Ultimate Au Pair

Hours and Pay – Practical Advice

By Olivia Brett (Editor)

What to Expect

–  Scroll down for the practical advice section –

It can be really difficult to know whether you have found your perfect host family. I, for one, needed a second attempt to find a good match and this meant hauling two suitcases across Paris to a rented apartment while I searched for a new family. But my dedication (and the dedication of the friend who helped me move!) paid off. I went from a mere 60€ a week pay with one family, to 90€/week + travel pass + phone contract + separate apartment + awesome au pair flatmate + food money + a generally nicer atmosphere in the family’s house! Too many au pairs find themselves in difficult situations, so I’ve put together some practical advice based on my experience and research, that might just help you out!

N.B. While the way the family treats their au pair is perhaps more important than the overall rate of pay, the two are arguably connected (obviously not every family can afford all the luxuries mentioned above so bare this in mind…). Let’s face it, you can’t live on happiness in a city like Paris, so let’s begin with some general au pair advice on what to expect about au pair hours and pay:

Au Pair Hours and Pay


Each family is different and so there will be a lot of variation in days/times, but au pair working hours should be between 25 and 35 hours per week. Some au pairs work in the mornings, helping the kids get ready etc., whilst others start by picking the children up from school in the afternoon. Others may be required to do lunch-times, collecting the children and making lunch, before taking them back to school. Normally 2 evening babysittings per week maximum are asked of the au pair and any more should (!) be paid extra. On Wednesdays, many children in Paris do not have school and so you may work all day. Be sure to check the parents’ requirements carefully when selecting a family!

A typical day may look like this:
(8:00 – Possible morning school run)
15:30 – Pick kids up from school
16:00 – “Gouter” (snack time filled with cake and biscuits, very important in France!)
16:30 – Take children to various activities /the park/play with them
17:30 – Homework & Baths
18:00 – Cook dinner and eat with the children
19:00/20:00 – Finish work

If you don’t go through an agency, then many families might not count the hours you work. This may or may not work out in your favour.

What You Get – Pay

The pay in Paris varies, but 80€/week is the minimum you should accept. It is extremely common for families to pay for a travel pass (called a navigo) and many even pay for french lessons or phone contracts. If you do not live with the family, money is often provided for day time meals, while evening meals are eaten with the children. Au pairs can be paid weekly or monthly as they wish. You should really look around and see what families are offering and be extremely wary of families offering low working hours for accommodation only!

What If I’m Not happy?

So, maybe you arrived at your new family’s home and not everything is as rosy as it previously seemed. You are not alone!!! Many an au pair in Paris finds themselves in a spot of bother with regards to hours of work and pay, but don’t worry there are a few things you can do:

  • Speak to other au pairs

I personally spoke to my new au pair friends to find out about their situations and see if I was in the minority with my awkward working hours and rate of pay. Which I was. Badly.

  • Comment on blogs , talk to other au pairs on Facebook etc.

Leave us a comment if you would like to talk your situation through! But don’t be scared to ask people for advice on Facebook groups, the au pair community is there to support each other. Be sure to objectively (!) evaluate if you are being treated fairly or not.

  • Contact the appropriate people

If you cannot continue with your lack of money or crazy working hours, contact your agency if you went through one, or politely talk to your directly host family and see what you can sort out (it’s scary but worth it). 

At the end of the day, you can probably work things out with your family one way or another. And if not? Then your last resort is changing families, I have done it, my friends have done it, it’s not as scary as you think, so above all just DON’T PANIC!

We will be posting another advice article soon, so keep an eye out!

Photo by eddieblogphoto.fr

Realted article: 10 Tips for Au Pair Survival


  • Clara Horvath

    hey! I read your articel about changing the Family, and I would like to know what you would recommend me to find a new family and where. I am here since 6 weeks, but it doesn’t really work. Clara

    • Editor

      Hi! Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that it isn’t working out with your family, I think the first thing to do is to decide if the problem can be resolved between you and the family or if you really need to leave. I found my new family on http://www.aupairworld.com and it worked out well! I would recommend making a profile as there are no fees and, once you and the family agree to work together, you can often start work straight away. However, sometimes going through an agency can feel safer as you would be meeting families through the agency rather than by yourself.

      For now, if you have gone through an agency already then you can talk to them about the problems with your family. If not, and you decide to talk to your current host family directly about leaving, just make sure that you don’t put yourself in a position where you could be fired without having another family to go to. If you have a contract then that might say how much notice you need to give them before you leave.

      I hope this helps and that it isn’t too confusing. Good luck and let me know if you have anymore questions 🙂

      – Olivia

  • Yan

    Hi. can you recommend websites that I can apply in as an au pair or carer? Im ariane from the Philippines and I haven’t had luck finding a job like this. Hope for your reply. Thanks for your time.

    • Editor

      Hey! You could try http://www.aupairworld.com which is a free, independent website where you can find families. If you want to go through an agency, I recommend looking on google as each one has its benefits and less good points, although I had a friend who went through europa and said that they had a positive experience.

      I can only really advise you about Paris as I don’t know much about other cities, sorry. But if you would like to teach english while looking after children as a nanny in Paris rather than being a full time au pair, you could try http://www.nannynou.co.uk – a company that matches you with a family and then provides accommodation independently which you pay the rent for yourself, I can recommend them. I have also known people to work for http://www.babylangues.com and http://www.speaking-agency.com/en/ who do a similar thing but without the accommodation. These websites often want native English speakers however, so you should check this out before!

      Finally, look for au pair groups on Facebook. There are a lot out there and someone may be able to help!

      Good luck 🙂

      – Olivia

    • charlene dille

      Hiii 🙂
      I wanted to know if you actually work in france as an au pair?
      My friend is from the philippines and i want him to live in franve with me and work and maybe this is the way 😀

      Thanks 🙂

  • sarah

    so what do i do if everythings fine and rosy but i want to leave anyway?
    im here since september and my family is very nice and we never had problems or anything, but i feel like i’ve been an au pair for enough time. i want changes.
    yesterday the mother told me again how happy she is that everything works out fine and she explained to me why she dont want au pairs coming for half a year and i absoloutley understand that, but i just dont want to not feel free or living anyone others life.
    ahhhh i hate this situation, i just wish it were not working out as good as it did.

    • Editor

      Hey! I think a lot of au pairs feel this way. Although it’s a great experience I admit that it can be a stressful job and sometimes quite awkward, especially if you live with the family! If you can work out exactly what’s bothering you then you might be able to chat with the host family and work out how to make it better. For example, they might be able give you more personal space or a different schedule. If they’re nice and you think that you can work it out for a few months then give it a shot 🙂

      If you really just don’t want to be an au pair anymore then the fairest thing to do would be to stay until they’ve found someone else, and really help them to find that person. Explain why you want to leave and they might be mad at first, but at least they won’t be left without an au pair!

      – Olivia

  • Hien Le

    Je viens hors de l’UE. Maintenant je suis fille au pair en France depuis 1 mois. Mais j’ai des problèmes avec l’enfant dont je m’occupe. Il souvent me mord, me frappe,… J’essaie d’en parler avec les parents mais rien ne se passe.
    Je souhaite de trouver une autre famille.
    Est-ce que vous pouvez me renseigner sur les démarches de rélisiation de mon présent accord et de rédaction d’une nouveau contrat? Quels sont les documents que je dois envoyer à mon nouvelle famille d’accueil?
    Je vous remercie beaucoup.
    Bonne journée!

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