Star Au Pairs

Frequently asked questions

How much pocket money will I get?
The option and requirements in terms of hours and duties you opt for will determine the payment you receive. See the au pair options to decide what type of au pair you would like to opt for. This can range from £75 to £150+ per week, plus boarding and lodging.

What are the expectations/duties of an au pair?
Specific roles are set by the family dependent on the au pair option agreed, but generally duties/expectations include:
  • Light housework: school pick-up and drop-off, ironing children’s clothes, cooking and clearing up after meal time: Please look at the au pair options for more detail.
  • Hours on duty approx 5-7 hours per day, 5 days per week depending on theyoption selected.
  • 2 evenings of babysitting per week
  • Free time minimum 2 full days plus 3 evenings
  • Own bedroom
  • No sole care for children under 2
  • Have internet access to stay in touch with family and friends

Please look at au pair options for more detail.

What do I need to know about TAX, NI contributions?
The following information will be provided to your family. It is worth being aware of this.

Please look at the table below for current tax thresholds. and can assist in all tax and NI matters.

For more information on PAYE and payroll please visit: HMRC

Lower Earnings Limit £112 gross per week or less If you pay your employee the LEL or below, there is nothing due to HMRC and your employee will not be entitled to any state pensions or benefits.
Bracket between Lower Earnings Limit and NI Threshold Between £112-£156 gross per week If you pay your employee between these figures there is nothing due to HMRC, however you should still register so your employee will be entitled to state pension and benefits.
Employer's (Secondary) NI Threshold £156 gross per week or more If you pay your employee £156 or more you must register and pay Employer’s NI.

Can I bring friends to the family’s home?
You should not bring friends uninvited to the family home as youshould generally meet friends in a public location and not at the family’s home. The family may be happy for you to bring a friend to the home and spend time in your private space, but only if the family gives you permission.

When the family is away on holiday what should I do?
This is individual preference and something you need to discuss with the family. Some au pairs take the opportunity while the family is on holiday to go and visit their family and friends. The most important thing is to make it clear what the preference is. Also there may be situation that the au pair is unable to go back home at that point, so the family must feel comfortable for the au pair to stay in their home alone. Most au pairs become part of the family very quickly and hopefully both parties will feel comfortable for you to be at home while the family is on holiday. If the family has pets they may ask you to look after them whilst they are away, however this should be agreed between the family and yourself.

What is the difference between mothers help and a regular au pair?
Mother's helpers are not officially part of the au pair cultural exchange scheme as more hours are required by the family for you to help and support the mother.

They are candidates who are willing and able to take on higher levels of responsibility, but not fully qualified like a nanny or teacher. 

More information on mother’s help go to au pair options: Mother’s help.

What are summer au pairs?
A young adult over 18 lives with a family for the summer and will support the family looking after the children during school holidays. Although more hours are required the au pair should not be looking after the children all day every day. In some cases, the children attend holiday clubs part of the day and the au pair will assist with the remainder of the day until parents return from work, or allows parents who stay at home manage time/activities with the children. Duties for a summer au pair are the same an au pair.

In return the summer au pair should be provided with a room and board with internet access, weekly pocket money usually around £85 -£100 per week depending on requirements. The summer au pair would provide assistance of 30 -35 hrs per week.

Do au pairs look after children under the age of two or children or children with special needs?
An au pair should not be expected to have sole care for infants under the age of two or for children with special needs, because they are not usually qualified to do so.

If you have experience in looking after children with special needs please contact us and we can talk through possible opportunities for you.

Can au pairs ask families for travel costs?
The au pair pays for their flights. In some cases the family may offer to pay for flights.

Family should assist you with travel to and from the airport either by picking the you up or providing information regarding the nearest airport and possibly paying for costs to the family home. Star au pairs can provide the best location (airports and train) if needed.

Can I drive in the UK?
If you have a full, clean driving license from another EEA country, are permitted to drive in Britain. Check if you want to know more.

However, the fact that you have a driving license does not guarantee suitability to drive in Britain. As driving in Britain is quite different from the continent (driving on the left, roundabouts, levels of traffic).

To familiarise yourself with driving in Britain, you should read the ‘highway code’ code, and request time to practice with the family before driving a vehicle on your own and transporting children.

Do I need to do anything regarding insurances?
Au pairs should consider an annual insurance policy. In many cases healthcare in Britain is free but the policy should be there to protect them (and you) for costly emergencies, such as repatriation and legal assistance.

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles the au pairs who are from an EEA country to reduced-cost, sometimes free, medical treatment.

The card is free but must be obtained before you travel.
For more information please see EHIC

It is important that you register with the family doctor. Please ask the family for details of their doctor.

How will I improve my English?
Work with your family to find a language course. The local colleague should be able to help you with what they have to offer. This is a great way for you to not only learn English but also meet other people from your local area. You may want to ask the family the name of the college before you arrive so you can do some research before you get to your host family.

What if the family or au pair is unhappy?
Even with the best planning and support, occasionally things do not work out and someone is unhappy.

Star au pairs first step is to try to find out what the issue is and try to find a solution between you and your family. We can mediate and often an open and frank discussion results in a positive outcome.

However, there are situations where this is not the case. Each situation is different and we will do what we can to support you. If appropriate, we find a family.

At all times we ask both parties to remain courteous.

The terms and conditions states 14 days notice, giving au pair and host family a chance to make alternative arrangements.

Look at our top tips for success for both the host family and au pair.

Do I receive paid holiday?
Yes. In order to avoid any conflict with UK working time regulations, we recommend that families should give the au pair 28 days paid holiday pro rata.
The matter of paid holidays should be discussed and agreed between the family and the au pair.  The family must specify the au pair’s entitlement to paid holidays and must state when they can be taken or if there are any times which are inconvenient to them.  Holiday times are to be mutually agreed between the host family and au pair at all times. If a host family wishes to take an au pair on holiday with them, it must be decided in advance if it is a holiday for the au pair as well, or if he/she will be working i.e babysitting.