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Au Pair Tips: Why You Need a Contract and What It Should Say

Here is everything au pairs need to know about the au pair contract.        

For the au pair experience to be a success, both the au pair and host family need to go in with their eyes open and with reasonable expectations. The best way of doing this is with the au pair contract.

Before you leave for your host family’s home, you must come up with an au pair contract together. This will help to manage expectations, provide a clear picture of your life as an au pair and it will be there if there is ever a dispute between you and your host family.

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So, what do you actually include in the au pair contract? Here is a list of areas that you should discuss with your host family before signing your au pair contract:

1. Job duties

The main duty of the au pair is to look after the host family’s children. You are also expected to engage in some light housework. When drawing up the au pair contract it is important for the host family to be detailed and specific in the duties they expect you to take care of.

Ask them to draw up a plan of what a typical day will look like for you.

2. Hours, pay and meals

Along with a clearly defined schedule, your contract should state how much the host family will pay you. They should include your pocket money amount and the amount deducted for room and board. You should also address who will pay for your language school in the contract.

The contract should state when and how you will be paid. Will the host family transfer the wage into a bank account once a month or, for example, will they pay you in cash once a week? Whatever arrangement you agree on, it is important that the host family sticks to it. Just as you are expected to carry out your duties, they are expected to pay you accordingly. You should also write into your contract that extra babysitting hours are not included in your wage.

As au pairs are treated as one of the family, it is the host’s duty to provide three meals a day which are generally eaten together as a family. If you have plans to eat out or meet friends, let your host family know in advance.

You should also discuss the tax laws of the host country with the family. You and your host family may be required to report tax. Any tax issues should be written into the contract.

3. Time off

The contract should clearly state what days you will have off. Au pairs typically have two days off per week and are given time to attend the language course.

4. Holidays

This is the place to decide whether you are going to go on holiday with your host family. If so, include your wages, the hours you will be working and the duties that are expected of you in the contract. If the family does not wish you to travel with them, this should be written down.

Discuss public holidays and your paid holidays. You should receive two weeks paid time off for every six months of work.

5. Transportation

Do the host parents want you to transport their children in a car? Will you use their car or your own? Who will pay for the insurance? Who will pay for the fuel? These are all questions to work out with the host family and include in the au pair contract.

If driving is not necessary, outline which modes of public transport you are allowed to take with the children.

6. Personal space

There should be clear guidelines on this before you arrive. The host family must provide you with a private room. Members of the host family should not enter your room and should respect your personal property and privacy. However, the host family can stipulate rules about your room, such as cleaning it once a week, etc.

Host families can write into the contract that you are not allowed into their bedroom or work spaces unless instructed to do so.

7. House rules and guidelines

This is where the host family can include any house rules, such as setting a curfew. While you should have free reign over your time off, host families can implement a curfew, for example, if you are going out at night and are up early the next morning to take care of their children. You should also iron out with the family what the rules about having friends over are and decide what you are both comfortable with.

The host parents should include details about their children here, such as any allergies or dietary requirements that you should be aware of.

8. Social media

Social media usage is another aspect that can be covered in the contract. If the family is not happy with you posting images of their children or the inside of their home, they can write it into the contract.

9. Listen to the host family

It is important that you engage with the host family as much as possible before your arrival. Just as you want to know what to expect, so does the family. Negotiate the contract together and have all the points agreed upon before you arrive. Having a comprehensive contract that details exactly what the host family and au pair are to expect will set your relationship off to a great start and hopefully result in a rewarding au pair experience.

Here is a contract template that you can adjust to suit you and your host family’s requirements:

Duration 

Start and end date. 

Home Address 

The host family's address/your primary place of work. 

Work Schedule 

Should cover all seven days of the week and include the total daily and weekly hours you will work. 

Job Responsibilities  

Overview of what you will do. Include list of detailed tasks and timelines. 

Pay and Meals  

The amount of pocket money you will receive and the amount deducted for room and board. Include three meals per day that will be provided by the host family.  

Time Off 

What hours and days you will have off. 

Holidays 

Include information about holiday expectations and paid vacation. 

Transportation  

Should include if you are required to drive, what transport you can use with children and who pays for the cost.  

Personal Space  

Include the requirement of your own private room. Respect each other’s privacy.  

House Rules and Guidelines 

Include any house rules, allergies, dietary requirements. Decide with your host family on a workday curfew.  

Social Media Policy 

Explain what is appropriate use of social media such as whether or not you are allowed share photos of the host family children.  

Language Course 

Include who will choose the language school and who will pay for it.  

 

Read Next: Questions to Ask the Host Family During the Interview

Read Next: What to Do If You Feel Homesick

Read Next: What to Do If You Have Problems with Your Host Family

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