An Au Pair is a childcare provider who comes from a foreign country and lives with the family that they help.

Most often, young adults take this position, they assist with childcare and light housework in exchange for accommodation, food, and pocket money. The aim of their experience is to get to know the culture, learn a foreign language, and meet new friends.

The host family should be from a different nationality than the Au Pair.

Au Pair doesn’t get a wage for the work they help with in the home, but part of the deal is to provide them with some pocket money. The usual amount you should offer is around 90 pounds per week.

The Au Pair role is not classified as an employee, so you have no responsibility to pay tax and insurance for their help. Keep in mind that they can assist with childcare and housework for less than 30 hours per week.

If they work more than this amount of time, they are considered employees, with all the benefits and taxes that an employee requires.

What’s the difference between an Au Pair and a Nanny?

An Au Pair and Nanny can both take care of your kids, but there is a huge difference between that two roles.

  • A nanny should be experienced and qualified to provide childcare, while Au Pair usually has no connected background or any education to do this job as a professional.
  • Among the nannies, there are lots of young people, but you can also find the help of older adults, even some start after retirement. The Au Pairs are young and hungry for new adventures, most likely under 30 years old.
  • Nannies are employees who take at least the minimum wage. They need to pay taxes and use sick pay, while Au Pair are considered more as your guests who help with the household.

How to find an Au Pair?

Before you start searching for an Au Pair, you need to consider your needs. What is your aim – do you want to raise your kids in a diverse cultural setting, or are you looking for some help on a budget?

Keep in mind that the Au Pair will assist you with children and housework just part-time, if you need full-time care, check other options.

As this person will be living in your home, make sure you have enough space. It is a must to provide a private room for the Au Pair. Also, you need to consider what kind of person you would like to share your home with – woman or man, age preference, particular culture your family would love to learn about?

It is important to be aware that you have responsibilities towards this person. Check all the requirements before inviting an Au Pair to your home.

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Having an Au pair: What to Consider?

Once you find the perfect candidate for your future Au Pairs, you should send an invitation.

It must be in the form of a written letter, including all the details of the propositions and conditions they should follow during their stay. You need to describe what you will offer – accommodation, free food, a language course, and the amount of money they will get weekly.

Also, make a list of their future duties and include information about their days off.

An Au Pair should do light work, so do not include too many responsibilities in your invitation. It will be harder to find a person who wants to agree with it. Keep in mind the amount of money and lifestyle this person is choosing, and don’t expect a perfect housekeeper or a full-time nanny.

If you consider providing them with a car, check if they have a legit driving license due to the laws in the UK.

Check the conditions of the insurance on your vehicle and make some changes, if needed, to limit all the potential risks. When your Au Pair comes, give them a ride around your area and explain all the specifics of driving there.

The Au Pair must have some holidays when they can go back to their home country and visit their families at their own expense.

It would be helpful to involve them in local Au Pair groups and foreign communities, to share this experience with other people in the same situation. If you live in a smaller town and there are no such groups, you can always check online in different forums.

This person will not only help with your home duties easier but also enrich your life. While living with you, the Au Pair is considered a part of the family, especially for young children. You can build a strong connection with this person. So pick wisely and enjoy their company!

How to become an Au Pair

Do you want to become an Au Pair? All the required conditions and documents you must prepare to apply for this position can be found here. There is a list of requirements, pay attention to all the information, especially if you need Visa and special permission to work in the UK