Please read the information contained in the Au Pairs section of this website and contact a BAPAA member agency listed in the Directory. They will advise you on how to apply.
If you cannot resolve problems directly with your host family (which should be attempted first), contact the Au Pair agency that placed you with the family and they will be able to help you.
You should never look for, or accept a family, that you have found on the internet. It’s not a safe way to travel and work as an Au Pair. Always use a reputable BAPAA agency (see list of BAPAA member agencies in the Directory). A BAPAA agency assists with the careful matching of an au pair to vetted families in Britain. Many agencies look after the same host families year after year; they know the families well and this ensures successful and safe placements. Once in the UK, you will be well looked after by the BAPAA agency you choose to use.
Contact one of the BAPAA agencies on this site and they will advise you who to contact and what the next step is.
A Medical report is essential and so is a police check. It’s very important that the BAPAA agency ensures that you are physically and mentally fit to work as an Au Pair and also that you have no criminal background.
Some families will offer to pay for their au pair’s language course and others will offer a contribution (BAPAA recommends that the host family contributes at least £20 per month towards language school costs or equivalent benefits) but the Au Pair must be prepared to bear the majority of the costs.
As from September 2010, BAPAA recommends 4 weeks per year (or 1.66 days per month pro-rata if the placement is shorter than a year), plus 8 Bank / Public Holidays. The matter of paid holidays should be discussed and agreed between you and the Host Family. 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.
Au pairs are to be given UK Bank / National Holidays as free time.
There may be some restrictions. BAPAA is still awaiting clarification as to what is required.
Au pair – The Au Pair programme is an internationally recognised Cultural Exchange Programme. It offers a young individual the opportunity to travel and live / work with a host family in a new country, learn a foreign language and experience the country’s culture. The Au Pair will work a set amount of hours for the host family, usually doing a mixture of childcare and light housework. The Au Pair may have some childcare experience and even qualifications, but an Au Pair is not a nanny and should also not be treated as a housekeeper.
Mother’s help – A mother’s help is a carer who has got a genuine interest in children, who works under supervision on the daily running of the household. The mother’s help will have at least 1 year’s relevant experience and / or a qualification. Duties regarding children will be according to their experience, the type of household and the ages of the children. An extra hand rather than someone who takes charge. Depending on the childcare responsibilities expected, they will be able to help around the house with light housework and run errands. If she is experienced and confident enough, she can take sole charge of the children at times. Unlike most nannies, mothers’ helps will normally do some light housework (dusting, hoovering etc).
Nanny – A nanny is a qualified and / or experienced childcarer who works in the setting of the family’s home, either live-in or out. The nanny is able to assume the responsibility of sole charge of young children. They are professionals and therefore expect a permanent contract with normal working conditions i.e. annual salary plus bonuses, overtime, paid holiday and their salary is subject to national insurance etc. Apart for doing childcare, they will usually only do child-related housework.
Please note that, for 2017-18, UK income tax is payable on income over £11,500 per annum.
Families are responsible for ensuring income tax and National Insurance contributions are paid, if applicable.
Please check with the HMRC for further information on income tax and National Insurance thresholds (website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs).
If you are from an EU or EEA* Country (see list below), then you can drive in the UK with your home country licence. From most other Countries, provided your licence remains valid, you can drive for up to 12 months. To carry on driving after 12 months, you must have obtained a provisional British driving licence and passed a driving test before the 12 months lapses. For more information, visit www.gov.uk.
Before you drive in the UK for the first time, it is vital to be sure that your host family has arranged insurance cover for you with their motor insurer so that you are legally covered when you drive their car. BAPAA recommends that you ask to see evidence that your name has been included on the family’s motor insurance policy. As an adult, UK Law considers you to be a responsible person and you should only agree to drive if you are satisfied that you are insured!
BAPAA recommends that all Au Pairs who are required to drive as part of their routine are given a course of driving lessons by a qualified British driving instructor. The instructor will report to the family when he/she feels that you have reached the correct degree of confidence required.
Petrol used by an Au Pair in connection with work is paid for by the family, but most Au Pairs will have to pay for petrol for their personal use. This needs to be discussed at the beginning of the Au Pair‘s stay.
You can get directions of how to get from one place to another at the AA website www.theaa.com/route-planner/index.jsp
*Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden UK. Switzerland is not in the EEA but an international treaty means that Swiss Nationals have similar rights.