Is an au pair required to help with housework?

(Also to be found with keywords Housework and Help with household tasks)

As well as childcare, light housework forms part of the au pair's tasks. Light housework consists of anything to do with the children of the host family. Depending on the age of the children, the au pair should help them with things like tidying up their room. Other than this, the au pair supports the family, for example, with the following housework:

  • Washing dishes / loading and unloading the dishwasher
  • Now and then: cleaning, sweeping, dusting/ hoovering
  • Doing the children's washing and putting it away
  • Ironing (not including difficult items of clothing like shirts and blouses)
  • Making the children's beds
  • Tidying the children's rooms
  • Doing a little bit of shopping
  • If necessary, looking after pets
  • Emptying the rubbish

Obviously, the au pair is responsible for keeping their room and, if available, their own bathroom tidy. They must also clean up after themselves in other rooms that they use for example if they cook in the kitchen for their friends. If an au pair has to look after a baby or small child, they should not have too many other tasks. It is important that the au pair's working hours are not exceeded, once all of these tasks are taken into consideration.

The following housework is not part of an au pair's duties:

  • Garden work
  • Cleaning windows
  • Spring cleaning
  • Cleaning the oven
  • Washing cars
  • Cleaning carpets
  • Doing lots of shopping
  • Washing pets
  • Making the host parents' bed
  • Cleaning the toilet
  • Ironing difficult items of clothing
  • Cleaning the entire house/ flat

The extent of housework tasks included will depend on the family and the age of the children. However, in all cases, an au pair is not a housemaid. They are, rather, a member of the family and help out in the home like any family member does.

Our tips:

  • Discuss all of the au pair tasks before hand and right them down in the au pair contract. This is so you can avoid possible misunderstandings.
  • We also recommend that all of the tasks of the au pair are put into a timetable
  • Talking helps! Many problems and misunderstandings can be avoided if the host family and au pair talk everything over from the beginning - this is also the case as far as au pair tasks are concerned.

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