FAQ by au pairs
What is the au pair?
Au Pair comes from French and means “at par” or “as equal to.” The au pair is a single, young woman or man with the chance to study a foreign language and culture while living as part of a family. The host family will welcome them not as an employee but as a big sister or brother for their children. They will assist them with their assimilation into life in a new country. He or She helps the family with childcare and can be asked to do some light household tasks. In return, the host family provides free board and lodging, as well as pocket money.
What are applicant requirements?
- Of good character, aged 18+ single (not married/civil partnered)
- Have a good basic knowledge of the target country's language
- Adequate education and a valid driving licence when required
- Have childcare experience either babysitting, looking after younger siblings or formal childcare training.
- Very keen, interested and motivated.
- Applicants must qualify to work in the EU
- Prepared to do light housework
- Reasonable respect towards the family’s habits, choice of friends, business and religion.
- Participate in a careful screening process (including a criminal background check, submission of health certificate, personality check)
- Have a dated medical certificate.
- Provide appropriate number of references as required by the family
- Have a clear Criminal Background Report
Au pair or babysitter?
An au pair is the same thing as a nanny or babysitter, right?
Actually not. While the term “au pair” is often used interchangeably with babysitter.
But au pair is very different from either.
The au pair is a single, young woman or man with the chance to study a foreign language and culture while living as part of a family. The babysitter is someone who just looks after children for a short period (usually a couple of hours) while the parents are out. So an au pair can be a babysitter, moreover doing babysitting two times a week is part of the au pair job.
Is the au pair entitled to medical treatment / insurance?
Before you travel you should apply for the European Health Insurance Card in your home country. The card is free but you must be insured in your home country. Au pairs (all from within EU countries) will be entitled to reduced-cost or free medical treatment from the NHS if needed. Again, it is NOT a substitute for insurance!
If you have any special medical conditions, review the health insurance coverage carefully and consider purchasing additional health insurance if needed.
It is advisable to get the au pair registered with the doctor of the family soon after you arrive just as a precaution in case you may fall ill with flu or an infection at any time your family may be ill. Before you travel, you must have travel insurance.
It is a good idea to have a dental exam before you leave for abroad. Dental care is expensive and non-emergency procedures are not covered by EU insurance policy. Make an appointment to see a dentist prior to leaving your home country.
Am I permitted to drive in England?
Clean driving licence and driving practice are a certain advantage when you are applying for being an au pair. Many parents will want you to drop off and pick up their children from school, to the doctor, dentist, dance class, etc. In some situations you can get the car for your own private use during your free time.
However having a driving licence does not guarantee suitability to drive in Britain (driving on left, roundabouts, levels of traffic) If you are not a confident driver, or you are not practised enough just do not take a risk. Ask the family to enrol you for some driving lessons.
Family is responsible for arranging car insurance! While you are driving you must be very careful in any case.
You can learn more about our application course.
How long does it take to find a family?
It depends on the current demand and also your abilities, education, knowledge experience and requirements. Usually it takes us 2-4 weeks to find a suitable family for you.
What if something goes wrong?
The first step is to sit down and discuss the problem with your family. If you talk to the family and the situation doesn't improve, you are welcome to contact us at the agency for advice. If you wish, we can contact the family and speak to them on your behalf. If you reach a point where you feel you can no longer stay with the family, it would be fair if you could give the family at least 2 weeks notice so that they have time to arrange another solution. In these circumstances we will be happy to assist you in finding a new family.
Will I be expected to look after the children alone?
You may often be left in sole charge of the children, so make sure before you accept the job, that you will be comfortable with this situation. However you should not be left in sole charge of infant children under the age of 2 years. When you are in sole charge of the children make sure that you never leave them alone, especially if they are very young. Also, make sure that you have contact details for the parents in case you have an emergency.
How can I open a bank account?
There is a wide variety of Banks in England to open a bank account. It is a safe way to keep your money and make payment at any time. Unlike Hungarian, English banks operate free of charge in relation to most services. Ask help from your family to open a bank account as soon as you settle in.
How much experience do I need?
The greatest attraction of being an au pair is, this job does not require any qualification but a real affection for children.
Although agencies and families almost always state that they prefer au pair candidates having some practical experiences of looking after children, most are prepared to consider anyone with a genuine liking for children, a positive attitude towards domesticity.
Is a male applicant required?
Yes, he is, but the female au pair is much more common than the male one. Otherwise we strongly recommend you apply for being an au pair as soon as possible, because it could take quite a long time for us to find a proper host family for you.