Au pair in London: the 2020 guide

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How to become an au pair?

How to become an au pair?

Prerequisites

The minimum age required to be able to work as an au pair varies from country to country. However, as a general rule, you must be between 18 and 30 years old.

According to the website AuPairWorld, in the UK the minimum age requirement to work as an au pair is 17 years old.

If you are a national of the European Union (EU) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), it is not necessary to apply for National Insurance Number - you only need a passport or valid identity card (no visa needed!) to enter England and work as an au pair.

Role of the au pair

An au pair takes care of children with a host family in a country other than their own.

Her time is generally divided between the children's schedule (waking them up, dropping them off / picking them up at school, taking them to their activities, preparing their meals, etc.) and household chores related to children (dishes, cleaning rooms, laundry, ironing, etc.).

In exchange, he / she receives pocket money and benefits from free accommodation and board for the duration of his / her stay.

Some families take advantage of the au pair status, be sure to define the limits of your role before your arrival in the family.

Duration of stay

The duration of an au pair stay varies. It essentially depends on the needs of the host family and the availability of the au pair.

There is no minimum duration : X weeks or X months, renewable or not.

Short-term contracts are generally easier to find during summer vacation (June / July / August).

Number of working hours

In England, an au pair works an average of 30 hours per week - baby-sittings included.

It happens that some contracts exceed 35 hours - we will use the term "live-in nanny" instead and the remuneration will be higher.

Salary

25 / 30h contract

In London, the average weekly salary * for an au pair contract is £100.

Extra babysitting can be charged between £8 and £12 per hour depending on the number of dependent children and the tasks requested (activities, homework help, preparation meals, etc.).

This may not seem like much, but don't forget that the au pair also benefits from free accommodation and board for the duration of their stay!

Different parameters must be taken into account when negotiating pocket money:

  • number of daily / weekly working hours requested
  • number of dependent children
  • experience and diplomas of the au pair in the field of early childhood
  • other advantages (transport card, mobile plan, provision of a car, etc.)

* The au pair stay being considered as a cultural exchange rather than a job, the au pair does not have the status of employee or employee - we will therefore speak of money of pocket rather than salary.

Contract of more than 35h

For contracts of more than 35 hours - we will speak more of a live-in nanny contract.

Rest days and paid holidays

Do not hesitate to ask the question as soon as you arrive with the host family!

Days off

The UK Au Pairs Agency (BAPAA) recommends at least two days off per week - of which at least one weekend a month.

Paid leave

There are no real recommendations regarding paid leave for au pairs in England. However, for a 12-month contract, the au pair generally benefits from 4 weeks of paid leave.

Holidays

There is also no official regulation for public holidays - but au pairs generally do not work on public holidays.

Charges

At the charge of the host family

The au pair benefits from free accommodation and food for the duration of their stay.

And this also during his days of rest, holidays or illness.

To be paid by the au pair

Round-trip travel costs, visa costs and English courses are generally the responsibility of the au pair.

For English courses, the host family must give them the opportunity to participate!

Find a host family

It is very common for the host family you are applying to ask for recommendations (references) from families for whom you have worked - feel free to do the same!

Ask for the contact details of previous au pairs, nannies or babysitters and ask them about their experiences and relationships with the family.

If the family employs a full-time housekeeper, speaking with her - in private - is a great way to assess the quality of life within the family!

The AllTrippers classifieds

The AllTrippers platform offers the functionality Classified Ads - from private / individuals and professionals.

Many announcements of departing host families and au pairs are regularly posted in the “Au pair stay” category.

Viewing and posting classified ads online is completely free.

Be careful, carefully study each proposition that seems strange or too good to be true, prefer a public place for your first interview and never send money - even under the pretext of visa or otherwise.

Facebook groups

Simple and free method: contact other au pairs !

When the adventure comes to an end, many host families ask their current au pair to find their replacement!

International groups:

Be careful, carefully study each proposition that seems strange or too good to be true, prefer a public place for your first interview and never send money - even under the pretext of visa or otherwise.

Gumtree

Gumtree is a free classifieds website where many announcements of host families and departing au pairs are regularly posted.

Be careful, carefully study each proposition that seems strange or too good to be true, prefer a public place for your first interview and never send money - even under the pretext of visa or otherwise.

Specialized sites

AuPairWorld and Find Au Pair are the best known. They bring together many offers of host families - create your profile and contact them!

Be careful, carefully study each proposition that seems strange or too good to be true, prefer a public place for your first interview and never send money - even under the pretext of visa or otherwise.

Employment agencies

There are agencies specializing in the placement of au pairs abroad. These generally manage the search for the host family, the drafting of the contract, the follow-up in the family but also the change of host family in the event of a problem.

The most reputable English agencies are:

Count between €250 and €350 in placement fees depending on the agencies.

Choose your agency carefully and remain vigilant when signing your contract with the host family!

In case of conflict

The first thing to do is to talk to your host family to understand the problem and try to find a solution.

If you feel threatened or in danger, do not hesitate to go directly to nearest police station to you!

Stay organized with an agency

If, despite your discussions with the family, the situation does not improve, do not hesitate to contact your employment agency. They will contact your host family to understand the problem and try to find a solution. If the agency’s intervention is unsuccessful, ask to change host family.

If for any reason you can't or don't dare to talk to your host family about it, don't hesitate to speak directly to your employment agency !

Stay organized by yourself

If, despite your discussions with the family, the situation does not improve, your only recourse will be to inform them of your departure (in writing) - while respecting the notice provided for in your contract.

You must be an au pair until the end of your notice.

If you still want to extend your experience as an au pair, take advantage of this notice period to look for a new host family ! And if you want to put an end to individual procedures, do not hesitate to contact an au pair placement agency.

Notice

According to the European agreement on au pair placement, the contractual notice is 2 weeks.

In the face of serious circumstances, it is nevertheless possible to terminate the contract with immediate effect, without notice.

Letter of termination

With contract

With due notice, you can decide to terminate your au pair contract at any time.

All you need to do is present a letter of termination on plain paper to your host family.

Must appear on your letter:

  • your contact details (first name, last name and address)
  • contact details of the host family (first names, surnames and address)
  • title of the letter: TERMINATION OF THE AU PAIR CONTRACT
  • sample content:

"Dear XXXX family,
I hereby declare to terminate my au pair contract.
In accordance with the notice period, my last working day will be DD / MM / YYYY.
Sincerely, ”

  • date and place
  • signature

Without contract

If no contract has been signed, you will have to agree together on an end of stay date.

Be correct and - if necessary - give your host family time to find a replacement for you!

In the face of serious circumstances, it is nevertheless possible to terminate your contract with immediate effect, without notice.

Meet other au pairs

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups of au pairs in the UK.

International groups:

Be careful and prefer public places for your first meetings.

Your employment agency

If you went through an agency to find your host family, be aware that some of them offer directories listing au pairs living in your neighborhood!