Au Pairs vs Nannies

Q: What is the difference between an au pair, a mother’s help and a nanny?

Au pair – The au pair programme is an internationally recognised Cultural Exchange Programme. It offers a young individual the opportunity to travel and live / work with a host family in a new country, learn a foreign language and experience the country’s culture. The au pair will work a set amount of hours for the host family, usually doing a mixture of childcare and light housework. The au pair may have some childcare experience and even qualifications, but an au pair is not a nanny and should also not be treated as a housekeeper.

Mother’s help – A mother’s help is a carer who has got a genuine interest in children, who works under supervision on the daily running of the household. The mother’s help will have at least 1 year’s relevant experience and / or a qualification. Duties regarding children will be according to their experience, the type of household and the ages of the children. An extra hand rather than someone who takes charge. Depending on the childcare responsibilities expected, they will be able to help around the house with light housework and run errands. If she is experienced and confident enough, she can take sole charge of the children at times. Unlike most nannies, mothers’ helps will normally do some light housework (dusting, hoovering etc).

Nanny – A nanny is a qualified and / or experienced childcarer who works in the setting of the family’s home, either live-in or out. The nanny is able to assume the responsibility of sole charge of young children. They are professionals and therefore expect a permanent contract with normal working conditions i.e. annual salary plus bonuses, overtime, paid holiday and their salary is subject to national insurance etc. Apart for doing childcare, they will usually only do child-related housework.

Please note that, for 2014-15, UK income tax is payable on income over £10,000 per annum.

Families are responsible for ensuring income tax and National Insurance contributions are paid, if applicable.

Please check with the HMRC for further information on income tax and National Insurance thresholds (website www.hmrc.gov.uk).