These terms and conditions, together with the registration form, represent the contract between Phoenix Au-Pairs and the host family, to the exclusion of all other terms and warranties notwithstanding any terms and conditions that may be contravened in any order or other form by the family.
By submitting the registration form, you agree to and accept our general terms and conditions. You will warrant that the information you provide at time of application is correct and that you will at all times behave in a responsible, reasonable and caring manner towards your candidate. Any changes in your personal circumstances must be notified to the agency, as well as the candidate, as soon as the change occurs, but no later than 10 working days. This includes (but is not exhaustive of) change of address, contact details, marital status (separation, marriage), important changes of your health that might affect the candidate (i.e. debilitating illness, death), number of working hours, number of children cared for, amount of pocket money offered etc.)
Any extension, waiver or variation may only be in writing signed by the Director of Phoenix Au-Pairs.
Phoenix Au-Pairs cannot accept any instruction, verbally or in writing, unless and until you submit the online registration form, hence accepting these terms and conditions.
Phoenix Au-Pairs acts as an agent for the purpose of effecting introductions between you and the candidate. At no point does the agency directly or indirectly employ/engage the candidate, the host family does. The agency will send out no more than up to 3 suitable profiles at a time. Acceptance of candidate is acceptance of the agency's terms & conditions.
If the candidate is introduced to you, resulting in a placement, engagement or employment of the candidate, you will be liable for the full fee and any costs associated with the recovery of the fee. The fee will also be payable to Phoenix Au-Pairs if you engage the candidate at a future date, having previously declined the candidate through Phoenix Au-Pairs.
If you transfer or pass on the names of a candidate to other families you will be liable for the placement fee, in the event of the family employing the candidate.
Whilst the agency will make reasonable efforts to ensure the suitability of the candidate, the host family is responsible for satisfying themselves as to the suitability of the candidate, concerning his/her, qualifications, standard of English and general integrity.
We act as an agent solely for the purpose of effecting introductions between the host family and the candidate. Any fees charged are solely for introductions. The fees charged by our agency are introduction fees and it is up to the family and the candidate to make the arrangement work through good communications. We cannot be blamed when an arrangement breaks down through communication as there are too many factors outside our control.
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. Failing that, the agency will place the candidate with another family. In case the candidate is already in the UK, the placement fee has to be paid on the date the invoice is issued.
If it comes to our attention, through either one of our partners or a candidate, that a family have approached a candidate directly and without our explicit consent or knowledge, with the sole intention of securing that candidate for themselves, then the full fee becomes payable, according to the position offered to the candidate. The fee will be due in this case, regardless of whether the letter of invitation/employment contract is received by our agency or not. This will happen with immediate effect. Should we not receive the payment within 3 working days, we reserve the right to place the matter in the hands of a professional debt collector.
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
• Long term male au pair (basic/plus) £200
• 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. Should the host family cancel the placement once the invitation letter has been received by Phoenix Au-Pairs the full placement fee is due.
Please note that all travel arrangements must be made through Phoenix Au-Pairs and no travel arrangements will be made prior to the placement fee being made.
If the family and the candidate decide to extend a placement at the end of a contract (i.e. after 12 months) the host family will become liable to pay another fee, according to the additional length of stay agreed, with a discount of 50%.
Late payment will be charged at £30 per month or part thereof over and above any outstanding placement fee due. To avoid these charges please pay within the agreed term. After one month a final demand will be sent out for the amount payable. Failure to pay the amount stated within 5 working days of the receipt of the final demand will result in our putting the matter in the hands of an authorized debt collector.
In the event a family definitely refuses to pay the invoice, we reserve the right to take immediate action, handing the file to an authorized debt collector.
Any expenses incurred by pursuing the recovery of the debt will be added to the total outstanding balance.
In special circumstances, where a family does not pay the placement fee in full at the time agreed, for the safety and well-being of candidate, Phoenix Au-Pairs reserves the right to remove the candidate from the family at our discretion, with prior notice to the family. Any outstanding fee will still be due.
2. Travel costs
The host family is 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.
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 car
- 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, playbarns, amusement parks etc
- any travel costs related to the candidate’s fulfilling the duties, be it fuel or bus/train/taxi fares
Working Time, Time off and Holidays
After the candidate’s arrival, the candidate must receive a timetable with duties and working days/hours, so they know exactly the working time, when they start and finish. Working time is considered any time when the candidate is in charge of the children or has housework duties to do. This means any time when they cannot leave the house, this includes times when the children are asleep and the candidate must be there in case they wake up, this includes the case when parents work night shifts and the au pair is left alone with the children during the night. For example, if the parents work from 8pm to 8am, this will count as working hours for the au pair, even if they sleep, as they are responsible for the children during this time.
The candidate should be given at least 3 weeks to settling in, to get to know family, the children, and the requirements. Within the settle in period, the candidate would need all the support from the family’s side, as well as continuous feedback and time to improve, if the case.
The family must respect the candidate’s time off. Should the family require the candidate to work outside the usual working hours this must be agreed in advance by both sides and any extra hours worked must be paid accordingly. Phoenix Au-Pairs will provide the family a template for weekly hours and pocket money log. This should be completed by the family a week in advance, with the candidate’s timetable for the following week, including the start/finish times, duties, babysitting (if required). The candidate must also complete the log with her worked hours and signature, and also the date and amount of pay for that week. The weekly hours and pocket money log is an instrument that will help the families and the candidates to keep to their commitments. The family will keep the original and they must give the au pair a copy of it as well.
The au pairs must have at least 1.5 consecutive days off per week. We usually recommend weekends. If the candidate is required to work weekends, they should receive 1.5 consecutive days during the week and at least one full weekend per month.
Au pair/ au pair plus are prepared to provide 2 evenings babysitting each week and these should be arranged where possible during the au pair’s working days. Where host families require regular babysitting to be undertaken on the au pair’s free days, extra pocket money should be paid.
Babysitting can be arranged on top of the usual working hours for au pairs basic and plus. 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. A babysitting evening should not be longer than 2 hours. If the family need the au pair to babysit more than 2 hours, they should inform the au pair in advance and they should agree the extra money to be paid for this.
If host families do not make use of the 2 evenings babysitting each week, then the hours cannot be "saved" or used at an alternative time.
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.
If the family is going on holiday and require the candidate to stay in their home without specific duties the candidate must be provided with a minimum of £50 per week for board/travel. If the candidate has specific duties during the family’s holiday they should receive their usual pocket money/allowance.
All replacements are subject to the punctual payment of the placement fee.
When the candidate has lived with you for 4 weeks as per chosen agreement or more, the candidate will be regarded as satisfactory and we will have fulfilled our obligations.
An unsatisfactory candidate must be notified to the agency, immediately and in writing, (an email is acceptable) within a maximum of 28 days of arrival for long term au pairs. We will support the family and the candidate to overcome any issues that may arise, as long as we are informed in due time. If this is however not possible, we will analyse the situation from both sides and the replacement reasons, and we will decide if a replacement is due or not. Our decision is final regarding this matter.
The weekly hours and pocket money log must be completed by the family and candidate on a weekly basis. In issues where a replacement is requested, the logs will be used as the criteria in our decision of offering a replacement or not, so they must be provided to our agency as soon as a family asks for a replacement.
Any placement that you require outside of the agreed replacement time will incur a new introduction fee minus the returning family discount. Phoenix Au-Pairs cannot guarantee that the au pair will stay for the required length of time.
If there are reasonable grounds for finding the candidate’s work or conduct unsatisfactory during this period then one free replacement will be offered. Unsatisfactory levels of English and age of the candidate are not regarded as reasonable grounds for an unsatisfactory placement. Should you not require a replacement or make alternative arrangements, refunds will not be made. If a replacement is unsatisfactory no further replacement can be offered.
Replacements policy for long term placements (placements of 4 months or more)
Phoenix Au-Pairs will offer one free replacement when written notification is received, stating the reason of dissatisfaction, if:
- The candidate fails to arrive
- The candidate leaves of his/her own accord within 28 days of arrival
- If the candidate proves to be unsuitable within 4 weeks from arrival (i.e. has misrepresented them self/their experience/ability in their application details or displays general misconduct).
No replacements will be provided (and Phoenix Au-Pairs opinion of the circumstances must be final):
- If the introduction fee has not been paid in full
- On short term placements
- If the candidate justifiably complains of abuse, mistreatment or misconduct by you or any member, guest, friend or acquaintance of the host family
- If the candidate has not been given a proper routine and at least 3 weeks from arrival to settle in and get used to the role requirements. If the candidate is not given at least one week to improve, after an issue has been raised to the agency and advice has been offered (gross misconduct is of course exempt)
- If the host family restricts access to, or prevent the candidate using any amenities to which he/she is contractually entitled, or you withhold all or part of his/her pocket money/allowance.
- If the candidate leaves the host family, even without notice, because they have been asked (and have not agreed) to work longer hours or perform substantially different duties to those agreed
- If the candidate has not been given any professional driving lessons and driving is the main reason for which you requested the replacement (only applicable for families that require a driver)
- If the host family does not abide by these terms and conditions and by the particular terms mentioned in the letter of invitation
- All replacements must be sourced from Phoenix Au-Pairs. We do not provide refunds so that you can find replacements with other agencies. No refunds will be offered, where the family requests that no replacement to be found. In the unlikely event that candidate is unable to join a family at the agreed time and Phoenix will have offered a suitable replacement/solution then no refunds will be given.
- Refunds will only be given in special circumstances and only if we are unable to provide an appropriate solution. Any refund will have an administration fee of 30% deducted from the amount already paid by the family.
We will send maximum 3 candidates' files at a time. It is the family's responsibility to like the candidate offered and to make sure of their suitability. We require feedback for all the files we send, be it positive or negative. If we don't receive any feedback from the family about the files we have sent in a reasonable timescale (2 working days) we will send a notification email to the family, to inform them that the selection process is on hold. If there is no communication from the family's side in maximum 3 working days from the notification email, we will consider we have fulfilled our obligations and we will not continue the replacement process. We will arrange interviews with the candidates preferred by the family, when the family asks. If the family fails to attend the interviews we arrange in agreement with them more than twice, we will consider we have fulfilled our obligations and we stop the replacement process.
If the family decides not to accept the replacement candidate, without a reasonable argument, no refund will be offered. Physical appearance, nationality, age, language abilities etc. will not be considered as reasonable, valid arguments to dismiss a replacement candidate. If the family rejects 3 candidates without a reasonable argument, we reserve the right to cancel the selection process and consider we have fulfilled our obligations. If, in the agency’s opinion a suitable replacement has been offered and not taken on by the family, no refund will be payable.
The agency cannot guarantee that the replacement candidate will be of the same nationality as the previous one or that they will be in the country already. Furthermore we cannot guarantee that the replacement long term candidate will stay for the same period of time as the candidate replaced.
Important information for host families:
The au pairs basic/plus are not employees, neither hired staff. They are young candidates coming in the UK to be part of a cultural experience. Mother’s help candidates can have the status of employee or self-employed, but they would still have to be treated as a member of the family.
If we receive any type of written notification that:
Phoenix Au Pairs has the right to remove the candidate immediately, without further notice, as terms and conditions have been severely violated and your family will not be provided with another candidate.
- You mistreat in any way the candidate
- You do not pay him/her as agreed initially
- You make him/her work more hours than agreed, without his/her agreement and without paying the extra work
- You do not give him/her at least 1.5 days off per week
- You do not allow the candidate to use his/her time off as s/he pleases
- You fail to provide us important/valid information about your family
Phoenix Au-Pairs reserves the right to remove the candidate immediately and refuse a replacement au pair if the agency has not been notified of any change in circumstances and if those changes breach the conditions in the candidate’s letter of invitation.
If Phoenix Au-Pairs feels that the safety and well-being of the candidate is at risk(and the candidate should be removed from your home), you will be liable for paying the travel costs back to the candidate’s home country, or the travel to a new family, as well as accommodation up to the moment of departure.
Termination of employment
The host family must notify Phoenix Au-Pairs verbally and then in writing if you wish to terminate a placement. The family, as well as the candidate are entitled to a two weeks' notice of termination of placement.
Should you terminate the employment because of immoral or illegal behaviour on the part of the candidate and immediate dismissal is necessary, you must contact Phoenix Au-Pairs to inform us of the situation.
If, for any other reason, you feel immediate dismissal is necessary then you will be responsible for the accommodation costs for the candidate for the notice period or until his/her journey home is confirmed (or another suitable family is found).
The candidate is free to leave or terminate the engagement at any time and is required to give the family at least two weeks' notice.
Phoenix Au-Pairs shall endeavour to provide you with candidates who are as well suited as possible to your particular needs and stated preferences. You must however take the final decision whether or not to employ/accept any candidate.
The candidate will provide references and medical certificates. Although every effort is made to check the validity of such documents Phoenix Au-Pairs accepts no liability if such references or certificates prove to be inaccurate.
Phoenix Au-Pairs cannot guarantee that the candidate will stay with the family for the required length of time.
To the extent permitted by law, Phoenix Au-Pairs disclaims any warranty express or implied and accepts no liability of any kind for any inconvenience, loss of or damage to property, or any loss or injury howsoever arising whether directly or indirectly from an act or omission of any candidate introduced by Phoenix Au-Pairs even if such an act or omission is negligent or fraudulent or reveals dishonesty.
Phoenix Au-Pairs reserves the right to use its discretion in any situation that is not covered in this document.
Fees and terms are subject to change without prior notice. Any changes in the terms and conditions are immediately applicable.
These terms and conditions are under the law of Scotland.