Au Pairs are another form of help with childcare that is popular in the UK. However, there are clear differences between the role of an au pair and the role of a nanny which people are not always aware of.
What is an Au Pair?
An au pair is somebody from a different country who stays with a host family and helps out with light housework and childcare while studying their host’s language and culture.
The au pair is expected to work 25 to 35 hours per week and babysit two evenings per week in return for bed, board and pocket money of at least £70 per week. Any additional babysitting or hours of work should be paid on top of the pocket money.
If the au pair is paid over the tax and National Insurance thresholds then tax and National Insurance must be paid by their host family.
What are the key differences between a Nanny and an Au Pair?
The National Minimum Wage does not apply to au pairs, but does apply to nannies unless the nanny lives as part of the family household.
An au pair must be given the opportunity to attend language classes as the main purpose of their visit to the UK is that of cultural exchange.
Unlike nannies, au pairs are not professional child carers. They will probably not have childcare qualifications and may not have experience of childcare.