A professional child-carer who will come into your home and care for your child or children.
Provides live-in childcare and some light domestic help in exchange for board, lodging, meals, and the opportunity to experience a new culture and to learn a foreign language
Aged between 18-30, an au pair is a young person without dependants who generally will not have any childcare experience or qualifications. Having travelled to the UK from another country to experience a new culture and learn a foreign language, an au pair will provide childcare and some light domestic help to the host family living-in, in exchange for board, lodging, meals and the opportunity to attend a local language school.
Au pairs come mainly from the European Economic Area under European freedom of movement regulations. There are also arrangements for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals wanting to come to the UK as au pairs. As the UK has left the EEU, the current rules on free movement of workers will end on the 31st December 2020 and the impact of Brexit on the au pair sector is not yet known. Please check with the government’s web site.
Historically, au pairs came to the UK under an au pair immigration category, which was closed in November 2008 by the Home Office when a new points-based system was introduced, which included a Youth Mobility Scheme for nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Monaco. Tier 5 of this scheme may offer a possible option for future au pairs applying for the UK from EU counties if the current scheme is extended post-Brexit. Please note that this option is yet to be approved.
As au pairs usually live with the family they work for, they are unlikely to be classed as a worker or an employee. They are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage or paid holidays. Because they are treated as a member of the family, they get ‘pocket money’ instead - usually about £70 to £85 a week.
What is the difference between an au pair and a nanny?
A nanny is an experienced and/or qualified childcare provider, working as an employed or self- employed person from school leaver through to retirement age. A nanny will enjoy at least the minimum wage (and very much more in most cases; see the nanny average earnings chart on our nanny job profile page) and employee benefits such as annual leave and statutory sick pay. A nanny is also expected to pay tax and NI contributions.
Dos and Don’ts
The au pair can travel with the host family on holiday and should also be allowed to return to his or her own family for holidays during the year. An au pair must be provided with their own room. An au pair can be male or female
The host family should usually be of a different nationality to the au pair
An au pair should be a foreign national or EU citizen living with a host family in the UK. They may require an applicable visa
The au pair is to be given the opportunity to learn about British culture and in return, will share his or her own culture with the host family. The opportunity to attend a local language college is also a requirement
Light domestic duties and childcare will be provided by the au pair which should not exceed 30 hours per week. Au pairs should not be expected to carry out heavier housework duties such as gardening, upholstery, and carpets, washing, cleaning windows, washing the car, or doing ironing and bed-changing for parents
The au pair may also provide babysitting services for two evenings per week but should be paid extra for any additional evenings worked
Au pairs should not take continuous sole charge of children under two years of age
If you require the au pair to drive, you must make sure that your insurance provider is notified and be confident that your he/she is capable and responsible driving in the UK prior to allowing her to take your vehicle. Take a drive together so that you can show your au pair the local area and can check the driving skills
Either Midas Private Staff or the host family will provide the au pair with a written letter of invitation detailing the conditions of their stay, including the pocket money to be given, board and lodging too be provided free of charge (a private bedroom will need to be offered), time off for studying and personal use, details of the hours to be worked and the duties to be performed.
Please see our terms of business for au pairs.