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Au pairs: employment law
Au pairs usually live with the family they work for, are unlikely to be classed as a worker or an employee and aren’t entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
They’re treated as a member of the family they live with and get ‘pocket money’ instead - usually about £70 to £85 a week.
Workers and employees have different rights, eg the right to the National Minimum Wage and paid holidays.
Au pairs may have to pay Income Tax and National Insurance, depending on how much pocket money they get.
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
Gina has come to the UK from France to learn English. She lives with her host family and takes part in family events like days out and holidays. She has her meals with the family and does light housework and childcare for about 5 hours a day. She babysits a couple of times a week.
Gina has 2 free days every week. She studies English at a local college 2 afternoons a week. Last year she spent 3 weeks in France visiting her own family and also went on holiday with her host family.
Gina is neither a worker nor an employee. She gets £75 a week pocket money and doesn’t pay tax or National Insurance.
06 Dec 2012
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