Everything You Need to Know About Hiring an Au Pair in Ireland
Know the requirements for hiring an au pair in Ireland.
Hiring an au pair can be a lifesaver for parents and an exciting cultural experience for the au pairs. However, as the legalities of hiring an au pair are very different from country to country, it can be difficult to know what your rights as a host family are, as well as the conditions you are required to provide for the au pair.
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With recent court rulings defining the status of au pairs in Ireland as employees, confusion has become even more widespread. To help you navigate the often-complicated world of au pairs in Ireland, we have put together a guide for potential host families:
- Working in your home:
Generally, au pairs are hired as part of a cultural exchange programme. They are considered part of the family and should be treated as such. In Ireland, au pairs are considered employees. Host families are subject to employer regulations. However, host families should still treat their au pairs as part of the family and meet the required standards when housing an au pair.
You and your au pair must agree to a working contract before they begin. You can learn about what should go into an au pair contract here.
- Pay and tax:
As employers, host families in Ireland are required to pay their au pairs the minimum wage or more. As of 1 January 2019, the national minimum wage is €9.80 per hour. However, families can deduct €54.13 a week for board and lodging.
Host families must register as employers to pay PRSI, and they are required to keep records of the hours worked by the au pair, as well as provide payslips.
- Hours and duties:
As a legal employee au pairs can work no more than 48 hours per week and should receive extra pay for work on Sundays. Many au pair agencies recommend that an au pair's schedule comprise of approximately 30 hours per week.
Au pair duties typically include light housework, childcare duties and occasional babysitting. However, it is important to remember that au pairs are not qualified child carers and should not be treated as such.
- Time off:
Au pairs are entitled to regular breaks, annual leave and public holidays. According to Citizens Information, employees have a basic annual paid leave entitlement of 4 weeks, but employers can increase this in the contract.
Usually au pairs live in the family home for the duration of their employment, but they can live out of the house if so decided by both the au pair and host family in advance. If living with the family, au pairs are to be given their own private bedroom and adequate space to study. Au pairs are not to share the children’s bedroom.
If the au pair requires only board and no lodging from the host family, the family can deduct €32.14 only from the au pair’s weekly wages.
- Finding the right au pair:
A comprehensive interview process is a must if you want to find the best au pair for your family. You should have multiple interviews, conduct video calls and introduce your children to see how they respond to the potential au pair.
The interview process is a good time to discuss what you expect of the au pair and to find out what they expect from you. Be clear about what hours they will work and the jobs they will do. This will help avoid confusion or misunderstandings in the future.
- Bonding with your au pair:
It is important to remember that au pairs are typically young women (although male au pairs are becoming more frequent) in their late teens or early twenties. This is an influential time in a young person’s life and it is possible that it is their first time spending an extended period away from home. It is extremely important that you treat the au pair like they are part of the family and be as welcoming as possible.
Read Next: What to Look for In an Au Pair
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