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Au pair age

(10 Posts)
Mousesmummy Tue 13-Sep-11 20:38:23

What is the minimum legal age for an Au pair please ladies? We know through friends a girl who wants to come over for the summer hols but she is only 15 ( may turn 16 soon?) but I think this is too young to look after my children - any help?

nannynick Tue 13-Sep-11 21:03:46

I would have thought that minimum would be 18. There are restrictions on what under 18's can work, so it may be possible under 18 but you would need to look into it carefully.

NSPCC: Employment of Children - this could be a starting point for research, though note that to me it looks like it may be quite an old document (it refers to National Standards for Childminding) so some things may have changed.

StillSquiffy Tue 13-Sep-11 21:13:15

Aside from fact that you generally have to be 16 to work, a few questions for you to consider...
1) what would she do if your child had a fever? Wold she give Calpol or take your DC to A&E?
2) If she were bathing your children and someone started banging on the front door, what would she do?
3) If DC developed spots how would she know whether they were serious or not?
4) If a high pressured salesperson came to the door, how quickly would she get rid of them?
5) How many hours in her whole life has she spent with children your DC's age?
6) How does she plan to make friends when she arrives? what hobbies will she be enjoying?
7) In what ways will she be making your life easier, rather than more complicated?

You may find an exception to the rule, but I would be astounded if any 15 yr old could handle normal childcare stuff. I stipulate a minimum age of 23 in our households and even then I despair at the plank levels of some of them.

Why on earth is someone trying to foist this girl on you? It isn't fair on either of you.

Mousesmummy Tue 13-Sep-11 21:13:24

Thanks nannynick - think you may be right, will look into it - such a shame as we would rather have someone we 'sort of' know than a total stranger!

mranchovy Wed 14-Sep-11 20:53:24

> you generally have to be 16 to work

Not true - you generally have to be 14 to work. Employment of children of school age is regulated by local authorities, but certain statutory rules* apply everywhere (in England and Wales at least, don't know about Scotland/NI). Generally, 15 year olds can work up to 35 hours a week (25 hours 13-14) in school holidays.

* I have just noticed that the Business Link web site is wrong (not for the first time sad) - the minumum age was raised from 13 to 14 in 1998.

mranchovy Wed 14-Sep-11 21:09:07

> I stipulate a minimum age of 23 in our households

23??? At 23 a Second Lieutenant in the British Army is in command of a platoon of 30-odd soldiers including a Sergeant aged 30+ Sometimes our house feels like a war zone, but I think that is a bit over the top.

We have had some not-particularly-responsible girls aged 21-28, but we are currently on our second superb 19 year old.

I do agree with Squiffy's general point though, 15 is probably too young unless there is a very strong neighbouring community to turn to for help.

StillSquiffy Wed 14-Sep-11 21:16:30

MrA, that made me laugh because our current (27YO) AP is ex-military.

I'm lucky because I always go for male APs which means I can be really fussy - they're nearly always graduates and we've had someone who swam for Greece and someone who was selected for the Sweden Badminton team (I like em sporty) - if you've never tried the male AP scene I highly recommend it.

I did have a 19 YO girl once. The final crunch for us came when I got in exhausted from work and had her fly across to me in the kitchen and sob into my shoulder for two hours because her new man had dumped her. I know I will have plenty of teenage years with my own DC's so I try to avoid it in APs where I can.

mranchovy Wed 14-Sep-11 21:26:42

> I'm lucky because I always go for male APs

I forgot about that - we nearly went for a man this time round but we played it safe in the end. Where do you get them from, all the men on APW seem to be Spaniards or Eastern Europeans desparate for any kind of work?

StillSquiffy Wed 14-Sep-11 21:44:26

I use GAP and APW generally, although last time round we nicked the chap who was running the creche at our holiday hotel (beats nicking the soap)

I usually look for them rather than waiting for them to apply to my profile. Spain has loads of potential APs because they are all seem to graduate and suddenly realise they are never going to get a job without English. So you can find the odd really good person (but prepare for English to be poor).

There's usually a fair smattering of German guys on the sites, all with perfect English.

sunnydelight Thu 15-Sep-11 09:21:37

Do you really want tio be responsible for an extra child in your house?, because a 15yo in a foreign country will probably need looking after to a certain extent, no matter how capable she might be. I have teenagers (and lots of teens through my house) and although the majority are truly delighful there is no way I would want them as more than babysitters as they are egocentric as hell. I would think a VERY mature 17yo at the absolute minimum.

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