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Paying aupair's travel.. AIBU??

(69 Posts)
cockatoo Sun 20-Oct-13 10:04:22

I have agreed to pay my aupair for every bus journey she does which involves my kids inc if getting bus home from dropping kids at school and getting bus to school to pick up kids. She uses an Oyster card which she loads up and I transfer money into her bank account. I have just found out that she has walked some of the journeys but I have been paying her the bus fare. I am a bit annoyed. It is obviously her choice to walk so I shouldn't pay her bus fare if she hasn't used the bus surely??

LIZS Sun 20-Oct-13 10:10:10

Aren't you effectively giving her a travel allowance in which case it is up to t her how she uses it . As long as she isn't making your dc walk or charging you additional time don't think you can really have an issue.

cockatoo Sun 20-Oct-13 10:16:03

Bit more info - my work is not regular so she does not do the same journeys everyday. Some days she gets to lie in when I get up with kids and take them to school. Over half term she does not do any bus journeys for the kids. The agreement at the start was that I would pay for any journeys involving kids on top of her weekly pocket money (£80 - so well paid).

misshoohaa Sun 20-Oct-13 10:20:48

What does she do for the 80 quid? Pay her bus fare, if she chooses to walk then as long, as she's still getting the kids from A-B then job done.

sapfu Sun 20-Oct-13 10:24:05

That's cheeky at best, and technically theft. Are you absolutely certain you have paid for the journeys she's walked? Presumably she gives you a tab or something. Maybe it's an oversight on her part, rather than deliberate?

I would just tell her I was now going to top up her card online. If it's actually her card, not one you bought for her to use, I would buy a new one and then I think you can look online at how and when she's using it.

However.

Unless you are really on the breadline, is it out of the question to include x per week on an Oyster card to use as she pleases, as part of the job/pay? Of course you HAVE to pay for any work related travel, so you had no choice but to agree to that. What I wonder is, if she is using the pinched money to pay for something she doesn't like to ask you for money for, something that's also work-related? I know this isn't uncommon with au pairs.

And if you're within the M25, £80 is standard for an au pair, some of them earn more than that, but I suppose it depends on hours and duties.

cockatoo Sun 20-Oct-13 10:29:37

£80 is pocket money. I buy all her food and cover living costs. She is 'contracted' to do around 5hours of work which includes children or house related.
Sounds like the majority think I should pay her £1.40 to walk home after dropping kids and another £1.40 to walk back to collect them. ...
Wanted to raise on this forum as could not decide if that is right or wrong...

cockatoo Sun 20-Oct-13 10:36:33

Sapfu- my Oyster card. Put £30 on as a joining the family gift. Seemed silly to get her to use separate oyster when doing her own stuff as she would not benefit from capped journeys (ie only a max limit charged per day so if she heads into town in the evening she might get to travel for free as reached max amount during daytime bus journeys.) As my Oyster card I will get it back when she leaves and give to next aupair. I get emailed her weekly journey history each week - she knows this. Hence can see she must have walked journeys as not used the bus. .. Not brought it up with her but slightly peeved....

sapfu Sun 20-Oct-13 10:36:35

Only 5 hours a week?

If it's 5 hours a day, that's standard and £80 a week is average pay.

Also, there's a £4.40 cap on bus fares so technically it's less than £2.80 for 2 bus rides HOWEVER, theft is theft, no matter the amount.

I don't think you should pay her to walk though.

sapfu Sun 20-Oct-13 10:37:45

Sorry, x posts.

I think the solution is to top up the card yourself, rather than top up her bank account.

cockatoo Sun 20-Oct-13 10:37:53

Ps Am a single hard working mum about to go to court to fight ex for finances so am definitely watching money.

cockatoo Sun 20-Oct-13 10:39:22

Sorry 5 hrs a day. But def don't think she does this amount... But as long as house is tidy and clean, helped with laundry and kids happy I am happy to not be too strict with 5hrs a day

HRHLadyG Sun 20-Oct-13 10:41:15

Surely the £80 is her wage not 'pocket money' as she is not your child!

You could pay travel costs retrospectively upon receiving a receipt, as one would in a professional environment.

sapfu Sun 20-Oct-13 10:42:35

Fair enough. No offence intended.

I know some au pairs don't like to ask for more money, and I know some people generally are a bit dim and she might think you are totally OK about it. I think what would annoy me is that she's doing it at all, rather than the amount.

If she's otherwise a good au pair, just tell her you're topping up the card online instead of giving her money. She might genuinely think you're OK with her having the money instead of taking the bus.

HRH, 'pocket money' is the standard term for the way an au pair is paid.

cockatoo Sun 20-Oct-13 10:46:16

HRHLady- aupair's are not technically employed... But receive 'pocket money' - means they don't pay tax. Yes could get her to give me a written record of journeys but I pay her weekly and 'know' exactly how many journeys to and from school she has done that week. I don't want her to be out of pocket for travel but neither do I want to pay her to walk.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Oct-13 10:47:55

I think there is a better way to sort this out, without you ending up out of pocket or driving yourself mad looking at her Oyster travel (and tbh, it's not always accurate).

Do you mind her walking if she has the children with her?

cockatoo Sun 20-Oct-13 10:48:53

Sapfu - no offense taken in anything you have written. Am quite confused with what to do.

Problem with topping up on line is that she needs to touch in at a train station and she mostly uses buses ... Otherwise would have been a fantastic suggestion.

Will raise topic with her later once she wakes up!

If you are getting the card back at the end surely the unused journeys will be credited on the card & so she is saving you money? What can she do with the unused journeys to make it 'theft'?

cockatoo Sun 20-Oct-13 10:50:58

Chipping - too far for 4year old to walk as she already walks the 4yr old in the wrong direction to collect 6 year old before getting bus home.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Oct-13 10:52:51

The way I'd look at it is that if I was happy to pay for her to get the bus, I'd be happy for her to decide to walk and 'save' the money. It's the same amount for you and doesn't impact on your day/time.

I would just pay 'the return fare' whenever she is responsible for either dropping or collecting the children.

The only time I'd complain would be if I wouldn't do the trip walking with the kids and she has to save money - ie at the end of the day, if it's a long way & they're tired/it's pelting with rain etc.

I know it's hard when money is tight and I understand that you see this as money you could save - but I don't think the 'savings' you will make are worth the angst it's causing you.

cockatoo Sun 20-Oct-13 10:53:09

Saintly- Am talking about getting the card back when aupair leaves this family! Hopefully won't be until the summer! Am saving her money as I pay for all my family related journeys and then if she does any social journeys which go over the capped amount she gets the travel for free technically.

Artandco Sun 20-Oct-13 10:53:38

Personally I would just pay a weekly bus ticket on the oyster. Surely by the time she takes children to and from school, and others places after like parks/ party's/ supermarket/ friends houses it would work out the same as paying per journey. And during the holidays she can take the children out more as no worries about extra cost.

If any of this applies;

Live in a London borough
And are 18 to 60 years old
And get Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or have been getting Jobseeker's Allowance for at least 13 weeks
And are not getting any other free or discount travel such as a Freedom Pass or Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card

Then a weekly pass is £9.80. If not £19 I think

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Oct-13 10:54:45

x-posted with you there cockatoo

Roshbegosh Sun 20-Oct-13 10:54:51

You are only talking about a few pounds and if you make a fuss it could be awkward and she might just bus it all the time then so you will be no better off. I don't think it's theft, it is like getting luncheon vouchers and using them for a loaf to take home. It is her travel allowance in her eyes and she is trying to save this tiny amount. Let it go IMO. Poor kid away from home keeping everything together for you and you are going to hound her for a couple of pounds.

HerrenaHarridan Sun 20-Oct-13 10:58:42

I really think you are being very u reasonable about this.

You are happy (and obliged) to pay her for the journey. She would rather have the £1.40 / £2.80 and walk.

If you are going to be a dick about it she won't bother walking and you will pay it anyway.

As long as she's not making the kids walk when your paying I really think you are being a bit crazy

Oh okay so the problem is she is potentially using your money for her own journeys. How much does that add up to? TBH I would just give her an allowance for number of work journeys then leave it up to her. Providing she's not forcing the kids to walk inappropriately I would just figure if age wants to save up £2 or however much it is by walking in the rain so be it. It's not like she's costing you extra by walking - it's money you would be paying if you were employing a differenr non walking au pair or doing the journey yourself & it would be very odd to insist she walks if you don't yourself.

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