Working hours & tasks

Au pairs are not employees and they do not come to Belgium to work. They are here to learn a language and to experience Belgian culture more closely. In that context, a host family must propose an extensive cultural programme for the au pair. An au pair is therefore not an alternative for private household services of private childcare.

In exchange for food, lodgings and an allowance, the au pair can offer help for a maximum of 20 hours a week. These hours can be divided over the week up to a maximum of 4 hours a day. As soon as this number of hours has been worked, the rest of the time is free time,

There is no flexibility possible with regard to the maximum number of working hours. An au pair may never be asked to work extra hours. If an au pair works more hours than are permitted, the law states that they must be seen as having worked as a real domestic housekeeper,which means that the au pair will have the same employment rights as domestic staff, including a legal minimum wage for all the hours worked. The host family must also pay the corresponding contributions to social security.

The maximum limit of 20 hours a week and 4 hours a day is for all work, including childcare.

  • An au pair may help with light housework. All-round work is not allowed.
  • An au pair is neither a nanny nor a babysitter. The amount of childcare allowed is limited:
    • Children younger than 6 may not be left with an au pair. The host family must prove that daytime childcare is provided.
    • Au pairs may not babysit while the parents are out for an evening or off for a weekend.
  • Care for the elderly is not allowed.
  • There is no such thing as a ‘summer au pair: you either have to sign an au pair contract or you must be paid as a true domestic housekeeper/nanny.

If an au pair works more hours than are permitted, they will have the same employment rights as a domestic housekeeper.