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Nanny and au pair guide for the UK


THIS PAGE WAS LAST UPDATED IN 2011


Employment requirements and conditions for au pairs and nannies change on a regular basis in every country. Please note it is YOUR responsibility to check the most up-to-date information on government websites. Thank you!


  • General nanny and au pair information: There is no longer an official au pair or nanny government-recognised scheme in the UK. This means that if you are the right nationality, many of the terms and conditions will simply be negotiated between the au pair and the family.

    The guidelines below relate mostly to au pair positions. Qualified nannies will generally be paid more - the hours and conditions of service for an au pair or nanny will vary according to the requirements of each family and to the ages of the children. For example, a nanny looking after a baby will generally be expected to have formal nanny qualifications and will be paid accordingly.
  • Age: Nannies and au pairs are generally aged 17 - 27 but there is no legal maxmimum age.
  • Salary (Pocket money): Nothing specified by government. Negotiable.
  • Number of hours to work and days off: Most au pairs work 25-35 hours a week, spread over 5 days. As part of their weekly duties, they can be asked to babysit a couple of nights a week or to help with household duties such as cleaning, cooking etc. All of this is down to individual negotiation between the au pair and the family.
  • Visas: Au pairs can come from any EU country: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Au pairs can also come from Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Finally, there is a "Tier 5" scheme covering au pairs and nannies from: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Monaco.

    The countries list for au pairs and nannies changes from time to time so please check on the UK government's website. Also please see Au Pair Visa Requirements for the UK.
  • Duration of stay: For au pairs and nannies from most qualifying countries (e.g. the EU) there are no limitations for stay. Please check the relevant government websites for details.
  • Language requirements: There are no language requirements for the UK however it is advised that a nanny or au pair has a basic understanding of English in order to live independently. For example, to make it easy to contact emergency services or read medicine labels if needed.
  • Travel costs: Travel costs to the UK from the nanny or au pair's home country should be covered by the nanny or au pair. However, if the host family wants to pay for a part of the costs, it is suggested that they do so after the nanny or au pair has stayed with them for at least half of the agreed time.


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