What is an Au Pair?

The vast majority of Au Pairs are young people taking a 6-12 month gap in their studies to improve their knowledge of language and culture. An Au Pair is aged 18 – 30, although an Au Pair without visa requirements (from EU) can be older.

Majority of our Au Pairs are 18-21 years old.

The Au Pair Programme has existed for a few decades and is a Cultural Exchange scheme that means the Au Pair helps the family with childcare and light housework in exchange for the opportunity to live with them.

Au Pairs can work up to 30 hours per week, including evening babysitting when required. In return, the host family provides free board and accommodation, as well as pocket money.  The hours may be split differently depending on your needs and schedule and some Au Pairs are happy to work longer hours for more pocket money.

Although many Au Pairs have good experience with children and have other skills, they are not nannies or housekeepers. Most Au Pairs have been involved with various types of children’s groups, such as Scouts, church Youth Groups, coaching sport etc, and have babysitting experience. There should be no sole care for children under the age of two/overnight care or heavy household tasks.

Many of our Au Pairs drive but we recommend you arrange a few driving lessons with a qualified instructor so they can get used to driving on the left side.

Some of our families prefer a male candidate. Male Au Pairs tend to be really excellent at entertaining your children and having a lot of fun with them – if you have young boys that like to play football in their free time, this could be the perfect answer for you.

Ultimately, your Au Pair should help you make parenthood that little bit easier!

Au Pair

Basic to good childcare experience, fair to good level of English

  • up to 30h/week including babysitting
  • 2 evenings of babysitting per week
  • free time minimum 2 full days plus 3 evenings
  • minimum pocket money £85/week

Platinum Au Pair

Excellent childcare experience including childcare work experience (summer camps, school or nursery that is backed by references). Fair to very good / fluent level of English. Some of our Platinum Au Pairs have previously been summer Au Pairs.

  • up to 30h/week including babysitting
  • 2 evenings of babysitting per week
  • free time minimum 2 full days plus 3 evenings
  • minimum pocket money £95/week

Native English speaking Au Pair

  • up to 30h/week including babysitting
  • 2 evenings of babysitting per week
  • free time minimum 2 full days plus 3 evenings
  • minimum pocket money £115/week

Square AuPair Service Plus

Experience has taught us that some families prefer to have a very specific or confidential service. If you feel this might be you, please contact us so we can discuss it with you in full detail?

Hours

The hours per day/ week may be worked just in the morning, or just in the afternoon, or can be split over the day – this depends on your needs.

Additional pocket money should be paid for any additional evenings. Au Pairs should not be asked to babysit on either of their two free days. Babysitting hours are evening time only when the parents are out. For extra babysitting, we recommend a minimum of £4 per hour.

Babysitting

Leisure time

The Au Pair’s schedule must provide sufficient time to attend language school, and the Au Pair shall receive two free days each week and should be offered one full weekend off per month.

Au Pair is not a worker or employee and we recommends best practice 4 weeks’ paid holiday per 12-month period (pro rata) plus Public Holidays. Pocket money will be paid during this time. The Au Pair should be encouraged to take holiday at a time that is convenient to the family. Holidays should ideally be mutually agreed between host family and Au Pair at the start of the placement.

Holidays

Childcare

An Au Pair should not have any sole charge of children under the age of two. An au pair is not a qualified childcare provider.

House rules have to be clear at the beginning of the placement.  Families must take time, when the Au Pair arrives, to explain and set out the family expectations when on and off duty.

House Rules

Room and board

The Au Pair receives full room and board from the family throughout the stay. The Au Pair must have her own private room with a window and not be required to share with children, and she should be given facilities to study. Families are required to send photo of the Au Pair’s bedroom and accommodation.

The Au Pair is required to pay their own travelling cost to and from the UK, unless the family chooses to fund this. The family should, wherever possible, collect the Au Pair from the airport.  If this is not possible, they must pay for collection by taxi or organise reasonable onward travel and the family must be at home in time for their arrival.  Long tube journeys with a year’s worth of luggage are not acceptable.

Travel and Travelling Costs

Insurance

An Au Pair from the EU must travel to the UK with an EHIC card which allows them to get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes free. The Au Pair may also wish to take out additional health insurance and travel insurance to cover loss of belongings, repatriation in case of accident, death etc.

Au Pairs must be given enough time to attend language school. There are many colleges and courses in the UK enabling Au Pairs to learn English – some are state run further education colleges or centres and some are privately run courses. The costs will vary depending on the type of course and the hours which are offered. Some families will offer to pay for their au pair’s language course and others will offer a contribution, but the Au Pair must be prepared to bear the majority of the costs.

Language School and Costs

Written Offer

Au Pair should receive a written offer from the family covering pocket money, hours, holidays, description of au pair’s bedroom and what help would be expected etc.

The host family can terminate the arrangement by giving two weeks notice to the au pair.  If they wish the Au Pair to leave before the end of the notice period the host family must pay for their B&B accommodation or flight home and two weeks pocket money. 

Notice Period

Light Housework

An Au Pair’s primary role is childcare; light housework should be a lesser part of duties. Acceptable standards of cleanliness must be maintained by the Au Pair and host family. A list of suggested light housework tasks can be found below.

Please remember, it is a cultural exchange programme, giving a young person the opportunity to learn about British culture and improve language skills through interaction with children. The Au Pair is there to help the family and is not in charge of the house.

Notice Period

List of housework tasks accepted as light housework:

  • Washing dishes, including loading and unloading dishwasher
  • Preparing simple meals for children
  • Keeping kitchen tidy and clean, including sweeping and mopping floors
  • Loading and unloading children’s laundry into washing machine
  • Ironing for children
  • Putting washed clothes away
  • Vacuuming
  • Dusting
  • Making and changing children’s beds
  • Cleaning children’s bathroom
  • Everything to do with keeping their own room/bathroom clean and tidy
  • Light shopping (not the entire household shopping)
  • Walking and feeding pets
  • Emptying bins

List of tasks considered unsuitable for an Au Pair:

  • Gardening
  • Window cleaning
  • Spring cleaning
  • Cleaning the oven, other than simple wiping out
  • Washing carpets
  • Washing the car
  • Weekly shopping
  • Pet training
  • Clearing up after untrained pets
  • Making parents bed
  • Ironing for parents
  • Cleaning parents’ en-suite bathroom
  • Polishing silver and brassware
  • Cooking the family meal, unless the Au Pair enjoys cooking and has chosen to do this for the family

N.B. Au Pairs should not be required to do housework such as ironing, when looking after children of primary school age or toddlers, due to safety reasons.