Why an Au Pair?

the little au pair agency - childcare - nannyTo attract the very best Au Pair applicants to the UK, the terms of the au pair programme were enhanced to include the following:

  • maximum total of 30 hours on duty per week to include any babysitting
  • minimum £80 per week pocket money
  • minimum £20 per week contribution towards language school or local travel
  • completion bonus of one week’s pocket money for placements of 6 months or more
  • two free days per week (no babysitting on either free day)
  • 4 week’s paid holiday per 12 month period (pro rata) plus public holidays

For working parents with children in school or at nursery, Au Pairs can offer that much needed wrap around childcare support, a few hours before and after school. For mums and dads that means no more rushing to work via drop off at childcare, and for your children, it’s a more leisurely start to the day in the comfort of their own home. When you have to work late, or if you are planning a night out, Au Pairs may cover at home with babysitting.

For stay at home parents with a baby or toddler, an Au Pair can help with those things you just don’t have the time to do yourself anymore, such as the chance to make a phone call without interruptions or even to have a cup of tea while you respond to emails. Having an extra pair of hands around allows you to have a shower in peace or can help make the evening dinner and bath time so much calmer.

The Little Au Pair Agency Host Families welcome their Au Pair as a member of the family. Think of it as having a niece or nephew to stay. They will want to be made to feel welcome, but will also want to have their independence and a social life outside of the family. In exchange for pocket money, a welcoming room of their own and time off for language classes, your Au Pair will help look after the most precious people in your life.

Register to the little au pair agency - childcare - nanny

Call us with your enquiry: 020 8462 6041


> What is an Au Pair?

the little au pair agency - childcare - nannyThe Au Pair Programme is a cultural exchange programme. Au Pairs are young adults who come to the UK to live as a member of an English speaking family. In return for pocket money, free board and lodging, the Au Pair helps you with childcare and a little light housework. They may stay for a few weeks to help with childcare over the summer holidays, or they may stay longer depending on your family’s needs.

All Au Pairs should be welcomed as a member of the family. Many Au Pairs will be keen to join in with family activities but will also want to establish a social life outside of the home. Many of our Au Pairs are students, often on a gap year, who will arrive with a good standard of English. Au Pairs will welcome the opportunity to attend English language classes to improve their English language skills.

All Au Pair applicants from The Little Au Pair Agency come with some childcare experience, such as babysitting. They are carefully vetted by our European partner agencies, including a childcare and character reference, medical certificate and police check. They are however not trained childcare professionals, such as a qualified nanny, so they should not have any sole charge of children under the age of 2.

> Hours, Pocket Money, Additional Incentives and Holidays

the little au pair agency - childcare - nannyAu Pairs work for up to 30 hours per 5 day week to include any evening babysitting that is required, with 2 free days off each week. They may agree to additional hours (for example in school holidays or additional babysitting) for extra pocket money, however please keep in mind that an Au Pair is an unqualified child carer, and you should never expect your Au Pair to be on duty and in charge of a child all day.

Minimum Pocket Money and Additional Incentives:

  • Pocket money must be a minimum of £80 per week for 30 hours to include any evening babysitting requirements, regardless of whether the minimum hours are worked. All expenses relating to the Au Pair’s role must be paid in full by the family (for example travel costs to/from the children’s school).
  • The host family must contribute at least £20 per week towards language school and/or personal travel expenses on local public transport.
  • For Au Pair placements of 6 months or longer, the Au Pair should receive a completion bonus equivalent to at least 1 week’s pocket money on completion of their agreed length of stay with the family.
  • Any additional hours, such as in school holidays or extra babysitting, should be paid at a minimum of £5 per hour.
  • Au Pairs receive 28 days paid holiday (including Bank Holidays) per 12 month period, ideally holiday dates should be mutually agreed at the start of the placement.
  • Please also consider the extra cost of food, heating and lighting (extra cycles of the washing machine) and car insurance/petrol if you need a driver.

Providing your Au Pair with a welcoming bedroom will help them feel at home. They should have their own bedroom (not shared with your children) with a window, wardrobe, chest of drawers, desk and somewhere to sit. They always appreciate a small television in their bedroom. We are required by BAPAA to see a photograph of the Au Pair’s bedroom and accommodation during registration.

Many families choose to improve on these benefits and will include incentives such as the chance to join in on family trips at weekends (funded by the family) or gym membership.

> Au Pair Duties

the little au pair agency - childcare - nanny

As a cultural exchange programme, the role of the Au Pair should always be focused on childcare, where there is an opportunity to interact with your children, rather than household duties. Working hours and duties should reflect the fact an Au Pair is an unqualified child carer. Your Au Pair should not be expected to have sole charge for a child all day unless exceptional circumstances occur.

A typical day for many Au Pairs would involve a few hours before and after school. In the morning, they will ensure children are dressed, had breakfast, breakfast dishes are tidied and do the school run. They may do some light housework (max 1 hour) during school time and/or attend English language classes, then collect the children from school, and prepare a healthy snack, help with homework, organize playtime, prepare the children’s supper, bath and get them ready for bed.

Evening babysitting may be included in the Au Pair’s on duty hours of 30 hours per week. 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. Au Pairs should not regularly babysit or have sole charge for children overnight, such as when parents are away on business or working night shifts.

Au Pair’s should spend no more than one hour per day on light housework tasks. A list of suggested light housework duties can be found below to help when thinking about whether an Au Pair is suitable for your family’s needs:

List of 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 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
  • Please note: 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.

> Language Classes

Many Au Pairs will arrive with a good standard of English which you will be able to assess as part of the interview process. Many Au Pairs will want to attend a language school. It is important if you welcome an Au Pair into your home, that their schedule allows time to attend classes.

Some families will offer to pay for their Au Pair’s language course, some will offer a contribution (minimum £20 per week). However, if you live in a rural area requiring the Au Pair to travel to the language classes, it is common practice for the family to pay a contribution towards the additional travel expenses.

 Au-Pair-with-map> Travel Costs and Insurance

The Au Pair covers the cost of their travel from their home country to the UK and their return ticket home. It is always expected and a nice gesture if you are able to meet and greet your Au Pair from the airport to welcome them to the UK in person. Where that is not possible, families should cover the cost of the transfer to/from the airport and be at home in time for their arrival. Please consider that your Au Pair may have a large suitcase and a year’s worth of luggage, a long tube journey is not acceptable, please organise and pay for collection by taxi or other reasonable onward travel.

Your Au Pair should travel to the UK with an EHIC card which enables them to get state healthcare. You should help them register at your local GP surgery on arrival. They should also consider taking out additional health and travel insurance to cover emergency medical expenses, repatriation, cancellation or curtailment charges, baggage, personal money, passport and documents, course fees, personal liability and legal expenses. If they do not have insurance, a policy is available for Au Pairs on the British Au Pair Agencies Association website in association with Endsleigh Insurance Services . More information is available on the BAPAA website: http://bapaa.org.uk/agencies/au-pair-insurance/

DISCLAIMER: We do not advise on or make any recommendations in respect of any general insurance products. If you are in anyway unsure as to whether a particular insurance product is suitable for you or not, then you should seek independent financial advice.

> Driving in the UK

If you need your Au Pair to drive, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Check your Au Pair brings a full, clean, valid driving licence with them from an EU or EEA country.
  • Take out fully comprehensive car insurance for your Au Pair informing your insurance company that the candidate is a foreign national. Au Pairs can not be expected to cover the cost of any damage to the car in any circumstance. If your Au Pair has an accident in your car, you will lose your no claims bonus, so it may be worth enhancing your policy to protect your no claims bonus. Some families put their Au Pair on their company car to save the cost of insurance.
  • Organize some driving lessons and provide a copy of the Highway Code.
  • Ensure you provide details on what to do in the event of a breakdown.
  • Petrol must be provided for use on duty, however most Au Pairs pay for petrol for their personal use.

We recently teamed up with a specialist car insurance broker called Stoneshield Services Ltd who can offer competitive premiums for Au Pairs. To get a quote, please click here: https://www.stoneshieldservices.co.uk/?utm_source=agency1032&utm_medium=Agency&utm_campaign=ssagencylinks

DISCLAIMER: We do not advise on or make any recommendations in respect of any general insurance products. If you are in anyway unsure as to whether a particular insurance product is suitable for you or not, then you should seek independent financial advice.

 > Written Offer, House Rules and Notice Period

Once you have identified a candidate you would like to invite as your Au Pair, and they have accepted, we will provide you with a template for the ‘Letter of Invitation.’ This is required to outline in writing the key terms and requirements of their stay, including pocket money, hours, holidays, description of your au pair’s bedroom and what help is expected.

If you have any house rules, these should be made clear to your Au Pair at the beginning of the placement, for example regarding friends visiting/ staying overnight, curfew if working the next day, use of the telephone. It is important to take time when your Au Pair arrives to explain and set out clearly your expectations for both on and off duty.

If you or your Au Pair need to terminate the arrangement earlier than expected, a two week’s paid notice period applies. If you wish your Au Pair to leave before the end of the notice period, you must cover the cost of B&B accommodation or a flight home and two week’s pocket money.

Register to the little au pair agency - childcare - nanny

Call us with your enquiry: 020 8462 6041

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