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Minimum Wage and Au Pairs

(5 Posts)
Hels20 Tue 03-May-16 06:37:30

This doesn't apply to me but some of my friends have had an au pair whilst on maternity leave and now see them as the cheap solution for childcare. They think just by increasing the au pair's pay from eg £120 to £200 they can ask the au pair to do 45 hour weeks.

The U.K. Gov website is not v helpful.

When is an au pair not an au pair? When would you have to pay national living wage? (We all live in London.) I won't be sticking my nose in - but am curious.

FishWithABicycle Tue 03-May-16 06:54:15

An au pair is supposed to be considered as an equal member of the family not an employee so minimum wage doesn't apply. A 45 hour week of childcare doesn't really fit with that. The main purpose of the au pair arrangement is supposed to be cultural exchange with the au pair having plenty of off-duty time to explore and learn about the host country/language/etc. What these people need is a nanny.

However, if it did happen then the pay increase for going up to 45 hours shouldn't just be pro-rata on the pocket money. If they are paying £120 a week for 27 hours they are also paying the cost of a room (£75 a week) and food (£50 a week) so if they find someone willing to do this the pay for 27 hours is effectively £245 a week and the pay for 45 hours should be more like £410.

BeauGlacons Tue 03-May-16 06:57:37

I agree with fish except for a room in London costing £75pw. Also au-pairs shouldn't have sole charge of the under threes so the idea is a non runner.

FishWithABicycle Tue 03-May-16 07:14:18

Oops didn't spot the London bit. Was assuming a city with a non-insane housing situation blush

CatInTheVat Tue 03-May-16 07:24:34

It's not true that au pairs should not have sole care of under threes. There is no rule. It's down to the au pair and the parents' judgement. Some au pairs are mid twenties and qualified teachers etc who just want a chance to live in the UK and learn English. Some are still teens but more experienced and responsible than many teen mothers. We have trusted all our au pairs with our under 3s for a few hours each week.

I'm surprised that a good au pair would agree to do 45 hours for £245. With au pair experience under their belt they could work as a nanny for much more £ and fewer hours.

Last year we had a great au pair living with us in London and working the traditional 25 hours. At the end of the year we gave her a glowing reference and she moved to being a nanny in a mansion in Surrey for £10 an hour live in! But I assume the au pairs in question have willingly agreed to take the new job and new terms and conditions. Remember it room and food and utilities included. In London that probably equates to over £300 a week subsidy.

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