Obligations as an employer

Obligations as an employer

An au pair has the right to minimum wage and is as an employee protected by New Zealand employment law, set out by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Any amendments of the au pair – family contract shall be agreed upon in writing by both parties.

Contract between you and your au pair

You and your au pair must have a written employment agreement. Au Pair New Zealand will provide you with an Au pair – Family Contract, where amongst others the following information shall be provided: hours per week your au pair is required to work, net pocket money per week, holiday entitlement, start and end date of the contract, notice period and so on. You need to sign this contract before your au pair can book her flight and apply for a visa.

Notification Period

Despite that we do our very best to match you and your au pair in the best possible way, it is not until your au pair has arrived that you will know if you are suited for each other and there is always a minimum risk that it does not work out for different reasons. If any problem arises, we provide mediation. However, if this should not work after serious effort from both parties and you want your au pair to leave, you will need to give us and your au pair 4 weeks notification in writing.

Health and Safety

You must provide a safe workplace for your au pair and give training where needed.

Annual Holidays

Your au pair is entitled to at least four weeks’ paid holidays a year. Annual holidays can be taken at any time agreed between yourself and your au pair and the au pair must be given the opportunity to take at least two of the four weeks’ holidays continuously, if they wish to do so. An au pair is usually entitled to 1 week paid holiday every three months, but you can decide to make other arrangements such as e.g. 2 weeks every 6 months. If an au pair wants to take leave, but is not entitled for paid leave yet, they will have to catch up with the days taken off in order to be entitled for paid holidays. You and your au pair have to agree on this.

Public Holidays

Christmas Day (25 December), Boxing Day (26 December), New Year’s Day and the day after (1 and 2 January), Waitangi Day (6 February) and ANZAC Day (25 April), Good Friday and Easter Monday (dates variable), Queen’s Birthday (first Monday in June), Labour Day (fourth Monday in October) and Provincial Anniversary Day (date determined locally) are public holidays in New Zealand.

Your au pair is entitled to have the day off during a public holiday. This paid day off is included in their weekly pocket money. The public holidays over the Christmas and New Year period, Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day have special arrangements:

If the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday and that day would not otherwise be a working day for the au pair, the holiday is transferred to the following Monday or Tuesday, so that they still get a day off if they would usually work on these days.

When Waitangi Day (6 February) or Anzac Day (25 April) fall on a weekend, the public  holiday must be treated as falling on the following Monday for  au pairs who would not otherwise work on that Saturday or Sunday.

If the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday and that day would otherwise be a working day, the holiday remains at the traditional day and the au pair is entitled to that day off.

Sick Leave

In general, there is a minimum provision of five days paid sick leave a year after the first six months of continuous employment. Sick leave can be used when the au pair is sick or injured. At any time when the au pair does not have a sick leave entitlement (including the first six months of being an au pair), you and your au pair can agree that they can take the sick leave entitlement. In this case, any sick leave taken can be deducted from the next entitlement that arises.


The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) provides comprehensive, no-fault personal injury cover for all visitors to New Zealand. If your au pair gets injured during your their visit to New Zealand, ACC may be able to help with the cost of treatment and support they need while they are here. However, it is important to be aware that they cannot sue for damages arising from their personal injury – ACC cover removes that right. ACC only covers treatment and rehabilitation costs while they are in New Zealand; it is not a replacement for travel insurance and does not cover illness, disrupted travel plans or emergency travel to get them back home. When an au pair come to New Zealand, they are advised to have a health and travel insurance from their home country.

The following rules apply in relation to the ACC scheme:

When an au pair takes leave for the first week of a non-work accident, sick leave may be used.

If your au pair has a work-related accident, you have to pay “first week compensation” and cannot require your au pair to take that time off as sick leave.

If your au pair receives “first week compensation” for a work-related accident, you and your au pair can agree that you will top up the “first week compensation” payment from 80% to 100% by reducing their sick leave entitlement by one day for each five days leave taken.

If your au pair has a work-related or non-work-related accident and remains on weekly compensation, you cannot require your au pair to take time off as sick leave.

You have no obligation to pay your au pair, when they receive a weekly compensation from ACC.

Where the period of leave on ACC is in excess of five days (for either workplace or non-work accidents), you and your au pair can agree that you will top up the ACC payment from 80% to 100% by reducing your au pair’s sick leave entitlement by one day for each five days’ leave taken.

Visa requirements

 It is your responsibility as an employer to make sure that your au pair does not stay longer than the maximum period (s)he is allowed to work for the same employer (you) as per their working holiday visa.  Check the New Zealand Immigration website for details and updates. Any breach of this is a breach of the New Zealand Immigration Law.