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The Host Family

The Host Family

Text: Linn Stalsberg Photo: Werner Anderson

Obviously an au pair may be of great help in a busy working day, but she or he is first and foremost a young person that you as a family must be genuinely interested in getting to know. Meeting someone from a different culture can provide added interest to everyday life for adults and children alike.

A potential host family for an au pair must fulfil the following requirements:
The host family must be married, partners or co-habitees with or without children or single parents with children.

  • The host family must be very familiar with the Norwegian society and speak Norwegian with the au pair. 
  • If one of the host parents are of the same nationality as the au pair, he or she must have lived in Norway for at least ten years.  
  • A host family can only have one au pair at a time.
  • A host family must treat the au pair as a member of the family.

You cannot be a host family if you are:

  • Single and do not have any children
  • A direct descendant or antecedent in the au pair’s family or the au pair’s sibling, cousin, brother- or sister-in-law, uncle or aunt.

As host family you are free to choose whether you wish to find an au pair through an agency, such as Atlantis Utveksling or Energy Au Pair Norway, or by means of private advertisement on the internet. Regardless of how you and the au pair find each other, the same Norwegian regulations concerning the au pair scheme apply. You may not write a private contract with the au pair that is in breach of the regulations.
Read more about the regulations in the text: Your rights as an au pair in Norway
Do you have any questions about the regulations or the au pair scheme? Contact the Au Pair Center.

A few things, in brief, that you must remember:

  • As soon as the au pair arrives in Norway, the host family must ensure that she or he undergoes the mandatory x-ray examination and a skin-test for tuberculosis.
  • The host family is to pay insurance for the au pair. The insurance can be drawn up in Norway and the entire EU/EØS area or, under certain circumstances, in the au pair’s home country.
  •  You must draw up a work contract, signed by both au pair and host family, to regulate the au pair’s conditions of work and giving the au pair the following rights:
  • Minimum wage/pocket money of NOK 5200 (before tax) per month, in addition to free board and lodging.
  • Maximum of 30 hours work per week. The au pair should not normally work more than 5 hours a day. Work in excess of this is not permissible, not even for extra payment.  
  • Permission only to work for the host family. The au pair is not allowed to work for other employers or private persons.
  • The au pair is to live in the host family’s house, where she/he is to have her/his own room.
  • Right to time off in accordance with the Working Environment Act and legislation in relating to holidays.
  • The opportunity to participate in Norwegian language course, paid by the host family minimum of NOK 7800 per annum, and in leisure time activities.

Do you want to terminate your au pair contract?
The au pair contract may be terminated by either party with one month’s notice. If the host family treats the au pair poorly or is in gross breach of their duties as laid down in the contract, it is recommended that the au pair contact the local police. In such instances, the au pair may terminate the contract with immediate effect.Only UDI can revoke a residential permit. If the host family terminates the contract, this does not mean that the au pair must leave Norway immediately.

Never lose sight of the balance of power
Many au pairs who arrive in Norway from countries outside Europe come from poverty and a background of need. That we, as host families, are rich and know the language and the system, creates an uneven balance of power in the relationship between au pair and host family.  

As a host family, one must maintain an awareness of this responsibility in both practical day-to-day agreements and in attitudes towards, and interest in, the au pair’s culture. Don’t forget that you are supposed to become familiar with her/his culture, and that you may forge links that last a lifetime.