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Au Pairs

(6 Posts)
MMCQ Wed 05-Oct-11 22:21:03

I recently took on an au pair. I have a couple of quick questions:

1. Both my husband and i had to be away on business this week on the same night. Normally one or both of us is around. Our au pair was happy to look after our one DD overnight. I have accounted for the hours between when she picked up our daughter from school and put her to bed as part of her 25 hours a week we schedule as the normal week she gets paid for; But should I add the extra hours in when our DD was in bed at night and the au pair was "technically babysitting and on duty" ie from 7pm to 7am?
It seems to me that maybe some form of extra incentive payment could be expected but I don't know whether to offer a token bonus payment, do nothing or pay for a full 12 hours ie roughly half of what i would pay her for a week's work on top of her normal amount?

2. Second thing is becoming a bit of an issue so some advice please. The au pair agreed to babysit this coming Saturday night a couple of weeks back, but asked tonight if she could go out with some other au pairs instead as it is someone's birthday. I said no. I do not think this is unreasonable, and I have planned to give her Friday and Sunday as days off instead of her usual weekend days. Does anyone else think this is unreasonable? or have similar issues with trying to get their au pair to think of an occasional Saturday night's babysitting as part and parcel of the deal. (We have only asked her on a Saturday night once before and a Sunday night once in 2.5 months) - she turned me down then too and i let her (!!) as the nights out were not that important and we got cover from elsewhere. (i was pretty pee'd off though at the change of arrangement, which is why I said no this time..... but I also tried to be reasonable about it). Anyone out there with similar issues or got a view??

drinkyourmilk Thu 06-Oct-11 10:12:23

re number 1; I think you should pay a set overnight fee from 11-7am (I charge £30 - london nanny with 15 years sole charge behind me) and hourly babysitting rate from 7pm till 11pm, or use a babysitting night as per contract

re number 2; absolutely right to say no. She has already agreed to babysit so needs to do it. Moving forward is it in her contract to babysit weekends? When I have lived in it's stipulated any contracted babysitting is done mon-thurs. Weekend evenings are paid seperately and by prior arrangements.

becks5109 Thu 06-Oct-11 12:17:01

re 2. I would definitely insist on her babysitting. We had the same problem with our last au pair whereby when we asked her to babysit she would keep saying that she already had plans and then I would end up finding other solutions. In the end it became a bit ridiculous and I wished I had been firmer earlier on as it was in her contract and we didn't ask for very much babysitting most weeks. I ended up getting a family calendar and she had her own column so I would write babysitting on it in advance and likewise she would write down if she had something extra special on and I would try to avoid that date. Also if you're not planning on being out very late she could in theory go out when you get back? Mind you I was far to accommodating with all our au pair and I used to constantly wonder who was working for who! We are now au pair free and its wonderful although I do miss the babysitting element!

harrietthespook Thu 06-Oct-11 12:21:58

It's in our contract that our au pair may need to babysit some Saturday nights. We try to give her as much notice though and work around her plans if she has any. Two weeks is plenty of notice.

If your au pair agreed to babysit for you, then she has to stick to it. But you also need to respect her plans too. I would make other arrangements if the au pair had something she'd been planning to do for a while but something came up for me.

If you are also paying her I wouldn't give her extra time off personally. But everyone works this a bit differently. We pay for Sat babysitting even if she hasn't done the optional 'two nights' during the week for us. I know a family that doesn't pay on Sat nights if they haven't used their evening babysitting allocation. It all depends what you've agreed with her.

I would give her extra money def for overnight. £30-50 would be about right. Probably I would go towards the higher end of that if it was all night.

StillSquiffy Thu 06-Oct-11 12:41:26

We schedule hours that include weekend babysitting some nights (works out about 2 Saturday nights in every 5) and we put them all in the diary when the AP arrives.

If we don't then need them we let AP have night off, and if we need an alternative date to the one we schedule we ask if we can swap (and they are entitled to say no). Have found this route creates the least stress and the APs have always been fine wiht this.

MMCQ Thu 06-Oct-11 21:15:10

Thank you all for your really helpful comments. i have managed to agree the following:
To pay £30 additional pay for overnight babysitting when we are both away from home.
To pay a babysitting rate of £5 an hour for weekend nights for any hours over and above the weekly 25hours in her contract and to make up any hours remaining form the 25 hours which are used for a weekend night's babysitting from the normal allowance to the £5 rate and to pay her at this hourly rate until it reaches £30 which is the overnight rate anyway!

We also had a good chat about the advance agreement to babysit on a weekend night and why it should be honoured (it was agreed two weeks ago, we are going to a dinner arranged some time ago a long way from home - 2 hours drive - and we have my step-sons here that night too so I don't want to ask our other babysitter who is still not quite 16), but equally if I was just going out to a friend or something came up last minute and she already had an arrangement, how i wouldn't expect her to break her arrangements and that I would expect to either drop my plans or find a babysitter elsewhere. This is also why i felt comfortable offering the same hourly rate I would pay for our other baysitter at £5 per hour.
Complicated a little, but the au pair is pleased and I feel much better that everything is clear.
Your comments were a big help and maybe someone else might see this info and find it useful too. Thanks a million.

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