Consider nannies and au pairs: Is my babysitter actually an employee?

Nannies and au pairs: what do they do?

Nannies often:

  • have sole care of children
  • plan educational activities
  • program and plan the children’s weekly activities
  • prepare healthy meals and snacks
  • complete light household work related to children, such as folding and tidying up.
  • have qualifications in childcare or education.

Au pairs often:

  • assist parents with child care (but aren’t sole carers)
  • assist with general household tasks, not related to children
  • complete light household duties related to children, such as folding and tidying up.

Au pairs may have qualifications in childcare or education, but this is not usually a requirement.

Are nannies & au pairs in private homes employees?

This depends on the individual relationship.  

Nannies are most often engaged as employees but this doesn’t mean nannies can’t be genuine independent contractors.

Au pairs are often employees too. They can be like live-in employees, working long hours as a child carer for the family. That said, some au pairs aren’t in an employment arrangement. For example, an au pair visiting Australia might stay with a family for the cultural experience and provide only a small amount of assistance looking after children. An au pair in this situation is less likely to be considered an employee unless the family has a lot of control over the au pair’s day to day activities. In this case, it is more likely they will need to be treated as an employee.

If you’re not sure of the difference between an employee and an independent contractor in this context, it is a good idea to read the information above in conjunction with our Independent contractors page.

Are nannies & au pairs covered by an award?

Employees working as nannies and au pairs aren’t covered by an award. They’re entitled to the national minimum wage and the National Employment Standards.

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