Pocket money, working time and contract for au pairs in New Zealand

How much pocket money do au pairs in New Zealand get? Should the au pair and host family have a contract for the au pair stay? What are the working times for an au pair? These and other questions are answered on this page!

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Au pair contract

There are no official regulations concerning the au pair stay in New Zealand. Because au pairs are seen officially as employees in New Zealand, it is necessary that the family and au pair to sign an au pair contract for regulating the working relationship. This should include important details, such as duties, holidays and working hours.


There is no official notice period for terminating au pair contracts in New Zealand. We recommend a two weeks' notice period. This way the various parties have sufficient time to find a new au pair, a new host family or, in the case of the au pair, to organise their trip back home. In serious cases, the contract may be terminated with immediate effect.


Au pair duties

The main duty of au pairs in New Zealand is to look after the children of their host families and to help with light housework. This may include all tasks related to your host family's children, such as tidying up their rooms, preparing their meals, washing and ironing their clothes, etc.

Our tip: Specify in the au pair contract which tasks will be performed so that no misunderstandings arise. 

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Pocket money

Au pairs in New Zealand have the status of regular employees. They therefore are entitled to receive the minimum wage. At the present time, the minimum hourly wage is NZ$ 23.15. The weekly net income of an au pair thus is between NZ$ 245 and NZ$ 425. The exact amount depends on the number of hours that are worked. Au pairs are also entitled to receive their pocket money in the event of illness or during their holidays.

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An au pair needs to have an IRD number which must be given to the employer for handling income tax reporting. It is possible to apply for the IRD number online at the New Zealand Inland Revenue website. In New Zealand income taxes are handled through standard withholding arrangement (pay-as-you-earn or PAYE). Therefore, typically larger repyments or outstanding wage payments do not occur. 


Board and lodging

Au pairs should receive free board and lodging with their host families (three meals per day). This also applies in the event of illness. Au pairs should have a room of their own in the family home.

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Working time 

There are no official rules on how many hours au pairs should be working in New Zealand. We recommend a total of 30-40 working hours per week, babysitting included. The au pair and host family should agree on the planned  weekly working hours and fix this in the au pair contract. The law provides that an upper limit of 45 hours per week must not be exceeded.

Please note: Nationals of certain countries are allowed to work only for a maximum of 3 months for the same employer with the Working Holiday visa. Information on which countries these are can be found on the official New Zealand Immigration website.

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Free time and holiday

Like all employees in New Zealand, au pairs are also entitled to weekends off. Au pairs and host families should discuss the topic of working time and free time before the au pair stay begins. We recommend setting up a work schedule together that gives both the au pair and the family a clear view of what has been planned. In exceptional cases, au pairs may work on weekends. In this case, they earn their pocket money according to a defined payrate (1.5 x normal wage).

With an au pair stay of 12 months, au pairs are entitled to four weeks of paid holiday. In addition, they are entitled to five sick days after 6 months' stay with a family. Au pairs should have public holidays off. Such a paid day of holiday will be calculated in the weekly pocket money. 

With a shorter length of stay, the number of paid holiday days and the entitlement to sick days should be calculated on a proportional basis.

In New Zealand there is no official regulation governing public holidays for au pairs. We recommend that au pairs have public holidays off and only in exceptional cases should they have to work. Such situations should be discussed in advance between the au pair and host family. If an au pair needs to work on a public holiday, then the normal hourly wage should receive the normal hourly wage x1.5. 

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Language course

Host families should make it possible for au pairs to attend a language course. Generally, au pairs bear the costs for such a course by themselves. Host families can most likely assist in finding a course provider close to their place of residence.

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Au pair insurance

It is necessary to have a comprehensive travel health insurance throughout the entire period of the stay in New Zealand when travelling with the Working Holiday visa. 

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.

AuPairWorld recommends the PROTRIP-WORLD insurance package to provide this protection during the au pair stay. It is especially designed for au pairs and other young people spending time abroad. Among other benefits, this insurance covers the full costs of inpatient and outpatient medical care, plus return transport to the home country for medical reasons (which can be a significant expense for au pairs from Europe or Norther America).

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Travel costs

Au pairs normally bear the cost of their trip to and from the host country by themselves. We do, however, recommend host families to pay for the return trip of the au pair or part of it if the au pair stay was successful. This is only our recommendation and does not oblige host families to do so.


Driving licence

Au pairs must have a valid driver's license with an approved translation or an international driver's license to drive in New Zealand for up to one year. Persons who are staying longer need to apply for a New Zealand driver's license. Please note that there is left-hand traffic in New Zealand! To prepare well, you can always take the free Road Code (road rules) quiz provided by the Tourism New Zeland and the NZ Transport Agency. It is offered in 4 languages (English, German, Spanish and Chinese).

Au pairs and host families should clarify in advance if the au pair will need to be driving for the planned au pair duties. It also should be clarified how costs will be handled in the event of a driving-related accident and include this information in the au pair contract.

Our tip: For au pairs from many countries it is easy to convert their own driver licence into a New Zealand driver licence. As soon as this is done, the insurance company will apply the same rate of excess on them as they would on a similar person from New Zealand and not the high one that normally applies to drivers with licences from abroad. Another advantage of changing to a New Zealand driver licence is that au pairs are able to use it as a form of identification instead of their passport.

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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.