To ask for au pair advice - working hours(18 Posts)
I remember a thread a while ago about an au pair being "off duty" and refusing to answer the door to take in a parcel. We have an Au pair. Agreed to 25 hours over week, live in. How do you measure working time? Would I be unreasonable to assume that when you are living in the house you pitch in when needed even if not agreed to be "working time". If you are at breakfast and child spills something, would you expect au pair to help out cleaning it up? What ground rules do you set for working time?
Simply because you employ someone who lives in your house I really don't agree with them being at your neck and call. Our au pair was never expected to answer doors/clean up after children etc We agreed the hours she would work the week before and outwith those hours her time was hers to do what she wished.
Gosh I expect our au pair to answer the door if she is In and up! Also to do some occasional shopping - like today - can u pick up some bananas. But then my children are 8 and 12 so they are pretty easy to look after and she has an easy time really.
I think naturally you'd just pitch in wouldn't you? I'd certainly answer the door if I was home, just like I would if it was taking in a parcel for the neighbour. As for clearing up, probably yes, but if you're right there then I guess you would? I don't know... I guess your children will be eating breakfast earlier than she will be on her day off anyway.
You can't expect an au pair to pitch in with childcare or household chores outside her working hours but you can expect her to answer the front door or landline. IMO.
An au pair is meant to be like a big sister in the home.
Yes, she'll have her hours but she is a part of the family whilst she's there.
I'd guess that outside her working hours an automated pair is a little like a flat mate or lodger. So I would expect her to clean up her own spills but not yours or your children's - that's your job. But I would expect her to answer the door if you weren't there or were busy.
No, you shouldn't expect her to pitch in. I've been an au pair and this sort of thing was infuriating. My employer used to ask me to do odds and ends on the only day I had off each week, to the point where I'd have to leave the house at 9am and come back at 7pm. I could very easily have ended up working 14 hours a day, seven days a week (yes I did for practical purposes work 14 hours a day some days).
Not answering the door is petty. However, things like wiping up spills is veering into the territory of extra working hours. I'd expect the same of her as I do my teen e.g. wash your own dishes, wipe the surfaces if you make crumbs and be nice to the little kids.
I think on her non working time she should be off duty but should help with little things like answering the door, helping a child who has fallen over if they are nearest. Wiping a spill that is right next to them. But things like entertaining them whilst you are cooking, running an errand etc should be down to you.
Anyone working outwith a home wouldn't be expected to do more than their contracted hours so why should an au pair be any different? Can you imagine a thread being started about a boss in an office asking a staff member to shop for them in their lunch break or do things on their day off? They'd be bloody outrage on here.
Outside of working hours they just to act as anyone would living in a shared house and treat the home as they would want their own treated.
So clean up after themselves (obviously, no leaving their breakfast bowl for you), help wash up after any meals you have cooked and they have shared, answer the door as you would your own if awake and just be a normal adult.
The bit about shared meals is important because all their food is included. So they can choose to cook own meals with provided ingredients and they do their washing up and you wash up from your meal. Or they partake of the food you have cooked, in which case they help wash/clear up and that does not count as work.
Re if a child spills something, I would have thought that any adult in the vicinity, including a guest, would make a dive for a cloth if they are nearest (unless you have met my stbxh). But they are no obliged to do it.
Also, I think they have to fit in a bit with normal family hours. For instance, if it's 12.30 pm and you are making lunch for the family, no one gets to start preparing their own breakfast across you and in your way because they have chosen to lie in.
I think, if it's not part of her working hours, it's unreasonable to interrupt anything she's doing to ask her to help - e.g. if she's reading a book in your living room, I think it's unreasonable to ask her to do the washing up.
But I think normal social niceties apply - I wouldn't expect her to ignore what's going on around her entirely either, so if your child fell over in front of her and cried, I'd expect her to respond to that. But I wouldn't expect her, if she was in her room, to come and out and see what was going on if she heard crying, if you see what I mean.
Similarly, I would expect her to take in a package or answer the door if she was going to be in anyway but I wouldn't specifically ask her to stay in.
If she's putting her breakfast dishes away, I'd expect her to do the same with small amounts of other household dishes - not if you'd left the whole family's dinner dishes out but a couple of mugs/plates, etc.
I think answering the door is very different to say feeding the baby or changing a nappy. An au pair not willing to answer the door during non working time would be shown the door by me. But they shouldn't have to do things that they do as 'work' when they are off iyswim.
Yes they are supposed to become part of the family, but they are also being paid to do a job and during their unpaid/non working time I think they should be free to do as they wish. Parents should do everything household/child related as if the au pair isn't there during that time.
Obviously au pair should clean any kitchen mess they make, and stuff like that though.
What exactly would one of them be then
The door answering depends though, if au pair isn't working and was in shower or room listening to music or similar I wouldn't expect her to have to constantly be listening out or to jump out the shower to answer the door. If she's in the house just generally and the door goes and nobody else is there then sure she might open. If she was alone and reading book in garden and parcel came and nobody answered then that's not there fault
Around the house I don't think au pair should be expected to help with spills for example if you were there also. I would expect you to do that. But if kids older and spilt something when you were upstairs and au pair happened to be in kitchen then au pair would usually help older child by showing where cloth was or helping
My post was about au pair - who is as dull as dishwater, bless her - and is happy staying in watching videos, pretty much all the time. I've given up encouraging her out. So she's always in, except weekends when she goes to see her boyfriend who is a student at the university. The kids are in school and the older one is fully independent. I took my older daughter to school today (can't most days) so she stayed in bed as both parents were up in the morning. So I don't think in my case, it is unreasonable for her to answer the door if she can! If she is in the shower and misses it, I don't mind!
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