Not all countries offer specific au pair programmes or provide statutory requirements concerning the holiday entitlement of an au pair. However, based on our experiences and the au pair regulations defined by the governments of those countries where official au pair programmes are offered, we recommend the following:
When staying with their host families for a total of 12 months, au pairs should be accorded a paid holiday of four weeks. As a general rule, they should have one whole week of holiday per quarter and two full days of holiday per month. Au pairs and host families may use these figures as a guideline when calculating the number of au pair holiday days according to their total length of stay.
Families planning to go abroad on a holiday while hosting an au pair need to clarify with their au pairs well before their arrival if the latter wish to, or even are expected to accompany them during that time, or if they would rather go on a separate holiday. Au pairs accompanying their host families on their holidays to take care of their children are, by definition, working regular hours. Holidays with their host families only count as holidays for the au pairs if the latter are merely carrying out minor tasks and are not put on childcare duty. Even during the family holidays, au pairs are entitled to their full amount of pocket money. When staying in their host family's home during the family holidays, au pairs must be provided with sufficient housekeeping money.
When it comes to public holidays, there are certain countries in which it is regulated that au pairs have free and must not work, such as in Denmark, Germany, New Zealand and Switzerland.
In other countries, there are no official regulations with regard to public holidays for au pairs. We recommend that au pairs have a day off on public holidays. Only in exceptional cases au pairs should work on public holidays. If the au pair is required to work in such a day, the family should give him or her some other day off to even things up. It is recommend though that the host family discuss this with their au pair beforehand.
Holidays, public holidays and Christmas - FAQ
We wish to take our au pair on our holiday. Does this count as work or as a holiday?
Host mum Elsa, Finland
If it seems almost impossible to separate working hours from days off, the following question will help you make up your mind: For which purpose will your au pair come along with you on your holiday? Do you expect your au pair to take care of your children or will he or she accompany you for pleasure, having plenty of time for himself or herself? Once the reason has become clear to you, talk to your au pair about it. Come to a mutual agreement which suits both of you.
We are a host family from Germany and have found an au pair from Uzbekistan through your website. Currently, we are waiting for her entry visa. In May, we will be traveling to Spain for vacation. Of course, we would like to take our au pair with us. Would that be possible?
The Kröger Family, Germany
In order to answer your question, AuPairWorld's editorial team asked the Bundesamt für Migration (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees) in Nuremberg (Germany) directly. Here is the reply of the press spokesman:
"Most EU Member States including Spain are part of the "Schengen Area", in which border controls have been abolished. Members of third countries have the same Freedom of Travel as union citizens. However, this right is granted under the condition that they are legal residents in one the "Schengen countries". In order to work as an au pair, the person obtains a residence title given at the beginning of the employment. As soon as the residence title is given, the respective person may reside without employment (for example, for vacation) for three months in any other Schengen country. (...)"
For details concerning a particular case, please contact your local foreigner's registration office.
We always meet up with our entire family over the holidays and I have to admit that it is quite big with 17 members. Ela, our au pair girl, wishes to celebrate with us. Can we ask her if she could also take care of my sister's children?
Host dad José, Spain
You can certainly always ask your au pair. However, you also need to expect and accept that your au pair might not be willing to take care of a larger number of children at the same time. Maybe you could ask a member of your family to help you out in this case. You should also ensure that your au pair does not exceed his or her maximum working hours.
Christmas involves a lot of work for our family. So we were thinking about asking our au pair to help us. Is this something we can expect?
Host mum Alice, United Kingdom
You cannot rely on the fact that your au pair will help you over the season. However, you can always ask :-). Many au pairs wish to spend Christmas with their parents. We recommend that you plan the Christmas season well in advance together with your au pair. Should your au pair be staying with you over the holidays, you should define his or her working hours and days off. As a good compromise, you can offer your au pair to stay with you over Christmas and take the Easter Holidays or the days between Christmas and the New Year's Day off.
It is one of our family traditions to take our children on a trip over the Christmas holidays. Should we invite our au pair to come with us?
Host dad George, France
You should ask your au pair as early as possible what he or she is planning to do over Christmas. Should your au pair wish to come with you, you can take him or her with you. Should it not be feasible for financial or organisational reasons, you should provide your au pair with everything he or she may need during your absence. Try to explain the reasons why you cannot take him or her with you.
We are Muslims, our au pair is a Christian. She wishes to celebrate Christmas. What can we do for her?
Host dad Salim, Germany
Christmas forms part of Christian culture, as Ramadan forms part of Muslim culture. You can enhance cultural exchange by showing interest and respect towards her customs and habits. You should also ask your au pair early enough what she is planning to do over Christmas. Does she possibly wish to celebrate with friends, stay with you or travel back home? Should she wish to spend the holidays with her family, you should give her the opportunity to do so. We recommend that you both plan the au pair's working hours and days off well in advance.
Our au pair will be celebrating Christmas with us. Should we give her a present?
Host mum Ilaria, Italien
Your au pair is like your son or daughter for a limited period of time. If your own children receive presents, your au pair will certainly also be happy to get a little something. You do not need to buy a big present. In this context, calendars with language tips, a personalised photo album, objects handcrafted by the children, etc., make great presents. Should your au pair wish to go home over Christmas, you could choose to bear the expenses of the outward or return journey if you wish.
Every year, we take an official family photo on Christmas. Should our au pair join us, or is it rather not recommended?
Host mum Angie, United Kingdom
Each family member has his or her own personality and opinion. As your au pair will spend Christmas with you, I strongly assume that you get along well with each other. Therefore, I believe that there is no reason why your au pair should not appear on your Christmas photo. After all, this photo will be a great memory for all of you, reminding you of the time with your au pair. Should other members of your family have a different point of view, you can always make two pictures, one with and one without your au pair. Maybe you could ask your au pair if he or she would not mind taking a photo of your family?