In New Zealand, there is no official au pair programme. However, au pairs can work there under the Working Holiday Scheme. The latter entitles them to the same minimum employment rights and obligations under New Zealand employment law as anyone else.
Au pairs primarily look after the children of their host families. Additionally, they may help you with light child-related housework, such as washing their clothes or helping them tidying up their rooms. You should discuss your au pair's exact duties well in advance and include them in your written au pair contract.
Hosting an au pair consequently leads to higher living costs as an additional grown up family member lives in your home.
During their entire stay, your au pair lives in your home and is entitled to a private furnished bedroom and free access to meals. This also applies in case of illness and during the au pair's holidays.
In return for their help, au pairs receive pocket money from their host families on a weekly basis. Au pairs are entitled to the minimum wage in New Zealand. The current minimum wage before tax is NZ$15.75 per hour. The au pair's weekly net wage will then roughly be somewhere between NZ$170 and NZ$230, depending on their number of working hours.
Being a regular employer, you also have tax obligations. Your au pair's gross wage is based on the minimum wage plus board and lodging. Board and lodging must be included in your au pair's total gross income, on which the PAYE (pay-as-you-earn) tax is calculated. For more information, contact the Inland Revenue Department.
Under certain circumstances, families from New Zealand may apply for childcare allowance. More information can be found on "Work and Income New Zealand".
Generally, au pairs cover their own travel expenses. However, many host families pay for their return trip if they are satisfied with their au pair's help throughout their stay. We appreciate and recommend this approach.
There are no official rules on how many hours au pairs should be working in New Zealand. However, based on our personal experience, we recommend 30-40 working hours per week, babysitting included. You should agree with your au pair on their total weekly working hours. The law provides that the upper limit of 45 hours must not be exceeded.
Please note: Nationals of certain countries who enter New Zealand on the Working Holiday visa may only work for the same employer for up to a maximum of three months. To find out if this regulation applies to your au pair, check the information on the Working Holiday Visa or the Immigration New Zealand website for the conditions regarding your home country.
As all employees, au pairs are entitled to weekends and days off on public holidays. You should discuss your au pair's spare time well before their arrival at your home. You can also draw up a timetable together. Thus, your au pair will always know their exact duties at a given time, as well as their free hours. In exceptional cases, au pairs may work on weekends or public holidays. However, in this case they receive their pocket money at a defined payrate (1.5x normal wage).
Au pairs are entitled to four weeks' of paid holidays (when staying with their host families throughout a 12-month-period), 5 days of sick leave (after 6 months of employment) and public holidays off. Take these values as a basis for your calculations, should your au pair be staying with you for a shorter period of time.
Au pairs are entitled to a day off on a public holiday. This paid day off is included in their weekly pocket money. Should you wish your au pair to be working on a public holiday, you will need to remunerate them at a defined payrate (1.5x normal wage).
One of your au pair's main objectives is to improve their language skills. Therefore, you should give them the opportunity to attend a language course. Normally, au pairs bear the costs for their language courses by themselves. You should help them find a suitable course close to your home.
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.