Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Proposed Au Pair bill Ireland

URGENT – au pair bill- we need your help!

Recently there has been a lot of talk in the press regarding au pair legislation. Back in
March an au pair brought her host family to court for under payment of salary. In this
case the judge deemed that the au pair was an ‘employee’ and as such was entitled to
minimum wage. The au pair was awarded just under €10,000. This case has left
approximately 20,000 au pair host families open to being sued by their au pair also.
Internationally an au pair placement is considered to be a cultural exchange programme
between a young foreign person and their host family. In the past this programme
worked well in Ireland as Irish people are warm and welcoming and are for the most
part, wonderful hosts to their au pairs. In the past, young men and women have come
to Ireland to learn English and take time out before beginning their professional career
or time out between their formal education. In exchange for living as part of the family
and help with integration into society, cultural learning, room, board and pocket money,
the au pair helps the family with some childcare. The courtcase in March has thrown this
au pair programme into disarray.

Recently Fianna Fail TD, Anne Rabbitte has proposed au pair legislation to govern the au pair programme in Ireland. As part of this legislation, an ‘aupair’ would be defined in Irish law as a cultural educational programme. If her bill became enacted, then au pairs would no longer be deemed to be employees and would be legislated for outside of employment law. This is really very good news but we need your help. 
We hope that this bill will be proposed to the Dail within the next few weeks. Following the legislation being presented to the Dail, TDs may then be asked to vote on this bill. In order to be enacted the majority of TDs in the Dail need to vote in favour of this bill.

We need your help!

Please email your local TD and request that them to vote for the au pair bill proposed by Anne Rabitte TD. Below is a template email which you can use:

Dear …..,
My name is ……. I am writing to you regarding a bill that is due to be proposed to the dail by Fianna Fail TD, Anne Rabbitte. I would urge you, on behalf of Irish families, to vote to enact this bill into being. This bill will not only ensure and safeguard the au pair programme in Ireland but it will also ensure fair treatment for host families and au pairs into the future. For the sake of approximately 20,000 Irish host families I sincerely request that you vote for this bill.
Your sincerely,

To find the contact details of your local TDs please click the following link:

If you have any other questions regarding the above please get in touch.
Kind Regards, 

Corinna Duke
Kangaroo Au Pair


  1. I know the bill was defeated, but why would you have supported it in the first place? Did you read it? It would have only allowed au pairs to be hired through agencies - ie. it would have made your site illegal in Ireland. There were other issue with it too - only live in positions, maximum of 30 hours per week etc. none of that meets the needs of modern au pairs and host families.

    1. Hi, thank you for your comment. Yes we supported the bill in Ireland. Currently in Ireland there is no legal definition of an au pair. What is happening is that an au pair is falling between 2 stools, that of an au pair and that of a childminder. Large numbers of young women come to Ireland in the wish to be an au pair in a cultural exchange programme. As there is no Irish legislation governing this au pair programme nor is there guidance nor information, for families and au pairs, there is a huge amount of confusion regarding au pairs and what this programme entails. Both au pairs and host families need this. It is very important and only fair. Regarding live-in positions, this is correct under the international and European definition of an au pair , an au pair can only be live-in. What you are referring to when you say 'the needs of modern au pairs and host families' is the childcare needs of families and those of 'nannies'. Nannies are often referred to as live-out au pairs but there is no such thing. These are childminders or nannies who do not live with a family, are employees and are governed by employment law. Nannies provide the childcare needs of a family. An au pair does not do this. An au pair travels to another country to enter into a cultural experience and lives as part of the family and they should not help with childcare for more than 30 hours per week. Our website would continue to allow families and childminders to find eachother following any au pair bill and may also work with agencies so that both a family and an au pair can be supported through this programme. It would ensure fair treatment for everyone involved. I hope this helps to answer your questions. Corinna Duke, Managing director, Kangaroo au pair