How to become an au pair in Germany?

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Germany has 10 different programs for the different au pair citizenships.
Choose here which programs you want to see and compare.

rules & regulations

Au pair
Working Holiday

minimum stay

6 months

The au pair relationship must be at least six months long, and may be a maximum of one year.

This also means that it's not possible to become a "summer au pair" (normally for 2-3 months) in Germany!

no minimum stay defined

maximum stay

1 year 

The au pair relationship must be at least six months long, and may be a maximum of one year. The au pair may not be hired again, even if the maximum term of one year has not been reached.

max. 3 months at the same employer (host family), 1 year in total

working hours

  • maximum 6 hours/day
  • maximum 30 hours/week
In general, the au pair may not perform household duties (including watching minor children) for over six hours daily or over 30 hours per week. This limit may only be exceeded on certain occasions by prior agreement. Overtime hours must be compensated with time off.

Note: With an au pair visa it's definitely not allowed to work more hours for more money!

The family may request that the au pair complete the duties assigned to them within a reasonable amount of time. Handling private matters (such as cleaning one’s own room) is not considered part of the au pair֦’s housework time.

Housework time is organised based on the family’s normal habits at home and on their needs. However, au pairs can expect a certain daily routine within the household.

  • maximum 6 hours/day
  • maximum 30 hours/week

In contrast to an au pair visa the work and travel visa also allows to work more hours for more money, but then this is a nanny job which means minimum wages (8,50 EUR/h), social insurance, tax,...

General recommendation: To be classified as au pair job, the same rules should be obeyed as with an au pair visa (this applies to all points below).

days off

  • minimum 1 full day / week (not necessarily on the weekend);
  • at least one Sunday / month
  • minimum 4 free evenings / week

The au pair must have at least one full day off per week (not necessarily on the weekend, although at least one Sunday per month must be free). In addition, they must be granted at least four free evenings per week.


  • 4 weeks if the au pair stays a full year
  • 2 workdays (= days the au pair would normally work) per full month if the au pair stays shorter than a year
  • all national holidays
If an au pair is engaged by a family for a full year, they will be entitled to four weeks of paid holiday. Otherwise, they will be entitled to two business days of holiday for each full month.

Families often take au pairs along with them when they go on holiday. If they do so, however, the au pair will be expected to perform certain duties and obligations (such as providing child care). Therefore, the family’s holiday is only considered a vacation for the au pair themselves if the duties they are expected to perform are insignificant and they are not required to be present. If the au pair does not go on holiday with the family, they may not be employed by another family (neighbours, friends, etc.).

allowed work

The daily work of an au pair varies widely. It wholly depends on the type and lifestyle of the family that is hosting the au pair.
In general, an au pair everyday work includes:
# Carrying out light housework such as helping to keep the home clean and tidy as well as washing and ironing clothes;
# Making breakfast and simple meals;
# Looking after younger children, i.e. supervising them, accompanying them to kindergarten, to school or specific activities, bringing them for walks, playing with them;
# Watching over the house or apartment and looking after pets

Which work should and can be done by an au pair? Which work does an au pair definitely not have to do? Discuss with others in our community!

forbidden work

The tasks of an au pair do not include caring for the sick or elderly (looking after family members in need of care).

pocket money

280 EUR / month, also

  • if the working time is less than 30 hours / week
  • during holidays 
  • during illness
The goal and purpose of the au pair relationship is for the au pair to expand their language skills (and gain professional experience in some cases), and expand their general knowledge through better understanding their host country. Therefore, au pairs do not receive wages as such, but do receive “spending money”. This totals 280 euros per month, regardless of how many hours of housework they perform.

Please note: Theoretically, it's allowed to pay more pocket money but it's definitely not allowed to work more hours!

board and lodging

Board and lodging are provided by the family for free, this also applies in case of illnes or during the au pair's holidays.

Housing and meals are provided by the host family free of charge. (...) They should take part in common meals and receive the same food as family members. If the au pair has any dietary restrictions, they should indicate this in their application.


In general, the au pair should have their own room in the family home

The room should have at least one window and be a minimum of 8 square meters large, it should be lockable, heated and well ventilated (although this isn't defined by law, these requirements seem to be common sense)

language course

The family pays 50 EUR/month or 600 EUR/year to support learning German (language courses, online courses, books,...)

All au pairs must have the opportunity to take part in a German language course during their free time and attend culturally and intellectually interesting events. Host families are obligated to pay 600 euros of the cost for the language course. This supplement may be paid out to the au pair at a flat rate of 50 euros per month, and must be paid for the entire duration of the au pair relationship, or may be paid as a one-time lump sum of 600 euros. The au pair must, however, bear the cost for other events themselves.

Although there is no regulation regarding the cost of transportation to reach the language course, many families will either provide a bike, a car or a monthly ticket for the public transportation.

travel expenses

In general, au pairs must pay their own expenses for travel to and from the host country.

In the case of au pairs coming from far away with rather high travel cost, the host family often pays for the return ticket - in that case this should be fixed as part of the au pair contract.

health, accident and liability insurance

However, in Germany the host family must conclude an insurance policy for the au pair covering sickness, pregnancy and birth as well as accidents (health insurance and accident insurance). Many insurance brokerages will recommend taking out liability insurance as well. The host family must bear all insurance premiums, but are not required to register for a company number.

Furthermore, it's recommended to have a liability insurance which also includes the work as au pair.

Note: It's always the duty of the family to care for sufficient insurance coverage!

See also step by step - insurance.

social welfare system

The au pair doesn't need to pay any (national) social insurance fees.

Au pair relationships are not subject to social insurance requirements.


The au pair doesn't have to pay any tax in Germany.

For the host family, childcare and also housework by the au pair is tax deductible. Discuss with other families about tips and tricks regarding this topic in the community.

cost for host family

  • pocket money: 280 EUR
  • language course: 50 EUR
  • insurance: ~ 40 EUR
  • lodging: 183,60 EUR (official amount for tax 2014)
  • board: 224 EUR (as above)
  • ev. public transportation ticket (~ 50 EUR)
  • ev. higher car insurance fee if the au pair is allowed to use it
  • ...

This sums up to about 800 EUR, but with a rather high estimation of cost for board and lodging. So the host family should realistically expect a cost of around 600 EUR / month.

placement fee

max. 150 EUR for au pairs

no regulation for host families

Au pair agencies located in Germany are entitled to charge au pairs a maximum fee of €150 for a placement (including the statutory sales tax).
Agencies are not permitted to request an advance of this fee.
The fee is only to be charged when the au pair contract legally comes into effect.
 In the case of au pairs from non-EU or non-EEA Member States (with the exception of Switzerland), this only applies when the necessary residence permit or necessary EU work permit has been obtained.

ending of contract

The au pair contract finishes at the end of the agreed time. In so far as there is no period of notice, the contractual relationship can be terminated prior to this time only in the case of mutual agreement (cancellation contract).

Note: Most au pair contracts define a period of notice of 2 weeks

In most cases, both parties agree that the au pair will stay such time until he/she has found another host family. If there is a serious reason for doing so, the au pair employment can be terminated without notice. Apart from such circumstances, it is of course expected that the au pair and family will not separate during the first few days of living together. Experience shows that with goodwill the initial "culture shock" (e.g. arising from different lifestyles and eating habits) can be overcome in a short time.

The better au pair and family match, the less severe the culture shock. Therefore we highly recommend to use our perfectMatch function to find the perfect Match!

Discuss with others in our community what you can do when you have problems with your au pair / family!

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Hi, my name is Maria Knauer

and I’m responsible for this country information

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