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An Au Pair is a person who travels from overseas to live and work in Australia. The focus is a cultural exchange. The au pair provides set hours of childcare and in return your family provides them accommodation, food and a wage for their services.

For a lot of people, having friends and family nearby can help a lot - but for some people this isn't the case. Whether their family lives far away, or whether they live close but have their own routine separate to what you need; you need a consistent and reliable person in your life that can help with childcare.

Whether you have one child or several children, hiring an Au Pair to help out in the family can be a rewarding experience not only for you and your family, but for the Au Pair themselves.

Looking for an Au Pair to help you can be a daunting experience. Who do you need? What can they do? How much do they cost? Is it really worth it? Do I really need one?

Below is some information to help consider the options.

For Parents

What is an au pair?

In English the word Au Pair actually means 'on equal terms'.

So this means that both the au pair and the family have an equal exchange in their arrangement.

Au Pair is someone from a foreign country who helps look after your children at home in exchange for a place to stay, food and some payment.

What is a demi-pair?

A demi-pair works fewer hours than an au pair.

Usually, a demi-pair is an international student who looks after your children for up to 15 hours per week.

An hourly rate is calculated, then an amount is deducted for room and board.

The amount of pay is usually equivalent to room and board, so no additional payment is made.

If the carer works more than 15 hours, then she is paid this on top of her room and board.

What can an au pair do?

Generally speaking, your Au Pair will be responsible for childcare and child-related tasks around the home. From waking the children up and putting them to bed, taking them to school and picking them up, taking them to the park and entertaining them at home, to preparing meals.

Au Pairs can also tidy up after the children, and if capable of doing so, helping them with their homework.

What can't an au pair do?

The au pair's main priority is to look after your child. Generally au pairs are not expected to make meals for the family, look after other children other than your own, or do any kind of heavy housework. Often light housekeeping is acceptable - meal preparation for children, wiping kitchen benches, helping with children's washing.

What can an au pair expect of me?

An au pair is a person who comes from a foreign country to look after you children.

Usually, as the employer and the parent, you provide the au pair with board and food in your home and a wage.

There is usually an expectation that the au pair is here for a cultural exchange. So ideally the host family will also offer to help the au pair learn more about Australia.

How long does an au pair stay?

When it comes to hiring an Au Pair, there is usually a minimum of three months of guaranteed work for them.

The three month minimum rule gives the Au Pair a chance to not only bond with you and your children, but for them to be able to explore the location you are living in and make the most of their time there.

If your Au Pair has been a great addition to the family, you may want to consider extending their stay to 6 months.

How much does an au pair cost in Australia?

The cost of an au pair varies depending on the role.

Usually the parents pay per hour and then deduct a set amount for room and board.

Hourly rates are $18-25/hr depending on the number of children, ages of children and the role.

The cost of room and board is usually estimated to be $350/week depending on your location.

We recommend setting out an agreement about the expected days and hours of work. Most au pairs are not required to work evenings or weekends, except by arrangement.

What do I look for?

When looking for a great au pair it will be important to find the right match for your family.

Trust, honesty and reliability are key. Additionally personality and the way they relate to the children are vital.

How can I find an au pair?

At Find A Babysitter you are most welcome to post a job to attract applicants, however most of our babysitters are living in Australia. We don't advertise overseas currently.

You can also search our database and do an advanced search to identify suitable babysitters.

What if the au pair is not suitable?

Sometimes the au pair you've hired might not be the right fit for your family.

In this instance it is best to be honest and kind in letting the au pair go.

When you first employ your au pair, it's important to discuss how much notice you give them if you decide you no longer need them. This could be two weeks, four weeks or six weeks. Ideally it should be stated in an employment agreement or contract between you and the au pair, so there is no confusion.