You have surely already heard of au pair “young girls”. An inappropriate term that actually designates peers, or strangers who come to live with your family for the purpose of cultural and linguistic discovery. Its role in the home, the salary, the procedures… We tell you everything!
You have certainly heard of au pair “young girls” before. In the films, these are young students who travel to foreign families, very often to the United States, New York, or England. They, because they are still girls, are welcomed into rich families with breathtaking and sumptuous villas. In real life it's a little different.
First of all, au pairs are not just girls. This is an opportunity that is as accessible to girls as it is to boys. Nowadays, they are more aptly called au pairs! It is a way for these people to travel, to discover a country more in depth and to discover its cultures and customs within a family. It is a real immersive adventure. It is also a very good way to learn more in a foreign language, usually English. Much more effective than lessons! In addition, it is possible to travel with families from all over the world. In the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Switzerland, England … You can go anywhere, as long as there is demand.
We remind you that the au pairs are neither slaves, nor "handyman". It’s not their job. Above all, they are there to learn a language, the culture of a country. It is above all an exchange! Obviously, the au pair helps around the house, with the children, with the household chores, in exchange for payment in kind, in other words accommodation and meals.
If the concept of an au pair escapes you, we will enlighten you! Its role, the salary, how to find it, what it involves, the procedures… We tell you everything.
Why “au pair”?
We all wonder why we say “au pair” and not “au pair”, or simply “au pair”. The reasons are unfortunately not historical or very surprising.
The expression "au pair" comes simply from the fact that in the past (a long time ago) it was the role of women to take care of the children and the house. The term stuck, and nowadays this name has almost become normal. However, it is not really … Fortunately, things are changing and today we are just starting to talk about "au pair".
The term “au pair” is actually a cultural habit, which should be stopped at all costs! A boy can be an au pair. In addition, the expression can be confusing. Now you know, it's not just for women! The adventure of an au pair is above all cultural and linguistic discovery. Household chores are secondary, although very important in the employment contract.
The difference between an au pair employee, a foreign caregiver intern and a nanny
Warning ! There are several names, which define very different roles and conditions, which are awkwardly grouped together in the term “au pair employee.” We have:
- The au pair employee : against all expectations, this status is hardly applied! Being an au pair is actually doing a few hours, very little, of work in the home, and being paid only in kind (accommodation + meals). This is ultimately not the most widely used definition.
- The foreign caregiver intern : this is the best known status. In addition to payment in kind, the au pair is given pocket money, which amounts to approximately € 320 per month, in exchange for a maximum of 5 hours of work per day. Also, we must add to the costs social contributions to URSSAF (especially for social security for the au pair), which amounts to around € 200 per month.
- Child care at home : less common, it is about declaring the au pair as a home nanny. This is referred to as an employment contract, with an hourly minimum wage. Payment in kind is deducted therefrom. Although this status allows you to obtain aid from CAF, it does not allow you to apply for a visa for the au pair, unlike the other two statuses.
Be careful! The three statuses do not involve the same costs or the same conditions. Each job is different from the others.
The role of an au pair
Usually, an au pair employee performs small household tasks, previously determined with the family. This can range from cleaning, to ironing, childcare, why not the kitchen. We mainly talk about childcare. Instead of hiring a nanny, parents sometimes prefer to hire a peer! Since they live in the home on a daily basis, it can be nicer. Plus, no scheduling issues!
In general, an au pair works between 25 and 35 hours per week in the home. In return, the family agrees to provide an independent room for the pair, and to feed them. It sounds a bit gross like that, but on the contrary. Far beyond being an employee, the young boy or girl, who may be between 17 and 30 years old (yes, 30 is still young), is an integral part of the family.
Indeed, the au pair employee is not a cleaning agent. He can go on vacation with you! This is of course not an obligation, but it is possible. Remember, you welcome this person more than you hire them.
Regarding the role of a girl or a boy or other au pair, you have to decide it with him. Communication is the key to good understanding in this kind of exchange. You can't force him to do something. You have to work out together what they do, what they like to do, what they have the right to do with you. It remains your home.
Let us not forget either that the main reason for the coming of the au pair employee in your household is to learn the language and the culture. We insist on the word exchange. Some people have already testified that they were more “slaves” than welcome. In order to ensure that the stay goes smoothly and in the most natural way possible, you have to understand who you are welcoming, and get to know him or her.
The salary of an au pair
As said previously, an au pair employee offers childcare and household chores against payment in kind: accommodation and meals. We are talking about a single room, with access to the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room … And three meals a day.
In France, there is officially no tax imposed on au pairs. You do not have to pay him or her. Of course, you can give her some pocket money for her personal needs.
As part of a foreign caregiver intern, it is common to pay the au pair by around € 80 per week, or € 320 per month. In general, families indicate on ad sites, such as aupair.com, to indicate the monthly remuneration. More correctly, we call this remuneration "pocket money". Usually this money is provided in cash.
How to try the adventure or find an au pair?
To find an au pair, there are two possibilities. Either we go through a specialized agency or through an advertising site. The two are very different, and do not involve the same cost.
- Specialized agency : she selects the profiles for you and helps a lot in the administrative procedures, which are important. Agencies usually dismiss less serious profiles on their own initiative, so there is little chance of hitting someone bad. The agency does not guarantee to find the au pair that suits you, but there is more assurance of professionalism. However, agencies come at a cost. It takes hundreds of euros.
We can suggest agencies like Apitu, Ufaap, Education & Travel Solution, Europair services or Dream fairy.
- Advertising sites : it takes longer. Indeed, it is not an agency that chooses, it is you. You therefore have more room to exchange and discuss, by message or by Skype, with the candidate. It's more intimate and less commercial. And above all, it costs much less! The risk is running into people who are not serious or even scams. It is up to you to sort it out, you have no guarantees!
There is Aupair, AuPairWorld or GreatAuPair.
Up to you ! Time, money, confidence, professionalism… You have to take all the points into account. It's up to you to choose which method you are most comfortable with, and also what you can afford.
You should know that welcoming an au pair requires administrative efforts. Indeed, you cannot receive a foreign person in your home as part of an au pair placement without a contract and without a declaration. European countries such as France, Norway, Germany, Spain, Italy and Denmark have signed a European agreement on this au pair placement.
According to the site Administrative procedures, “this agreement specifies that a written consent setting out the rights and duties of the employee must be established with the host family, if possible before the departure of the young person from his country and at the latest one week after his arrival”. In addition, the au pair must attach to this document a medical certificate which ensures his good health, or testifies to his current state.
"In France, you must make a declaration of employment using the form cerfa 11469 03 and send it within 8 days to the departmental headquarters of URSSAF. In addition, each employee must receive from his employer a monthly pay slip which specifies the amount of his benefits in kind ”.
What if your child wants to become an au pair?
You may not be interested in hiring an au pair, but your child or children may want to become one. First, the first thing to do is to ask him his motivations. Indeed, a child still does not realize what it can be like a trip abroad for several months away from his family. Be careful, we are not talking about dissuading, but ensuring! You have to ask the right questions, ask him where he wants to go, why, if he has carefully considered all the options.
Then you have to find out! To become an au pair abroad, you must meet certain criteria:
- Be at least 17 or 18 years old, depending on the country
- Have a school diploma
- Have a Visa
- Not having children
- In some countries you have to be single
- Driving license may be requested
- Master a minimum of the language of the desired country
- Being comfortable with children, having experience is a real plus
- Some families ask for non-smokers
- Fill au pair contract
Of course, the criteria can change depending on the country and the family. As with the duration of the stay, it all depends on the place chosen.
If your child is ready to take the plunge, he must be warned. Unfortunately, there are many scandals related to au pair experiences. This is why it is necessary to ensure the reliability of the host family, but also of the au pair hired. You have to learn as much as possible. It’s a cultural and linguistic adventure, it must remain so.
To reassure you and your children, you will find on the site apitu.com dozens of testimonials from au pairs and boys who have traveled all over the world!
We reassure you, most experiences go well in both cases.