Demi-Pair - the peak hour help
A Demi-Pair is an Au Pair with part time hours up to 20 per week max. If you have school aged children you might only need the extra set of hands during mornings and evenings. But maybe you work irregular hours and often need reliable but flexible childcare options after hours and over weekends?
You as a family provide a private furnished room to your Demi-Pair and three meals every day for the full week. As with any other Au Pair you provide linen, towels, access to the washing machine incl. detergent and any other little perks (phone, Wi-Fi) you are happy to give to your new family member.
The cost for a furnished room and three meals a day (7 days per week) – plus the other nice perks families usually provide - cover 20 working hours of your Demi-Pair. This is in line with Australian homestay prices and national minimum wages, which also reflect the amount professional Australian child care workers would earn. A Demi-Pair position somewhat compares to Wwoofing for backpackers but is way more comfortable. So the agreement is perfectly fine and fair for all.
The work schedule has to be agreed upon with regards to the commitments of your Demi-Pair, which can be a language course, lectures at the university, a job for pocket money, i.e. at a cafe, etc. etc. etc.
The idea for Demi-Pairs actually derives from language schools, whose overseas students value the benefit of a Demi-pair position as they can immerse themselves in both culture and language of Australia and also save a substantial amount of money due to free room and board in return for their work. The timetable of the language course freezes a lot of flexibility time wise for the Demi-Pair. Families with school aged children therefore are ideal for this arrangement.
This however does not restrict any other arrangement which suits you and the Demi-Pair. You might also find some interest in Demi-Pair positions from university students, who only attend university two days per week, or you find an AuPair who would love to earn pocket money in a cafe during the day or go waitressing in the evenings. Are you shift workers and your main problem are the weekends? Also this arrangement might suite someone.
As the demand for host families is rising, you can define your offer to any potential AuPair. Some might even like the idea that they can pursue another part time employment during their time off with your family to really immerse themselves into Australian life and make friends with locals.
Research actually shows that Demi-Pairs are financially way better off than full time Au Pairs, because of earning casual rates, having expenses covered through their Demi-Pair work and benefiting from the tax free threshold.
This arrangement is open to negotiation but there is one important fact to keep in mind: You Demi-Pair, who hasn't got commitments already, needs to be able to earn pocket money elsewhere. Unfortunately a Demi-Pair position would hardly work out if the family lives fairly remote or needs quite a bit of flexibility due to constantly changing rosters of the host parents. A family would either have to provide extra income through additional babysitting or cleaning jobs or whatever else they can arrange for their Demi-Pair or would have to pay a small amount of pocket money.
Whatever your circumstances are, your selection process should have a good focus on self-initiative of your applicants combined with stamina and determination to pursue extra income; unless they have already commitments or a huge amount of savings (which is very unlikely).
If you are not keen for your Demi-Pair finding extra income, paying pocket money is crucial. The amount of pocket money does not need to cover lost wages as such as this arrangement suits quite a few Au Pairs just as well - and not to forget: A Granny Au Pairs might also be a great option, where most are financially more independent.
What we would always recommend is to provide enough information and encouragement to fill out the day with some sort of activity. This might be a hobby, something new to learn or - the best choice - a volunteer position somewhere to immerse into the Australian culture.
The most important difference to a classic Au Pair would be the limited flexibility from a Demi-Pair due to other commitments.