Before you leave your home country, you should sign a contract with your host family. It will include your rights and duties, as well as those of the host family. Other information included in the contract will be: Conditions of the au pair stay, length of au pair stay, working hours, holiday entitlement of the au pair, specific details of accommodation, details about the language course and pocket money entitlement.
The au pair employment complies to the conditions of a normal working contract for domestic workers in your canton. This contract sets particular rules for working hours and free time. You have to fill out three copies of the contract and sign them. You and the host family will receive a contract each and the third will go to the relevant cantonal immigration and labour market authority.
On our website How to become an au pair in Switzerland you will find out more about what you need to do before you can become an au pair.
The au pair contract is valid for the duration of the au pair stay. However, it is possible to terminate the contract before its scheduled conclusion, for example if you don't get on with your host family anymore. The Swiss regulations indicate that the contract usually has a month probationary period. During this time, the contract can be terminated with a notice period of 7 days. After the probationary period is over, termination of the au pair contract is only possible when done in writing with a notice period of one month.
In serious cases, the contract can be terminated immediately and thus without a notice period. In these cases, termination must be effected in writing and there must be a legitimate reason for the termination. If the family terminates the contract without serious reasons or without adhering to the notice period, the au pair has a right to their pocket money and non-monetary benefits (or the corresponding amount of the non-monetary benefits - 990 CHF) until the end of the notice period or until the end of the contract. In such cases, the au pair also has the right to compensation for any damages caused by the unreasonable termination of the contract.
Au pairs are obligated to make social insurance contributions just like any other employed people in Switzerland. Usually, half of the social contributions will be paid by you and half by your host family. The family must apply for your insurance certificate at the social insurance authorities, so that the contributions can be paid. The contributions amount to 12.5% of your gross income no matter how much pocket money you receive in total. The contributions are for pension insurance, disability insurance, sick pay and unemployment insurance. The pocket money as well as the non-monetary benefits are subject to contribution payments.
During your au pair stay in Switzerland, you also benefit from health insurance, accident insurance and pension insurance. The amount to be paid on a monthly basis depends on the insurance taken out and the coverage. At least half of the contributions will be paid by the host family. The contributions for accident at work insurance are paid solely by the family.
Make sure you know if the family expect you to drive their car before your departure. If they do, you need to make sure that your driving licence is valid in Switzerland. You also need to clarify the following points with your family beforehand: What happens if you have an accident? Who pays for repairs and how much would you be financially liable for? Often it is possible for the family to extend their insurance to cover you.
We strongly recommend you to discuss all important details concerning your au pair stay with your future host parents well in advance. On the following page you will find the most important questions you should ask your host family.
Federal Social Insurance Office: Leaflet for foreign nationals on Swiss social insurance
Federal Office for Migration: More information on employment conditions of an au pair
Ch.ch: National website of state and cantons
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.