Au Pair Vacation – Best Practices

Au Pairs get 2 weeks paid vacation (14 days Monday through Sunday – not 14 weekdays) and 1 1/2 consecutive days off per week. One full weekend off per month is also a requirement. 

Vacation time should be taken as mutually agreed upon time. If a host family requests that their au pair accompany them on a family vacation and she provides childcare, this does not count as her vacation and the family should cover all her expenses. I would suggest that the host family discuss this and decide on dates for the au pair’s vacation within the au pair’s first couple of months in the home. 

Here are some best practices to successfully set it up:


Question: How do you balance the au pair’s work and personal time while on vacation together? How do you clarify when he/she is on duty vs off duty when things are less clear outside of the home? How do you handle entrance fees or other additional expenses during the trip?

Answer # 1: If we invite our au pair on vacation and she is working, we pay for everything. We try to build in time for her to take advantage of the area we are visiting. We also establish set times that the au pair is “working” and all other times she is just a “family member.” If she is not working, we expect her to help out as a family member would.

Answer # 2: We do our best to sit down at the beginning of our year and outline the American holidays they get (outside the 2 weeks), any planned vacations we have, time we know she will have off, and try and figure out the best time for her to take her two (calendar) weeks. It (usually) works just fine.

Answer # 3: We let our our au pair choose what she would like to do. We have certain times where vacations aren’t allowed (Christmas, Thanksgiving, the kid’s birthday’s). Other times are up for grabs. Our family vacation includes some working time for her so she does NOT count it towards her vacation. She does not work on Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.

Answer # 4: When our au pair comes on vacation with us, we tell her the specific hours that she’s “on-duty”, so she knows when her down time will be. We pay for meals/entrances, etc. when she is on duty. We invite her along during her off time, but she can decline if she wants to. We also make sure she gets some time out and about, so she can sight see on her own if she wants to, (e.g. Drop her off at a museum, in a downtown area, etc.)


  • Be open, upfront, and have clear expectations for your au pair when traveling together
  • Have a set schedule with her duties while traveling together as they will look different from the normal routine at home.
  • Let your au pair know what her expenses will be when she is “off-duty”.
  • Travel Time – Sticky one- how do you count hours on the plane or a long car ride as “on-duty”? Rule of thumb -If the au pair isn’t helping with the kids on the flight or has the iPod on during the car journey then count HALF the hours as “on duty”. You can look at it as though they may be going to an exciting destination – they also can’t do what they might want to do during that time.  (Remember – Even while on vacation an au pair can only work a total of 10 hours per day and 45 hours per week and must still have 1 1/2 days off per week consecutively. Host children’s nighttime and nap time hours are still counted as working hours)

I hope you’ve found this information helpful as you plan out the next year with your au pair and make wonderful memories together.  If you have additional questions don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Jennifer Morrow



Wednesday, 7 June 2017 4:46 PM


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