Can Au Pairs Do Other Part Time Jobs?
Once again the answer to this question is ‘Yes and No’. It can depend on which country the au pair comes from (whether or not it is part of the EU and the status assigned to it) as well as the entry requirements which they have to fulfil in order to comply with the law.
MotivationOften, au pairs will come to the UK with the intention of earning as much money as possible. This is particularly true of girls from the Eastern European countries who are able to earn more money here than in their own country and who are often wanting to save money for their further education back at home.
For this reason, many girls will want to take on extra part time jobs in their spare time, when not working directly for their host family.
In contrast, au pairs from the Western part of Europe (such as France and Germany) are more motivated by the cultural experience they are able to gain and are less worried about earning money. This is mainly because they are used to a similar cost of living at home.
Family DecisionFamilies feel very differently about this issue. For some, they prefer that the motivation of their au pair is not solely to do with money and also feel that they would like the au pair to keep her time flexible, so that she can be available when they need her.
For others, they understand the dynamics involved between the different countries and are happy to help their au pair earn some extra pocket money. They may also appreciate the time alone with their family whilst the au pair is out.
Whatever your personal preference, it would be a good idea to ask whether your au pair would be likely to want extra work while he/she is here, so that you can decide if they would be the right person for your family.
Is it Legal?If your au pair is from an EU country, it is legal for them to accept work which falls into the category of au pair duties and which does not involve a contract of employment or a requirement to pay tax on that income.
For instance, you may offer your au pair extra duties in order for them to earn a greater allowance at the end of the week, or you may be able to ‘share’ your au pair with a friend who can offer her some cleaning or babysitting. Nevertheless, it is important to add that this should only be done with the full co-operation and agreement of your au pair.
Also, if an au pair is earning significantly more than the weekly amount as stipulated by the Home Office, they could be deemed to be working as a Domestic Servant or similar, which requires that they have a work permit – so the rules do have to be carefully adhered to.
If your au pair is legally able to accept other forms of work in the UK – i.e. they have a valid work permit, blue worker accession card, or a National Insurance number, they are able to also look for other part time jobs outside the remit of being an au pair. Many Eastern European girls have found part time jobs at bars, shops, and hotels in this way. However, again, the legalities for each individual case must be checked.
The FutureFrom November 2008, the government will be replacing the Au Pair Cultural Programme with the Youth Mobility Scheme. This will amalgamate other previously separate categories for young people, such as Working Holidaymakers, Gap Year entrants and Youth Exchange students which may mean that some of the work restrictions could lift – so watch this space.
All in all, decide, before she comes, how much involvement you would like your au pair to have with your family and whether or not you would mind her looking for extra jobs outside your home.
This will help you decide more clearly which kind of au pair you would like to have and from which country.