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Paying aupair's travel.. AIBU??(69 Posts)
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??
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
£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...
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....
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.
Sorry, x posts.
I think the solution is to top up the card yourself, rather than top up her bank account.
Ps Am a single hard working mum about to go to court to fight ex for finances so am definitely watching money.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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'?
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.
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.
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.
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
x-posted with you there cockatoo
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.
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.
Oh yeah what herrena said.
Rosh- fair point. Can promise you she is having the best time ever. I'm not overly demanding and she keeps telling me about other aupair's she has met who are treated appallingly.
If you like her and trust her.....maybe its simpler to see this as a little 'bonus' and her choice. Its unlikely that she's deliberately trying to steal from you isn't it! We have a full time Nanny and I have learnt to pick my battles wisely!! It wouldn't be worth creating bad feeling and risking the relationship you have with her....
I know what you mean about online topping up if you mostly use buses - I top mine up with cash at a local shop for that reason.
I don't think you can ask her to top up out of her own money and then reimburse her, but could you give her cash and then ask her to top up that day and give you the receipt? Might give you more accuracy in watching her expenses.
I think for a few quid it's sort of not worth the hassle, but if you're really watching money, and she's doing it daily, it's £8 a week. Though, as others have said, she might just decide to take the bus instead of walk, because that's how she'll get free travel in the evenings.
Ummm...buy her an oyster (registered under you)... Top up pay as you go. You can log on to tfl and check the journeys she is making. Tell her to top it up and bring you receipt for reimbursement- then go over the journeys made with her and figure out exactly what you are liable for...personal journeys can be her own expense no? Just an idea
chatty - RTT - Just an idea.
Perhaps she's only walking when she's missed the bus, or has to wait ages for the next one.
Chatty - that is what I have done. So now I can see she must have walked some journeys which I have paid her bus fare for and just wondering what people think I should do ie. Continue to pay for her bus fare despite her choosing to not use bus but walk...
Have decided I will say nothing but keep a check and if starts to add up to silly amounts of money then will say something.
Several buses in my direction from school and very frequent service
cockatoo - but why will you say something? What harm is she doing? You would be happy to pay it if she was sitting on the bus - so why not just pay her for the return trip whenever she has to drop or collect the kids? Why not let her choose to walk and save the £1.40. It makes no difference to you if she is sitting on the bus or walking does it?!
Surely you have better things to do with your time than scrutinise the Oyster card to check each and every trip she may or may not have made on the bus when you'd be happy to pay it if she had taken the bus??
Chipping- takes 10secs to look. Journey history gets emailed weekly to me. Of course I have better things to do including watching where my hard earned money goes!
I would just put a set amount of money every week on the oyster card
and I would ensure she has her own oyster card - and do a regular weekly bus pass on it if possible.
But what difference does it make to you if she walks or not???????????
You are prepared to pay the return bus fare - just pay it. Let her decide if she wants to get the bus or save the money. It makes NO difference to you!
What do you do for a job?
if it has a regular pass why on earth would you need to check it. just forget about it. she's not using the money for other purposes - it's on the oyster, so no dishonesty there and nothing to stress over
Thank you everyone. Good discussion.
Have decided I will say nothing.
cafecito that probably wouldn't be fair because sometimes the AP has to do the drop off/collections and sometimes she doesn't. All the OP needs to do is give the OP X times return trip amounts depending on how many times the AP has had to do the drop offs/collections. It's really not difficult - it's just the OP is trying to save money that isn't hers to save really.
Well, it is hers to save in a way as it's an expense being reimbursed that's not being incurred - but frankly, I think it's mad. Just pay the AP for the return trips and leave it to her whether she walks or gets the bus.
Not all my journeys log.
When I get multiple busses in a day, sometimes it logs as getting on the same bus twice at the same time, but will miss another bus.
Some days, none of my journeys are logged, even though I have used several.
Sometimes, the site tells me I have no money on the account, or there is money, yet machine tells me something different.
Some journeys I now walk because it's quicker. Plus it's free excercise.
Oh and you say she has 2 cards? Hers and yours. Has it occurred to you that sometimes her accidently uses hers to tap?
Anyway just get her a weekly card. At the moment for weekdays, you are paying £22 for her to take you children to school. Weekly is 19.60...
* HerrenaHarridan * - I placed a question on this forum site as not sure what to do. Perhaps you don't think it is a valid question and that is your opinion but completely unnecessary to call me a dick. Name calling is bullying and horrid on every single level. Several people have said a similar opinion to you and not needed to use derogatory terms within their reply. As you can see I have been open minded and from the points raised have decided to not question and just pay for all journeys whether AP walked or took the bus.
Ihear... No I said it would be silly to have 2 Oyster cards. She only has 1 card which I provided and she tops up and I reimburse journeys related to my kids.
It is travelling expense and if she travels by broomstick or by tellytransportaion or even gets the bus it doesn't matter as you are paying her to travel and however she chooses to travel is up to her.
If I have to travel for work then they pay me the going milage rate, I get to the place I need to be and get back. The fact it is cost me less as I cycle, but I still have to have the bike, wear and tear on my knees and joints so I get paid for travelling.
I don't see it as theft of as doing anything morally wrong, she is getting paid for getting from a to b and she is getting from a to b
If she's registered on an English course could she get a student oyster? Not sure what the rules are for those nowadays.
Btw tax law and employment law are different. Any au pair over the threshold would become liable for tax and NICs and the host family liable for employers NICs. They are still technically in an employment relationship despite not earning enough to be taxed, hence you can fire them perfectly legally.
I think the issue is that she isn't taking the bus and is claiming that she did, ie saying 'please can I have more money for the Oyster card as today I took £4.40 (daily cap) worth of buses' when in fact she took £2.80 worth of buses. Maybe she doesn't know that the journeys can be checked up on, online.
It's like if you submitted an expense for something you'd not spent.
That's my understanding of it, anyway.
And whilst it's not a large amount of money, over time it can build up.
Sapfu - I just don't see the problem. The AP has to take the bus one way as the OP doesn't want the children walking. The AP has to get the other way either by bus or by foot. The OP is happy to pay her return fare if she catches the bus - so what if she chooses to 'save' that money and walk and frankly, the oyster card reports are notoriously inaccurate so I wouldn't base anything on that. Just pay the AP £2.80 for every trip she has to make to the school/nursery and be done with it.
I do see your point OP and I kind of agree with you actually.
I don't think she's being reimbursed for 'travel', she's being reimbursed for a bus fare, a bus fare that she didn't spend. If I did this I could claim £19.20 a week, £998.40 a year (actually a bit less because of holidays etc.). That's a lot of money.
Would it be ok for me to claim nearly a thousand pounds a year for an expense I hadn't expended? I don't think so.
That said, it doesn't sound like she's claiming anywhere near that amount. It could well be an error with the Oyster card or an oversight. I would keep an eye on the statements. If she's doing it deliberately it's dishonest and I'd keep a close eye on the rest of her work related spending.
Outraged - I do see what you are saying, however, I see it a bit differently. The AP has to do the journey on the bus with the children, the OP is happy to pay the return fare and it makes no difference to her if the OP sits on the bus or walks home - the only one this affects is the AP - so if she wants to walk and save the money I don't see it as a big deal. She could get the bus home then go for a walk and the OP would be paying the same money and not care about it. It just seems like such a pointless thing to worry about (added in how often Oyster is wrong!!).
it makes no difference to her if the
OP AP sits on the bus or walks home
I beg to differ I said IF you choose to be a dick about it.
With reference to a future course of action you may or may not take.
You may or may not generally be a dick but IMO to kick up a stink about this would be dickish.
Lets face it you can't insist she walks and are paying her to do it. As long as it doesn't affect the children I don't see that it's even your business to repeatedly snoop onto her bus journeys.
Especially considering several people have pointed out that the fault may be with the log not you ap.
If it bothers you sooooo much that she would rather earn £1.40 more by walking home get the weekly ticket.
I really don't get why you think it's a problem tbh
IMO the best thing you can do is stop snooping and winding yourself up!
Sounds like you have more than enough on your plate with your ex and it is stressing you out and spilling over into other things - been there myself
An au pair that you generally like is a godsend when you are on your own with young DC.
Pick your battles OP. Big enough to matter - small enough to win!
I think it's the principle chipping. IF she's doing it deliberately, she's fiddling her expenses and that's dishonest. I don't think that's right.
I'm a nanny, so get lunch provided. I could bring/buy a very cheap lunch, but then claim extra. My employer is prepared to pay that much and it makes no difference to them whether I've had expensive food or cheap food and kept the difference. It's not honest though is it? If I did that every day, say claim £1 extra on lunch, that's £208 a year.
I don't think anyone should fiddle their expenses, MP's claiming for moat cleaning or AP's bumping up their travel costs. It's dishonest.
Agree with OFL.
I can't understand why an employer being happy to meet an expense, means the employee gets to choose whether they make the expense or pocket the cash.
That said, I do think the best way forward is to tell the au pair there will now be £x per week for travel and that's it. Up to her to choose how to spend it. Or bung a travelcard on the Oyster.
Outraged I do understand what you are saying - I just don't think it's that important to be worrying about. It's the occasional £1.40, when you have someone living in - (to me) it is just a completely irrelevant amount of money to get in a lather about (she's likely to use more than that if she takes a long shower, does an extra load of washing etc). I'd rather just pay the return fare everytime the AP took or collected the kids - much easier.
Also, it sounds to me like the AP just gets 'money for the Oyster card' & hasn't worked out how much she's entitled to, just assumes the OP is giving her the right money. I think it's probably a case of the OP having worked it out by assuming the AP was taking the bus both ways and then given the AP the cash, rather than the AP saying I took the bus x times so you owe me £x.
Frankly, unless she asks the AP to keep a record of how many times she takes the bus and works it out from that (which I gather she doesn't) it is rude and unfair of her to accuse the AP of being deceitful.
sapfu The AP doesn't do the same number of drop offs/collections each week - so that's not going to be fair on the AP unless the OP pays for the maximum amount of trips the AP would ever do, every week and surely that will add up to more than the occasional time the AP walks.
'Frankly, unless she asks the AP to keep a record of how many times she takes the bus and works it out from that (which I gather she doesn't) it is rude and unfair of her to accuse the AP of being deceitful.'
I agree with that. I don't think it's clear that the AP is deliberately fiddling her expenses, far too many reasonable explanations for the discrepancy.
IF she were though, I would take issue with it.
Please don't say anything OP, it's ridiculous to get into a conversation about wether she chooses to walk or not. Some people buy their au pairs gym membership-see this as a cheaper version of that
Also, how have you already said how you have discovered she is walking?
How far away is the school. Need to know that before I respond I think.
Chipping, money sits on an Oyster card until it's used, it doesn't expire. What I'm suggesting is handing over to the au pair the balancing of work and personal travel expenses. So if cockatoo worked out an average week or month, then a bit to cover, that could work.
However I take your point about ending up paying more, so a travel card mightn't be cheaper, plus it might be impractical to work out an average week/month.
Technically, she's fiddling expenses, but she could just not be paying attention, or think cockatoo is happy for the au pair to pocket any savings she (ap) chooses to make.
Either the school is reasonable walking distance or it isn't. If the children can't manage the walk presumably it isn't and if it's too far for the dc to walk it's too far to expect the au-pair to walk and perfectly reasonable to expect to pay the au-pairs fare(s) when she's on her own. End of. If the au-pair then choses to walk some days and make a bit of extra pocket money that's entirely up to her I think. But does the au-pair realise? If I were you I would charge the card for the journeys for the children and give the au-pair cash for her own journeys. That way she can add them to the card or use the extra money as she wishes because she is prepared to walk rather than use the bus. I think you're overthinking it a bit OP to be be fair and I've had lots of au-pairs in my time.
Valium she has been going through the Oyster card report as the card is in her name. It is not reliable.
Married it makes no difference whatsoever to the discussion. The OP does not want her children to walk. She has told the AP she will pay for the bus to do the school run (both ways). I can't see why it is such an issue if she pays the return fare whether the AP walks & keeps the money or 'gives it' to the bus driver. Mountain - molehill.
Sapfu - I know what happens with money on an Oyster card Averaging it out may not work no and generally an Au Pair would not in the financial position to be subbing the OP if it isn't enough and she shouldn't have to. The simplist option is to pay the return fare for any drop offs or collections, but if she wants to nitpick then she should get the AP to make a list of the journeys she does with the children & pay from that.
Why are you insistent she is fiddling expenses? The AP has been taking the kids to school and bringing them back when asked to, the OP has trf money into her account to put on the Oyster card. To me it sounds like the OP has just assumed the AP is getting the bus both ways and has trf'd the appropriate money. On occasion the AP has chosen to walk - she might have just fancied killing a bit of time walking. So shoot the poor kid for not thinking to tell the OP.
Sorry I didn't know that you didn't know how oyster cards work.
Again, I don't think cockatoo can ask her to top up out of her own money and then reimburse her. So I don't think the au pair should sub cockatoo. I think that ideally you'd have a situation where there was always enough on the Oyster to cover work journeys but the au pair could be in charge of managing her expenses. But this is clearly too complex a situation for that.
And I think the nitpicking comes from being a short of cash. I'd nitpick then too, tbh.
I am not insistent that she is fiddling expenses, as in, on purpose (if that was to me). I absolutely accept perhaps it's an oversight on her part, rather than deliberate.
In any event, the au pair seems to be claiming an expense needlessly, which might be accidental or she's not thought it through. Technically she's claiming what she's not spent. So in that sense it's fiddling, she could just not be paying attention etc.
If it were me, I'd shrug it off and assume the au pair was making 4 bus journeys and for the sake of a few quid, not bring it up (though I'd roll my eyes and probably grr my teeth a bit too, I'd look like this ) Anyway, it would irk me but I could afford to bump up the Oyster expenditure.
I agree with you chipping perhaps I didn't make myself clear.
Is the au pair walking back during her 'on duty' hours and taking longer than it would if she took the bus? If so you are paying twice, OP. You have paid for the bus fare plus her extra time to make the journey more slowly by foot which may mean she has less time to do other jobs for you. If that's the case her decision to walk has made a difference to you.
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