Frequently Asked Questions

An overview of the most commonly asked questions by au pairs - if you cannot find the answer you are looking for, please do not hesitate to contact us via the below enquiry form and our friendly team is happy to help!

  • HOW CAN I MEET OTHER AU PAIRS?

    There are LOTS of different ways you can connect with other young people and au pairs..

    1. Use the support material provided to you by Smartaupairs. This includes a list of au pairs in your area, access to an app where you can meet au pairs placed through other BAPAA agencies and entry into our private Facebook and Whatsapp groups.
    2. Come along to our au pair events! We organise at least one event every month and these include daytrips to large cities in the UK, small coffee afternoons, picnics, trips to the theatre and visits to London’s markets.
    3. Language classes are very popular among au pairs, so a great way to meet new people.
    4. Join a local club – anything from sports (gym, running, team sports), music, reading, chess, film club. Ask the host family for help in finding out about clubs nearby.
    5. If there is a University in the town/city, there are usually student get-togethers and leisure activities. There may be students studying for a degree in your native language (usually French, Spanish, German and Italian are the most popular) and they would be really pleased to practise with you!
    6. Use Facebook to find other groups of au pairs in your area (Smartaupairs’ private group is safe as we check the identity of everyone before allowing them into it but please take extra care on public groups).
    7. Check out Meetup website for local groups and people who share your interests 
    8. Register with ‘ex-pat’ groups in your area, other people who are new to the area are very likely to also be looking to meet other people nearby to explore together.
    9. Sign up for a local excursion through a travel company. We recommend International Friends Tours (https://www.internationalfriends.co.uk/) – it’s a great way to explore the country with other young people.
    10. Volunteer – a quick Google search can help you to find opportunities in your area. You may be able to help with local events, conservation and wildlife projects or with activities at a local church or community centre.
    11. Ask your host family if they know any other au pairs/young people in the area. Perhaps they have neighbours with au pairs or younger relatives who live nearby.

    Still stuck? Contact our helpful au pair support team at aupairs@smartaupairs.com for additional help!

  • WHAT WILL MY HOURS BE, AND HOW MUCH CAN I EXPECT TO EARN?

    Au Pair (25-30 hours per week)

    • Works for 5-6 hours per day
    • Up to two evenings of babysitting per week may be included within these hours
    • Receives 2 full days off per week (usually the weekends)
    • Minimum weekly pocket money of £85-100 for Silver au pairs or £100-115 for Gold au pairs and native English speakers
    • No sole care for children under 2

    Extra Hours and Summer Au Pair (30-35 hours per week)

    • Works 7 hours per day
    • Up to two evenings of babysitting per week may be included within these hours
    • Receives 2 full days off per week (usually the weekends)
    • Minimum weekly pocket money of £115 for Silver au pairs or £130 for Gold au pairs and native English speakers
    • No sole care for children under 2

    Any additional hours should be paid extra at a minimum of £5 per hour for Silver au pairs and £7 per hour for Gold au pairs and native English speakers.

    As part of the programme, your accommodation is included (your own bedroom within the family’s home), as well as full board (all meals included).

    Au pairs who complete their agreed placement duration with their host family will receive a bonus of one week’s pocket money at the end of their placement.

    And in some cases there are other elements to consider:

    • Use of car in your spare time
    • Gym membership
    • The chance to travel abroad with the family
    • Contribution towards travel expenses
    • Contribution towards language school
  • WILL I HAVE TO PAY FOR MY FLIGHT?

    Au pairs are expected to pay for their own flight to the host family unless specifically agreed otherwise. The host family will collect you from the airport or arrange for collection.

    Please ask the family about their local airport and a suitable date/time for collection. Flight are usually more expensive around weekends and school holidays.

    You should also double check your luggage allowance. Excess luggage may cost as much as your ticket.

  • WILL I BE ABLE TO DRIVE ABROAD?

    If you have a full, clean driving license, you should be permitted to drive abroad for the first year of your stay. An International Driving license is always better and you can simply exchange your license. 

    Check the DVLA information if you want to know more about driving in the UK.

    If the family needs you to drive their vehicle, they will arrange appropriate insurance for the car you will be driving. We also ask them to provide you with a couple of lessons and time to practise before you drive on your own or with the children.

    Please provide a copy of your license in advance, with your references.

    Petrol arrangements should be made directly with the family but if you are lucky enough to be able to use the car for personal you, you will usually cover the petrol costs for this yourself.

  • WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE?

    We strongly recommend that you organise insurance in your home country to cover you for the duration of your placement. Your policy should include cover for costly emergencies, repatriation and legal assistance. 

    Au pairs from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland should travel with an EHIC card. These cards enable access to a limited amount of free healthcare (but are not a substitute for insurance).

  • ANY IDEAS ON ENTERTAINING THE CHILDREN?

    Even the most experienced au pairs sometimes need a bit of inspiration! Our Au Pair Guide will be sent to you upon confirmation of your placement. It includes plenty of ideas for activities you can do with children of all ages.

    In the meantime, Our Pinterest page (https://www.pinterest.co.uk/smartaupairsuk/) is a great place to start. We have a collection of ideas on crafts, recipes and activities to keep you and the children busy!

  • I'M UNHAPPY. WHAT CAN I DO?

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

    We always first try to assist in finding 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 placement is different and we will do what we can to support both parties. If appropriate, we find a replacement.

    There is a two week notice period for placements ending earlier than planned. If you give/are given notice, this period allows both you and your host family time to make alternative arrangements.

  • HOW WILL I KEEP IN TOUCH WITH MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS?

    Although you will be making lots of new friends, it is important to keep in touch with your family and friends back home too.

    Skype is a fantastic way to keep in touch as you can easily use video calling and it’s free! If your family back home do not have a Skype account, set one up for them before you leave so that you can easily contact them from the UK.

  • WHAT IS THE SMART AU PAIRS CERTIFICATE?

    At the end of the au pair stay, our au pairs find that they have gained valuable skills for life. 

    Employers and Universities really appreciate applicants who have been abroad and our certificate is an ideal way to show them about your achievement.  

  • WILL I RECEIVE A HOLIDAY ALLOWANCE?

    Au pairs are entitled to two weeks of holiday for every three months they are with their host family. This equals 1.66 days of paid holiday per month.

    When confirming a placement, we ask both you and your host family to stipulate any dates which you would prefer to take as holiday in advance. You can otherwise agree dates together at a later stage. Be mindful that families rely on you for childcare and therefore need sufficient notice of any holiday you would like to take.

    BAPAA recommends that bank holidays are also given as free time for the pair.

  • WHAT INFORMATION WILL I RECEIVE ABOUT THE FAMILIES IN ADVANCE?

    Each family has a profile which includes their introduction letter, photos of the family and the au pair’s bedroom, references and email address. We check the references of each family that applies. You can look through their information and decide whether or not you may like to have a Skype interview with them.

  • WHAT WILL MY ACCOMMODATION BE LIKE?

    Au pairs will be provided with their own private bedroom within the family’s home. They will also receive full board throughout their placement (i.e. meals will be included). We ask host families to provide a photo of the au pair’s bedroom as part of their family profile.

  • CAN I REQUEST A FAMILY IN A SPECIFIC LOCATION OR WITH CHILDREN OF A CERTAIN AGE?

    We listen to your preferences and do our very best to find the best match for you, however, those who are most flexible will receive the greater choice of families and be placed more quickly.

  • IS THERE A FEE TO PAY?

    Smartaupairs does not charge au pairs - so any fees that you do pay, or may pay would be paid to your sending agency abroad. 

Contact

I want to know more information about