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Hiring an Au Pair

Hiring an au pair
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Hiring an Au Pair

Hiring an Au Pair might not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of childcare. But if you’re returning to work and considering your childcare options or have school age children who you need help with, they can be great for those who don’t work regular hours and there’s less worry if you’re late getting home. If you think an au pair might be for you, how do you find one and what can they help with?

What’s an Au Pair?

An au pair is usually aged between 17 and 27 and they live as part of your family with full bed and board. They’re not the same as a nanny and aren’t suitable to be left in sole charge of a child under two. They can help with light household chores, childcare and school and activity transport. Whilst they’re in the country many au pairs attend a language class to enhance their English.Hiring an au pair

Working hours

If you hire an au pair from within the EU they can work between 25 and 35 hours a week, which should be spread across five days. They’re not entitled to the minimum wage and are usually paid around £70 to £85 a week depending on the region and the hours they work. They can also babysit for two evenings a week, but must have two full days off. You should also offer them a full weekend off once a month and they’re entitled to 28 days holiday a year.

Hiring an Au Pair

To ensure that both yourself and your au pair are protected it’s best to use a registered agency to find one. The British Au Pair Agencies Association (BAPAA) is a good place to start. They have details of agencies across the UK, as well as helpful advice on hiring an au pair. An agency will have interviewed an applicant and taken up their references before suggesting them to you, ensuring that they’re suitable for your needs.

When it comes to interviewing your au pair it’s essential that their personality fits in with your family and it should be an informal process. As they’ll be living with you and joining in with some of the family activities you all need to be able to get along.

Get to know them

At the first interview it’s all about getting to know them. You should ask questions about their experience, future plans and home life, as well as anything relating to their application that you need clarification on.

If you both find that you get along you can arrange a second interview. This will give you the opportunity to talk about the specific hours and routine of the role, as well as any expectations that you have. Make sure that you’re aware of their language requirements and see what their plans are for social activities and making friends.

Hiring an au pair

An agency will already have checked an au pair’s references, but if required they can arrange for you to speak with them directly to clarify their experience.

What Can an Au Pair Do?

As well as general childcare duties, an au pair can also help with light household chores. These can include tasks such as washing dishes, laundry, cooking children’s meals, general cleaning and tidying, occasional small shopping trips and taking care of the pets. However, you shouldn’t expect them to do the gardening, spring cleaning, wash the car or do the weekly shop.

Hiring an au pair can offer great advantages for both your family and the au pair. It provides you with more flexible childcare and the chance for children to get to know people from other countries.

 

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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