Star Au Pairs

Frequently asked questions

How much pocket money does an au pair receive?
Depending on you option and requirements in terms of hours and duties from the au pairs will determine the payment. Please have a look at au pair options to decided what type of au pairs fills your requirements. This can range from £75 to £150+ per week.

Fees

What are the generally expectation/duties of an au pair?
Depending on the au pair option you decide the generally overview is:
  • 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?
Please look at the table below for current tax thresholds.

www.nannytax.co.uk and www.way2paye.co.uk 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.

Will an au pairs bring friends to your home?
Au pairs should not bring their friends uninvited to your home. Generally, they meet out and not at your home. You may be happy for the au pair to bring one friend to your family, or prefer they do not bring anyone to the family home. It is advisable that you set clear house rules at the start.

When the family is away on holiday what happens to the au pair?
This is individual preference and something you need to discuss with the au pair. Some au pairs take the opportunity while the family is on holiday to go and visit their family. The most important thing is to make it clear what your preference is. Also there may be situation that the au pair is unable to go back home at that point, so you must feel comfortable for the au pair to stay in your home alone. Most au pairs become part of the family very quickly and hopefully you will feel comfortable for them to be at home while you are on holiday. It may also benefit you if you have pets to care for and having someone you know in your how while you are away for added home security.

What else could I provide my au pair?
In some cases families may consider to providing the following for the au pair, however this is optional and dependent on your requirements:
  • Use of car in for her/his spare time,
  • Chance to travel abroad with the family
  • A mobile phone with limited personal use funded (pay as you go)
  • Membership to (sports) clubs
  • Payment of/towards English classes
  • Payment of/towards First Aid qualification
  • Payment towards travel expenses on public transport
  • Payment of a flight home after agreed period of successful performance

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.

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 help go to au pair options: Mothers 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 with special need?
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 are looking for an au pair to help with a special needs child please contact us and we can talk through it. There are candidates that are suited to support you look after your child with special needs. Star au pairs take pride in getting the right au pair for the right family hence particularly in this case we would prefer to talk to you first.

Should I pay for au pairs travel costs?
The au pair pays for their flight. However, you may wish to contribute but this is completely optional.

Assistance with travel to and from the airport either by picking the au pair up or providing information regarding the nearest airport and possibly paying for costs to your home. This is however optional, but please take into consideration that some au pairs may not have travelled to the UK so any assistance from you would be appreciated. Star au pairs can provide location of airports and train to the au pair if needed.

Can my Au pair drive in the UK ?
If your au pair has a full, clean driving license from another EEA country, they are permitted to drive in Britain. Check www.DVLA.gov.uk if you want to know more.

However, the fact that the au pair has 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) it is best to consider a driver with some driving experience (regular driving with town, countryside and motorway experience).

To familiarise the au pair with driving in Britain, you should give them the ‘highway code’, and time to practice with yourself before driving your vehicle on their own and transporting your children.

If you need them to drive your vehicle, you will need to arrange appropriate insurance for the car they will be driving. Most insurance companies will insure EEA drivers.

You cannot expect an au pair to pay for any damage. Petrol must be provided for use on duty, but the au pair may be asked to contribute towards petrol for personal use whilst off duty.

Do I need to do anything regarding insurances?
The au pair will be provided this information, however for your information:

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 by the au pair before travel.

For more information please see EHIC

Please register your au pair with your family doctor.

How can I help my au pair improve there English?
Work with your au pair to find a language course. Your local colleague should be able to help you with what they have to offer. This is a great way for your au pair to not only learn English but also meet other people from your local area. You may want to get a prospectus from the colleague or a link to provide to the au before or a soon as they arrive.

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 au pair. 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 replacement.

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. Maybe refer tips for success to your au pair in case they have not read them.