If you want to book an au pair, we need some essential information from you, so we can find the right au pair for your family.
Many people get confused between nannies and au pairs but there is a world of difference between them. Unlike nannies, au pairs have no formal training in caring for children and most have little experience of it, unless they happen to have had younger siblings. Au pairs are foreign and their main reason for being in this country is to learn the language and enjoy some of the British culture. The idea is that they live with a family to help them practice their English and absorb our way of life and in return they help around the house and receive some ‘pocket money’ each week from the family.
Au pairs are not nanny substitutes. They are unqualified, often inexperienced girls or boys of between 18-27 years of age. Home Office rules state that au pairs can only work 25 hours a week with a couple of evenings a week for babysitting and all their weekends free. A typical au pair position is to work five hours per day, Monday to Friday, caring for school-age children before and after school, and doing some light housework. We do emphasise that it is light housework as far too often we have come across parents who really want an au pair as a cheap nanny or, basically, a slave. These parents we try to weed out in the interviewing process but those who manage to get an au pair usually find that he or she leaves very quickly if they are treated badly.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) stipulates that au pairs should never have sole care of children under the age of three and that they should be paid around £55 a week as pocket money. Some au pairs are willing to work as a so-called ‘au pair plus’ where she or he is paid £60-90 a week, or more, for working more hours. However, the hours they work and the type of work they do may not be equal to that of a nanny. If you have very small children or you have enough housework to keep someone busy full-time, contact us for a nanny or a mother’s help or get in touch with our domestic agency, Mrs Hunt’s Staffing Agency, for a proper housekeeper.