Please note, this is an overview, for a comprehensive insight into each category of candidate, you will need to see our full web pages, accessed from our tabs or the links to the right.
What is an Au Pair?
An Au Pair is a young person, most commonly aged 18-20 but some can be up to 25 years old, who lives with a family in another country for 6 months to 1 year. The Au Pair Programme has existed for a few decades and is a Cultural Exchange scheme based around childcare. This means that the Au Pair will live with the family as part of the family and be treated as an equal (not employee).
The family benefits because the Au Pair is live-in and flexible. She/he will help with the children and with light household chores (up to 20%) for about 25-30 hours per week including babysitting.
The Au Pair benefits from the exciting experience of living in a foreign country, learning the language and the culture of that country and is also provided with pocket money of usually £80-£100 per week. Additionally, all of our Au Pairs love spending time with children!
An au pair is taking part in a cultural exchange called the Au Pair Programme. This is a programme recognised globally (see IAPA International Au Pair Assoc.) and is defined by strict rules. Many countries offer visas for au pairs. See IAPA for more information and BAPAA – British Au Pair Agencies’ Assoc. for rules governing the au pair programme in the UK BAPAA – ‘What is an Au Pair’
What’s the difference between an Au Pair & a Nanny?
An Au Pair is always foreign, is usually under 25 yrs old (90% are aged 18-20) has some experience with but is unqualified in childcare. They live with you as part of the family and come to the UK as part of a ‘cultural exchange’ swapping help with your children for free accommodation, meals and some pocket money. They are not employees and are to be seen in status to be ‘on par’ with the family.
Au pairs are not usually seeking a career in childcare although sometimes the candidates might plan to become a teacher. See here for more information on Au Pairs.
A Nanny is often native to the UK, a Native English speaker, or has been a UK resident for some years. Nannies can live-in with the family or live out – we have a great selection of both Live In Nannies and Live Out Nannies. A Nanny is someone who is specially trained, has childcare qualifications, or someone with a very significant amount of childcare experience. The most sought after nannies are those who have graduated from prestigious Norland or Chiltern College, but many other nannies have other recognised nanny qualifications (CACHE, BTEC, NVQ, City & Guilds). Nannies look after your children, their washing and bedrooms and prepare their meals, but do not usually help generally in the household. They can care for children of any age, sole charge, and work either full or part time (usually full time). They charge ca. £10-15 per hour and most work 9 to even 12 hours per day. You will need to pay tax and NI contributions and adhere to employment law. We can give you more information on this.
Nannies are childcare professionals and depending on the job specifications, hours, their experience and training they can earn £300 to £550 per week. Nannies can look after babies, although for very young babies it may be better to engage a Heavenly maternity nurse. For full details on Nannies, their duties, pay, employer obligations etc. see our page here on Nannies.
Our Mother’s Help candidates are very popular amongst our Heavenly families. Mother’s Helps are either more experienced/ older than an au pair or someone who is happy to work more than 30 hours per week – or both But not experienced enough to be a nanny (with according nanny pay). This makes them much valued by our families. They can work 30-45 hours per week and earn £170 – £350 depending on hours, experience, the position (younger or several children needs to be paid more).
Our Mother’s Help candidates normally work from 6 to 10 hours per day. They may live in or out, but Heavenly’s Mother’s Helps generally live-in.
You will need to pay NI contributions and tax. Heavenly Au Pairs & Nannies can provide details of current Tax & NI tables to help you calculate potential total costs and we offer a complimentary comprehensive employment contract to paying clients. We will also put you in touch with a very good nanny payroll company, which takes care of payroll, employer insurance and pension obligations for you, for a low annual fee.
A Junior Nanny is someone with more experience than a Mother’s Help but not as much as an experienced Nanny. Often they have training/qualifications and some experience, but not yet the considerable amount of experience which will make them a fully- fledged Nanny.
Junior Nannies might work part-time or full time and live out or live in with the family. Some of Heavenly’s Junior Nannies have good childcare experience and training but are not native to the UK; many come from Australia and New Zealand. Some have trained as nannies and have the TAFE (Technical and Further Education) certificate (Australia) or the New Zealand National Nanny Certificate (NZ).
A housekeeper’s duty is to look after the family/ household. This covers tidying, cleaning, preparing meals, running some errands such as to the dry cleaners or some grocery shopping, ironing and sometimes some childcare duties too (not at the same time as other duties). In some larger households there is more than 1 member of staff executing the housework and the Housekeeper may delegate to and be in charge of part time cleaners and other domestic help.
Many of our families require a housekeeper with good experience of housework and cooking who will also do a portion of babysitting too (day time or evening). The housekeepers often come from Eastern Europe and are hard working and experienced in cleaning and cooking, sometimes they have university degrees but often their level of English restricts them from other higher earning careers.
The hours vary, most families do not require 10 hrs per day and the candidates usually live-in. They are paid £300-£500 per week. Sometimes more if the work or hours are particularly demanding.
Nanny housekeepers are increasing in popularity. Our Nanny Housekeepers have enough experience and skills to look after your children and your home, although they cannot focus on both at the same time; they fit in the household duties around the children’s nursery or naps. A nanny housekeeper is often paid more than a nanny, who traditionally only take care of children and child-related housework (meals, washing, ironing for children).
A Maternity nurse has special training to help with newborn babies (aged 0-3 months) They can be life-line for new mothers as they support and teach new mothers all aspects of baby care and will also have training and experience in problems such as colic, latching on difficulties, nappy rash, sleep and mastitis (for the mother).
Maternity Nurses are employed for short periods of time, 1-12 weeks, with 4-6 weeks being most common. They will work through the night and can therefore be a huge asset to a first time mother and mothers juggling older children/ toddlers. Families expecting twins or triplets will usually opt for a maternity nurse if they can afford it. Maternity nurses are not cheap, but as they give so much help and support at that most crucial time they are worth it! They charge from £160 per 24 hrs.
Elderly Companions/carer – Home Help
Not a Childcare but a Care option! – Heavenly Companions has wonderfully caring Companions to the Elderly. An Elderly Companion, or Home Help, is someone who is not always specially trained or qualified to care for elderly people but will often have gained experience with elderly people from having looked after their own grandparents or ageing parents. They live-in and provide huge comfort & security to both the elderly person/couple and to their families – knowing that someone capable and able bodied is at hand in case of any problems, falls or other emergencies. In addition to this the Home Help will help with the housework & washing, cook simple meals, help care for pets, help with the shopping or other errands, such as driving to the doctor (if they have a licence).
Some of our Elderly Companion/ Home Help carers do have training or experience working with Elderly patients in a care home or as a Companion. In these instances they will often have experience with making sure the Elderly person/s takes the correct medication on time, although they cannot administer medicines themselves. As an increasing number of older people suffer from some form of dementia, more and more of our applicants have experience dealing with dementia/ Alzheimer’s. Candidates with this experience understand how this illness can change a person’s personality and their eating and sleeping patterns and it helps that most of them are very patient, very kind and giving candidates.
Our Companions work 25-60 hrs per week and come from countries within the EU, which means they are allowed to live and work in the UK without restrictions. Please get in touch for more details