Au Pair wage set to increase from January 2019

The minimum legal wage for an au pair, and all other workers, is to rise by 25c, from €9.55 per hour, to €9.80 per hour from January 2019.

This increase was recommended by the Low Pay Commission, and accepted by the Cabinet yesterday.

This minimum wage increase will apply to all childcare workers, including live-in and live-out au pairs employed in Ireland, following the court ruling in 2016 which recognised au pairs as employees.

However host families who host live-in au pairs will still be entitled to deduct the standard €54.13 per week (or €7.73 per day) Food & Board allowance. Our au pair salary calculator will be updated once this new wage comes into effect.

Au Pair Working Hours in Ireland

Traditionally the role of an au pair would have involved between 20 and 25 hours work per week, with occasional paid babysitting duties. However in early 2016 a Workplace Relations Commission ruling recently recognised au pairs as employees, which instilled on them, the same rights and expectations as Continue reading Au Pair Working Hours in Ireland

Au Pair house rules and guidelines

Establishing written house rules and guidelines is a very important part in the hiring process of your au pair. Establishing rules and guidelines can help both you and your au pair avoid misunderstandings, and sources of possible conflict.

Rules and guidelines will vary from home to home, but the following are some you might want to address:

  • Set a day-by-day timetable, including start time, finish time, and what days the au pair has off
  • Babysitting – how often it would be expected, and is it included in the au pair’s base pay. If it is not included in their base pay, how much will you be paying your au pair for the service
  • Au pair wages – when are they paid, what rate the au pair is being paid, and how frequently they will receive their wages
  • Curfew – if you have one, make sure you mention it. If your au pair is not spending the night in your house, by what time do they have to they let you know
  • Are Smoking and drinking permitted, if so when and where
  • Phones – important phone numbers (creche, doctor, parents, neighbours, etc.) should be stored on the au pairs phone, the phone should be kept charged, with credit at all times
  • Establish rules that address the use of phones during working hours and mealtimes
  • Computer use – when and where computers can be used, are your children permitted to use the computer with your au pair
  • Au pair car use – when your au pair can use the car, can it be used during the au pair’s time off, and who is responsible for replacing petrol
  • Cleanliness – address how your au pair’s room should be kept, how frequently they should hoover, change bed-sheets, etc.
  • Cleanliness in common areas such as the bathroom, kitchen or living room – what are the standards expected, and who is expected to clean up after your children
  • If you recycle make sure your au pair understands the process
  • Children’s eating and sleeping times
  • What times children need to be dressed by, and what time they should be in bedclothes by
  • Children’s important activities and appointments, when they start, when they end, and where they are
  • Treats for the children – for example sweets and television, are these allowed – if so, how much and how often, and on what conditions

Continue reading Au Pair house rules and guidelines

Au Pairs for the Elderly

We first blogged about elderly / senior au pairs about 5 years ago.

At the time we were just starting to see elderly au pairs emerge as a viable option for caring for the elderly. Now 5 years later, they have become an established and popular home care option, and a fantastic alternative to a nursing home.

What is an elderly/senior au pair?

An elderly au pair, or senior au pair as they are also known, is an individual who provides companionship, light home care, and other assisted living duties for a person, or in some cases a couple, in their own home. Continue reading Au Pairs for the Elderly

Legal Cases being Pursued Against Many Irish Host Families

We received an email this week from a host family, who had received a letter off the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI). The MRCI, acting on behalf of an au pair previously employed by their family, was threatening to bring a law suit against them and sue for non-payment the minimum wage.

According to the host family:

“there are 30-40 cases pending at the WRC which involves over 1000 au pairs, and this is increasing on a weekly basis”


“I definitely think host families need to be made more aware of the whole situation and that they are opening themselves to a huge liability”

Their original advert for the job was posted earlier this year and the au pair worked and lived with the family for around 5-6 months. So this family are potentially looking at having to pay their ex-employee the shortfall of 5-6 months of the difference, between what they were, and what they should have been paying them.

Our host family’s signing-off comment was

It looks like this is going to be very costly.

On the subject of the cases themselves, Aoife Smith of MRCI said:

the length of time to resolve each case varies depending on the parties willingness to resolve the issue. Situations can be resolved very quickly in some cases, where the families recognise their responsibility and make payment immediately, or it can take longer if disputes arise or if going through the Work place Relations Commission and labour inspectors.

and that the role of the MRCI is to

provide advocacy to au pairs in a number of ways. An au pairs come to our Drop In service, sometimes the au pair is happy to receive support to self advocate and discuss employment concerns with the family herself, other options include MRCI advocating on behalf of the au pair with her consent, if this is unsuccessful, MRCI may refer the case to the Workplace Relations Commission and/or Labour Inspector who will then investigate the case, they may also carry out an inspection and seek employment records etc. A complaint made to the WRC may result in a hearing at the WRC.

We strongly advise all host families to read our other blog postings, on the WRC/MRCI court case and ruling, and the minimum wages that an au pair, or any other domestic worker is entitled to, as an employee. This posting is most definitely not meant to put you off hiring an au pair, it is only meant to make you aware of the possible consequences if you fail to pay your au pair the minimum wage.

Au Pair Salary Calculator

This Au Pair salary calculator, meant for guidance only, calculates gross wages – it is valid for all domestic workers in Ireland, at least 18 years of age, being paid the minimum wage for their experience level. Last updated January 1st 2018.

Information provided by this calculator is for illustrative purposes only. No responsibility is taken by for any errors, or for any loss, however occasioned, to any person by reliance on this calculator.

The impact of the WRC ruling on Au Pairs

[The following is a guest posting from Karen Conway from Graphite HRM]

A Recent landmark case was heard in the WRC regarding the hiring of Au Pairs. The decision found that the host family should have treated the Au Pair as an employee, therefore finding that they have breached many employee statutory rights. Namely being paid money owed for work, rest breaks, annual leave and public holidays. As it stands the WRC case has not changed any legislation, so the risk to families who hire Au Pairs at the moment is that an individual case could be taken against them personally.

This particular case is anonymous however the details showed that the employee was paid €100 per week plus board for working between 30 and 60 hours per week. If the legislation does change so that the relationship is to be seen as an employer/employee relationship, below are some of the mandatory changes that can be expected in a typical employer relationship.

  • Minimum wage must be paid and the current rate for an experienced adult is €9.55 per hour. If the Au Pair is living with you and receiving food they can get the amount taken from the minimum rate which is referred to as board and lodgings. This means a maximum of €7.73 can be included in the calculation of minimum wage per day for board and lodgings.
  • The Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 stipulates that employees must get rest breaks during the working day, section 12 states employees must get a 15 minute break after 4.5 hours of work and at least a 30 minute break after 6 hours. The onus is on the employer to ensure that employees get their breaks and must keep a record of these breaks. An employer should introduce into the contract of employment a procedure to follow if they do not get a break during the day. A monthly timesheet can be signed which would include a sign off that the employee received their rest break. There must also be a minimum break of 11 hours between the end of one shift and the beginning of the next shift and at least 24 hours of continuous rest per week. This weekly rest break must be preceded by the 11 hour daily rest break.
  • An employer must not require an employee to work more than an average of 48 hours in each 7 days. The reference period can be calculated over a 4 month reference period.
  • Any employee that works at least 1365 hours per year is entitled to receive at least 4 normal working weeks per year of annual leave. The leave year according to the organisation of working time act is April to March. Anyone who works less than 1365 hours in a leave year is entitled to receive 8% of total hours work capped at a maximum of 4 normal working weeks.
  • There are 9 public holidays per year which employees are entitled to be compensated for as long as they have worked at least 40 hours in previous 5 weeks ending before the public holiday.
  •  It is also important that all employees are provided with a contract of employment. The Terms of Employment and Information Act, 1994 stipulates that all employees must be provided with a contract of employment within 2 months of commencing employment. According to the LRC code of practice SI146, 1996 for procedures dealing with Disciplinary and Grievances, employees must receive a copy of the disciplinary and grievance procedures within one month of commencing employment.

There has been a lot of media attention in relation to the hiring of Au Pairs and the Migrant Rights Centre who brought this case to the WRC has said there are currently between 30 – 40 cases pending in the WRC where they are supporting almost 1000 au pairs. The award for this particular case was nearly €10,000 that this family had to pay as ordered by the Adjudications officer.

If any of the above effects your organisation you can call Graphite HRM the advice line on 01 886 0350 for advice.

Recent Changes to Au Pair’s Wages

Given the recent court case which recognises that au pairs are employees entitled to be paid a minimum wage, currently (January 2018) between €7.64 and €9.55 per hour, we have updated our blog posting on au pair wages, you can view the posting at

Our opinion on this ruling is that, it is only fair that au pairs are paid the minimum wage, however it is unfair to host families, given the cost of living in Ireland, that the maximum deduction a host family can make for hosting the au pair, is €54.13 for full board and lodgings per week.

It’s a complex and emotive issue for most people involved, both host families and au pairs, and it will take some time to see the full effects of the ruling.

While there has been a notable increase in the salaries being offered on the site, in the two weeks since the ruling, we have also noticed a worrying (approximately) 30% decrease in jobs being posted. So, for the moment, it looks like it is a significantly reduced number of au pairs who are going to benefit from this ruling.

Further Reading