Au pair arrangement - au pair pocket money, duties & more.

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Reliable since 1999

What is an au pair?

Au pairs are young people coming from overseas to improve their English and experience British culture while providing help in the home for a host-family (normally childcare and light housework). A strong cultural exchange element is essential for the arrangement to retain it's special status. Au pairs expect to become "quasi-members" of the host-family and will require a certain amount of mentoring from the hosts.

Au pairs live in. The "live-out au pairs" sometimes requested would likely not be classed as au pairs at all. With regard to duties performed, the nearest equivalent in a live-out carer would probably be classed a "mother's help" (an employee rather than someone on a cultural-exchange programme).

Standard au pairs are on duty for up to 25 hours per week with an additional two nights babysitting (presence in a standby role) if required.

In return, au pairs require board and lodging, 80 per week pocket money and, very importantly, understanding and support.

For 90 per week pocket money plus extra benefits our EU au pairs may be willing to accept a post based on up to 30 hours of duties. (The placement fees listed increase pro-rata in this case).

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Occasional extra hours, for example during the school holidays, are acceptable when paid at a reasonable rate, but we consider what is sometimes termed "au pair plus" to be a mothers help arrangement, with the extra formalities that entails.

Most au pairs are looking to stay for a year but often stay longer. Summer au pair placements are very popular and the quality of applicant can be exceptional. We can also arrange 6-month au pairs depending on supply.

A two week notice period is usual for terminating the au pair agreement.

Although the au pair may have less experience of life than you they must be accorded high status in your household and their reasonable needs must be placed on a par with your own requirements, which may involve certain concessions on your part that you might not wish to make for a nanny or other domestic staff.

Au pairs expect two full days off per week and must be able to attend English lessons that are convenient to get to (2-3 hours per week will normally be acceptable in the current climate). They will also expect four weeks paid leave over the year.

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While au pairs may have had some experience of these duties in their home country they are not professionals and the host-family must provide appropriate training in what is required. They typically won't be able to cope with unruly children and they must not be left in sole charge of any child under 2 years old.

Because au pairs aren't employed by the agency, they must not be regarded as "agency staff" in the usual sense.

Au pair accommodation

A clean, safe, reasonably well decorated and furnished room with windows, wardrobe space and adequate heating is essential. They don't require en suite facilities but the standard of comfort in the au pair's room should be comparable to that of the rest of the house.

Internet access for the au pair in some form has become a requirement in recent years and is useful not only for keeping in touch with family and other au pairs in the area, but for the learning opportunities it provides. (On our Hungarian web pages we provide childcare-specific vocabulary.)

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Good English spoken

Au pairs are here to learn English by "immersion". They need to be reassured that the level of English spoken in the host-household is excellent and that when they are present only English will normally be spoken (which is only good manners after all).

Practicalities to check out first


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