Jun 18, 2013

What You Need to Know When Looking to Get an Au Pair

When looking to hire an au pair, it’s important to consider a number of important factors; these include understanding what you’ll actually get from an au pair staying with you, through to how youcan work out their safety and reliability. In terms of the latter, it’s always best to handle the hiring of an au pair through an au pair agency, who can help match you up with the right person for your needs.

What You Need

An au pair is typically a young person, aged 18-27, who comes from outside the UK to live with youand your family; in exchange for bed and board, an au pair agrees to provide light house work, as well as child care. Au pairs should not be expected to perform any heavy labour, such as DIY projects, and should not have to clean up after parents; they should work about 30 hours a week, although this is flexible, as they’ll be living with you.

If you do need more help around the house, then you’re probably better suited to a professional nanny - however, the costs for a live in nanny that will provide meals and look after children is much more than that of an au pair. A nanny will require wages of about £250 to £400 a week, while au pairs are provided about £80 to £100 as pocket money per week, as well as their bed and board.

Safety and Reliability

Again, this is a situation where au pair agencies are crucial for getting the right au pairyou want someone that has had a background check, and that be trusted to look after children. Some au pairs may also have child care qualifications, and are able to hold a video or phone interview before they arrive in the UK.

You want someone that can commit to 12 to 18 months, and that will be flexible over their working hours. An agreement also needs to be reached over their living situation - will they be allowed to have friends and partners over to the house, and are there any times of the day or week when they’ll be out of touch? Similarly, you have to decide whether you want an au pair to come on family holidays.

The Details

It’s important to take the time to find the right au pair, and to lay out the details of what they’re expected to do in a contract. You’ll also need to factor in how much extra they’ll be adding to bills, as well as their tax situation - as long as they’re earning less than £8,105 a year, youshould be able to claim back any income tax paid if setting up a PAYE account. In addition,you’ll need to know who to contact if a dispute comes up - the original au pair agency should be the first point of contact, in this case, and can advise you on what you need to do if there is a more serious set of circumstances.

About the Author:

Olivia is a mother to two girls and has found that having a motivated au pair from a recognised au pair agency has been very helpful in supporting her and her husband.  She believes that with positive strong female role models young children today will have an open mind when they grow up.

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