Having live-in childcare seems like a brilliant solution for families requiring flexible childcare, and some extra help around the house. But what exactly is involved and what does it cost? We asked Au Pair Link to explain the basics.
What is an au pair?
Most au pairs in New Zealand are aged between 18 and 23, from either Western Europe or North America. Generally they will come here on a Working Holiday Visa and are employed by a family (often referred to as a "host family" in the industry), to care for their children and help with child-related housework in return for a weekly allowance, room and board. The majority of au pairs are female, but around 5-10% of au pairs in New Zealand are guys – bro-pairs!
Not only can your au pair provide a world-class learning experience for your kids, they are also there to help get things ticked off the list each week. Other au pair responsibilities can include:
What are the benefits?
How much does it cost?
A typical au pair wage is between $190 - $230 net per week for up to 45 hours of work, this being in line with New Zealand’s minimum wage once tax and their room and board have been deducted. Because an au pair is an employee of their host family, they enjoy the same rights and benefits under New Zealand employment law as any other employee in New Zealand. By employing an au pair, a host family is required to comply with all relevant New Zealand tax and employment law, including (but not limited to):
A reputable au pair agency will provide you with qualified advice and support in respect of your obligations as an employer - and even a payroll service. It is important to remember that the au pair employment package is taxable - income tax is not paid solely on the wage component - it must be paid on room and board as well.
Why should I use a professional au pair agency?
Simply put, by choosing a professional au pair agency, you are safeguarding your children against any potential risks. In August 2012, the International Au Pair Association (IAPA) issued a formal statement warning parents against matching with an au pair privately through the newspapers or other web-based services.
A reputable au pair agency should provide:
Home based Early Childhood Education
Some au pair agencies also offer home based Early Childhood Education (ECE) and support services. This means you can access qualified ECE teacher support, local playgroups, activities and events, childcare training and free educational resources. If you have children under five years of age, ask your au pair agency if they are licensed by the Ministry of Education as a home-based ECE provider. You can also get access to subsidies like 20 Hours ECE.
Published, with special thanks to Au Pair Link, 19 April 2016.