Paying an au pair in Australia

Like nannies, au pairs in Australia are covered by pay and conditions outlined in the Miscellaneous Award.

Au pairs can be exempt from the Miscellaneous Award and Fair Work Act, if the arrangement is one of cultural exchange rather than employment. A cultural exchange is usually a situation of mutual benefit to both the au pair and the family and minimal flexible child care and/or domestic assistance required by the au pair.

If the culture exchange exemption cannot be applied, then the Miscellaneous Award and visa requirements apply.

Visa requirements

If you employ an au pair on a Working Holiday Visa, you need to register with the ATO as an employer of a holiday maker.  The au pair is then taxed at a flat 15% for the first $45,000. If this is not done, when the au pair does a tax return, they may end up owing additional tax.

Board Deductions

The other main difference when employing an au pair, is that you may want to include a board deduction. If you are going to do this, you need to have a set amount listed in the employment contract which needs to be signed by you and the au pair. You need to be able to show that the amount is fair and reasonable and in the employees best interest.

You should not deduct any amount from an employees wages without their signed agreement.

All agreed deductions are on the post tax wages.

Calculating hours worked

The obvious advantage of having an au pair is support in the early morning, evenings and weekends. If you are paying in line with award, just be aware that there are penalty rates can apply. You can work out what the pay should be using the FWO pay calculator.

An alternative to this is to pay a higher than award rate and use this for the one flat rate for all hours worked. To do this is you need to show that your employment contract passes the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT). That your au pair is better off being paid at the agreed flat rate, than they would be being paid in line with the award wages and conditions. The BOOT ensures that an employee covered by such agreements is not left worse off compared to the relevant award or national employment standards.

And finally, the most important aspect of employing an au pair is that you have a working timesheet system. Where you and your au pair have a clear understanding of when they are working and when they are preforming shared household chores.

Making sure you have met your award requirements is one of the more annoying and time consuming part of employing an au pair. Domestic Payroll can help.

Get in touch with us now and find out how paying an au pair can become an easy process including managing the Award.