Au pair wages, working hours, contract for au pairs in the UK

How are au pairs paid 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 there are various ways that young people can come to the UK and have an au pair style cooperation with a UK family. 

Au pair contract

There is no official au pair contract for the United Kingdom (England), but the European template is widely used and accepted.

The au pair contract must be signed before the au pairs travels to the host country and must specify all arrangements for the au pair stay (duties, holidays, working hours, pocket money, etc.). This will ensure a clear and fair arrangement between the family and the au pair.


It is possible to terminate the contract. 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.



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.

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Au pair wages

As of 24 April 2024, new regulations apply regarding au pair compensation in the United Kingdom.

As of this date, au pairs should be paid the U.K. National Minimum Wage, which is an hourly rate as opposed to the previously recommended weekly amount. This wage payment is offset by a fixed Accommodation Offset of £9.99 per day per day to reflect the room and board benefits that an au pair receives.

Based on this new arrangement, au pair compensation varies according to the number of hours worked per week. The hourly minimum wage also varies depending on the age of the recipient. 

According to the Minimum Wage law, au pairs aged 18-20 receive £8.60 per hour. Au pairs 21 and up receive £11.44 per hour.

This results in payments along these lines:

Recommended Minimum Weekly Pay for 18-20 year-old au pairs

  • 25 hours per week: £8.60 times 25 minus £69.93 = £145.07
  • 30 hours per week:  £8.60 times 30 minus £69.93 = £188.07
  • 35 hours per week: £8.60 times 35 minus £69.93 = £231.07 

Recommended Minimum Weekly Pay for 21+ year-old au pairs

  • 25 hours per week: £11.44 times 25 minus £69.93 = £ 216.07 
  • 30 hours per week:  £11.44 times 30 minus £69.93 = £273.27 
  • 35 hours per week: £11.44 times 35 minus £69.93 = £330.47

Please note: Although au pair payment arrangements in the UK are now based on the statutory minimum wage, we at AuPairWorld continue to view au pairing as a form of cultural exchange that works through integration of a young person into family life. Rergadless of how payment is calculated, this is the essence of au pairing. The information provided on these pages and throughout our website is based on this idea, and is described in our Basic idea of au pairing, which constitutes part of our Terms of Service.


Board and lodging

In addition to the stipulated weekly payment based on the Minimum Wage, 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. The board and lodging is calculated as part of the overall compensation in terms of the officially stipulated Accommodation Offset of £9.99 per day, which comes to £69.93 per week (see above). 

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Working hours

Au pairs in the UK usually work 30 hours per week but different weekly hours can be arranged individually by au pairs and families and compensated accordingly.

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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.)

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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.

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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.


Au pair insurance

To be safely and fully insured, au pairs from all countries need to have a comprehensive private au pair insurance for au pair stays in the United Kingdom. Au pairs and host families should clarify in advance whether the host family will be prepared to bear part of the insurance costs for the au pair stay. Otherwise, the au pair must cover these costs.

AuPairWorld recommends the PROTRIP-WORLD insurance package to provide 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.

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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.

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.

Foreign driving licences are valid for a period of 12 months after arrival in the UK. Following this period other arrangements may be necessary.

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.

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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.