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FAQs AND INFORMATION

Please find here the information you may want to read in preparation of your au pair's arrival.

These are also answers to the frequently asked questions. If you cannot find the answer to your question, you can e-mail us on

info@smartaupairs.com


 


HOW MUCH DOES A TYPICAL AU PAIR EARN, AND HOW MANY HOURS SHOULD THEY WORK?

Au Pair (25-35 hours per week and babysitting)

= European nationality, basic to good childcare experience and fair to good level of English.

  • On duty approx. 5-7 hours per day, 5 days per week
  • 2 evenings of babysitting per week
  • Free time minimum 2 full days plus 3 evenings
  • Minimum pocket money £75 for 25 hrs, £90 for 30 hrs, £105for 35hrs
  • Limited light housework
  • No sole care for children under 2

For families who are looking for their au pair to have more childcare experience/better English skills, we recommend the following:

Gold Au Pair (25-35 hours per week and babysitting)

= European nationality, excellent childcare experience, including practical work with children (nursery, school, summer camps), fair to good level of English.

  • On duty approx. 5-7 hours per day, 5 days per week
  • 2 evenings of babysitting per week
  • Free time minimum 2 full days plus 3 evenings
  • Minimum pocket money £80 for 25 hrs, £95 for 30 hrs, £110 for 35hrs
  • Limited light housework

Native English Speaking Au Pair (25-35 hours per week and babysitting)

= Australian or Canadian nationality

  • On duty approx. 5-7 hours per day, 5 days per week
  • 2 evenings of babysitting per week
  • Free time minimum 2 full days plus 3 evenings
  • Minimum pocket money £100 for 25 hrs, £115 for 30 hrs, £130 for 35hrs
  • Limited light housework
  • No sole care for children under 2

Mother's Help

  • Works up to 10 hours per day, 5 days per week
  • 2-3 evenings of babysitting per week
  • Free time minimum 1 full day plus 3 evenings
  • European mother’s help: Pay minimum £130 - 35 hrs, £150 - 40 hrs, £170 – 45 hrs, £190 – 50 hrs
  • Native English Speaking Mother’s help: Pay minimum £150 - 35 hrs, £170 – 40 hrs, £190 – 45hrs, £210 – 50 hrs
  • More responsibility, younger children and/or longer hours, more housework
  • NO sole care for children under the age of 1, limited sole care for children aged 1-2 after training (to be organised in conjunction with nursery and/or parental care)
  • mother's helpers are not officially part of the au pair cultural exchange scheme. They are candidates who are willing and able to take on higher levels of responsibility, but not fully qualified like a nanny or teacher.
IS THERE ANY TAX, NI & FINANCIAL SUPPORT AVAILABLE?

Tax contributions are payable as soon as pay is more than £144 per week. (£ 7,475 tax year 2011/12) For more information on Tax and NI contributions see HMRC

Parents who use an approved child carer will be able to receive some financial support towards their employment costs. For more information on support available, please see our blog

Find out how you can help your Mother's help or even your au pair to become an approved carer so that you can benefit both financially and due to their increased knowledge on childcare.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO PROVIDE FOR MY AU PAIR?

In some cases there are other elements the family may consider to provide for the au pair:
  • Use of car in for her/his spare time,
  •  Chance to travel abroad with the family
  • Internet (broadband) access to keep in touch with home
  • A mobile phone with limited personal use funded (pay as you go)
  • Membership to (sports) clubs
  • Payment of/towards English classes
  • Payment of/towards First Aid qualification
  • Payment towards travel expenses on public transport
  • Payment of a flight home after agreed period of successful performance
HOW DOES 'MOTHER'S HELP' DIFFER FROM REGULAR AU PAIRS?

Mother's helpers are not officially part of the au pair cultural exchange scheme.

They are candidates who are willing and able to take on higher levels of responsibility, but not fully qualified like a nanny or teacher. 

More information here: mother's help

WHAT'S A SUMMER AU PAIR PROGRAM?
 

Through the summer au pair program, a young adult over 18 lives with a host family for the summer.

 
In exchange for room, board and a weekly pocket money, the summer au pair usually provides 30-35 hours* of child care each week.

The total cost of the program averages about £85-£100 a week — regardless of the number of children in the family.

More information about summer au pair program.

I HAVE A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF TWO / A CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS. CAN I EXPECT MY AU PAIR TO LOOK AFTER HIM / HER?

An au pair should not be expected to have sole care for infants under the age of two or for children with special needs, because they are not usually qualified to do so.

Please follow the link for more information for a family with a child with special needs.

SHOULD I CONTRIBUTE TO MY AU PAIR'S TRAVEL COSTS?

There are a wide range of low cost airlines that offer flights to (regional) airports. 
Au pairs are expected to pay for their own flight unless otherwise agreed; the host family should facilitate the transfer from/to airport or alternatively contribute to the cost of travelling to/from the airport.

You can help your au pair by recommending your local airport and or an airline that offers good value.
Some au pair nannies may choose to travel by coach or even by car, as luggage restrictions on flights may mean they can only bring limited amounts.

WILL MY AU PAIR BE ABLE TO DRIVE IN THE UK?

If your au pair has a full, clean driving license from another EEA country, they are permitted to drive in Britain. Check www.DVLA.gov.uk if you want to know more.

However, the fact that the au pair has a driving license does not guarantee suitability to drive in Britain. As driving in Britain is quite different from the continent (driving on the left, roundabouts, levels of traffic) it is best to consider a driver with some driving experience (regular driving with town, countryside and motorway experience).

To familiarise them with driving in Britain, you should give them the ‘highway code’, book a few lessons with a qualified driving instructor and give them time to practice before driving your vehicle on their own and transporting your children.

If you need them to drive your vehicle, you will need to arrange appropriate insurance for the car they will be driving. Most insurance companies will insure EEA drivers and even their no-claims bonus may be transferable.

You cannot expect an au pair to pay for any damage. Petrol must be provided for use on duty, but the au pair may be asked to contribute towards petrol for personal use whilst off duty.

WHAT'S THE RECOMMENDED HEALTH AND INSURANCES PROCEDURES FOR AU PAIRS?

We recommend au pairs to consider an annual insurance policy. In many cases healthcare in Britain is free but the policy should be there to protect them (and you) for costly emergencies, such as repatriation and legal assistance.

In addition to this, some insurance companies can include an au pair on your home insurance policy. Check for individual benefits of your policy. 

Please register your au pair with your family doctor.


A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles the au pairs who are from an EEA country  to reduced-cost, sometimes free, medical treatment.

The card is free but must be obtained by the au pair before travel.
For more information please see EHIC

WHAT CAN I DO TO ASSIST MY AU PAIR IN LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE?

Family and au pair should work together to find the right language courses. It may be difficult to arrange these in advance as a local test is often required to make sure classes are at the right level.
We have new information on our blog about language classes in general and some free classes in certain areas. 
ARE ALL AU PAIRS TRAINED IN FIRST AID?

Many families wish to provide their au pair with an intensive first aid course. We organize regular Baby & Child First Aid courses in Kent and in Central London.
Please see our blog for more information: First Aid

Safe & Sound
is one of the course providers Smartaupairs recommends.

KEEPING IN TOUCH

Although they will be making lots of new friends, it is important for them to keep in touch with family and friends back home. Traditionally this has been costly but with technology evolving all the time, you may find that it is much easier now to help them to keep in touch.

If you have broadband at home and they have a broadband connection at their family home, they can chat online in writing and also speak to their family and friends. If you both have a webcam, they can even see each other. Keeping in touch with minimise the risk of home-sickness.

UNHAPPY

Even with the best planning and support, occasionally things do not work out and someone is unhappy.

We always first try to assist to find a solution between the two parties. We can mediate and often an open and frank discussion results in a positive outcome.
However, there are situations where this is not the case. Each situation is different and we will do what we can to support both parties. If appropriate, we find a replacement.
At all times we ask both parties to remain courteous.
The hosting contract states 14 days notice, giving au pair and host family a chance to make alternative arrangements.

Why not refer your au pair to the following news article for top tips of avoiding/handling homesickness: Unhappy

VISA REQUIREMENTS AND NATIONALITIES

At Smartaupairs we specialise in au pairs from Europe (EEA) and native speakers from Australia, Canada and New Zealand. For the European candidates there are no visa requirements, no work permits and no restrictions. This means the process is easy and quick and the au pair arrangement offers you the ultimate flexibility. We also have au pairs from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who travel on a Youth Mobility Visa. The visa application is usually quick (2-3 weeks), they can work for up to 2 years in the UK  and there are no restrictions on their working hours.

We occasionally place au pairs from Romania & Bulgaria and although no visa is needed, some additional paperwork is required for the Home Office to allow them to be Au Pair in Britain. Their au pair program is restricted to 25 hours+2 evenings babysitting.

Would you like to find out where your au pair candidate is from? To find out, enter the name of the town or the postal code on www.multimap.com to see their location. For more information about their country, see BBC country profiles

 
EEA COUNTRIES

European Economic Area (EEA) citizens - the EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway - and Swiss nationals have the right of free movement and residence in the UK (source Home Office) 

LIST OF EEA COUNTRIES

Austria
Belgium
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Latria
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Poland
Netherlands
Portugal
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
United Kingdom
Iceland*
Liechtenstein*
Norway*

Switzerland**

* These countries are in the EEA, but are not members of the European Union

** Switzerland is not in the EEA but an international treaty means that from 1 June 2002 Swiss nationals have a similar right to live in the UK as EEA nationals.

NOTE: Bulgaria & Romania have joined the EU. Romanian & Bulgarian nationals and are free to travel to the UK and can take up an au pair position, provided they comply with Home Office regulations.

 
RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS & SERVICES 

Why not visit our smartaupairs bookshop today; full of handy stuff to get ready for your au pair experience!