LIFESTYLE - CULTURE

New au pair agency organises help for parents



LuxAuPair helps families find the right match and organises the paperwork for an au pair stay Shutterstock

LuxAuPair helps families find the right match and organises the paperwork for an au pair stay Shutterstock

Families looking for help with childcare can consult new au pair agency LuxAuPair, an official partner of Luxembourg’s national youth service (SNJ), which helps screen applications and organises paperwork. 

LuxAuPair was founded by Stéphane Compain who also runs relocation agency LuxRelo. While there is at least one other au pair agency in the country, LuxAuPair is the only official partner of the SNJ, a governmental youth services organisation.

“There’s really a need,” Compain said about au pair services. “A lot of people are interested. Especially in this covid period it’s an opportunity for young foreigners to come to Luxembourg but also for families to get some help.”

Au pair stays are heavily regulated in Luxembourg. The young people joining the family shouldn’t work more than 25 hours per week and must attend a course in one of the country’s three official languages.

“The regulation aims to make sure that it’s about an intercultural and multilingual experience, to get to know a new country,” Compain said, “not to use the au pair as a nanny or a cleaner.”

Families must pay an allowance equivalent to at least one fifth of the minimum wage, currently €440. And the au pair must have their own room. “This is a difficulty specific to Luxembourg and other big cities,” Compain said.

LuxAuPair officially launched on 1 February and within its first week received around 30 applications from potential au pairs and six to seven interested host families, Compain said.

In addition to assessing candidates and matching them to a host, another role of the agency is to raise more awareness about au pair programmes. Around 200 families host an au pair every year, Compain said, a mix of expats and locals.

Stéphane Compain founded LuxAuPair after an SNJ call for tender

Stéphane Compain founded LuxAuPair, a spin-off of his LuxRelo relocation business (Photo: Jan Hanrion/Archive) 

“It might be less exotic than other countries, like Greece or Spain,” said Compain. “For me, the big advantage of Luxembourg is that you have the opportunity to end up with a family that can be from one of the 170 nationalities in the country. If you go to Paris, most probably you end up in a French family.”

And the pandemic isn’t stopping LuxAuPair. The government is still issuing residence permits for au pairs despite coronavirus restrictions. “It’s one of the only ways for young people to travel at the moment,” Compain said. “You’re not allowed to travel for leisure in most countries. Erasmus has been more or less put on hold. The only way to have an international experience is to be an au pair.”

LuxAuPair helps with all steps of the process, from finding the right fit between visitor and host to organising registration, insurance and social security. It is also a port of call should either the au pair or the host family wish to report anything amiss. Its fee is paid by the host family.

In a next step, Compain wants to expand LuxAuPair’s services to facilitate stays abroad for young people from the grand duchy looking to be an au pair in another country. “We are entrepreneurs,” he said, not ruling out growing the business even further in future. “Somebody recently asked me about an au pair to live with their elderly mother and offer assistance.”

Families in Luxembourg interested in hosting an au pair and wishing to find out more about the terms and conditions can attend an online information session on 12 February at 12.30pm.