Montag, 16. April 2018


I thought about what and how to write here for a long time. I came to the conclusion a bit structure would be good in here, so i came up with the most important points and will explain them. As ever if you have more input, please feel free to write me. 
And if you want a basic understanding of the requirements and a definiton of the term Au Pair, click here on my previous blogpost: BEING AN AU PAIR: EXPLANATION & REQUIREMENTS



Before you start with a family, you should talk about working hours. Do they expect 20 hours, 30 hours, 40 hours or more than that. There is big fat red warning sign here: Some families tend to still see Au Pairs as cheap labour. Do not let them walk all over you! 
In the next point i am talking about appropriate pay and how to calculate it, so do not sweat about that now. 
When you are working between 0 and 25 hours, mostly (i say mostly because there are always exeptions to the rule) you are categorized as a DEMI AU PAIR. 
A Demi Au Pair mostly gets free board and accomondation for supervising the children. No or a small extra pocket money due to the small amount of hours, he/she is working. Demi Au Pair is a good job for students, part-time workers or backpackers. You have a safe place to sleep and can eat for free while having a ton of free time, to either work, study or have fun. 
As a (regular) Au Pair you are mostly working between 30 and 40+ hours a week. It is considered a full time job. 
If you are working during the week or on the weekend doesn't have anything to do with the amount of working hours. Some host parents are shift workers, so it could be that you work for 2 weeks straight and then have one whole week off, or you are meant to work at night and have the day off. The possiblities are endless. Most commenly you work during the day during the week and have the whole weekend off or even monday or friday. 
BUT in conclusion everything comes down to what you discussed with the family and if their expectations match with your wishes and if you are compatible. Please be assured you do not have to commit to anything you do not like. There are millions of host families out there which are very flexible and will match your desired expectations (well, if they are not too wild). 

   2. PAY     

If you go ahead with an organisation like AIFS or Cultural Care (i will discuss in my next post if this is a wise move or not) then you have a fixed pay. But if you are a professional in childcare for example a kindergarden teacher you get more than the "average" Au Pair. 
If you are doing this on your own (which i did) your pay is what you negotiate or what the family and you agree on. Most families had Au Pairs before you and they will have their pay already figured out and you agree to it or not. Sometimes you get lucky and get payed more than the average but as i said it is what you agreed upon with the family. 
Let me give you a direction: 300 dollars for 40 hours work a week with more than one child or 200 dollars for 20 hours with more than one child is something i came across. 
BUT keep in mind peeps: 
You have to take into account how many kids you are looking after, how many are in school, how hard is the actual work, how generous is your family when it comes to extra pays (e.g. gym membership, eating out with kids, themepark membership, personal use of a car,  etc.) 
AND do not forget you live there for free and eat for free!

So i'd say a normal room in Australia would cost per week: 150-250 dollars (we take the middle with 200). 
Then you have to feed yourself a whole week. I'd say if you live cheep you can do 100-200 dollars (again let's estimate the middle with 150). 

So you have: 
(200 + 150 + 200 (your pay) ) / 20 (hours) = 27,5
which is more than minimum wage in Australia. 

I am not saying this is the golden rule people, but it is something to help you along the way. I'd say everything over 17 (depending on other perks you get) is acceptable. 


You should definitely have your own room in the house with a door you can close. A walk-in and your own bathroom are a plus but is not a must. Some families have granny flats or pool houses, where you live in. With some you even have your own living space. It all depends on the property. In two families i shared a bathroom with the kids. Right now i have my own bathroom. 
But what your room should definitely have is either a heater (if it is cold where you live) or an air-con (if it is hot) and all amenities a home should have. A bed, sheets, towels, wifi, a closet, lights etc. You may laugh at some stuff but i heard stories where the Au Pair would sleep in the garage with no proper heating or that you would have to walk through the garden outside to get to the toilet (imagine this at night). 
So this is why i can't stretch enough: Ask those questions about everything, maybe even ask for pictures. 


What i mean by that is where you live, what is around you, how is public transport or if you have a car for personal use. 
Some people advertise to live in melbourne or sydney and people estimate distance like in their home country. Let me tell you something about Australia or America. Distance is not the same! A 45 minutes commute is nothing and completely normal here. So when you are talking to a family make sure to ask for their address and google maps the shit out of it. Where is it. Where is the closest train station, tram station or bus station. How long does it take to the city centre, to the beach or wherever you want to go and then compare families. I live in Caulfield North in Melbourne which is considered an inner suburb with 25 minutes with the car into the CBD and around 35 to 50 minutes via public transport. 
If i wouldn't have had access to a car for personal use in QLD i would have been stuck at home. It was a small town directly on the highway with rare public transport. 
I had a couple of friends which said they would live in Brisbane and then had to commute 50 minutes with the bus and didn't even have access to a car. 
So again people, talk to your hostparents before hand. 
A good way for example if you do not have access to a car for personal use, would be, to ask your host parents to pay for your public transport card or anything. My hostmum here gave me upon my arrival a myki card (which is the public transport card for Melbourne) with a fixed amount of money on it. Which was awesome to get me started! 


To repeat myself further your duties and responsibilites would be everything you and your hostparents agreed upon. Some is common sense, some is acceptable, some is not ok. 

Common sense: Everything related to children
This doesn't mean cleaning up their mess, but helping them cleaning it up or encouraging them. Doing their laundry (and if you are on it, maybe pop in your hostparents with it), producing food for the children, could also be preparing their lunches, spending time with the children, playing with them, keeping them safe.

Acceptable work: 
If before hand agreed upon, light housework, like vacuuming, walking the dog, cleaning the dishes, bringing out the garbage is totally fine. Some families may have horses or a farm or require some work like ironing shirts. Everything is really ok if you agreed to it and feel comfortable with it. 

Not ok: 
One of my friends had to clean the whole house every day, which was not ok! 
Another one had to help in the motel and doing all kind of maid related work, which was not agreed upon beforehand. 
So do not let them walk all over you and discuss what you would be comfortable doing and what not!  


With social life i mean everything which comes with living in a foreign country with a foreign family. So your host family should make you feel like part of their family. This means if they go to family outings, you should have always have a choice to come along if you want to. But if you need a bit time for yourself they should equally respect that. 
My families always invited me to outings and it was before hand said that if I choose to come along, they pay for me and my expenses (food, entry etc.). That is something for you to talk about and if before hand agreed upon, it will save some embarrassment. 
If you are going to the movies with their kids or to a mall, your entrance and expenses for food should be covered. If you use the car for family matters, they should pay the gas. In my families we always had the deal that if i take the car on the weekend i had to pay for gas myself, but for small journeys during the week for example to the gym, my family would pay. Sometimes i got a credit card with money on for trips with the kids to use or just plain cash to spent for us all (e.g. icecream, lunch etc.). 
If the family goes on vacation and they choose not to bring you, they should have enough food for you and everything else covered. 
If you are sick, you should not feel bad to be sick. They should either stay at home or make it the most comfortable for you. I mean if you have a cold you can still look after kids and have a tv day with them or anything what doesn't require you to run or jump around. 
Also you should have enough time to explore the country and make friends and socialize and your family should make sure you have! So normally after 7 days of working, you should have some free time. In most families the norm is to work during the week and have the weekends off. Some may be shift workers, so it could be working 2 weeks, off 2 weeks. But again discuss and agree to what you feel comfortable.
If this all sounds really bad to you and started you to think twice before doing it - let me assure you, i had good families so far! I‘d do it all over again! 

ALL in ALL your experience as an Au Pair should be a fun one. You should be happy, grow, learn and experience new things and have the time of your life. 
This is what you can expect, a set of things that should give you an orientation, but the expectations may not always be the reality. 
That's why my next post will be about the REALITY OF BEING AN AU PAIR. 
So stay tuned.
And as every, if you have any input or feedback, i'd love to read everything about it in the comments. 

xx, Nad

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