FAQs on au pairing in France

The AuPairWorld Team answers frequently asked questions about how au pairing works in France.

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  • Can I become a summer au pair in France for just a single month?

    To comply with French regulations, you will need to stay in France for a minimum of three months if you plan to become an au pair as a stagiaire aide familial étranger.  In this context, it doesn't matter at which time of the year you enter France. 

  • What should I do if I am unable to find a suitable language course for my au pair close to our home?

    Have you already enquired about all the various possibilities for a language course in your area? Apart from universities, adult education centres and the language centres with the "FLE" classification, some secondary schools also offer French courses  - including for external participants. Should you still be unable to find a suitable solution, you should consult your local DIRECCTE office. They will decide on a case by case basis, whether they can validate a particular au pair contract.

  • I already speak French well. Do I still need to take a French course if I want to work as an au pair?

    Yes, you do. French law clearly states that the purpose of an au pair stay in France is to improve your knowledge of the French culture and language. Therefore, your participation in a French course forms a prerequisite to have your au pair contract approved/validated, even if you already have a good knowledge of the French language. And with a foreign language the learning process is never really complete.

  • We have come across two options for au pairs to work in France: either as a "stagiaire aide familial étranger" or as an "employé/salarié au pair". Which of these options should we choose when we have an au pair in our family?

    At AuPairWorld we recommend the option stagiaire aide familial étranger, as it corresponds far more to the AuPairWorld Basic idea of au paring than the salarié au pair status. The stagiaire aide familial étranger must be a student from a foreign country, who is no more than 30 years old and does not work more than 30 hours per week. This status is aimed at promoting cultural exchange among nations worldwide. In this role, your au pair receives a certain amount of pocket money, rather than a minimum salary (SMIC). 

  • My husband and I both work full-time. Therefore, we'd like to have an au pair who works 40 hours per week. Is that possible?

    No, with the au pair status "stagiaire aide familial étranger" it is not possible. French law limits working hours for au pairs to 30 hours per week, babysitting included. Please bear in mind that the idea is to treat your au pair like an older sister in the family. Try to be creative and think about some alternatives for the remaining hours. Is there an after-school care option that could be used in conjuction with au pairing? Or could a babysitter also help with providing childcare? The Chèque Domicile CESU, for instance, gives information for how to handle employing a person in your home.

  • We know that we need to register our au pair with the French Social Security (Sécurité sociale). Will this suffice or do we need to take out any further insurance policies?

    You will need to have additional insurance as well. The Sécurité sociale only covers basic healthcare services and additional services need to be covered through an additional insurance. Check if your complementary health insurance ("mutuelle santé) can cover your au pair during the au pair stay. If this is not possible, an additional insurance policy from a private insurer should be arranged.

  • Does an au pairhave to be registered in the French public health insurance system?

    Yes. Host families in France have to register their au pairs with theURSSAF and with the Sécurité sociale. Often the social insurance number is issued later than expected. In such a case and if no other additional medical insurance exists for the au pair, the family is liable for all of the medical expenses that arise for the au pair.

    French public health insurance only covers a portion of the medical expenses. Other expenses that arise that are not covered must be borne by the host family. Therefore, it is advisable to take out an additional private insurance to be sure that all costs will be insured.

  • Who is responsible for paying for the au pair's insurance?

    The host family is responsible for paying the social insurance premiums (Sécurité sociale) and for the cost of private insurance for the au pair. However, it is also possible that the family and the au pair agree to share these costs. 

  • Does the French health insurance (Sécurité sociale) provide sufficient coverage for au pairs in case of illness?

    French health insurance (Sécurité sociale) covers up to 70 per cent of the total of all medical expenses for doctor's visits. The proportion of drug expenses covered, varies according to the type of medicine. Au pairs also need to observe the provisions of the French health care system requiring them to select their attending general practitioner and contact him first, in the event of illness. Otherwise, the reimbursement will be lower.

    Thus, under Sécurité sociale, au pairs do not receive full medical insurance coverage, and host families are liable for those costs not covered. By taking out an additional insurance policy at a private insurance company, they can claim reimbursement for these additional costs borne by themselves from the first euro spent and, as another benefit, their au pairs are not compelled to adhere to the provisions of the French health care system, regarding choice of general practitioner.

  • What other forms of insurance should au pairs have?

    • It is recommended that au pairs have personal liability insurance in case of any physical or material damage, which may be caused intentionally or unintentionally. Host families can extend their own personal liability insurance to their au pairs or take out an individual insurance policy for them.
    • If the au pair will be driving the family car during the au pair stay, the host family should ask their insurance provider well in advance, to include the au pair in the insurance contract. Furthermore, the host family and au pair should clarify in advance who will bear any uninsured costs in case of an accident caused by the au pair.
    • Most private au pair insurance providers cover the cost of an au pair returning home in the event of a death in the au pair's family. This allows the au pair to attend the funeral and resume his or her stay with the host family.
    • It could also prove useful to have the au pair's personal belongings  covered for his or her travel and as well as for the duration of the au pair stay. As the au pair will be living together with the host family, the family can check if it is possible to extend their householder's insurance to cover the au pair or if it is necessary to take out an individual insurance policy.
    • Does the au pair take part in high-risk sports activities? This is important to know in assessing possible medical risks and personal liability insurance requirements.
  • Is the au pair insured when he or she accompanies the host family on holiday?

    Some host families take their au pair with them on holiday trips outside of France. In such cases, it is important to check with the private insurance companies, as to whether the insurance contract provides sufficient coverage for the au pair whilst abroad. Should families not have taken out a private insurance policy, it is essential that they arrange a travel insurance policy for their short-term stay outside of France.

  • What is the typical cost of au pair insurance?

    The insurance costs depend on the au pair's country of origin as well as the duration of stay. On average, insurance costs of 25 € per month for au pairs from the EU and 40 € per month for au pairs from outside the EU can be expected.

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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