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FOR LIVE-IN CHILDCARE TO FIT YOUR FAMILY

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YOUR PRACTICAL GUIDE

We would love to help you find an au pair. 

As a general introduction, please read this page about what the au pair program is all about! 

Just take just a few minutes to fill out our simple form.



GENERAL GUIDANCE 

An au pair provides live in childcare. It is the most affordable and flexible form of childcare based on cultural exchange. The average age for au pairs to apply for the programme is currently 18-19. 

The au pair gets the opportunity to be integrated in the host family life, to improve her/his language skills and experience the British lifestyle, helping with childcare and light housework in return.  

Au Pairs are often fondly called 'mum's helper' or 'big sister'. An au pair should always be treated as part of the family.

Our au pairs have good English skills and many can drive to help with school-runs, homework, after school activities, meal times and light housework. 

As au pairs are not qualified in childcare they would not be the recommended form of childcare for roles which require full/continuous care for pre-school aged children. There should be no sole care for children under the age of two/overnight care or heavy household tasks. 

For detailed information about host family obligations and our terms please see http://www.smartaupairs.com/terms.aspx

The program guidelines are changing. 

The below guidelines are applicable for placements commencing in 2018/for searches started after the 9th of August 2017. 

Au Pair (up to 35h/week INCLUDING babysitting)

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

  • On duty up to 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
  • No sole care for children under 2, limited sole care for pre-school age (2-3)
Gold Au Pair (up to 35h/week INCLUDING babysitting)

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

  • On duty up to 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 £90 for 25 hrs, £105 for 30 hrs, £120 for 35hrs
  • Some applicants in this category may also qualify for our mother's help program, in which care higher pocket money guidelines apply. 

Native English Speaking Au Pair (up to 35h/week INCLUDING BABYSITTING)

= Australian, New Zealand  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
  • No sole care for children under 2, limited sole care for 2-3 year olds (pre-school age)

Babysitting

2 evenings of babysitting are included in the au pair role. 

Weekend (Saturday/Sunday) babysitting should be an exception and agreed upon in advance with the au pair.

We recommend paying extra for weekend babysitting at £4/h.

Free time 

An au pair should have 2 full and consecutive days off per week. 

The weekend time is the main time for the au pair to socialise and meet friends. Happy and rested au pair = happy kids = happy you! 

Mother's Help

We have very limited numbers of mother's help applicants, as we are strict in who we qualify for this category. If you believe you require a mother's help, please call our office first to discuss your needs. 

We rarely qualify applicants to this category. You can find basic guidelines regarding mother's helpers here.

If you need further guidance on this, please give our office a call and we can assess whether an au pair would be a good option for you.  

WHAT EXPERIENCE CAN I EXPECT?

We encourage host families to involve their au pair in family activities from shared meals to sports and days out. It is important that the au pair is given the opportunity to attend language classes.

Many host families only require a genuine affection for children from their au pair. Practical experience is an advantage, even if it is only babysitting, as is an outgoing nature for coping and living with new people in a foreign country. We expect an au pair to be honest, mature and responsible.

Au pairs with good English and additional childcare experience are very popular. Some have a background in education or have been (summer) au pair before. Expect to pay more pocket money for experienced candidates. We have candidates in this category marked as ‘gold’ au pairs and our placement fee reflects their additional skills and/or experience.

Consider if your family has specific needs. A family where sole care is required, especially with more than 2 children, very young children or a child with special needs will benefit from a person with some experience, possibly even a mother's help. 

A family with teenage boys may consider a male au pair to connect with the boys through sports and hobbies and a young mum may wish to consider a mother's help to assist her.

Ensure your profile reflects your requirements.

An au pair is not a domestic help, nor a nanny. Help and enthusiasm is expected, experience is a bonus. They should not be expected to take charge of all household chores or all childcare.

FURTHER GUIDANCE

Pocket money varies depending on the number of hours and the level of experience of the au pair.

In all cases, families should provide a comfortable, clean & private bedroom and full board for the au pair. Duty hours should allow an au pair to study and attend structured classes. Two days per week should be completely free and suitable compensation should be agreed if extra work is required.

During school holidays you may ask your au pair to care for the children at extra pay.

Some families, especially in remote areas, will also contribute towards travel expenses. There are also families who are prepared to pay for, or contribute towards the cost of English lessons.

An au pair pays for her/his own flight but should be collected from the airport unless otherwise agreed.

It is very important to agree in advance what you expect from each other.

Extra hours for au pairs are usually paid at minimum £4 per hour/£7 for specialist positions.

TAX & NI CONTRIBUTIONS

Please find further information on tax & NI contribution thresholds on the following pages:

Nannytax: https://www.nannytax.co.uk/

For guidelines on registering as an employer, please see the HMRC website: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payerti/getting-started/register.htm

EXPECTED & UNSUITABLE DUTIES

Duties will vary by family, but most families expect the following to be part of the au pair’s duties. The balance of the au pair position should always be on childcare, rather than household duties.

  • Wake the children in the morning and get them ready
  • Help the children to tidy their rooms and make their beds
  • Prepare breakfast and lunch for the children
  • Clean up breakfast dishes
  • Make sure children have books and homework for school
  • Drive children to/from school (if needed)
  • Tasks while children are at school: shopping, light housework
  • Prepare a healthy afternoon snack
  • Assist the children with their homework, initiate and supervise play
  • Help the children with their bath routine and help get them ready for bed

We ask the host family to outline their expected duties in the profile. Prior to the arrival of the au pair we also recommend preparing a detailed handbook, for which we provide a template. It outlines jobs and basic house rules so that expectations are clear and the au pair has a fair chance of not only meeting but exceeding your expectations.

Please see below for a list of unsuitable tasks 

List of duties 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/Parent's Laundry
Cleaning parents’ en-suite bathroom & toilet/bathroom cleaning in general apart from simple wipedown/tidy
Polishing silver and brassware
Cooking the family meal, unless the au pair enjoys cooking and has chosen to do this for the family

Au pairs should not be required to do housework such as ironing, when looking after children of primary school age or toddlers.

HOW MANY HOURS OF HOUSEHOLD DUTIES IS REASONABLE?

The usual max time au pairs may spend on household duties is up to 1h/day. 

The au pair does not replace a cleaner or a domestic help/take sole responsibility for household duties.

Many families combine au pair help with a weekly cleaner who does the heavy cleaning of toilets and parents bedrooms for example.

Holiday Entitlement: BAPAA recommends 4 weeks paid holiday per 12 month period. Pocket money will be paid during this time. If the au pair placement is for a shorter time, holiday is calculated pro-rata at the rate of 1.66 days per month. The au pair should not be forced to take holiday to coincide with the family holiday

UK national holidays: BAPAA recommends that au pairs are to be given UK national holidays as free time.

REGISTER NOW  to find an au pair