Au pair vacation: How much time off do au pairs get?
All au pairs are entitled to paid holiday time during the au pair stay. Regulations regarding this vacation entitlement vary from country to country.
Not all countries offer a defined au pair programme 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 receive a paid holiday of four weeks. As a general rule, they should have one whole week of vacation time 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 in advance if the au pair wishes to - or will be expected to - accompany the family during that time. 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 pair if the au pair is merely carrying out minor tasks and is not put on childcare duty. 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 these days 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 should au pairs be expected to work on public holidays. If the au pair is required to work on such a day, the family should give the au pair some other day off to even things up. It is recommend though that the host family discuss this with their au pair beforehand.
There are not any official regulations concerning how au pairs and families should handle the Christmas period. Basically, au pairs and host families should discuss this with each other and agree on a plan that works well for everyone. Many au pairs use the Christmas period to fly home to visit their own families in their home countries. Others stay with their host family in order to experience something new or use the free period around Christmas to take a trip in their host country. Our blog article gives more ideas how you can spend Christmastime as an au pair.