Personal & Professional Au Pair & Nanny Agency
What is an Au Pair?
The au pair programme is a cultural exchange programme. Au pairs must be welcomed as a member of the family, sharing their way of life. An au pair is aged between 17 and 27, however an au pair without visa requirements (from EU) can also be older.
An au pair undertakes household and child-care duties for the family. An au pair is given pocket money and provided with their own room and board by the family.
Assistance with household duties i.e. bed-making, vacuuming, ironing, washing, dusting, washing-up, simple cooking, preparing vegetables etc…. Assistance with childcare, playing, taking and collecting from school, baby-sitting. An au pair is not permitted to have continuous sole charge of children under the age of 2.
Hours of an Au Pair
To be on duty no more than 5 days per week with 2 full days free of duties. To work, no more than 5 hours per day, .i.e. maximum of 25 hours per week. Two nights babysitting are included in this programme, any additional babysitting you should pay extra pocket money.
If an au pair is on duty between 25 – 35 hours, this is known as au pair plus hours.
An au pair should receive a minimum of £75 per week pocket money. Au pair plus hours, the au pair would receive more pocket money, for about 30 hours the minimum is £90.
As from September 2010, BAPAA recommends 4 weeks 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.
During their free time your au pair will want to attend English classes at the local college, this is a good way of meeting new friends and should be encouraged. The family should find out where the nearest college is situated and details of the types of courses available.
After you have selected an au pair and before the start date of arrival, it is important to communicate and build the relationship up between you. We recommend that the family keep in contact by emails or telephone conversations.
The arrangement between the au pair and family is informal, there is no contract between them. The success of this arrangement will often depend on the family agreeing with the au pair expectations of the arrangement at the time of acceptance. These are normally set out in a Personal letter of Invitation, the family should write to the au pair and include as much information as possible about the family and should include duties the au pair is expected to undertake, pocket money she will receive, any special requirements of the family, details of family members, i.e. children’s names, ages, hobbies and pets. Accommodation provided and details of language schools.
Register your au pair with the family doctor, give the au pair important telephone numbers i.e work, doctors, emergency services and close relatives. Insurance and other Precautions EU au pairs visiting the UK do not need additional health insurance as they are entitled to use the National Health Service. The au pair may also wish to take out additional travel insurance to cover the loss of belongings, repatriation in case of accident, death etc.. Check your household and personal insurances for coverage against loss, damage or injury caused by or to the au pair whilst they are with you and the family.
If you require an au pair to drive during their stay you will have to check your driving insurance cover. Remember most au pairs are aged under 25.
Making it a Success
Once the Au Pair has arrived it is a good idea to take them around the local area, show them the shops, library, cinema and other places of interest and try to go to the supermarket together so your Au Pair can show you what foods that they like.Treat your Au Pair as you would as a family member or friend and encourage them to talk about their home life as much as possible. Be interested and ask questions as it will help them relax, feel welcome and settle in.Be sympathetic and compassionate as they could very well be feeling homesick and for some it may be their first time away from home. Ask questions about their family and encourage them to show you photos.Take care to show your Au Pair what you require and to carefully explain how you like things to be done. Write down any instructions so s/he can consult with a dictionary and allow them to ask questions.Do not assume that they are used to doing things the same way that we are. It is advisable to write a schedule of duties out so that you both know what is expected. Let them ask questions and be patient.Encourage your Au Pair to explore, and make friends at their college classes, but remember to invite them on days out with the whole family from time to time.