Guide for Host Families

Au-Pairs are usually between 17 and 27 years old, coming to England in order to learn or improve their knowledge of English whilst living as a part of a family helping with childcare & household duties. They must be treated as family members and not as employees. They are a "live-in" help so you must provide them with their own bedroom and food.

Au-Pairs are not professionally trained childcare providers hence have much less responsibility for the welfare of the children than nannies or registered child-minders.

Au-Pairs are generally expected to work 30 hours a week, plus 2 evenings of babysitting. In return for their help they receive pocket money of no less than £70 per week. During school holidays they can be asked to work more hours for extra pocket money.

Holiday Au-Pairs come to England during summer months and because the children are out of school, they have less free time than during an academic year and often no chance to study a language. Same rules apply as for ordinary Au-Pairing. Working hours: 25-30 hours, pocket money: £70.

Au-Pair Plus is required to work longer hours (30-35 hours) and have more responsibility. The average weekly pocket money an Au-Pair Plus should receive is minimum £95 and can be as much as £120 depending on the amount of hours worked.

Pocket Money is to be paid weekly in arrears. It is not taxable and the Au-Pair does not pay National Insurance.

Free time must be given daily so that Au-Pair can study or attend English classes. Normally 2 days per week should be free. Most families are able to offer Saturday and Sunday.

Evening Baby-Sitting can be required twice per week for no extra money and this can be on the Au-Pair's "day off" (weekend). Any extra babysitting should be paid for.

Holidays should be given to the Au-Pair twice per year (i.e. 2 weeks every 6 months).

Duties of the Au-Pair consist generally from:

***Light housework*** vacuuming, dusting, tidying up, loading the washing machine, washing up, ironing for children etc. If they are happy to do so, they can care for your pets. Heavy housework is considered washing windows, scrubbing carpets, cleaning ovens, kitchen cupboards, shoe cupboards and chores that include moving furniture or heavy lifting. The Au-Pair can do these only if you employ them for household duties only if they are happy with the "job description", which must be explained in your Registration form.

***Childcare*** taking to and collecting from school, playing, taking to the park, accompanying to after-school clubs, bathing, putting to bed etc.

Language Classes fees are responsibility of the Au-Pair however, the host family must make sure the Au-Pair has sufficient time to attend and should help them find a suitable course nearby. Host Families should also consider helping the Au-Pair with travel cost to and from the college if they live far.

Nationality of Au-Pairs can vary only certain countries are part of the Au-Pair Program. Bergerac Agency can offer Au-Pairs from Europe. Au-Pairs from Turkey require VISA before entering the UK, in which case the family must prepare a LETTER OF INVITATION. We will assist with preparation of this letter. After arrival they will be required to register with the Police at the Aliens Registration Office within 7 days.

Driving in the UK: if you need an Au-Pair to drive, it is important that you provide an adequate insurance cover. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and if so, it is not acceptable to claim damages from Au-Pair by taking their pocket money.

Arrival in the UK: families are generally expected to collect the Au-Pair from the place of their arrival, usually the airport, main train or coach station. If the family cannot do so, the Agency will assist in providing the Au-Pair with exact and detailed information on how to get to their place of stay. The family must refund the Au-Pair their travel expenses immediately after arrival.

Settling in period can take anything up to 2 weeks, so please be prepared. You will need to be patient and give your Au-Pair time and support. When they arrives, let them have a rest after the journey. Some coach journeys take as long as 24 hours! It will take a while for them to adjust to the language and it is likely that at first they will not understand anything you say, so please be patient, speak slowly and you will be surprised that their understanding will soon increase.

Your Au-Pair will be homesick at first, often being the first time away from home, friends and family. Help them by putting them in touch with other Au-Pairs in the area and don't exclude them from family life.

Giving Clear Instructions about what you expect from your Au-Pair is very important. Some families find a timetable and description of duties written down helpful. Also explain the rules and make clear arrangements about using the phone and paying the bill. Make it very clear with the Au-Pair whether or not you wish them to discipline the children if necessary and how to do so.

Appreciation plays a big part in a successful relationship, Au-Pairs can sometimes feel un-noticed. An occasional treat to say "thank you" for all their hard work is much appreciated by the Au-Pair. After-all a happy Au-Pair means a happy child and happy household.

Communication is a key to solving all problems, no matter how big or small they seem to be. If you feel you are unable to solve a problem yourself, talk to us!

Bergerac Au-Pair Agency is always on hand to offer advice and assistance!