This article treats a very delicate topic as it can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts of interest. From time to time, some Au Pairs wish to apply for a second job for Au Pairs for several reasons. It might be, that they simply want to earn some extra money or have to work not too many hours for their Host Family and hence, have a lot of free time. Work experience and language improvement are some more reasons. But can an Au Pair work part-time?
No matter what the reason is why the Au Pair wants to have a second job, we can tell you that it is not quite the best idea to start an Au Pair job assuming that there will be the possibility to have a second job, too.
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Is applying for a second job as an Au Pair a good idea?
First of all, it should be clear that the main Au Pair job is definitely taking care of the Host Children and helping with light household duties. They are paid for this job and are provided free meals and accommodation and consequently, the Host Family is basically considered to be the main employer.
In case the Au Pair wants to start looking for another job in her/his free time, the first thing we recommend doing is to talk to the Host Family. They might want to know the reasons for this idea. Depending on the reason, the Host Family will have time to think about a solution without being confronted with a fact that they can’t change.
What the Host Family can do to accommodate the Au Pair’s desire
It’s a tricky situation if an Au Pair wants to find a second job but the Host Family doesn’t allow that. In the worst case, the Au Pair might leave the family and search for a new family that is more flexible.
However there are surely always ways to compromise: If the Au Pair wants a second job because she/he needs more money, the Host Family might think about increasing her salary if that is possible for them (maybe for extra help in the household or babysitting). They can also recommend the Au Pair to their friends as a night-time babysitter on their evenings off.
If the reason for the second job is about language improvement and meeting other people, there may be better ways like going to international meet-ups or looking for other local Au Pairs.
If work experience is the reason, the Au Pair could discuss with the Host family if she/he could do a work shadowing internship during a time when the Au Pair is less needed. Maybe when the grandparents are visiting or during holidays.
Why Host Families might be against their Au Pair having a second job
The Au Pair might be a little bit tired when she/ he has to work for the Host Family and in another job, too. Also, the family might fear that a second job devalues the whole Au Pair concept as she earns more money somewhere else.
All of a sudden, the Host Family could be reduced to be “just somebody paying some pocket money and offering housing” and au pairing is not that important anymore. Another really good but simple reason why a second job is not always the best idea is that the Au Pair usually have to work in their leisure time, which is primarily there to relax and not to continue working. Of course, Families wish their Au Pairs to be fresh, relaxed, and attentive when they are with their children.
Is it illegal to have a second job as an Au Pair?
It all depends on the country’s regulations. In general, it should be clear that Au Pairs can not apply for a regular legal job if that means they might no longer be able to fulfill the Au Pair job role.
Host Families normally wish their Au Pairs to be flexible in case kids can’t go to school because of holidays or if they are sick. If the Au Pair with a second job then can’t take care of the kids, it’s definitely a situation where the Au Pair contract can get terminated.
Therefore our recommendation is, that Au Pairs looking for a second job should always go to their Host Parents first to discuss possible options.
Which problems might occur when applying for a second job?
In the UK an Au Pair with a legal job may have to pay tax. In case the Au Pair does not earn more money than the personal allowance of £12,570 per year, there apply no extra taxes or documents needed. As soon as the Au Pair is paid more – combining the pocket money and the earning from the second job, he/she immediately is liable for Income Tax as well as National Insurance.
The Host Family as well might have to fill in several official documents because they usually are, as long as the Au Pair does not have a second job at the arrival, the Au Pair’s first employer. Consequently, Host Families have to deduct special taxes (PAYE/ HMRC) as soon as the Au Pair has more than one job.
As a matter of fact, it is always necessary that the Au Pair checks whether she is insured and allowed to apply for a second job other than au pairing.
What kind of second jobs are best for Au Pairs?
We want you to think thoroughly about the whole idea before getting a second job. The Au Pair should definitely check in advance whether the Host Parents are okay with this decision as it may have a negative effect on the Au Pair duties etc.
So if you want to make extra money as an Au Pair it is highly recommendable to prefer looking for jobs on the weekend or evenings. And it’s safer to look for jobs that allow earning some extra money within the family or neighbourhood (walking the dog, babysitting, cleaning etc). This means that the Au Pair is way more flexible when it comes to working hours. Especially if daily schedules change in case the Au Pair has to take care of the children off-schedule like in case a child is ill and can’t go to school.
If it is not about money, the Au Pair might think about helping some charity organisations or doing some volunteer work because he/she can accept this second job without worrying about taxes and administrative organisation.
We do not want to say that it is impossible to look for a second job as an Au Pair, but we do know by heart that it is not that easy to manage and ultimately, there could occur a few problems between the Au Pair and the Host Family or even worse, the government.
If you like to read more, we´ve also got a comprehensive page about what to do in your leisure time.