The Language Place

host an au-pair terms and conditions

The following terms and conditions for hosting an au-pair who is going to study English at The Language Place on our au-pair study programme have been drawn up to protect both the au-pair and the host family in accordance with the guidelines of the European Agreement on Au-Pair Placement.

Au-pair selection and host family placement:

The au-pair applies in writing to the school and if deemed a possible candidate for our au-pair study programme she is asked to complete an English language proficiency test designed by The Language Place and produce the following documentation.

  • references from previous childcare work
  • a police clearance certificate which permits her to work with children
  • a recent medical certificate (no older than three months) to ensure there are no underlying health problems which may interfere with her childcare duties.

She is then interviewed in English by the Academic Director and the Managing Director of The Language Place. This interview may be held face-to-face if the candidate is already in the country or via Skype and this is an in-depth interview. Successful candidates for the au-pair study programme will:

  • have some verifiable childcare experience
  • be responsible
  • be enthusiastic
  • be caring
  • be prepared to commit to the host family for a minimum period of four to twelve months
  • have sufficient English to carry out her duties and engage fully with the child(ren) in her care and with her hosts
  • commit to improving her English by registering for an internationally recognised English proficiency test to be taken during her placement in Ireland.

When the au-pair has successfully completed this vetting stage of the placement process, her details will be made available to host families. The host family can then make contact with the au-pair(s) to meet her or to do a Skype interview.
Once an au-pair has been selected by the host family and the start date of the placement agreed by both parties, we will send her a formal letter of invitation offering her a place on the au-pair programme for the agreed dates. Her contract with her childcare duties and pocket money should also be drawn up and sent to her at this point.

Arrival and settling in:

Host families are not required to pay for flights for their au-pair. However, host families are required to collect their au-pair from the airport and assist her with transporting her luggage to the host family home. One of the directors from The Language Place will contact the au-pair and the host family within 48 hours of arrival to ensure the au-pair is settling in and to confirm her English classes timetable. It is to be expected that some au-pairs might feel a little homesick in the beginning but once their English course is underway, they will soon make friends and all feelings of homesickness should disappear. The Language Place provides both the au-pair and the host family with a useful ‘settling in’ information sheet with tips on helping the au-pair settle in to family life quickly.
English language development:
Host families play an important role in our au-pairs’ English language skills development. All our au-pairs have between an intermediate and advanced level of English and their primary goal in Ireland is to improve their language skills by practising English as often as they can. While au-pairs will spend a lot of their time helping their hosts with childcare, it is vital that they have enough free time for studying or doing activities and excursions organised by The Language Place. It is also important that they have real communication opportunities with their hosts when they are not taking care of their child(ren). For this reason, persons applying to be host families for the au-pairs on our au-pair programme should be prepared to converse with their au pair on a regular basis and make their au pair feels very welcome and at ease in their homes. Hosts are not required to entertain their au-pair outside the family home but most families will include their au-pair in family outings if she is free. The Language Place organises a social programme for our au-pairs with weekly meetings and regular outings with other English and foreign language students at The Language Place, the majority of whom are young adults working in multinational companies in Dundalk. We also organise regular weekend trips to Dublin, Belfast and Galway.

Getting around:

Applications from host families who live in the country-side are very welcome as many of our au-pairs have expressed a desire to stay with a host family in a rural setting. However, to avoid feelings of isolation, the au-pair should have access to either a car or a bus service in order to attend her English classes and to participate in our social programme. While the social programme is optional, au- pairs on our Au-pair Total Immersion study programme do have to attend 6 hours a week of English classes at The Language Place in the centre of Dundalk. In the interests of child safety, au-pairs who are accommodated with families in a rural setting will have a full clean driver’s license and at least one year’s driving experience. If the host family requires the au-pair to drive the child(ren) to school, etc. the host family should ensure the au-pair is provided with a road-worthy car and the host family is also responsible for ensuring the au-pair is fully insured. Petrol/diesel costs must be covered by the host family when she is transporting the child(ren). Similarly, if the only way the au-pair can attend her English classes is by car, petrol/diesel costs must be covered by the host family. If the au-pair is permitted to use a car at weekends or when she is off, she should pay for her own petrol/diesel costs. This is made clear to the au-pair in both the terms and conditions for au-pairs and in her contract with the host family.

Mealtimes and dietary issues:

Host families are required to provide their au-pair with meals or provisions to make her own meals during her stay in their home. Au-pairs who might have specific dietary requirements will have indicated these requirements on their registration forms but as a general rule, the au-pair will eat the same as other family members and she will usually eat with the family. Some au-pairs may prefer to make their own breakfast/lunch rather than eat the same food as the child(ren) in her care and she should be provided with the provisions to do so. French, Spanish and Italian girls eat later in the evening than Irish people, typically at 8-9pm so it may take them some time to get used to the earlier eating times of the typical Irish family. Please note that some girls from warmer climates than our own will tend to eat less than Irish people.

Au-pair duties:

An au-pair’s primary responsibility is helping the parents with childcare and it is imperative that parents leave clear instructions as to how they would like their child(ren) cared for during their absence. All our au-pairs have babysitting experience and while some may also have experience as summer camp monitors, nursery teachers or even primary school teachers, most will not have a recognised qualification in childcare.
The au-pair will follow the parents’ instructions as regards routines, mealtimes, television, activities, napping, bedtime, etc. The au-pair will prepare meals for the child(ren) in her care while she is on duty but she should not be expected to cook meals for the adults in the family except on a very infrequent basis. Au-pairs are usually happy to help the adults prepare the evening meal and enjoy learning how to make Irish dishes. Typical au-pair duties include:

  • playing with the children
  • supervising the children’s homework
  • taking the children to and from school/playschool
  • taking the children on outings or to extra-curricular activities
  • preparing meals for the children
  • cleaning up after meals during the day e.g. loading/unloading the dishwasher
  • dressing/undressing the children
  • bathing the children
  • changing nappies
  • helping the children to keep their playroom tidy
  • helping the children to keep their bedrooms tidy
  • helping to keep communal areas, e.g. living room tidy
  • keeping her own bedroom/bathroom tidy
  • changing the children’s bed linen
  • changing her own bed linen
  • hanging out/taking in the children’s clothes
  • doing her own ironing / some ironing for the children
  • doing light shopping for the family and other errands accompanied by the children

Families with babies/young children should not expect their au-pair to attend to the baby/young child during the night. In addition, au-pairs should not be expected to do the following household tasks:

  • heavy duty cleaning in the kitchen of any kind e.g. cleaning out fridge, cooker, cupboards, etc.
  • dusting
  • washing windows
  • washing floors
  • cleaning the family bathroom or en-suites she doesn’t use
  • sorting the family laundry
  • ironing clothes for the adults in the family
  • preparing complex meals for the adults in the family
  • gardening
  • painting or other DIY tasks
  • any household task which may cause injury to the au-pair e.g. lifting heavy items/children, standing on a chair or another height, using a faulty electrical appliance, etc.

These guidelines are in place to ensure the health and safety of the au-pair and to prevent an au-pair being exploited by a host family who may not be aware of the guidelines for all au-pairs in the European Agreement for Au-pair Placement. For the sake of all parties involved, au-pairs should never be asked to do excessive housework which is likely to distract them from their primary responsibility i.e. looking after the child(ren) in the family.
Many of our au-pairs are from Mediterranean countries where family life is the most important aspect of their culture and as a result, they are very warm and affectionate with the children they are responsible for. Most au-pairs form strong and lasting friendships with their host families and remain in contact with them for many years after they return to their own country.

Timetable and pocket money:

Au-pairs should have an agreed weekly timetable and should not be expected to look after children for more than 35 hours in any given week in exchange for €100 pocket money. The au-pair will generally be happy to baby-sit one weekend night up to twice a month. Au-pairs who take care of children all day from Monday to Friday should have all of the weekend off or should be paid extra if required to babysit at weekends. Au-pairs who look after school-going children part-time during the week can be expected to take care of the children for some hours at the weekend as part of their 35 hours but should have two days completely free every week. Generally, au-pairs are very accommodating and do not mind having a schedule which can change on a weekly basis provided that they do not miss the English classes they have already paid for. If the au-pair is required look after the child(ren) for more than the recommended 35 hours from the onset of her placement, this should be clearly stated on her au-pair contract and she should receive additional pocket money.
The au-pair should be given her pocket money weekly, preferably on a Friday. Au-pairs should not have to wait for payment nor should they have to request payment. Au-pairs will generally spend their pocket money on socialising, buying toiletries, travelling at weekends, additional classes or study materials and paying for flights home during their holidays.

Looking after other people’s children:

There are no restrictions on the number of host family children an au-pair can take care of at any one time but she should not be expected to regularly look after other people’s children unless this has been agreed to in her contract from the outset. If play-dates/sleepovers are organised between the host family and another family, the au-pair should be given clear information about the additional child in her care. Play-dates/sleepovers should be organised in the host family home and the additional child shouldn’t be either considerably older or considerably younger than the host family child(ren) the au-pair is contracted to look after.

Host family rules:

The Language Place will provide the au-pair with detailed terms and conditions which will be stated on the contract template provided to the host family. Universal rules stated on every au-pair contract include:

  • no drug use
  • no smoking in the presence of the children
  • no alcohol consumption while on duty or excessive alcohol consumption before being on duty
  • no physical force of any kind
  • no reckless behaviour which could result in child endangerment

Failure to comply with any of these rules will result in immediate expulsion from the au-pair programme.
In addition to these universal rules, the host family should also put some specific house rules on their au-pair contract as regards the following:

  • visitors to the family home
  • the use of a car outside of the school run or taking the child(ren) to activities
  • smoking in the garden when not looking after the child(ren)
  • any other house rule which the host family deems relevant

The contract should be sent to the au-pair prior to her commencing her placement in the host family home. The Language Place will also retain a copy of the au-pair’s contract with the host family.

Personal safety:

Au-pairs are young women between 19 and 29 years old and their safety while in Ireland is very important. Au-pairs are instructed to inform their host families when they are going out at night, who they are going out with, how they intend to travel home and what time they expect to be back at. Au-pairs must also inform their host families when they are going on organised trips at weekends and what time they expect to be back. This is made clear to all au-pairs in their terms and conditions.


In the event of the au pair becoming ill during his/her stay in your home, the au-pair should be made as comfortable as possible and, if necessary, temporarily relieved of her duties. If medical attention is clearly necessary, the host family should make arrangements for her to see a doctor. The host family should also inform either Richard or Annemarie at The Language Place. All our au-pairs are required to bring a European Health Insurance Card with them which entitles them to free emergency medical care in Ireland under the EU Regulation 1408/1. The au-pair will also have been informed of GP costs in Ireland in their information pack and the name of the doctor they have to register with upon arrival. In case of an emergency situation when prompt medical attention is clearly necessary, please call an ambulance and inform us immediately. We are contactable 24 hours a day for emergencies on either 087 229 7476 or 087 229 7473.

Termination of contract:

In the interest of fairness to the host family, we ask girls applying for the au-pair programme to be prepared to commit to a minimum placement of six months. Therefore we ask families considering hosting an au-pair to also commit to six months after which time the au-pair’s contract can be extended if both parties are happy to do this. However, according to the European Agreement on Au-Pair Placement, au-pairs and host families should be able to terminate their contract during the placement with two weeks’ notice from either party so if a family finds that hosting an au-pair is not for them during this initial six-month period, we will endeavour to re-accommodate the au-pair within two weeks. In the interim period, while this change is being made, the au-pair should continue to carry out her duties as agreed and the host family should continue to make the au-pair feel welcome in the family home.
Occasionally, despite our best efforts to match au-pairs and host families, the hosting arrangement is not satisfactory and a host family/au-pair may ask us to organise an alternative au-pair/host family. In the event of this situation arising because of confusion over duties, payment or other issues, we will endeavour to resolve the situation by clarifying these issues. If the situation cannot be resolved in a satisfactory manner for both parties, the host family/au-pair will be offered an alternative au-pair/host family subject to availability. In the interim period of usually two weeks, while these changes are being made, the au-pair should continue her duties as agreed and the host family should continue to make the au-pair feel welcome in the family.
In the extremely unlikely event of gross misconduct on the part of the au-pair, the au-pair will be immediately removed from the host-family and expelled from the au-pair programme. The host-family will be offered a replacement au-pair, subject to availability. Gross misconduct includes, but is not limited to, negligence, child endangerment and drug/alcohol consumption while taking care of children. Please note that gross misconduct on the part of the host family will also result in the au-pair being immediately removed from the host family home. In this instance, the host family will not be offered a replacement au-pair.
Administration fees:
We ask host families who decide to host one of our au-pairs to pay a small registration fee of €80 which covers the cost of a home visit to interview them and to take photos, preparation of their host family information for potential au-pairs, assistance with drawing up of the au-pair contract and support and guidance while their au-pair is a student at The Language Place.


The Language Place offers the au-pair programme to girls between 19 and 29 years old in order to assist suitable candidates who want to study English in Ireland, and who would like to earn pocket money to support themselves while they are here, to find suitable host families. The Language Place facilitates an introduction between a suitable au-pair candidate and a suitable host family based on the information provided by both during a lengthy interview process. The Language Place takes great care to ensure that all the information provided during the registration process is correct but cannot be held responsible for omissions or inaccuracies which may become apparent during the au-pair placement. While we endeavour to accept only the most suitable candidates on our au-pair programme, it is the host family who makes the final selection of the au-pair who best fits their requirements and it is the host family who determines the childcare duties of the au-pair they select. In short, the childcare agreement is between the host family and the au-pair. The directors are on hand to advise the host family when drawing up the au-pair contract and to assist and advise during the au-pair’s placement but cannot be held responsible for any issues of gross misconduct which may arise during the au-pair’s placement. The Language Place cannot be held responsible for:

  • any accident or injuries which the child(ren) in the au-pair’s care may incur during the au-pair’s placement through negligence on the part of the au-pair.
  • any damages to or theft of a host family car if the au-pair is required to drive.
  • any damages to or theft of host family property during the au-pair’s placement.
  • Any accidents or injuries which the au-pair may incur outside of our building during her placement

contact us


telephone: 00 353 42 9320729
mobiles: 00 353 87 2297476
00 353 87 2297473


18 francis street,
dundalk, county louth, ireland

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