their weekly pocket money they must also have their own room, all their food paid for by the host family and time off to attend an English language course during term time while the children are at school.
So what is this wonderful home help or ‘What is an Au Pair’ exactly ?
An au pair is a young foreign person who comes to the UK to live with a family in order to improve their English and experience the British way of life. Au pairs only work part time during term time eg on average 25 hours a week during the day and up to two weeknights of babysitting. They should have at least two days off a week, ideally the weekends. Any evening babysitting on their days off should be optional and paid as overtime.
There are other variants such as an Au pair plus, who can work up to 35 hours a week and should be paid £90-100 a week. Some au pairs work as au pair pluses in the school holidays. If you need more hours than 35 a week you need a full time livein Mothers Help or qualified professional Nanny, not an au pair or au pair plus. Mothers Helps earn around £150-200 net per week and live in nannies start at minimum £250 net per week. You should also be aware that au pairs and au pair pluses must not be used as daycare for children under the age of 2 if both parents work outside the home. However au pairs are not just for working parents. Many help housewives or parents who work from home. The age restriction for children does not apply to families where at least one parent is at home during the day, but the hours of work must still remain part time.
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