Monday, 24 November 2014


Au pairs and host families regularly contact us to ask about an au pair contract. Do I need an au pair contract? And what should be in an au pair contract?

We always recommend that au pairs and host families have a number of Skype calls before agreeing to an au pair stay. During these skype calls you should discuss, hours of work, light housework, working schedule, English classes and holidays. It's really important that you discuss and agree on everything from hours to agreed light housework, working schedule etc. This way you can both talk about your own expectations and iron out any potential issues. This is an invaluable opportunity for you to understand if you and your potential host family/au pair will be a good match for each other or not. 

Do I need an au pair contract?
We recommend that every family and au pair sign an au pair contract before agreeing to an au pair placement. An au pair should not book their flight before this contract has been signed and agreed to by both the au pair and the family.

In the au pair contract you should include all aspects concerning the au pair placement. These include:

1. working hours and time off
2. weekly pocket money including the day that this will be paid
3. working schedule
4. paid holidays (an au pair should receive 1 week of paid holidays for every 6 months)
5. required notice if the placement needs to be terminated* 
6. the date of commencement and end of the au pair placement

These are the most important conditions of your placement, so you should make sure that you and your family/ au pair agree upon them from the beginning. For example, if the au pair chooses to attend English classes, they mist be given enough time off to attend these. An au pair should never be asked to mind the children when they have to attend English classes.

Time off

Discussing the days you are available and your time off is very important too. Usually au pairs are entitled to a full weekend off per month, one full day off at the weekends and 5 free evenings per week. Anything different than this should be agreed upon in advance and it should be written down in the contract.

Pocket money

Once you have agreed on the number of hours you are available for your family, then you should discuss the pocket money with them. We recommend that you check beforehand what the average pocket money is in the country that you chose to move to, so that you have an idea whether your family is offering you a fair amount of money or not. Please see our recommended pocket money here.....

Duties & responsibilities

Au pairs main priority is to mind the family’s children. This could mean picking them up from school, helping them with their homework, playing with them in their spare time and generally anything that related to the children. Au pairs would usually help the family and stay with the children during the day, but families are allowed to ask for 1 or 2 nights babysitting per week depending on the au pairs hours. Again if you need babysitting, this should go into the au pair contract.

In addition to minding the children, au pairs are usually required to help their host families with a few household chores, such as: making snacks and ironing for the children, vacuuming the children’s room, washing dishes, etc. Even in this case, if there is any particular light housework that you have agreed to do with your host family, you should include it in the contract.

Start and end date of the placement

These dates have to be discussed in advance and have to be included in the agreement. Should the au pair or the family terminate the placement before the agreed terms, both parties are due to give at least a two weeks’ notice. Also, the contract should state the family’s right to end the agreement immediately in case of gross misconduct (such as theft, forgery, deceit, violence, etc.).

Terms & conditions

Other important details that should be made clear on the agreement are:

  • Travel costs: au pairs have to provide for their own travel expenses
  • Behaviour: host families should clarify how they expect their au pair to behave (be punctual, respectful, etc.) and what is not acceptable behaviour for them (such as what time the au pair needs to be home if they are minding the children the following day)
  • Language spoken in the house: the au pair will participate in the family’s life and speak their language with the kids, unless otherwise required (for example, the family might request that the au pair teach her own language to the children, because they want them to learn a second language).
To see Kangaroo au pair's au pair contract, please click the following  link. Please feel free to download and print off.

*There are certain specific occasions when an au pair placement can be terminated without notice.

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