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Au Pair in Germany
- Au Pair is by definition a young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with childcare and childcare-related housework in exchange for food, a room and some pocket money.
- Young men can also apply for Au Pair positions
- The aim of being an Au Pair is to improve their language skills and get to know the culture of the host family.
- An Au Pair you can be asked to do light housework, but the main duties are childcare.
- You cannot be from the same country as your host family, For South Africans, this means you cannot work for a South African Family in Germany unless there is an adult German national in the family.
- You cannot Au Pair for someone if there is a family relationship between you and the host family
- For third-country nationals, employment may only take place in host families in which German is the mother tongue
What you need to know
Third country nationals between the age of 18 and 26 can apply for Au Pair positions in Germany.
If you are an EU citizen you can apply up to the age of 30.
The applicant does not need a formal childcare qualification, but a genuine interest in children and caring for them is important.
An Abitur equivalent qualification is preferred but not required.
An Au Pair does not earn a salary, but gets pocket money. The 2023 pocket money rate is €280 per month.
Board and lodging must be provided for by the host family.
- Board and lodging must be provided for free to the au pair. They take part in the communal meals and eat the same food as the family. If a specific diet is desired, this must be stated in the application
- This must be an individual room in the family’s home and have a window, heating and a minimum size of 9 sq meters.
- The room must have a lock.
- Before the start of the au pair relationship, a written contract detailing the mutual rights and obligations must be finalised.
- If harmonious coexistence is not possible, the au pair agency should be informed as soon as possible. They will try to get as objective a picture as possible and to find a solution that is acceptable to both sides. If there is a serious reason, the au pair relationship can be terminated without notice.
- Au pair contracts are usually for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months.
- If the applicant worked as an Au Pair previously in Germany or changed their visa type from Au pair to another type (for example Ausbildung) they cannot apply for further Au Pair positions in Germany. Renewed employment as an Au Pair is not possible, even if the max period of 12 months has not been reached.
- Working hours is max 6 hours per day and 30 hours per week. Overtime must be compensated in time.
- Taking care of private matters for example keeping your room clean, does not count as housework time.
- The Au Pair is entitled to at least 1.5 full days off per week. At least one Sunday per month must be free.
- At least 4 evenings per week must be free.
- They must have free time for language courses, religious activities, cultural events and excursions.
- If the work contract is for a full year, four weeks pad vacation must be granted else they are entitled to two working days for each full month worked
- If the family goes on vacation and take the Au Pair with, it counts as work time if the Au Pair must perform certain task and have obligations like looking after the children. It counts as a holiday if attendance is not compulsory and only insignificant tasks have to be taken on.
The daily tasks of an Au Pair depend on the characteristics and lifestyle of the host family.
- The main responsibility is to assist with childcare but light housework can also be part of the duties. These can include supervising younger children, accompanying them to kindergarten or school, and taking them for walks or to certain events.
- Duties can also include light housework for example, preparing breakfast or other simple meals, keeping the house clean and tidy, and washing and ironing.
- Duties do not include caring for the sick or elderly.
- It is important to be clear about what is expected by the host family.
- Get everything in writing.
- The “European Agreement on Au Pair Employment” passed by the Council of Europe in 1969 contains framework regulations on living and working conditions, language classes, social security and the rights and obligations of the host family and the au pair.
This convention has not been affirmed by the Federal Republic of Germany, and is therefore not considered legally binding. However, the significant criteria of the convention are considered applicable within the Federal Republic of Germany.
- Gesetze im Internet Section 12 Au pair employment
- The minimum language requirement is German on level A1 of the Common European language Framework. This means the au pair can understand and use familiar, everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at meeting specific needs. They can introduce themselves and others and ask other people questions about themselves
- The host family must allow time for the Au Pair to attend an in-person language course and must pay 840 per year or €70 per month towards the language course costs. The obligation only exists insofar as the respective expenses are actually incurred. However, the au pair must bear the costs for other events themselves. The host family must also pay the necessary travel expenses to attend the nearest German language course that is suitable for the au pair.
- The rest of the cost must be covered by the Au Pair.
The applicant may be married.
According to the Bundesagentur für Arbeit, the host family is responsible for arranging health, accident and liability insurance coverage and for bearing the costs.
Health insurance is mandatory for everyone visiting or living in Germany.When living in Germany you can either take our private (privaten Krankenversicherung – PKV) or public (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung – GKV) health insurance.
There are many benefits to working as an Au Pair.
- The opportunity to explore Germany.
- Experience a the German culture.
- A great way to improve your German language skills.
The first point of contact in emergencies is the placement agency. When this is not possible, Au Pairs can contact the counselling service or the hotline of the Aupair Society e.V.
These numbers are intended for emergency calls only.
- Emergency hotline – telephone counseling: + 49 – 800 111 0 111 or + 49 – 800 111 0 222 2
- Emergency hotline Aupair Society e.V.: + 49 – 800 110 287 247
Visa application Tips
- Au pairs from South Africa need a residence permit (visa/residence permit). The residence permit must be applied for in the form of a visa (National Type D) before entering Germany at the German embassy or diplomatic mission
- Approval to take up employment is granted with the residence permit if the Federal Employment Agency has approved the employment. Therefore, the visa entitles you directly to the employment specified in the visa. However, you should not start working before you have received your visa or residence permit. Before the visa expires, which is usually issued for three months, you must apply for a residence permit at the immigration office responsible for your place of residence. The local foreigners authority is also the first point of contact for questions about residence and employment.
- You must be able to pay for your own travel cost to Germany
- You need a motivational letter in German and it is important to show your ties to South Africa and your plans to return back home
- You must supply CV in German
- Apply for a police clearance certificate well ahead of time, but remember the certificate is only valid for 6 months
- Visa Checklist from the German Embassy in South Africa
- You can look for a host family yourself, but It is advisable to work through an agency.
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