Pocket money, working time and contract in Australia

What are the duties of an au pair in Australia? What are the maximum number of hours that can be worked? How much pocket money does an au pair receive in Australia? On this page, we present the important conditions for an au pair stay in Australia.

Young woman holding a wallet in her hands

In Australia there is not an official au pair programme. It is also not clear whether an au pair is to be regarded as an employee or not. According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, this depends on the individual relationship that exists between an au pair and a host family.

  • Au pair contract

    There are no official regulations governing au pair placements in Australia. In this situation, au pairs and host families should definitely make an au pair contract with each other. Here it can be specified what arrangements have been made for the au pair stay, what duties the au pair will perform, how much holiday time the au pair will have, and how many hours will be worked and at what times so as to ensure a clear and fair arrangement between the family and the au pair.

    Termination of contract

    There is no official notice period for an au pair contract for Australia. We recommend a notice period of two weeks so that both the au pair and the family will have enough time to make new arrangements whether for the trip home or for a new au pair.

  • Length of stay

    The visa is valid for 12 months. Working Holiday Makers may not work for the same employer for more than six months. However, au pairs are allowed to stay with their host families for up to 12 months if given signed permission by an Immigration Secretary or by signing a Form 1445.

  • Au pair duties

    The main responsibility of an au pair in Australia is to take care of the children of the host family. In addition, the au pair may perform light housework chores. The au pair and host family should discuss the details of these arrangements in advance and include them in the au pair contract.

    More information on the topic:

  • Pocket money

    Au pairs receive pocket money from the host family for their work. Au pairs are entitled to receive the national minimum wage, which amounts to $18.29 per hour (gross). The average cost of "room and board" (AUD $350) is to be deducted from the total. On this basis, we can recommend an amount of 200-250 AUD for 30 hours/week.

  • Room & board

    Au pairs should have their own room in the home of their host family. In addition, au pairs receive all their regular meals at home with the host family. In accordance with the basic idea of au pairing as a cultural exchange, this is provided free of charge. Nonetheless, since au pairs receive the minimum wage in Australia, costs for room and board are to be deducted from the total gross amount of pocket money. The average homestay pricing is $350 per week. 

  • Working time

    According to the National Employment Standards, au pairs should not work more than 38 hours a week. Additional hours can be added to it only if they are reasonable. According to our experience, however, we recommend a working time of 25 to 40 hours per week - including babysitting hours.

  • Time off and holiday

    The au pair and host family should discuss in advance when and how much time off the au pair will have. There is no official regulation with regard to this issue. Our tip: Au pairs should have at least one day off per week, which should be a Sunday once per month.

    The Working Holiday and Work and Holiday Programme regulate how only how much holiday time an au pair is  entitled to during the aupair stay in Australia in general. When holiday time will be taken should be discussed by the au pair and host family together. We recommend  two weeks holiday for a stay of six months. For a shorter or longer stay than six months this value can be used to calculate holiday time. 

    In Australia there is an official regulation with regard to public holidays within the National Employment Standards. By law, au pairs must have a day off on public holidays. Only in exceptional cases should au pairs work on public holidays. The host family should discuss this with their au pair beforehand.

    More information on the topic:

  • Language course

    During the au pair stay, the au pair should attend an English course. Typically in Australia, au pairs pay for such a course themselves.

  • State social insurance and income tax

    Starting in January 2017 there are new regulations for au pairs travelling to Australia with a Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) or Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462). Under these regulations the first 37,000 Australia dollars of income will be taxed at 15%. The au pair must apply for a tax file number (TFN) which registers the au pair in the Australian tax system. The host family in Australia must register with the Australia Taxation Office (ATO) as an employer with an employee on a Working Holiday Visa. If the family is not registered and the au pair has not applied for a TFN, then the assessed taxes may be higher. For further information, please contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

  • Health insurance

    Foreign citizens and temporary visa holders are not covered by the Australian national health insurance and are not entitled to medical treatment either. This means that au pairs will have to bear the cost for medical treatment or hospitalisation themselves. The only exceptions are for citizens of Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom, who can receive treatment through their countries' reciprocal health care agreement with Australia, entitling them to use the public health service, if necessary. However, health care is the only benefit available to these citizens.

    Medical treatment can be very expensive in Australia. It is therefore highly advisable for au pairs and their host families to arrange for a comprehensive au pair insurance policy especially designed to provide health insurance and other important insurance coverage for the au pair throughout the au pair stay.

    The AuPairWorld insurance partner DR. WALTER GmbH provides full information and easy online purchase of the PROTRIP-WORLD insurance coverage for au pairs.

  • Travel expenses

    The au pair usually pays his or her travel costs to Australia. If the family has been satisfied with the work of the au pair, they might consider making a contribution to the costs of the return trip. This is a suggestion from us that families can act on as they wish.

  • Driving and driving licence

    If an au pair will be expected to drive the host family car, then it is important to have sufficient driving experience. In Australia, cars drive on the left and au pairs should think carefully if they feel confident about driving under such circumstances. 

    If the au pair will be driving the host family car, the insurance situation should be clarified in advance. Au pair and host family need to decide who will bear uninsured costs in case of damage caused by an accident.

    In Australia, visitors may drive with a valid driving licence issued in a foreign country for up to three months upon arrival. After these three months, they either need an additional international driving licence, or the English translation of their driving licence. Please consult the pages of the Australian government for more information.

We are continually researching and updating our host country information, but cannot guarantee that all material provided is complete and correct. If you notice gaps or inaccuracies, we would like to hear from you.
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