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Demi-pair: has anyone have experience?

(27 Posts)
sunnymum77 Mon 14-Mar-16 11:05:32

We currently have an au pair but from September, both children will be at primary school full time and we would only need around 16-20 hrs help a week (although more in school holidays). I am thinking of having a Demi-pair I.e a student who lives here and helps with the childcare as a mutual arrangement (no pay unless over the usual hours). I don't know anyone who has this arrangement so would welcome hearing about your experiences!
How do I find a nice student who would be interested in accommodation in exchange for childcare help fitting around their studies?


NotAnotherNameChangeAgain Mon 14-Mar-16 11:59:22

Is that legal? I thought that you could only sub wages by a limited amount to compensate for accommodation and after that you'd have to pay min wage.

YouMakeMyDreams Mon 14-Mar-16 12:03:03

I thought 16-20 hours was an ideal au pair hours. Is that not the point of one? Few hours a day and pocket money with board and lodgings. An au pair is usually studying alongside their childcare duties as well. confused

lovelynannytobe Mon 14-Mar-16 16:34:11

20-25 hrs a week is a regular au pair job (more hours for extra pay in holidays).

NotAnotherNameChangeAgain Mon 14-Mar-16 17:24:34


**An au pair isn’t classed as a worker or an employee if most of the following apply:

they’re a foreign national living with a family in the UK
they’re an EU citizen or have entered the UK on a Youth Mobility visa or student visa
they’re here on a cultural exchange programme
they’ve got a signed letter of invitation from the host family that includes details of their stay, eg 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**

Looks like I was wrong.
An Au pair isn't considered an employee nor a worker therefore I imagine employment law doesn't apply to them.

That leaves a lot of room for abuse! (Not you, OP! Just in general confused)

Gusthetheatrecat Mon 14-Mar-16 20:30:31

I know that there is differing advice about whether an au pair constitutes an employee or not. I think the best advice I have seen on here is to behave as if they are an employee. You can reasonably claim an au pair is not subject to the minimum wage, provided that you meet most of the criteria listed above. But to give someone who works for you no pay or pocket money whatsoever feels like a bridge too far for me, 'Demi pair' or not! I have seen adverts where people seem to justify this by saying how much a room in their house would be worth, but that feels like a bit of a distraction. The housing and rental market may well have far outstripped what people on low incomes can afford, but that's hardly the fault of some poor young person who wants to live in the UK. I am sure it's not what you intend, but effectively asking for an au pair but for no money looks too much like 'live in my house and be my skivvy' for me to feel comfortable with it!
If you want my advice,p (and you may not) I'd say carry on having an au pair, but for fewer hours than the normal 25, and recruit someone with clear plans for what they will do with their free time (eg someone on a language course, which most au pairs will do anyway). This seems to make even more sense given that you want someone to do more hours during the school holidays. Not what you were amazing for though.

Gusthetheatrecat Tue 15-Mar-16 07:32:14

*asking for!

SummerMonths Wed 16-Mar-16 08:53:02

We have an au pair for primary aged kids. After school hours is totally normal au pair fodder. 20 hours is perfect for an au pair. Ours does 20 with the children and 3 hours of housework each week (just tidying children's' rooms, doing their laundry and changing their beds). Plus you get the free babysitting 2x a week. I don't understand why you don't think a normal au pair would be right in your circumstances.

sunnymum77 Wed 16-Mar-16 12:03:18

Thanks all. I have read about "Demi-pairs", so assumed it was a known arrangement. Most people I know who have au pairs have 30-35 hrs help a week, and a minimum of 25 hours, so I thought that 16-20 was under the usual normal au pair hrs. Please can you let me know what suitable pay would be for 20 hrs a week?

writingonthewall Wed 16-Mar-16 13:19:59

30-35 is au pair plus I think

Artandco Wed 16-Mar-16 13:24:56

Standard au pair hours are 20-25 hrs per week. 30-35 is way too much

For say 20hrs a week, outside of London, it's around £100 a week. Plus usually play for a basic travel pass ( or use of car) and basic phone contract ( so they have minutes to call and txt you whilst looking after children if needed, and can travel around with children). So around £120-30 a week

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 16-Mar-16 13:28:23

For 20 hours out of London it's about £85 per week.

Could you include a few evenings to top it up to 25ish and have some date nights? That's what I'd do smile

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 16-Mar-16 13:29:07

I don't know anybody who pays £120 or more per week. It's over the national insurance threshold for a start.

SummerMonths Wed 16-Mar-16 13:54:20

A normal au pair should not work more than 25 hours and all the au pairs i know are pretty clear about that.

We are in London and our au pair works just under 25 hours, plus up to two babysittings a week, for £95. This seems standard amongst her au pair friends. We obviously pay for all food and include her in family events and give her a room with wifi etc but we don't pay any travel card as we don't require her to travel with work. We also don't pay language tuition. Again this all seems very normal amongst her friends and they are all happy.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 16-Mar-16 14:05:08

I don't think it is cheap childcare either. In many ways it's like having an extra child because you're responsible for their welfare to a much greater extent that you are as a regular employer.

Anyhoo, the Demi au-pair thing wouldn't wash because 20 hours is not that far off normal op hours and a full time student will have various obligations at different times that will prevent them working so not a reliable of sustainable arrangement imo.

SummerMonths Wed 16-Mar-16 15:02:57

MovingOn - a standard au pair contract is up to 25 hours in the day and two evening babysittings a week. So adding babysittings does not top up the hours.

I agree that there is a huge emotional and time investment in having an au pair. Especially if you have a young au pair who still needs some form of parental figure. We love having young au pairs who are like big sisters to our children and all au pairs have really remained close and like members of an extended family: but I have put hours into developing them, and helping and encouraging them to enjoy their year with us.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 16-Mar-16 15:15:26

It doesn't have to be that though. People have differences based on need. Personally I have 25 hours per week including up to two evenings of babysitting. It seems fairer to me and works for my family. Other folks prefer the au pair to do a Saturday morning.

The op could easily add up extra hours with babysitting. 3 evenings at 3 hours is 9 hours which could be a big difference.

Any way my point was 20 hours really isn't that far off normal so putting in some extra hours to spend time with a partner or doing an activity in the evening might be easier than finding this mythical Demi au pair who works for board and lodgings smile

TheExtraGuineaPig Fri 18-Mar-16 14:41:37

I have just hired an au pair.. her hours are only walking to school and then after school care for primary kids 4 days a week plus babysitting to come to about 20-22hrs, then 3 full days per week (24 ish hours) in the school holidays. I think that's normal (on the light side maybe) for an au pair.

hibbleddible Fri 18-Mar-16 14:59:52

As above, before and after school care is standard au pair hours. You can add some light house work onto that.
In terms of pay, for around 20 hours, in London around £85, outside London £100+

harshbuttrue1980 Fri 18-Mar-16 17:47:33

Working for just board and lodgings sounds like something people did in the victorian days, when poverty was so bad that people would take anything to get enough food to eat. Its 2016 and Britain, so I doubt you'd find anyone to be an unpaid skivvy - no matter how nice your house is. If you want the help, pay a wage like your own employer pays you!

Whatsthematterwithme Sat 19-Mar-16 20:43:30

For 16-20 hours a week, including additional hours during the school holidays I think you will need more of an aupair. I was a demi aupair for a single mother for two years and only had to work three nights a week from 6-8pm (sometimes a bit later) for board, lodging and 50GBP a week. I only worked 10h a week maximum though and for me a 'free' room in London was great, as I didn't have to pay rent and I could work as a nanny during the day.

beckenman12 Sat 19-Mar-16 21:41:53

I feel that some families used au pair has cheap labour. Your children are a gift to you and the right childcare is important for your family and the au pair are also important.

Karoleann Sun 20-Mar-16 07:55:31

sunnymum - are you in Australia? The demi-au pair thing for board and lodgings and then au pairs working 35 hours seems the norm there.

I can't find any UK mention of them and there isn't anything UK based if you type it in to the au pair world search engine. TBH there are so many au pair jobs going that pay £60+ for 20 hours, you're just not going to get a good candidate if you offer much less, especially if you want full time care in the holidays.

G1raffe Sun 20-Mar-16 08:02:47

How is an automated pair working 30 plus hours a week not a nanny? That's a lot of time to be in charge of children.

beckenman12 Tue 22-Mar-16 22:19:36

You need to put paid for good childcare for your children.

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