Au Pairs: All your questions answered!

With changes to the child care system starting today, an Au Pair placement might be an option for your family to consider. Claire Gunn, founder of Jizoo Au Pairs, an Au Pair placement agency, explains the benefits and why an au pair might be your perfect match!

Changes to the current child care rebate could see families on the North Shore hit with increased costs. From July 2, 2018, the Government is abolishing the Child Care Rebate (CCR) and Child Care Benefit (CCB) and will replace this with a single payment, the Child Care Subsidy.

The amount of subsidy a family is eligible for will be based on:

  • Combined family income
  • The number of hours of work or study
  • The childcare service type

Under the new system:

  • Families earning $186,958 or less will receive between 50% and 85% CCS with no cap (the current cap is $7,613 per child per annum).
  • Families earning above that threshold but below $351,248 will receive a subsidy of between 20% and 50% which will be capped at $10,190 a year per child
  • Families earning above $351,248 will lose their subsidy altogether

Affordable Alternatives

With some dual income families in the North Shore set to lose out, many may consider an Au Pair as an alternative, more affordable cost to childcare.

Claire Gunn, founder of Jizoo Au Pairs, an Au Pair placement agency, says, “Au Pairs can offer an affordable solution to childcare as well as providing more flexibility for families”.

How an Au Pair setup works

Cost and Duties: Au Pairs live as part of the family and are provided with free accommodation, food and weekly ‘pocket money’ in return for help with childcare and light housework. For around $1,000 a month, an Au Pair will typically help around 25-35 hours a week. Sometimes it’s just an extra pair of hands for a mum at home with young children, or the Au Pair may be looking after preschool children while parents work. Many families with school aged children also have Au Pairs,to help with homework and taking children to afterschool activities. The Au Pair can also help entertain children in the school holidays – often a time of stress for families, trying to balance work and childcare arrangements.

Work-life balance: Au Pairs can help create more balance in the home – having that extra pair of hands to help with household chores, many families find themselves less stressed and able to spend more quality time with their children. Often the Au Pair will have the children fed, kitchen tidied, children’s laundry done, for when the parents get home from work, allowing them to spend time with their children rather than trying to make dinner while scraping Weetbix off the breakfast bar that has been left there since everyone dashed out the house that morning!

Exchange of culture: Having an Au Pair isn’t just about cheap childcare and domestic help, however. The word ‘Au Pair’ is a French word meaning ‘on par’ or ‘equal’ and the Au Pair-Host family relationship should be an equally beneficial exchange. While hosting an Au Pair from a foreign country enables the family and children to learn about different cultures, the Au Pair also gets to experience life living with an Australian family and an opportunity to improve their English skills. Au Pairs are welcomed into the home and treated as a family member and host families are responsible for looking after and caring for them and helping them get the most out of their time in Australia.

If you’d like to learn more about the new childcare subsidy, click here. To find out more about Claire Gunn, founder of Jizoo Au Pairs, an Au Pair placement agency on the Upper North Shore, please head here.

As a working mother to 3 young girls, Claire Gunn understands the challenges of juggling work with raising children, and set up Jizoo Au Pairs to help families find solutions for their childcare needs and create more balance in the home. Claire also has many years of hosting Au Pairs herself and uses her experience to provide a tailored and personalised placement service for host families across Australia.

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