Age – Typically an Au Pair is between 18 and 27, although there are no restrictions on age for Au Pairs coming from another EU country and therefore they can be older than 27.
Hours of Help & Pocket Money – Au Pairs help their host families in return for receiving pocket money. The following are guidelines for pocket money:
- Up to 25 hours, including babysitting, should be a minimum of £80 per week
- 25 to 30 hours, including babysitting, should be a minimum of £95 per week
- 30 to 35 hours, including babysitting, should be a minimum of £110 per week
The number of hours help should be spread over 5 days and agreed by discussion between the Family and the Au Pair before the placement is accepted. If the Au Pair agrees to help more than the agreed number of hours a week help, then the pocket money should be increased by £4 for each extra hour. In all cases an Au Pair should not provide more than 35 hours help a week.
If more than 35 hours per week help is required then a Mother’s Help should be engaged; they can help for 35 to 45 hours per week and would receive a minimum of £175 per week. Again the number of hours should be agreed before the placement is accepted and stated in the offer letter.
Au Pairs are exempt from the National Minimum Wage providing they live in a host family’s home and share in the family’s life and leisure activities.
Types of Help – The Family should specify the types of tasks they expect an Au Pair to undertake and these should be consistent with the “Guidelines for Types of Help”, see later in these Guidelines.
Accommodation – An Au Pair should be provided by the family, free of charge, with their own private room with a window and they should not be required to share with children.
Board/Meals – An Au Pair should take their main meals with the family. All food should be provided free of charge, including meals/food on days when the Au Pair is not helping.
Free Time – A Family should allow their Au Pair to have 2 full days off per week, which days should be agreed by discussion between the Family and the Au Pair and at least one weekend per month. On a day off, an Au Pair should not be required to help. The free time should allow an Au Pair to attend English language classes.
Learning English – A Family should help their Au Pair to practise their English with them e.g. during meal times. An Au Pair may also want to attend language classes at a local college, which they would normally meet the cost off, unless the Family offers to pay for them.
Travel Costs – An Au Pair is typically responsible for travel expenses to the UK and for the return journey from the UK to their home country, unless the Family offers to pay for this. The Family should meet the Au Pair at the place of arrival in the UK or alternatively pay for the travel expenses incurred by the Au Pair from the place of arrival in the UK to the Family’s home.
Holidays – The Family should allow their Au Pair to take 28 days holiday per year, including Public (bank) Holidays, allowing the Au Pair to go home to visit their family if they wish. For placements less than a year, this should be calculated on a pro-rata basis of 1.66 days per month. When the holidays are to be taken should be agreed by discussion between the Family and the Au Pair and they should continue to receive Pocket Money during their holidays.
Notice of leaving – If the Family decides that they no longer want to host their Au Pair, they must give the Au Pair a minimum of 2 weeks notification and inform Bunters. After providing this notification and for 2 weeks, the Family must ensure that the Au Pair is provided with accommodation and board free of charge and is given their Pocket Money.
Driving & Insurance – If the Family requires their Au Pair to drive whilst in the UK, the following additional Guidelines apply:
- The Family should check their Au Pair has a current licence with no convictions and also how long they have been driving. An EU or EEA driving licence allows driving in the UK
- The Family is responsible for insuring their Au Pair to drive the family car. The Au Pair should not drive the car without checking that the motor policy has been updated with their details and the Family should show them the policy schedule. We recommend that the Family protects their no claims bonus, as they will loose it if their Au Pair has an accident in their car
- The Family should ensure that they are satisfied with the Au Pair’s driving skills before allowing them to drive their children. For example, an Au Pair will be used to driving on the other side of the road and will not be familiar with our Highway Code. We recommend that the Family arrange some driving lessons for their Au Pair to orientate them to UK driving.
Health Insurance – Au Pairs from the EU do need Health Insurance as they are entitled to use our health service
Guidelines for Types of Help (Childcare and Housework)
Childcare – Au Pairs do not generally have formal childcare qualifications and therefore it is at a family’s discretion to leave an Au Pair in sole charge of young children. Please note that a Family should not leave an Au Pair in sole care of any child under 2 years. Au Pairs are more akin to a babysitter, than an experienced child-carer. The following are the typical types of help that an Au Pair could provide:
- helping getting children ready for school
- taking and collecting children from school
- playing with and entertaining children
Typical Housework – The following are typical light housework tasks that an Au Pair should expect to help with:
- washing dishes, including loading and unloading a dishwasher
- preparing simple meals for the children
- keeping the kitchen clean and tidy, including sweeping and mopping floors
- loading and unloading laundry into the washing machine
- ironing for the children
- putting the childrens’ clean clothes away
- making and changing childrens’ beds
- cleaning childrens’ bathroom
- everything to do with keeping their own room and bathroom clean and tidy
- light shopping (not the entire household shopping)
- emptying bins
Housework by Agreement – The following are housework tasks that an Au Pair could help with but by agreement:
- making parents’ beds
- walking and feeding pets
- ironing for parents’
- cleaning parents’ en-suite bathrooms
- polishing silver and brassware
- cooking the family meal, unless the Au Pair enjoys cooking and has chosen to do this for the family
Housework not suitable for an Au Pair – The following are housework tasks that an Au Pair should not be expected to help with unless they have been explicitly discussed and agreed with them prior to their placement being agreed
- window cleaning
- spring cleaning
- cleaning the oven, other than a simple wipe over
- washing carpets
- washing the car
- weekly family shopping
- pet training
- clearing up after untrained pets