An au pair can support and relieve families in everyday life as well as promote cultural exchange from early childhood on. We explain the requirements au pairs in Switzerland must meet and what is important to consider when employing them according to Swiss law.
What is an au pair?
An au pair is usually a young person who is spending a year abroad to assist in childcare and with small household tasks. Additionally, au pair must come from another language region and attend a mandatory language course in the language of the host country. Au-pairs live with the host family. Furthermore, they are given the opportunity to deepen their professional skills as well as their knowledge about the culture of the host country.
Prerequisites to work as an au pair in Switzerland?
The minimum and maximum age of an au pair in Switzerland differs from canton to canton. In Zurich, for example, au-pairs must be between the age of 17 and 30 years. The host family must provide an au pair with their own room at the family’s home. In most cantons in Switzerland an au pair is restricted to work a maximum of 30 hours per week. In Zurich one day of the week must be completely free. The same applies for at least two of the four Sundays a month.
Most au pairs work and stay with the Swiss host family for 12 months. Consequently, the au pairs receive a short-term residence permit for this period. However, in some cases it is also possible to work for the same host family for a maximum of 24 months. The renewal of the permit has to be requested separately. All families in Switzerland are entitled to hire an au pair if at least one of the children is below the age of 18.
Is an au pair in Switzerland subject to AHV contribution? What about insurances?
Au pairs have to be registered correctly and hired legally. Why? Because au pairs are employees by law. They receive a salary for their work carried out in childcare and in the household of the family. Due to that they are subject to AHV contributions as of January 1st after their 17th birthday.
The compulsory accident insurance (UVG) must be taken out by the employer – the host family. We also recommend taking out a sick pay and household insurance.
The following is deducted from the salary:
- Withholding tax
- Social security contributions AHV / IV / EO / ALV
- Half of the premium for the sick pay insurance
- Premium for the non-occupational accident insurance.
The general conditions of employment for au pairs do not always comply with the standard employment contract for domestic workers (NAV Hauswirtschaft) – different regulations apply on cantonal bases.
What are fair wages for an au pair in Switzerland?
Au pairs always “live-in”. As a result, the host family must provide and pay for board and lodging. These expenses are referred to as wages in kind. They amount to 990 CHF and are a component of the total gross wage for the au pair. In addition, a salary in cash is paid. In the canton of Zurich, for example, it is recommended to pay a cash salary between CHF 700 and CHF 800 per month. The total wage (gross) of the au-pair, before the deductions, would therefore be between 1700 – 1800 CHF. Hence and based on the salary, an au-pair (again from 1st of January after the 17th birthday) are also subject to pension funds.
There are also cantonal differences with regards to the minimal wages as part of the standard employment contract for domestic workers. More information about minimal wages is available on the websites of the cantonal offices for labour and economy.
What else to consider?
As already mentioned, au-pairs live under the same roof as the family. We would advise to take the time necessary to choose the right person. Before the final employment contract is signed, clear agreements can be made taking into considerations the individual needs of the family, the children and the au-pair.
Likewise make sure not to ignore the importance of cultural differences. A person from another country, another culture, speaking another language needs time to adapt to the new environment. Just like the host family! Also important: An au pair does not only help with childcare and light housework, but she/ he is also a guest!
One final and very simple piece of advice for a harmonic family/ au pair life? Trying to build trust in your relationship as soon as possible!
With quitt.ch, you can set up a private employment relationship with your au pair online in a matter of a few clicks.