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Getting first AP....help please

(18 Posts)
GailPro Wed 08-Jun-11 10:23:51

Hi, I'm trying to find my first AP from APW and have had some pretty encouraging responses. I've had a good read od the excellent posts on MN and I think they are helping me prepare for such a big change in our lives. I'm struggling with how to take things further once I've found someone suitable. I know we need to send a letter of invitation (and there's a good example on here). Does anyone have an example of a good and recent AP contract that I could shamelessly borrow/amend?
Also we intend to go with an EU AP probably from Spain as there seem to be loads from Spain?? Is there anything we need to do visa-wise or otherwise?
How long does the whole process take to arrange as I'm returning to work very soon (have kinda been in denial till now!)
Any help/advice would be cherished!! smile

catepilarr Wed 08-Jun-11 10:41:22

when i used contracts /as a mh/nanny/, it was the one off nannyjob.co.uk. it might seem a bit too complicated for an ap to read. as an ap a usually had a list of duties and houserules given by the hostfamily.
as an eu citizen there is no need for paperwork or anything, s/he is allowed live and work in the uk.

catepilarr Wed 08-Jun-11 10:46:19

once you find someone suitable, checked their references, talked to them on the phone and offered them a job and they accepted youare basically done. ask for the flight details and arrange to picke them up. there is no official need to send a letter of invitation, eventhough it is nice for the ap and she might need it for signing up in a library etc once she is in the uk.
there is lots of threads on how to get her room read, what is useful to consider when writing up the duties and houserules and how to make them feel welcome.

harrietthespook Wed 08-Jun-11 11:03:00

I think that standard nanny contract is too complicated for an au pair and may even scare them/put them (or their parents) off. The language may be way too difficult. And remember that whatever we say here about APs being employees (which you do need to bear in mind) APs don't see it this way exactly - theya re looking for a cultural component and may still see their role as 'big sister' primarily.

What we do is write a detailed invitation letter which they need to acknowledge they have received and agree with. This includes

a detailed job description - the hours they work and their duties and any exceptions (such as increased hours over school holidays)

weekly pocket money and any other benefits you offer

policy on sick pay

the amount of holiday they get (has to be standard for UK employuees) and when they can take it if you have any awkward times when you definitely need them

details about their accommodation and meals

who pays for the English classes if they're taking them and where they are

visitors

Notice period/probation period

Any other house rules you have whicha re particular to you.

If there is anything out of the ordinary, spell it out for them. I even talk about how boring we are so they know. If you go to Antartica every xmas and they can't come make sure they aren't expecting a Dickens holiday season with you. But this is someting you should also speak about when you hire them.

That's about from memory.

You could include things think grounds for immediate dismissal and I'm sure there are others on here who would say you need to put in a whole policy on warnings and procedures around that in the run up to dismissal. We don't do this for au pairs. It's probably technically the wrong thing to do. But in reality, if it wasn't working out, we would always pay the notice period and a flight home. I wouldn't put anyone out on the street with no money even if they'd been outrageous so it's a risk I'm prepared to take in terms of a potential tribunal!!

GailPro Tue 14-Jun-11 09:17:01

Thanks all, really helpful

FictionFanatic Tue 14-Jun-11 22:11:10

Good luck, GailPro. You'll be fine - you'll be so delighted with the difference it will make to your life! I have used the au pair contract shown on the Home Office website as the basis for a simple contract between us and recent au pairs; it's been useful to have the ground rules in writing, so they can see you won't take advantage of them, and to make it clear that they'd need to give notice etc. It's also really useful to type up a list of agreed weekly duties once they've settled in well and you've chatted about this. I'd give a rough idea of the times you'd expect to have spent on them too (e.g. 9-11am cleaning or whatever). Then it's really clear. Best thing I've found is to think of the au pair as a visitor in your home who is a massive help to you with kids and housework, but not as a 'member of staff'. Enjoy!

mranchovy Tue 14-Jun-11 22:27:01

Hi FictionFanatic, do you have a link to that contract? I'm aware that there used to be a standard format for an offer letter in order to get an au pair visa, but as that immigration category no longer exists that doesn't seem to be available any more.

harrietthespook Tue 14-Jun-11 23:01:05

make sure you agree the duties BEFORE they arrive. anything they could conceivably be asked to do. give them as much info up front as you can - you don't want someone coming and then deciding they don't like walking to school, they can't cook, etc.

fraktious Wed 15-Jun-11 11:47:09

As an employer there are certain things you have to include in a written statement - guidance here

I can't find a contract on the Home Office or UKBA website. I suspect it predates the changes and probably wouldn't stand up any more.

As for how long it takes to arrange that depends on you and the au pair!

harrietthespook Wed 15-Jun-11 12:26:05

•information about disciplinary and grievance procedures

In reality if I were worried enough about the au pair to start formal disciplinary proceedings, I would NOT let things carry on. I would be relying on the fact that she had been with us for less than a year, terminaing the contract, paying her notice period and putting her on a plane home.

Am I really exposed on this front, do you think?

What can I put in the letter that is less aggressive and scary and potentially hard to understand than the off the shelf nanny contract but meets this particualr point.

fraktious Wed 15-Jun-11 13:21:31

Not a lawyer but:

If you have any problems or concerns please ask us for a meeting to resolve the situation amicably. If you do not feel comfortable talking to us you can seek advice from ACAS, the CAB or any appropriate organisation.

If we have any problems or concerns we will ask you for a meeting to talk about the situation and give you a chance to improve, with extra guidance if necessary. X, Y and Z behaviours will result in you being asked to leave immediately.

Basically you're just putting in writing that you would talk about it.

harrietthespook Wed 15-Jun-11 16:04:57

That language sounds okay. I am actually going to ask my current au pair what sorts of contracts her friends have, if any.

harrietthespook Thu 16-Jun-11 10:21:33

Do you want to hear what she said frak?

She wuold be fine about all of that in her letter. But she is very mature. She didn't appreciate that we are technically her employers - as far as she was concerned and on the basis of what her agency said, she's there as a big sister etc. I think that the answer is just to educate the au pairs about it individually...

fraktious Thu 16-Jun-11 10:44:07

Someone slap that agency angry

It's not really fair to 1st time employers or APs if the agency doesn't present the situation accurately.

I'm glad she would be okay with it though smile

harrietthespook Thu 16-Jun-11 12:01:33

It's a German one. They don't have a clue, agencies, they just dont, in this rgard.

Also in terms of if she had a problem, she said she'd turn to the agency so she thought it would be really good, esp since the next one is coming from AP World, to have such statements in there sicne this AP won't have that resource.

I think I'm just going to say if you don't feel comfortable speaking to us on your own, you can bring a thrid party to the meetings. WHich is what the nanny contract says anyway. I don't think the nanny contract makes reference to CAB ACAS. Is that asking for trouble?!

None of this changes the fact that if she were really not up to it, I just wouldn't risk it. I would be more worried about risk to my kids than her getting herself organised totake me to a tribunal.

fraktious Thu 16-Jun-11 12:24:30

They really should check though...I know the UK is special in this sense but if you're sending young people away then at least know what you're sending them too hmm

ACAS/CAB, well, I guess either you put them in and you know where she would get help from, and it would be good, fair help or you don't and it could cause more problems than it solves. If it were a nanny contract I'd put they should contact their insurance. If you don't put anything they might go running to a solicitor but then again an unspecified generic 'third party' might do.

Are you having another German? I found a lovely German girl but just not enough age appropriate experience for challenging DS sad

harrietthespook Thu 16-Jun-11 17:39:20

I am not that worried about who she speaks to, to be honest. As I said, we would follow the convention for dismissing someone who has worked for you for under a year. I would just check in with my HR person to make sure we hadn't missed anything. Maybe I will just put in the revised letter: "You can fid out information on UK employment law here: xyz."

Yes, our new AP is also German...sorry yours didn't work out. When do you need someone for again?

Hey, wrap your head around this one. My last year's AP told me that one of the other APs from her language school got pregnant when she was over here (19). The family sent her home. Now is THAT getting dismissed because you're pregnant?! Seriously, though WWYD.

fraktious Thu 16-Jun-11 17:53:41

Late August. I need more than an au pair but on AP hours (ish) which is making life difficult.

If they got pregnant, well, then they're kinda in trouble as they wouldn't get mat pay and the accomm is tied to the job....I have no idea what I'd do! Give them the choice of working until they take ML but they have to shift out then or pay them off and send them home?

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