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Au Pairs off duty

(69 Posts)
CEOD Sun 12-Nov-17 21:03:54

I was just wondering what the general consensus was r.e. Aupairs and mealtimes when they are off-duty. Should they just treat our home like a hotel and come to meals which are already cooked, a table already set and then swan off out again afterwards without offering any help whatsoever? Or do you think they should be like a family member? A teenage daughter who should pull their weight in the home and help with either meal prep or clearing up afterwards? I don't know who's being unreasonable here!

DullAndOld Sun 12-Nov-17 21:05:39

I think they should have some job to do, eg clearing the table, washing up.

rollingonariver Sun 12-Nov-17 21:19:19

I think it depends, if they do most mealtimes and this day was their only day off I’d say they can just ‘swan off’ but if their off times are everyday meal times then they should help. Sorry if that doesn’t make a lot of sense :/

sizeofalentil Sun 12-Nov-17 21:22:36

If it's their time off then they shouldn't be expected to help prep a meal. Aren't meals part of the offering to counteract the relatively low wages? Meals and board?

I'd expect them to take their plate out, put it in the dishwasher etc. but that's the extent of it.

Onlymeeeeee Sun 12-Nov-17 21:25:35

When i was an au pair i was expected to say beforehand if i was attending meals on my off duty days, then i was expected to help clear away after if i ate with them. They ate out a lot and with 4 small children even if i was "off duty" i would lend a hand if i went along seeing it as part of my dues. Some months i took all my off duty time eating out by myself but the family did not like it if i bought takeaway food when they were cooking.

Onlymeeeeee Sun 12-Nov-17 21:26:55

Plus our agency describes us as like cousins visiting, so a family bond but not a regular household member

pimmsy Sun 12-Nov-17 21:30:16

A teenage daughter who should pull their weight in the home and help with either meal prep or clearing up afterwards?

Or a teenager regardless of gender?

Off topic but still not quite over the fact my brother never had to clear the table!

Ethylred Sun 12-Nov-17 21:31:16

"Au pair" means "as an equal", not "servant".

Says it all really.

SilverSpot Sun 12-Nov-17 21:33:51

I’d say help as in help clear the table and put stuff in the dishwasher but not any washing up or meal prep

SD1978 Sun 12-Nov-17 21:36:17

If the Au pair has already performed the duties they are paid for time wise, I wouldn’t expect them to help with clearing up- although it would be nice if they did. Would depend for me how close our relationship was- if it was more part of the family than employer & employee. For me- there meal prep and then me cleaning up after it is a counter to the nominal amount they are paid for childcare- here the average ‘wage’ is $200 per week- I’d pay that alone for ten hours of out of house care/ babysitting cost so I’m happy to clear up their dinner plate. I expect them to do their own breakfast and lunch plates, any mugs or glasses during the day, and the kids if the kids mealtimes fall in their working hours. Would deal with my own plates if it was on their work time.

becotide Sun 12-Nov-17 21:36:21

AuPair wages are criminally low and the meals and board go a long way towards making up for that

brasty Sun 12-Nov-17 21:41:31

If you were really going to treat them as your teenager, you would be buying them presents, taking them out lots of places, taking them on holiday. Au pairs in reality are not treated like one of the hosts children. So the comparison is not a realistic one.

ButchyRestingFace Sun 12-Nov-17 21:42:59

I’d expect them to help set the table and load the dishwasher.

But meal prep? No. Meals should be prepared and served to them as part of the bed and board component.

LipstickHandbagCoffee Sun 12-Nov-17 21:46:52

Au pair isn’t a family member, they live in on a v low salary,working long hours
If meal break falls on her break then no she doesn’t need to help tidy up
Au pair is entitled to down time,and that includes not loading the dishwasher

coddiwomple Sun 12-Nov-17 21:49:13

They should let you know if they are coming for diner or not.

No, I wouldn't expect them to help prepare the meal (and absolutely not prepare the meal themselves unless it's strictly within their working hours).
The polite thing to do for them is to help clearing the table and help bringing everything back in the kitchen,but not more.

For many au-pair it's a bit of a chore to have to eat with the host family as it is, many would prefer eating in front of the tv and not at the foreign-speaking table, so they really are entitled to a break!

AnonimityMary Sun 12-Nov-17 21:51:01

We have an au pair. Have had them for five years. They have all approached this differently.

I offer an evening meal with us and expect nothing in the way of help, but all but one of our au pairs has always chatted to me while I cook, offered to help (I never let them as I love cooking but I will let them lay the table), stacked their plates in the dishwasher and helped clear the table. I put a lot into my cooking and am exhausted after a day at work and then Cooking so usually I slump on the sofa immediately after. Our current au pair always offers to make a round of herbal teas at that point which I hugely appreciate.

It’s maybe worth mentioning that I always make sure the meals I prepare reflect our au pairs dietary preferences.

ThisBigSky Sun 12-Nov-17 21:51:04

How old is the au pair?

And what's their wage?

Darcychu Sun 12-Nov-17 21:54:51

When you get an Au pair your offering room and board (food) so no cleaning up or helping shouldn't have to be a thing unless you ask them to help and they are in working hours.

MsDugong Sun 12-Nov-17 21:55:04

Totally off duty but still eating with the family? Then clear their plate and maybe help load the dishwasher and that's it. Maybe do something like fill a jug of water for the table before the meal or grab some plates but no meal prep.

But for me helping clear up after meals and to lay the table before hand was part of an au pairs duties. My young kids wouldn't have got why they had to "help" but a grown up person (to them, when young) in the house didn't. Plus clearing up with tired children around is so much easier with help! So those times were part of the duties. On days when not eating with us (flexibility about when that was), then an au pair didn't need to be involved in meal times at all.

AnonimityMary Sun 12-Nov-17 21:56:34

OP you need to know this thread will be awful. MN equates au pair employers with slave owners and that’s just the reaction you get on childcare boards. In AIBU I don’t fancy your chances at all!

To everyone: most au pairs are jolly happy with a year in a uK city, no rent, no bills, 25 hours a week work and lots of food and family activities plus what the government insist on us calling “pocket money” because of the au pair arrangement. In ain’t slave labour, it’s a choice they make that actually works out leaving them with more disposable cash than most casual jobs plus renting. When a family and an au pair have a good relationship it’s an amazing experience for both.

coddiwomple Sun 12-Nov-17 22:00:00

AnonimityMary
hmm
As quite a few posters are or have employed au-pair themselves, assuming that MN equates au pair employers with slave owners is a tad of an over-reaction don't you think?

Marcine Sun 12-Nov-17 22:00:23

Set the table and clear it/load dishwasher afterwards

LipstickHandbagCoffee Sun 12-Nov-17 22:01:10

Ah,the it’s enriching to spend time in a host family home,that cliched ole line
Look let’s face it,folk chose au pairs cause it costs less than the hourly rate for all the work done
Hourly rate for school run drop off & collect, childcare, light chores exceeds what au pair are paid

AnonimityMary Sun 12-Nov-17 22:01:47

Coddiwompe - nope. Watch this thread and see.

underneaththeash Sun 12-Nov-17 22:03:38

We don't expect our au pairs to help prepare dinner, but I do expect them to help tidy up afterwards, as I expect the children to do too.

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