Pocket money, working hours, contract for au pairs in the UK

How much pocket money does an au pair receive in the UK? What are the working hours? Do au pairs in Great Britain need to have a contract? You'll find all this information and more for au pairs and host families in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Young woman with wallet

There is not an official au pair programme in the UK, but EU and EFTA citizens as well as citizens from certain other countries can still work as au pairs in Great Britain.

Here is further information based on UK Government guidelines for au pairs

  • Au pair contract

    In preparation for the au pair stay, the host family and au pair should talk about their specific wishes and expectations. The detailed agreements that are reached in these discussions should then always be put into a written contract. The model contract provided by the Council of Europe can be used for this purpose

    Contract termination
    The legal period of notice is 14 days. This should provide enough time for both parties to make other arrangements to find another au pair or host family or to return home.

  • Duties

    The primary responsibility of an au pair is to look after the children in the host family. In addition to childcare, au pairs can perform light household chores, but the main focus of their duties should concern the children. The host family and the au pair should make clear and definite arrangements about what the au pair's duties will be.

  • Pocket money

    According to UK Government guidelines, au pairs in England, Scotland, North Ireland and Wales should receive approximately 70-85 GBP per week. AuPairWorld recommends an amount at the upper end of this range between 80 and 85 GBP per week. 

  • Board & lodging

    In addition to pocket money, an au pair receives free board and lodging with the host family during the au pair stay. Board and lodging shall also be provided during holidays and in case of illness.

  • Working hours

    Au pairs in the UK usually work 30 hours per week, babysitting included.

  • Free time and holidays

    An au pair is entitled to 2 days off per week. One of these days should be on a Sunday at least once every month.

    There are no consistent regulations in the UK concerning holiday time that au pairs should receive. Our recommendation is that an au pair who stays with the family for 12 months should receive four weeks of holidays. (In case of shorter placements, this can also serve as the basis for calculating a prorated amount of holiday.)

    More information on the topic:

  • Language course

    Au pairs should have the possibility to attend an English language course. Usually, au pairs pay for the cost of such courses themselves. The host family should help to find an appropriate course within their area if possible.

  • National Insurance and income tax

    Au pairs in the UK do not have the same employment status as regular workers and employees. However, depending on how much pocket money they receive, they may have to pay income tax and National Insurance.

  • Health insurance

    In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) is responsible for public health care. This includes hospital stays, medical care and ambulance services. 

    Citizens from EEA states are entitled to receive NHS services. To receive these services they need to have their European Health Insurance Card. Otherwise, they may be charged for healthcare services in the UK.

    Citizens from countries with a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the UK are entitled to receive hospital treatment. Typically this pertains to emergency care.

    Healthcare services in the United Kingdom may be different from those provided in the home country of the au pair. Therefore, it is always advisable also for au pairs to have au pair insurance during the au pair stay.

    Citizens from all other countries need to take out an individual health and accident insurance policy for the entire duration of their stay in the UK before leaving their countries. It is not possible to contact the NHS upon arrival in the United Kingdom to take out a corresponding insurance policy.

    Au pairs and host families should clarify in advance whether the host family will be prepared to bear part of the international insurance costs for the au pair stay.

  • Car driving and driving licence

    Many host families would like to have an au pair who has a driving licence. It is important that au pairs who will be driving have enough driving experience to feel comfortable and, of course, that they have a valid driving licence. Don't forget: cars drive on the left in Britain. The au pair and host family should discuss whether the au pair will feel 100% safe driving in the UK.

    In addition, questions of insurance and liability need to be clarified in advance. If the au pair has an accident with the family car, it should be clear how the costs will be handled. The host family should contact their own car insurance company and see if it is possible for the au pair to be included on the policy for the duration of the au pair stay.

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.