Know the Rules of Hiring an Au Pair Placement Before You Employ Someone

By kathyneil, April 1, 2013

A lot of families decide to begin the process of hiring an au pair. It seems to be an extremely suitable solution for those who lead busy lives (and let’s face it; most of us do!). However, before you start to hunt down reputable au pair agencies, you need to be aware of the rules surrounding it. After all, hiring an au pair is slightly different from your typical employment regulations. This is because an individual in an au pair placement is not actually classed as an employee. Therefore, their employment does not coincide with the typical laws, such as the national wage. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, by the time you have finished reading this article everything will be crystal clear.

As mentioned in the introduction, au pairs don’t need to be paid the national wage. This is because they are going to live with your family and therefore the situation is a lot different. Nevertheless, you do have to pay them some money, which is often classed as ‘pocket money’. You must pay your au pair pocket money on a weekly basis and it has to be between approximately £70 and £85 at a time. This is the equivalent of a wage. Because you are going to be providing accommodation and meals the money is a lot less than a traditional wage would be. It is worth noting that the au pair must eat with the family and the individual themselves may be liable to pay income tax and national insurance. Whether they should or not depends on how much pocket money you give them. It is recommended that you encourage your au pair to simply visit a government website or the job centre in order to determine whether they need to pay or not.

You will also need to provide a signed letter showcasing all of the details surrounding the au pair placement. This includes their working hours, their free time, the level of their pocket money, where they are going to be sleeping and so on and so forth. This letter is considered an ‘invitation’ from you to the au pair. In simple terms though, it is essentially a contract. When it comes to determining how many hours your au pair works, you are supposed to aim for around the 30 hour mark. This includes a couple of evenings, whereby they will be babysitting your children.

These are all the essential factors you must be aware of. You cannot expect your au pair to work every single hour of everyday. Nevertheless, he or she can partake in some evenings of babysitting and roughly five hours of housework a day. They are entitled to a day off too as well. And finally, when it comes to other particulars, such as whether the au pair will go on a holiday with the family and so on is entirely up to you. Now you know your duty as an employer and the individual’s duty as an au pair you have, the basis to move forward and begin sourcing good au pair agencies.

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