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I have two questions:
Do you pay au-pair as usual when you go on holiday and dont want to take her with you? I pay her 3 weeks hols per year plus all bank holidays so dont want to pay for this as well....
Second is a bit tricky, she sometimes has a bad BO - I think she doesnt wash/change her clothes as often as she should, how would you tackle this?
Don't get a nannycam!!!! It'll land you in all sorts of trouble if you do concealed filming (it's illegal) and if they know it's there they'll just avoid it.
I don't see how a review system would work. It would be open to all kinds of abuse. You really just need to check and trust references - people don't tend to badmouth someone they have a good relationship with. A negative reference has to be backed up with facts. And it's really difficult to fake a positive reference - you'll hear in their tone of voice whether they're just saying something or they sound overly relieved that the au pair is moving on.
music - sorry to hear about that. I felt the same when I threw out my au-pair - that my daughter had to put up with her....
Sometimes I think of buying a nannycam :-) My daughter is almost 4 now so she speaks more and hopefully would tell me if something was wrong... My husband works from home from time to time so he checks if things are ok. Also you can tell a lot from how your child and au-pair get on when you are around... weekends, etc.
I hope you find someone nice soon x
Honestly this business with childcare sometimes drives me nuts, the fact that I have no family here doesnt help so I always have to rely on strangers.
Music1 I'm so sorry to hear about your experience. Could you suggest to au pair world that they have a review system to protect bith parents and au pairs?
Sorry about my writing but cannot stop crying thinking my daughter was together with such a nut case
I had to throw her out today. Sunday I left on business to South Africa.
My daughter was with my partner most of the day and hen m friend took her to the hairdresser at 5pm. They came back after 8.30pm. he greeted her and then went on to say her hair looked awful. My daughter got very upset and told her to shut up and went to bed by herself. She continued to tell her the hairdresser was awful and her hair did not look nice. She then called me in South Africa to tell me my daughter was really bad. I asked her what happened and she said my daughter told her to shut up. I asked her if maybe she told her something that my daughter did not like but she would not tell me. I tried to speak to my daughter but she would not let me. I phoned back and my daughter picked up the phone. I then heard the au pair shouting the F word in spanish to her and my daughter crying. My daughter told me she pointed a finger at her face and started swearing in spanish and repeated all the words she told her. I speak a little spanish and I can tell you it was not good at all. I call my partner and asked him to leave the job and go back home. This morning he threw her out. I already reported in Childcare.co.uk and I really do not want her to land on someone else doorstep when she comes back in September to this country. I will be back in England on thursday and i will hen de registered er from my doctor and ask the bank to change her address
music1 - did you request any refrences from her before accepting her as your au-pair?
I had a terrrible au-pair in the past, when I took a day off work and took my daughter to the playgroup she used to attend, I was told by other mums/nannies how poorly she looked after my daughter. Needless to say she was out of my house the next day.
I have an au pair and she is very lazy. We took her in and she had already changed 2 families but we thought from what she was saying the families were not good. It turned out she is the bad one. she is not only lazy, she is also rude and she picks fights with my daughter and then tell her friends my daughter is bad. Yesterday we called her to come down for dinner and she answered my partner" live it there I will eat when I am ready" I wish there was a website to live feedback for au pair to make sure nobody take the bad ones back
I agree with BerkshireMum.
First, APs are not usual employees. We are not just paying them in exchange of taking care of our children, Mendi. We take care of them the same way we take care of our family. That is not part of normal employment. When our AP is not well, I look after her like I look after my DC. They participate in family activities, like part of family. When our AP gets parking ticket I pay it, when she scratched the car I paid it too. What kind of employer does that to their employees? The reason I am doing it is because I don't consider them employees - I consider them a part of family who made a mistake and needs help.
Second, Fliperty we are not saving on them. In addition what I mentioned above they get free bed and board arrangement. I'm sorry to say but that is a lot specially in central London where we live. Plus both the rules and Bapaa mention 28 days including public holidays. We all give AP public holidays as days off similar to weekends, so 3 weeks in addition to that is fair.
Outraged, we are giving to them what they are legally entitled too and are kind to them.
Our first AP is in touch with us regularly, she still gets presents from us for Christmas and birthday, comes and visits us now and then. Our current AP asked if she can stay for another year. They all go to school, meet a lot of APs and share the stories. I am sure if I was not treating them in fair way they would have figured it out by now. I actually hosted a couple of APs (friends of our AP) who were not treated nicely by their families and stayed with us while waiting for a new family.
I think before judging and saying that something is mean to do one needs to look at the full story.
Can you not give them the holiday they're legally entitled to and be kind to them? Does it have to be one or the other?
I pay £80 for 25 hours a week. Minimum 2 weeks holiday in six months. Lots of "extras" depending on circumstances - car, gym, trips etc etc (not all for the same person!)
Just want to clarify that I do think it's really, really important that au pairs are not exploited and are properly looked after. Too often, I've come across girls who are paid a bit more than I pay or who have a bit more holiday but who work silly hours, have to babysit at weekends, are never allowed to use cars or given lifts in their time off and, if they're in the house, have to stay in their rooms.
If it was my DD, I know what I'd prefer!
Rather brilliantly gov.uk is wrong, and has been told so by the ECJ (which like it or not outranks British decisions) and this has been upheld on employment tribunals and the High Court. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet even if it's a Government website.
They're exempt from employment law but still have to pay income tax if earning over £109 a week? Sounds like a racket for exploitation to me.
I'll stick with giving ours the same holiday entitlement I have from my enployment, and paid holidays. If my DD went off to au pair, I would be very upset if she didn't have such basic rights.
I agree with BerkshireMum.
From the Telegraph article:
Officially, au pair and family are participating in a cultural exchange, hence au pairs are exempt from UK employment law because they are given board and lodgings and "pocket money" rather than a salary in exchange for childcare and housework. The average going rate is £60-£80 per week for 25 hours' work, rising as high as £200 for more than 40 hours.
An au pair isnt classed as a worker or an employee if most of the following apply:
theyre a foreign national living with a family in the UK
theyre an EU citizen or have entered the UK on a Youth Mobility Visa or student visa
theyre here on a cultural exchange programme
theyve got a signed letter of invitation from the host family that includes details of their stay, eg accommodation, living conditions, approximate working hours, free time, pocket money
they learn about British culture from the host family and share their own culture with them
they have their own private room in the house, provided free of charge
they eat their main meals with the host family, free of charge
they help with light housework and childcare for around 30 hours a week, including a couple of evenings babysitting
they get reasonable pocket money
they can attend English language classes at a local college in their spare time
theyre allowed time to study and can practise their English with the host family
they sometimes go on holiday with the host family and help look after the children
they can travel home to see their family during the year
You're wrong Berkshiremum. You pay the AP, including offering bed and board, in return for which she has to care for your children. That is an employment relationship. The fact that you draw an analogy with nannies indicates that you also recognise the employment nature of the relationship, albeit unwillingly.
If you pay an AP more than £109 a week, you have to operate PAYE and pay NI. Why would that be so, if it weren't an employment relationship?
I'm all for being fair - and I think I am (as do my previous au pairs with whom I'm in regular contact). But being an au pair isn't the same as being employed. Sorry. They are invited to live as part of the family.
Mine have the option - which most take up for at least some of the time - to join in with family activities, outings, meals etc. We pay. They have use of a car for personal outings. I regularly adapt my schedule and childcare arrangements to allow them Fridays off so they can go somewhere for the weekend. This isn't holiday - paid or unpaid - it's about living in a family unit with shared responsibilities and MUTUAL respect.
In terms of when they take holiday, it's usual with nannies to choose half each. I try to be clear before our au pairs come when we'd prefer them to take holiday and ask whether there's time they need. In a 6-9 month stay that's doable.
I do agree that if it's seen as a very transactional arrangement then it's probably different. And minimum holidays should not be about getting as much as possible for as little as possible.
Blimey even the BAPAA recommend 28 days hols (including bank holidays). I don't understand how you could justify paying any less.
Cut and pasted from the BAPAA link above...
Holidays: As from September 2010, BAPAA recommends 28 days holiday per 12 month period, including Public Holidays. Pocket money will be paid during this time. To calculate the holiday entitlement for less than a year, or for someone helping less than 5 days a week, click this useful link. The au pair should not be forced to take holiday to coincide with the family holiday. Holidays should be mutually agreed between host family and au pair
UK Public Holidays: These are included in the recommended holiday and au pairs can either be given the day off or have a day off in lieu as part of their holiday allowance
Of course you should pay her! How is she supposed to manage on no 'pay'. Even if you only pay AuPair pocket money your OP is undoubtedly relying on receiving it.
It is your choice to go on holiday not hers.
I also think you should also pay her four weeks paid holiday plus bank holidays.
I don't agree with the idea that because they only work up to 25 hours a week they should not get four weeks paid holiday. They usually work for much less than the minimum wage and think it is mean to try and 'save' even more money by not giving them a reaonable paid holiday entitlement.
I really wish the government would tighten up the laws relating to AuPairs. I feel many of them are exploited. When its does properly, it can work really well. The AuPairs benefit from the 'cultural exchange' part of the job and from being part of a family and the family benefit from having someone to help at a 'discount' price.
AP are not employed because they only work up to 25 hours a week. You get 28 days holidays when you work full time.
You can give to her 25 days if you want to and find it fair of course but smb else doesn't find it fair giving full holiday benefit for 15-25 hours work a week.
I personally always say to APs they will get 3 weeks paid holidays and end up giving them 4 when I am happy with them (so far the 2 APs we had were fantastic).
For God's sake, I can't understand the "au pair's are not employed" line you see on here all the time. Yes they are! You're paying them for a service! The bed and board is part of the pay, like having a company car is part of the compensation in other jobs. You are bound to pay them equivalent to minimum wage (taking into account a deduction in respect of bed and board) and you are absolutely bound to give them the minimum holiday allowance.
More to the point: why wouldn't you give your AP the same basic employment rights you have? I am about to get one and as I have 25 days holiday, will be giving her 25 days too. Paid. Seems pretty normal decent behaviour to me.
Au pairs are not employed. That's why they don't earn the minimum wage - although with board and lodging it probably exceeds it! - but instead get pocket money.
I make it clear that au pair holidays fit with our holiday - four weeks (therefore 20 days) per ear plus bank holidays. The agency we used when we started with au pairs suggested half are paid and half unpaid. We still do that. It usually means they are paid when they stay in our home but not when they go back home / travelling.
I would be a bit careful not to offend her. Once you've said something about her BO, you can't take it back. Some people do keep clean but just have a problem with it. Maybe you could buy two identical deodorants, casually give her one as a present and say that they were on a 2 for 1 offer.
I think it's fine to tell people who work for you that they have to wear freshly laundered clothes every day - shops do it, so why on earth shouldn't private individuals.
Gov.uk: Au-Pairs Employment Law
[[http://www.bailii.org/eu/cases/EUECJ/2007/C29406.html Payir and Others (External relations)  EUECJ C-294/06]]
The right to statutory minimum holiday is dependent on the au-pair being classed as a worker. Gov.uk seems to be saying that they are not a worker but the EU court decided that a person from Turkey working as an au-pair "is duly registered as belonging to the labour market and falls within the scope of Article 6(1) of Decision No 1/80 if he carries on an effective and genuine activity for and under the direction of another person in return for which he receives remuneration."
Leaving that aside though, you are asking:
Do you pay au-pair as usual when you go on holiday and don't want to take her with you?
To which people have said Yes.
You are not asking: Do you legally have to pay au-pair as usual when you go on holiday and don't want to take her with you?
Consider what you feel is morally the right thing to do. If it was your daughter who was the au-pair, how would you want the family she was with treating her? Consider what impression you gave when agreeing for her to stay with you... for example did you agree that you would pay x amount of pocket money per week and did not stipulate that it would only be paid if she was actually doing all the hours of work?
I think she doesnt wash/change her clothes as often as she should, how would you tackle this?
Make sure she knows how to use the washing machine and that you do not mind her using it as and when it is needed. Have a schedule for washing bedding - you may already have that for children's bedding she may wash so add in a slot for her bedding to be done.
Tackle it gently, it can be hard for her to recognise that things are smelling as she is used to the smell. If you see the same clothing being worn all the time then say it is looking a bit grubby and needs a wash.
Verap if you do not get the statutory minimum from your employer that's something you have to take up with your employer. It's 5.6 weeks a year which is 28 days if you work 5 days a week. This is the bare minimum. And this is what your AP should get
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