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BASIC INFORMATION

Who is an au-pair?

Au-pair is a single girl or boy from 17 to 27 years old, who stays for a certain time with a family in a foreign country. Since the 1st. May 2004 an au-pair could be a person older that 27 years old. The person is becoming a member of the family in return for a help with the household and children. The accommodation and food is for free provided by the family and even you will get the pocket money of minimum 60 pounds per week. It is a great opportunity for the young people who are interested in studying foreign languages, recognizing the lifestyle of another country together with its culture and customs, meeting new people and making longlasting relationships and friendships.

Au-pair has enough free time which she may spend as she wishes to. She may visit interesting historical cities, she may travel and take part in various cultural and sport events or she may meet other au-pairs.

The duration of your stay depends on your decision. Our agency arranges also short-term stays of a minimum three months, what is predominatly convenient for students, futher we arrange six months , 1 year or more years long stays.

What are the au-pair´s duties?

Predominatly it is expected that an au-pair:
  1. Will help with the children, for example will play with them, keep an eye on them, lead them to school, give them breakfasts, put them to bed, be with them two nights per week while the parents are out and children are asleep (babysitting). It is necessary to check the children from time to time to make sure whether they are all right and are not afraid of anything.
  2. Will help with the chores as for example vacuuming, dusting, ironing, bathroom cleaning, helping to set the table. Most families have automatic washing mashines, diswashers, microwave ovens, linen dryers that make the work more easy. As to cooking you do not have to be an excellent cook but you must be able to prepare breakfasts, snacks and something from the pre-cooked dishes. An exprience in a housekeeping is an advantage but it is not necessity.

Some families requires that au-pair has more to take care of children that to help with the chores. Other families vice versa. The au-pairs with better English are prefered by the families who want the au-pair to be predominatly responsible for the child care, those au-pairs whose English is not good enough for communication with children have to do more around the household.

Pocket money and the free time

Au-pair works 5 hours a day, 25 hours per week. Au-pair Plus works 30 - 40 hours a week, the pocket money is individual and depends on hours. Generally the pocket money is around 60 pounds a week, could be more. Au-pair is free in the morning or in the afternoon in order to have a rest or attend the school. Usually there are five free evenings per week. Though, when eating with the family she should offer a help with setting and cleaning the table. Au-pair will have two days free per week, usually during weekends, but family may ask you to work other days. Also family may ask you for two evenings of babysitting per week. All the details are subjected to the requirements of the family and agreement with the family. Free days as vacations, travelling home for holidays or trips with friends also should be arranged with the family.

Au-pair has two days off per week. Upon arrival to England our partner agency will provide you with all information and a list of other au-pairs with their addresses and telephone numbers so you may contact them. They will also send you information about interesting places you may want to see.

Conditions in the household

Most families live in nice houses with a garden. Au-pair has sole use of her room, which is adequate to the family´s standard of living ( mostly with a TV set and often with a bathroom, too) and free use of all other electronic devices in the house (TV, radio, video etc.) if not placed directly in her room.

If family do not want you to smoke in the house or when you are with the children they may ask you to sign "No smoking declaration". If your application form says that you do not smoke you bind yourself not to smoke. Breaking that bond may lead to your dismissal. Most of the family do not want a smoker in their house.

Usage of telephone and PC: Au-pair should not use the telephone of the inviting family for trunk and international calls, if not allowed by the family. Local calls are mostly allowed upon request. Your family from Slovakia may give you a call anytime to your inviting family. Au-pair always needs to ask the inviting family if she wants to use their PC for sending or receiving e-mails.

What you are going to know about the family, you are going to?

Family fills in similar application form as you do. From the form you will learn for example the occupation of the parents, number and age of the children, their religion, the amount of your pocket money etc. You will get the phone numbers of the family and we strongly advise to discuss with them all further details which you may find interesting.

Language

It is inevitable, to master at least elements of English language before you enter the country. It is needed to be able to communicate with the family, to understand what you should do and to tell what you want. Your language skills must be on such level that you will be able to call emergency in case that something happens (doctor, fire brigade etc.).

It is important to state the actual level of English. Providing false information may cause you serious problems.

Study

In every town there is a possibility to attend a language course that are paid from your pocket money. Lots of families also pays expenses for the course, but it is not their responsibility. Inviting family will find you the most suitable school, where you may study English language.

Travelling

You are responsible to handle your travel expenses. We will find you the most advantageous way. Your inviting family will wait for you at your final station.

Money for travelling

We advise you to take with you min. 50 pounds.

Education required

Finished secondary education - with school-leaving examination or apprenticeship certificate.

Driving licence

Is not obligatory but a huge advantage. Au-pair who are confident drivers are higly demanded. Families are often willing to provide training. It is advised that au-pair takes several lessons to gain confidence to drive on the left side of the road. Family often leave au-pair to use a car for personal purposes, however, it is not their duty to do so.

What to do in the case of emergency?

  1. Accidents in the case of emergency call 999.
  2. Problems with children should be solved deliberately, never try to beat them. Discuss everything with parents as soon as possible.
  3. Problems with the cohabitation with the family (as long as you do not solve serious problem) it is advised to consult the issue with your colleague au-pair first and after that try to solve the problem frankly and in a decent way with the family. There is still a possibility to ask for help our partner agency in England ( you will get all necessary contact details before your departure) or, alternatively, you may directly contact our agency.

What to do if the problem continues? Never mind. It is impossible to eliminate personal antipathy or the feeling that you are being exploited by the family. In case of dissatisfaction you should contact our partner agency. If the agency will not be able to solve the problem, they will try to place you as soon as possible with another family. You will not be charged for the change. In case that the services of our partner agency will not meet your satisfaction feel free to address us.

Medical treatment

According to the international agreement between Slovak Republic and Great Britain you will be attended in the British hospital without any charges, if you are still insured in Slovak insurance company. The medical treatment is provided by national health service regarding to any sickness that may appear during your stay in the Great Britain. You are reaponsible to pay for all other non-standard treatments (eyes, ears, teeth ...), as well as for the medicaments. There is still a possibility that some unexpected complications may apprear (e.g. an operation of the appendix), therefore we strongly recommend to fix a health insurance in any of Slovak insurance companies (Union, Generali, Kooperatíva, Slovenská poisťovňa,...) or any health insurence directly in the Great Britain.

Duration of the stay

The maximum duration of the stay is unlimited. Most of the families are looking for a girl, occasionally a boy, who may stay with them for a year, or for a school year (from September to June/July of the next year). The main reason is that children will get used to an au-pair and every change of the au-pair is for them very painful. Parents also do not like changing au-pairs too often as it is always hard until the new au-pair gets used to the run of the new household.

Conditions for boys

Are the same as for girls. However, it may take longer time to find a suitable family for a boy than for a girl (up to 4 months), therefore it is necessary to put the registration well in advance. Some families prefer boys, mainly if they speak good English and are able to drive.

Au-pair for a summer period

There is a huge demand of girls and boys for the au-pair programme during summer period (mainly during summer holidays). However, there is a considerably lower request for short-term au-pairs from the side of the families, therefore it is possible that we will not be able to arrange for you a short-term stay.

The most families requires that a short-term au-pair arrives at the end of May / beginning of June and stays till the end of September. The longer the girl/boy may stay the better is her/his chance to become an au-pair.

FORMS AND DOCUMENTS NECESSARY TO ARRANGE AN AU-PAIR STAY
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