10 ways to get more applicants for your Au Pair ad

We always see a noticeable disparity in the number of applicants a job in the city will receive, compared to a job in the countryside. It’s not unusual for city jobs get as many as thirty times more applicants, than their country equivalent.

We’ve blogged about this in the past, posts aimed at jobseekers,  trying to encourage them to apply for positions outside the cities, so in this posting we thought we’d share some tips with host families, especially those living in the countryside, on how to get more applicants. Continue reading 10 ways to get more applicants for your Au Pair ad

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 AuPairIreland.ie for any errors, or for any loss, however occasioned, to any person by reliance on this calculator.

Au Pair Duties and Responsibilities

Because there is no legal definition of the role of an au pair in Ireland, there are no set rules relating to the tasks and responsibilities of an au pair. However, if using international guidelines as the standard, the day-to-day tasks your au pair will perform, should only relate to the care of your children.

If you expect your au pair to perform other duties, besides childcare, you should list them in the job description, during the job interview and, most importantly, in the job contract.

Au Pair duties and responsibilities include:

  • Getting children out of bed, and dressed
  • Washing, ironing and folding the children’s clothes
  • Housework related to the children – cleaning their room, making their beds, tidying up their toys, etc
  • Preparing food, assisting with feeding the children, and cleaning up after their meals
  • Entertaining the children – playing with them, taking them to the park, etc.
  • Bringing children to school, helping with their homework, bringing them to after-school activities
  • Bathing the children and helping to put them to bed
  • Running errands related to the children
  • Occasional babysitting

Agreeing responsibilities, with your au pair, that are clearly defined in your au pair’s contract is the best way of avoiding disagreement and conflicts at a later stage, and are in both parties interests.

Finding your perfect au pair

August and September are the busiest months of the year on AuPairIreland.ie, as parents try to find a carer for their child.

Whether you choose to hire an au pair, a childminder, or a nanny you will be competing with  hundreds of other host families on the site to find the perfect carer for your child.

Children returning to school

We’ve prepared a short list of tips to help:

  • Au pair wages  – since the recent ruling in the WRC au pairs are recognised as employees, and therefore entitled to all the legal protections employees enjoy, including wages. An experienced au pair is now entitled to a wage of €9.15 per hour, if your au pair is live in you are entitled to deduct €54.13 per week to cover food and board – this sum is under review by the Low Pay Comission and the sum will hopefully be increased to a more realistic amount in the future. Not paying your au pair the minimum wage could mean they would have grounds to take you to court, and also brings the industry into disrepute.  Please see this blog posting to learn more about au pair’s wages.
  • Posting your job – Job title and description: To save both you and jobseekers wasted time, add as much detail to your advert as possible – your advert title should include the job title, and the job location (ie. Live in Nanny wanted in Naas”). Your job description needs detail – make sure you include the hours, the number and ages of your children, pets if any, and the au pair’s responsibilities – the more detail the better.
  • Finding candidates – your location will affect the number of applicants your advert gets. Adverts for jobs in Dublin, or other cities, get far more applicants than those in rural locations. If you’re living in the countryside, or in a smaller town you will have will need to be more proactive to get applicants – as well as posting your job advert you should also use our search funtionality to find jobseekers, and use the Share functionality on the au pair’s mini-cv to send jobseekers a link to your job, inviting them to apply. Also use the Shortlist Jobseeker and Private Notes functionality to keep track of jobseekers.
  • Job contract – Have a clear contract, outlining the au pair’s duties, responsibilities, and your expectaions, we have a separate blog posting covering au pair contracts here and we have a sample contract here.
  • Interviewing – As a lot of job seekers on our site are already located in Ireland interviewing is easier than it was in the past. Speak to candidates you are interested in and arrange to meet them at a convenient time and location, if the au pair has to travel a distance to meet you, consider covering some of their expenses to encourage them to make the trip. If your candidate is located abroad use Skype or FaceTime to interview them online.
  • References – we can’t emphasise how important it is you check the candidate’s references. Horror stories are, fortunately, very rare, but on the few occasions host families reported seriously negative experiences with their au pairs, it always transpired they had not check the jobseekers’ references. It is your responsibility to do this – we’re not an au pair agency, we’re a job site, so we do not vet au pairs.
  • Sending money to your au pair – Never ever, ever send money to an au pair. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. If an au pair requests money for air fare, for a visa, for innoculations, or for anything else, there is a very strong chance they are scammers. If they do request money, please contact us immediately at [email protected] . If you do wish to cover your au pair’s travel expenses, or any other expense, only do so after they have arrived.

Following the guidelines above should make the process of finding your perfect au pair a little easier, and result in more applicants to choose from, it will also make the experience of hosting your perfect au pair, when find her all the more enjoyable.

Au Pair Placement Bill 2016 defeated

This week has been a very busy one in the Irish au pair scene – a bill, known as the “Au Pair Placement Bill 2016 “, proposed by Anne Rabbite T.D. (FF), was heavily defeated in the Dail. It was opposed by Fine Gael, Sinn Fein, and the Independents4Change group.

The bill set to formalise, and give legal definition to, the role of au pair in the home – with strict guidelines on the role of the au pair, the hours an au pair could work, living conditions, and how au pairs could be hired. It would also remove the au pair’s right to the minimum wage, instead favouring pocket money, and it also called for the setting up of an government agency to oversee the sector.

In his speech rejecting the bill, Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen T.D. said:

“One of the key strengths of our employment rights policy is that we do not discriminate between different categories of workers. While the Bill is completely silent on employment law, it is clearly intended to remove au pairs, as defined in the Bill, from the protections of employment law.”

Independents4Change TD Thomas Pringle, described the bill as:

“outdated and irrelevant, and a flawed concept”

and Sinn Fein’s Maurice Quinlivan TD referred to it as:

“ill conceived; it is lazy sloppy legislation that is not fit for purpose.”

While the defeat of this bill does mean that host families won’t be able to revert to the old system of paying an au pair pocket money, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as, in his speech, Pat Breen T.D. also said:

“The current amount for board and lodgings (€54.13 per week or €7.73 per day) is set out in the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 (National Minimum Hourly Rate of Pay) Order 2000 (SI No. 95/2000). I am very conscious of the passage of time since these rates were set and I think it is timely that these rates be reviewed. To this end it is my intention to ask the Low Pay Commission to review the allowances for board and lodgings, provided for under the National Minimum Wage Act, as part of their next work programme”

This board and lodgings review is something we have been calling for since the WRC case in March:

“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 clear that while existing labour laws can protect au pairs, and their legal recognition as employees is correct, we also hope that the Low Pay Commission can address the board and lodging rate as a matter of urgency.

Unlimited free au pair job posting adverts

We recently made some changes to employers’ membership plans on the site. Before the changes host families only had credit to post one, or two, job adverts, depending on their membership plan, but weren’t required to post a job. We changed it so that host families can now post unlimited jobs (not simultaneously, though) jobs, free, however they are required to post a job in order to access the main members area of the site.

We actually made these changes about two months ago, but given the public interest in the recent WRC finding, relating to au pairs’ wages, we postponed blogging about it, in favour of posting two blog entries related to the WRC ruling.

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 https://www.aupairireland.ie/blog/au-pair-wages-au-pair-costs/187.

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