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An au pair is a single person who comes here to learn English and live as part of an English-speaking family. Au pairs can be expected to do a mixture of childcare and light housework, working up to 5 hours a day or 25 hours per week. Au pairs from EC countries are allowed to work additional hours making a total of up to 35 per week and can expect extra pocket money for these hours. In addition, they can expect to do up to two evenings a week babysitting. Free time should be given daily for study or to pursue personal interests, and they must have two days a week completely free. Most families do not usually ask an au pair to work weekends apart from babysitting. Au pairs should not be asked to babysit every Saturday, although one evening per weekend is normal. This information is based on Home Office Regulations regarding au pairs.

If there is additional work during school holidays, this should be made clear at the time of making the offer and reasonable additional pocket money can be expected in return for this.

No au pairs are trained nannies and they should not be left in sole charge of babies for long periods. Au pairs should not be given sole charge of children under 2.

During free time, the au pair should be made to feel welcome as a member of the family. Usually, once they have found their feet they will want to be with their own friends during their free time. Whilst an au pair should not be treated like a child and needs independence like any young adult, initially they may need more looking after to avoid feeling isolated and uncomfortable.

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