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A host family is a family consisting of at least one parent and one child under the age of 18 that invites an au pair from a foreign country for a specified period of time. The au pair lives “on equal terms” with the other members of the family and in return for food, board, and a salary, cares for children and does simple domestic work. Hosting an au pair is considered a program of cultural exchange, by no means an employment contract. Placement of the au pair shall initially be for a period not exceeding one year, but may be extended to permit a maximum stay of two years.
“Au pair” is French for “on par”, reminding host families that their international visitor is to be treated like a member of the family and participate in their day-to-day family routines. The host family should help au pairs receive the benefits of an exchange experience. The family must also be willing to share its own culture to the au pair, reach out to her to help her understand new experiences, and support her in the adjustment and functioning in a new language and culture. In exchange for the host family’s hospitality, the au pair’s responsibility will be to provide child care assistance, including light household duties related to the children.
Basic application criteria
A potential host family must:
- have at least one child under the age of 18
- consist of at least one parent
- be able to provide the au pair with her own room and three meals a day
- be able to accept the au pair as a member of their own family
- have healthy principles and a tendency towards social relations
Host family responsibilities
- provide three meals a day, a private bedroom and, if possible, a private bathroom
- provide weekly or monthly pocket money (an amount of salary depends on the host country)
- provide time off – at least one day a week (depending on the country)
- provide paid holiday - the length of holiday depends on the agreement with the au pair and the specific country
- provide adequate opportunities for the au pair to participate in a language course and - in some countries – to cover the costs of the course.
- provide adequate health, accident, repatriation and liability insurance during the time the au pair and host family are sharing the cultural exchange
- register the au pair with the appropriate authorities (if required) to ensure the au pair is legally registered at all times and/or apply for the required visa or residence permit
- provide a good familiar environment and a healthy place of work for the au pair.