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Has anyone employed a British au pair?

(13 Posts)
UpSeeDaisies Mon 05-Jan-15 23:11:20

Just wondering what the experience was like? It seems like it would be smoother somehow but I wonderwhether a British au pair in the UK would quickly get bored? Or are they looking for their first childcare experience and a chance to leave home for a period?

mrswishywashy Mon 05-Jan-15 23:29:10

It wouldnt be an au pair, an au pair visits a country that they don't know to learn about culture and language.

Of course if a family wanted to pay a un qualified, minimally experienced English person to do a an au pair type job then that's fine as long as minimum wage is reached.

UpSeeDaisies Tue 06-Jan-15 07:40:45

But on au pair world there are lots including the UK as countries they are looking to work in..?

PixieofCatan Tue 06-Jan-15 09:48:58

mrs Min wage is exempt for live-in staff who are treated as part of the family, so somebody in the UK could have somebody from the UK looking after their children at AP wages, they just aren't an AP in the sense that they're on a foreign exchange.

I did it, I was looking for AP work abroad when a family in the UK contacted me. I think I got as much out of it culturally as I would have going abroad! I was in the Cotswolds, in a history rich town and experiencing a completely different life to one that I would have experienced living with my parents. I spent a lot of time exploring the local area and it gave me the experience I needed to get my first nanny job whilst giving me the job to train for my level 3. I took the job as the family suited me really well, they approached me and we had similar interests (watersports, outdoors, similar lifestyle). I would have hone abroad as originally planned had they not been a perfect fit though!

PixieofCatan Tue 06-Jan-15 09:53:25

I'll also add, it may well flop like a traditional AP would, you never know. The girl who was supposed to replace me lived 10 miles away and approached them after they posted on an AP site. She then contacted them a few days before she was due to start saying that a previous AP of the family named June had contacted her saying that they weren't great to work for so she wasn't coming hmm The family had only had one AP before me and she wasn't named June!

Karoleann Tue 06-Jan-15 13:06:33

Pixie - that's not right. the government website states that
1. Employing people in your home
Anyone who works in a private home is treated as an employee if they only work for one family, except for au pairs.

Then if you look at the au pair section, most of it would not apply to a British au pair. So, its pretty clear that British citizens could not legally be au pairs.

However, if you're employing a 18-20 year old min wage is £5.13 so for 25 hours you can then remove the living in offset (which I think is around £30) which works out as £90 odd pounds a week. However, they would be an employee and have the same rights as any other employee.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 06-Jan-15 13:25:28

All au pairs are supposed to be treated as employees now. The advice on this is really inconsistent. I'm sure someone will be along who can advise you on the specific laws/cases/new rules etc. Essentially if you want to employ a British person to do an au pairs job you can.

I think there are a lot of advantages to employing a British 'au pair'. The main one being that they will likely be looking for childcare experience rather than a chance to learn the language/cultural exchange. It's always better to employ a childcarer who actually wants to care for children rather than someone who wants to live in England and is doing childcare as a means to an end. Of course, if you need more housework/care for older children then this doesn't apply.

PixieofCatan Tue 06-Jan-15 13:35:06

Oh, has this changed fairly recently? I knew that British citizens couldn't technically be au pairs, but there was nothing to stop them from taking AP jobs in the UK. I'm certain that it was 'perfectly fine' from a legal/employer standpoint that minimum wage didn't apply if the employee was a treated as a member of the family?

It looks like they've changed the self-employment criteria information about nannies too. Joy.

I've found this on a paye service that says similar to what I originally thought:
If a nanny is provided with accommodation, an Employer can offset some of the cost of this against the nanny's wage for national minimum wage purposes. It should be noted however that the maximum allowable offset is £5.08 for each day accommodation is provided (£35.56 per week). If a nanny is residential and lives as part of the family, the minimum wage does not apply, so it is not necessary to use the offset.

Please note, only an employee who lives as part of the family (e.g. Eats meals with the family, socialises with the family and friends of the family) is not covered by the National Minimum Wage. All other employees are covered by the National Minimum Wage even if they live-in.

Karoleann Tue 06-Jan-15 19:04:32

outraged - no au pairs are not treated as employees. Although the government website has changed from are not employees to unlikely to be employees.

pixie - the ofest is what is mentioned above and found bring down a 25hr a week employee to an au pair(ish) salary.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 06-Jan-15 20:11:45

I'm pretty sure they are supposed to be Karo, there was a big debate on here about it a while back and there were some good links that confirmed that the website is not entirely accurate on this issue. I don't care enough to search it out, but you can probably find it on here somewhere. Or with any luck someone will come along who knows what I'm talking about?! I think it may have been Frak or nannynick or someone who had the links....

Karoleann Tue 06-Jan-15 22:38:00

There was a big debate on it a while ago, but as our government makes it own laws, it then puts up the information on its own websites (that have been quoted) and its citizens have to abide by them.

There was a case a while back that was taken to the European court where a Bulgarian(I think) worker wanted to be classed as a worker rather than an au pair and she won. This however, was in 2006 and she was working 40hrs+ per week for 2 years.

The government websites are actually written by government departments and are updated very frequently to reflect the laws at any given time. If you click on my link above there is a date that the advice has been written underneath and everything is very recent.

Looneybird Thu 08-Jan-15 06:30:51

Hi, I'm a bit confused about this. Can an au pair be British if working here in the UK and does the current government pay guidance found on the Web page linked by Karo apply to them? Or do they automatically become nannies and then you become the employer even if they live with you like they are a member of the family?

mrswishywashy Thu 08-Jan-15 14:27:35

It's a stupid grey area and one that needs fixed.

Thing is very few au pair positions advertised could be defined as "au pair" so many of the jobs are working 40+ hours with the au pair pay and they are not treated like the part of the family. I wish the government would fix it so that ALL household staff had to be paid minimum wage for the hours they work plus the accommadation offset.

Traditionally an au pair is working in other countries so having a British au pair in the United Kingdom doesn't make sense at all.

Could they not just be called junior nanny or mother help and get paid fairly for the work they do.

I guess at the end of the day if both sides are happy then it's not an issue however there are so many au pairs out there who are horrendously treated.

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