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Au pairs

Au pairs usually live with the family they work for and are unlikely to be classed as workers or employees. They are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage or paid holidays.

They’re treated as a member of the family they live with and get ‘pocket money’ instead - usually at least £90 a week.

Au pairs may have to pay Income Tax and National Insurance, depending on how much pocket money they get.

Hiring an au pair

You can hire an au pair if they:

If none of these apply, you need to check the au pair’s visa conditions for their right to work before hiring them.

You must not hire an au pair if they’re here on a visitor visa or visiting the UK for 6 months or less.

If the au pair does not already have a visa, tell them to check if they need a UK visa.

Au pairs from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein need to have been living in the UK by 31 December 2020 to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people. They can still apply if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by the deadline - for example, they had an illness or were the victim of domestic abuse.

Au pair arrangements

An au pair is not classed as a worker or an employee if most of the following apply:

  • they’ve got a signed letter of invitation from the host family that includes details of their stay, for example accommodation, living conditions, approximate working hours, free time, pocket money
  • they learn about British culture from the host family and share their own culture with them
  • they have their own private room in the house, provided free of charge
  • they eat their main meals with the host family, free of charge
  • they help with light housework and childcare for around 30 hours a week, including a couple of evenings babysitting
  • they get reasonable pocket money
  • they can attend English language classes at a local college in their spare time
  • they’re allowed time to study and can practise their English with the host family
  • they sometimes go on holiday with the host family and help look after the children
  • they can travel home to see their family during the year

Read more about hosting au pairs on the British Au Pair Agencies Association website.