Family's Section

Information for families

Phoenix Au-Pairs has a wealth of experience when it comes to finding the right au pair for your family. This page is dedicated to providing you with information on hosting an au pair; the role they will play in your home and how having an au pair can benefit your family. Our agency is based in Aberdeen, Scotland but we place au pairs across the UK.

What is an Au Pair?

An au pair is a single person aged between 17 and 27 years, or even older for mother's help positions, who provides help with childcare and light housework in exchange for board, lodging and pocket money. They may live for up to 2 years with an English-speaking family, where they must be given their own room.
 
Since one of the main purposes of their visit to the UK is to learn English and experience British culture at first hand, au pairs must be allowed to register with a local college, if they wish to support their studies. However, some candidates are happier to improve their conversational English skills just through living with an English-speaking family.
Click here for more information on the types of au pairs we supply Having an au pair for the first time?

How will they benefit my family?

  • Minimize the stress of childcare and household upkeep when both parents work fulltime
  • Giving a helping hand to larger families!
  • If you're a single parent, they will complete all the necessary tasks you just don't have time to between working and being a parent
  • For families who work unsociable hours, they take care of things whilst you get some well needed rest
  • Give that helping hand during the school holidays which can make the world of difference

What do Au Pairs do?

These examples are only for guidance. Each family will have their own requirements.
  • Help with children.
Examples: Supervision, take children to the park, take them to/from school/nursery, bath them, feed them, cook simple meals, play with them etc.
  • Light housework.
Examples: Hoovering, dusting, mopping, washing dishes, load/unload washing machine, cook for the children, cook for the family (very rarely), clean the bathroom (the one the au pair uses as well.)
  • Babysitting
Au pairs must be prepared to provide 2 evenings babysitting each week (these should be arranged where possible during the au pair’s working week).
For clarity, "babysitting" refers to time when the au pair is responsible for children in the evening when they are asleep/about to go to bed. It is not time when the au pair is expected to carry out household duties. 
  • Help with pets
This is not applicable to all families, obviously. When the families have pets and they need help, we make sure the candidates know this in advance. This may include: feeding the pets, help with cleaning, walking the dogs etc.

How long will an au pair stay?

Long term placements vary from 6 months to 24 months. Most au pairs end up staying with your family for the time agreed initially – generally around a 10-12 month placement, but there are also au pairs who stay up to 2 years (or even longer!). Short term placements, up to 3 months, are only available during summer holidays - June to September.

What will it cost me


          1. Agency Fee
From the moment a family has chosen a candidate, we allow 3 working days to receive the appropriate invitation letter and placement fee. The placement fee must be paid before the candidate arrives to the host family. The fee depends on the type of candidate chose, as follows:

Short Term Placements (up to 3 Months) – Only available in summer time, from June to September
• Summer au pair(basic or plus) £150 
Long term placements - 4 to 12 months  
• Long term au pair (basic/plus) Non-Driver £420
• Long term au pair (basic/plus) Driver £450
• Mother's help Standard Non-Driver- £550 
• Mother's help Standard Driver - £600 
• Mother's help housekeeper - £700 
• Couple au pairs - £600

At present time, our Loyalty discount for returning families is £50 for long term candidates and £15 for Short term and male au pair candidates. This only applies if the previous payment has been made in due time and our Terms and Conditions have been respected at all times.
The full fee becomes payable when the host family selects a candidate introduced by Phoenix Au-Pairs and the prospective candidate confirms the placement. Remittance should be paid by direct bank transfer. 

          2. Travel costs
Candidates are responsible for their own travel costs from their home country to the UK and the host family is responsible for meeting the candidate at the point of entry to the UK (which may be an airport/coach station in London).
If the host family cannot meet the candidate on arrival (i.e. because they live elsewhere in the country), Phoenix Au-Pairs will provide every assistance with making reservations for the onward travel to the family’s home. The host family will be responsible for paying for the candidate’s onward journey from the entry-point in UK to host family’s home, whether that is a flight, train, bus ticket or a taxi fare.

          3. Accommodation and board
The host family is responsible for providing the candidate accommodation free of charge, 7 days a week. The candidate must be offered her own private bedroom, as well as access to amenities, kitchen, bathroom, washing machine, Wi-Fi, etc.

The host family must also provide full board for their candidate, meaning breakfast, lunch and dinner. We will leave it to the family and candidates discretion as to whether they eat together or whether the candidate will cook their own meals. If this is the case then the candidate should be provided with a sensible weekly amount of groceries (which must cover breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days per week )

          4. Paying the candidate
The candidate should receive the weekly allowance in arrears, at the end of each working week. If the host family prefers to pay the candidate four-weekly or monthly, this must be agreed in advance and included in the letter of invitation/contract.

The weekly pocket money/allowance depends on the type of candidate and the hours to be worked, as follows:
• A basic au pair working up to 25 hours per week, plus 2 evenings babysitting must be paid a minimum of £75 per week 
• An au pair plus working up to 35 hours per week, plus 2 evenings babysitting must be paid a minimum of £95 per week 
• An au pair mother’s help working 40 hours per week, must be paid a minimum of £180 net per week. For 45 hours per week the minimum weekly allowance is £200 net and for 50 hours per week the minimum weekly allowance is £225 net. For families with children under the age of 2, we recommend a minimum weekly allowance of £200 net per week for 40 hours worked minimum £225 net for 45 hours per week and minimum £250 net for 50 hours per week.
• A mother’s help housekeeper working 40 hours per week should be paid a minimum of £240
• Additional money must be paid for additional hours worked. The maximum working hours per week for au pairs is 35 and the maximum weekly working hours for mother’s helps is 50.
Phoenix Au-Pairs suggests a minimum rate of £4 for each extra hour worked for au pairs basic/plus and minimum £7(seven)/hour for mother’s help candidates.
* This relates to the minimum weekly pocket money/allowance that a family should pay the candidate. However, each family's requirements are assessed individually and if the circumstances are deemed exceptional/non-standard (i.e. very rural environment, more than 3 children, two or more children under the age of 4 etc.) then the family should consider offering a higher pocket money than the minimum stated above. We will advise accordingly.

Minimum paid holiday is 4 weeks per year including public and bank holidays, or pro-rata for shorter periods. The holiday allowance is expected to be calculated based on the usual weekly pocket money/allowance.

 
Other possible costs

A. Tax and NI contributions
It is up to each individual family to satisfy themselves that they are aware of their tax & NI contributions responsibilities for their au pairs & au pair mothers’ helps. The family is responsible for paying any tax and NI contributions for the candidate, where applicable. For the tax year 2016 to 2017, the primary threshold for paying NI contributions is £155 per week and employee personal allowance is £212 per week.  
Further information is available here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/

B. Employer’s Liability Insurance
You must get Employers’ Liability insurance as soon as you become an employer - your policy must cover you for at least £5 million and come from an authorised insurer.
Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/employers-liability-insurance 

C. Driving and associated costs
If the host family requires the candidate to drive as part of her duties, then it is in the family’s responsibility to provide:
  - refresher driving lessons with a local driving school or a qualified and experienced driver, in order to ensure that candidate is competent to drive in the UK. 
  - a car that the candidate can use
  - cover the car insurance 
  - cover any car maintenance costs
  - cover the fuel costs associated with the errands the candidate must do
It is the host family’s decision if the candidate can have personal use of the car. If so, the candidate would be responsible to cover the fuel costs for the personal use.   

D. Other costs
If the host family decides to terminate the contract sooner than initially agreed and they cannot accommodate the candidate during the notice period, then the host family will be responsible to cover any accommodation costs for the candidate and/or any travel costs back to the candidate’s country or to another host family in the UK. Please see Replacement policy, Disclaimer and Termination of employment 

The host family is responsible to cover any costs related to the childcare duties the candidate must undertake, for example, but not exhaustive of:
  - any admission fees – swimming pool, play barns, amusement parks etc. 
  - any travel costs related to the candidate’s fulfilling the duties, be it fuel or bus/train/taxi fares

What verifications are made on the au pairs before they arrive in the UK?

The benefit of working with a reputable au pair placement agency is that they should ensure that all childcare and character references are provided and checked. They should also ensure that au pair candidates provide a medical certificate and confirmation that they do not have a criminal record. These checks may be done in the host country or from the UK.
 
For the au pairs that are sourced directly via the internet (i.e. without using an agency), no reassurance about authenticity of references is generally provided.
An au pair can provide much needed help around the house and provide great care for your children. Phoenix Au-Pairs can place au pairs in Aberdeen, Scotland and throughout the UK.

Call 0800 999 4221
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