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Is this reasonable for an au pair job? And when should I start recruiting?

(84 Posts)
SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 17:53:55

I have never employed an au pair before but have read recent threads about expectations with interest!

At minimum I need someone to:
collect 3 year old DS from nursery around midday
take him home and feed him lunch (sandwiches, beans on toast etc)
play with him, maybe take him swimming, library etc until I get home around 4.30pm

Ideally I would also like someone to:
clear up breakfast things/tidy up the kitchen daily
keep on top of DS's laundry
run the hoover round up and downstairs at least once a week
occasionally hang out washing/put washing in or out of dryer
babysit once a week
maybe do a few hours on a Saturday morning every month or two so we can lie-in

Does this sound reasonable for an au pair?

I need someone to start doing childcare probably from end of August/beginning of September 2013, so was thinking they would arrive mid August to give them time to settle in. We will be away all of July 2013. With that in mind when should I start recruiting, and should I invite candidates for a trial weekend?

ProudNeathGirl Tue 02-Oct-12 17:57:31

Sound ok, except that she will need time in the week to go to English lessons - have you allowed for that?

It's difficult to have girls on a trial basis if they aren't already in the country, but if you use an agency there is a 6 week trial for both sides.

Having APs can be a great experience. We had APs for 10 years. Good luck!

SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 18:04:48

I've had a look at language schools near us and they all seem to do very expensive intensive courses - so 20 hours a week for 2 weeks - 3 months. There is one school that does an evening course, 1.5 hours 2x a week, and I think we would consider paying for that - maybe as part of an agreement that they stay with us for a year?

VerityClinch Tue 02-Oct-12 18:08:03

IME that's too much to expect from an au pair.

Sole charge childcare 4.5 hours x 5 days, domestic duties (laundry, housework etc), babysitting.

I'd say you need a part time nanny/housekeeper.

ProudNeathGirl Tue 02-Oct-12 18:19:06

It's about 20 hours, which is what is recommended.

I don't think you can force her to stay for a year if she wants to leave, even if you have agreed to pay her school fees.

SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 18:19:27

I was thinking that the chores could be done with ds there - eg. letting him watch TV for half an hour or so after lunch while she does the hoovering or puts a wash on. Working hours 11.30am-4.30am approx, so 25 hours a week plus one babysit.

ProudNeathGirl Tue 02-Oct-12 18:20:33

Ps. I would start recruiting about a month before you want someone to start. Most girls are able to come pretty quickly.

DowagersHump Tue 02-Oct-12 18:27:57

I agree with Verity

VerityClinch Tue 02-Oct-12 18:30:17

I'm not saying you won't find someone who will agree to that. I'm saying I think you will find you will struggle in the reality of things to find someone who will fulfill all those duties in line with your expectations.

SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 18:31:06

I'm not sure 11.30am-4.30pm would be very attractive hours for a nanny hmm

What bits do you think it would be ok to ask an au pair to do, and what isn't?

VerityClinch Tue 02-Oct-12 18:39:42

I think you might well find a part time nanny. We had a couple who worked 3/3.30-7pm with one nights babysitting, one was studying to be a midwife and finished at college at 2.30pm and one had a lunchtime bar job and did some evenings there too after she left work with us.

Not the same hours as you, but 11.30-4.30 with one night babysitting is a proper part time job.

DowagersHump Tue 02-Oct-12 18:45:11

One of my friends had a nanny who worked pretty much those hours (but didn't do cleaning).

What about a nanny share?

I don't think that you're asking anything especially difficult, it's just that it's rather long hours. The British AP Assoc says:
The au pair’s schedule must provide sufficient time to attend language school, and the au pair shall receive two free days each week and should be offered one full weekend off per month.

That isn't what you're proposing.

SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 18:46:00

Maybe I have misunderstood something, but is 25 hours a week plus a babysit not a typical au pair job? Everything I have read suggests those are normal hours.

DowagersHump Tue 02-Oct-12 18:48:28

You said that you want her to work weekends every month or so. And babysit once a week (assume that will largely be Friday/Sat night) so that's not 2 free days a week.

And really, I think that you need to pay for language classes during the day, not in the evenings. When is she going to meet people and socialise?

SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 18:50:02

Sufficient time to attend language school - it would have to be an evening class, as I don't think the intensive 20-30 class a week courses would be practical (or affordable!).

Two free days a week = each weekend

One full weekend a month = I imagine most weekends would be entirely free

SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 18:51:10

I can't afford £200 a week for daytime language classes, and haven't found anything other than intensive classes at private language schools here unfortunately.

StillSquiffy Tue 02-Oct-12 18:52:14

I think you are fine with everything except having AP clean/tidy/laundry etc whilst she has sole care of your 3 YO. IME they just don't have the nous to multi-task whilst keeping eye on your child at same time. Mums seem to haver the protective button hard-wired into an on position but APs (and sometimes DHs) just don't seem to.

So, I'd separate the cleaning bit and add it on at the end of the day, so that they have mornings free for language courses. Or have your child stay in nursery till 4.30 one day a week to allow for this.

If you keep it at 25 hrs, its an AP role, at 30-35 hours it's an 'AP plus' role. I think it's fine for an AP and you don;t need a nanny (I'd have thought differently if child were younger)

Language courses - the best ones are done by your local adult education colleges - check your local authority education websites. Private ones are usually way too expensive. Pointless to get them to sign a commitment in return for having course paid - realistically you wouldn't be able to do anything if they just upped and left, so no reassurance on your side, and increases the chances of a moonlit flight if she decides to leave before time is up.

DowagersHump Tue 02-Oct-12 18:52:15

But if you want her to give you lie ins once a month, are you going to give her a day off during the week?

No, thought not.

NormaStanleyFletcher Tue 02-Oct-12 19:01:29

1 au pairs are not just girls, they can be boys (to all of you saying 'she') wink
2 I think it sounds ok if you get a good au pair, but maybe get a cleaner in for an hour twice a week instead of asking her to clean. And forget the lie in grin

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 02-Oct-12 19:03:04

If you came on here asking how easy it would be to fine a nanny willing to do just those hours I'd say...goooood luck to you. Becuase they would be thin on the ground.

I don't think the role is too onerous for an AP (and in fact you may well find one who is delighted with such a role) but the hours are a bit tricky. For some reason we ahven't found that many evening language courses in our area (greater London) but you might be luckier in your area.

You do want whatever schedule they do to be able to accommodate this - it's an important part of their year AND the way they make friends. If all the ohter APs are doing the 9.30-11.00 language course slot (and going to the movies, the pub in the evening when she's supposed to be at her class) she will miss out and quite possibly be not so happy.

Can you rejig your DCs hours at all? How far away is the language school? If it's close to the nursery it might be okay.

Agree with other comments about having low expectations re multi-tasking with cleaning etc.

Pay her extra for the Saturday babysitting too.

SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 19:06:37

No local authority ESOL classes here either - some available through Children's Centres but targeted at particular communities.

OK, so forget the Saturday morning (though we could offer to swap an afternoon in the week for a Saturday morning occasionally if we have a big event to attend?).

No more than 2 Saturday night babysits a month?

Forget the hoovering and get a cleaner instead.

Could I still ask her to do DS's laundry still, and keep his room tidy?

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 02-Oct-12 19:10:33

OK, so forget the Saturday morning (though we could offer to swap an afternoon in the week for a Saturday morning occasionally if we have a big event to attend?).

I'm sure most wouldn't mind this, but it would be a good gesture to offer her a sweetener in addition in any case. Couple of movie tickets? Round of drinks if she's going out? This is what I would personally do if it came up.

to your last query yes you can.

blueshoes Tue 02-Oct-12 19:13:24

Dowager, aupairing has seriously moved on from traditional notions. Aupairs are legally like live-in employees with equivalent rights.

If OP wants to ask her to work on a weekend every now and then, they can agree this without any issue whatsoever. So I don't understand why you are asking OP about giving the aupair off a day in the week in compensation. If it is agreed before the aupair joins, that is the deal.

NormaStanleyFletcher Tue 02-Oct-12 19:14:40

I am very lucky with my au pair. She taught English in Spain so doesn't need language classes.

Actually op, why don't you have a look at the British au pairs? There were a fair amount on great au pairs last time I was looking.

SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 19:18:29

I hadn't considered British au pairs - I suppose I assumed they wouldn't be interested in staying in the UK. We have a connection to two languages (not native to us) though so I had thought it might be nice for DS to be able to learn one of them.

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