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Employing someone to work in your home


  1. Overview
  2. Au pairs

Au pairs

Au pairs usually live with the family they work for and are unlikely to be classed as a worker or an employee. They are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage or paid holidays.

They’re treated as a member of the family they live with and get ‘pocket money’ instead – usually about £70 to £85 a week.

Au pairs may have to pay Income Tax and National Insurance, depending on how much pocket money they get.

An au pair is not classed as a worker or an employee if most of the following apply:

  • 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, for example 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 not a worker or an employee. She gets £75 a week pocket money and does not pay tax or National Insurance.

Find more information for au pairs and host families from the British Au Pair Agencies Association.

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