Two important aspects of having an au pair help to look after your children relate to the hours that your au pair will work and the pocket money that you will pay.
Pocket money varies depending on the number of hours and the level of experience of your au pair. However, there are some guidelines for pocket money which have been recommended by International Au Pair Association.
If you are working with an Australian-based au pair agency to find an au pair to assist with your childcare needs, they will provide you with comprehensive guidelines and answer any questions that you have about hosting an au pair, how many hours you can expect them to be available and how much pocket money they should get.
As a host family, when you have an au pair to stay in your house you will provide full board and pocket money in return for the au pair providing you with an agreed amount of childcare and doing some light housework. Full board would cover all home based costs, such as gas, water and electricity usage, groceries and takeaway or restaurant meals out with your family. Your au pair would usually have use of a car to take children to school or other activities if needed and may have the opportunity to join you on a family holiday if you go away during the time the au pair is staying with you.
It is important to remember that au pairing is a cultural exchange where an au pair wants to be part of your family and experience living in Australia.
When deciding on the amount of pocket money you will pay, some things to consider are the au pairs previous experience in childcare, the number of hours that they will need to help out, their education and ability to speak English and the level of responsibility that you require from them.
An au pair who provides a basic role would be available for up to 30 hours a week, usually split over five or six days and would be paid a minimum of $170 per week. Most families pay about $200. During these hours they would help with childcare, which can include doing the school run, helping with homework, playing with children and they can do babysitting and light housework.
If you want your au pair to be available for longer hours – up to 35 hours a week – you will pay a minimum of $255 a week in pocket money. These hours often work better for parents who work shifts and would include the same responsibilities as already mentioned. You may also ask your au pair to do some family cooking, such as making meals for the children if you are working.
Some host families choose to have an au pair who is paid an additional amount and has more experience dealing with children, is prepared to stay with a larger family, or who can provide sole care for babies between one and two years old.
Your au pair may want the opportunity to earn more money than the stipulated weekly pocket money. You may be able to help her to do this by assisting her to find babysitting work for your friends, for example.
To have your questions about how to balance your au pair’s hours and pocket money answered, contact Smart Au Pairs, an Australian au pair agency that provides families a dependable childcare option.