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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?

blueshoes Tue 02-Oct-12 19:20:18

Having said that, a weekend lie in is quite an imposition for an aupair because that means she might have to give up partying the night before. A sweetener as Harriet suggested would be nice.

blueshoes Tue 02-Oct-12 19:24:21

I have never really had a British aupair because they don't fit the profile of someone who would get the maximum experience out of an aupair role. Would worry about their attitude and whether their heart was in it.

But others who have used British aupairs might disagree. Of course, there is no language barrier, which is a plus.

Frakiosaurus Tue 02-Oct-12 19:24:36

Do be aware that by limiting your search to candidates with a particular language who are prepared to speak their language to him rather than English you may need to increase the lead time on recruitment, particularly if it is German you're after because I'm seeing 2013 profiles up already.

You may also need to give significant amounts of direction on suitable afternoon activities. And definitely drop the cleaning bar tidying his room. Laundry may depend on the au pair.

SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 19:28:26

I'm interested particularly in German and Polish speakers. Given that I need to have someone ready for a mid-August arrival by the end of June, when should I start looking?

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 02-Oct-12 19:28:27

Frak what the heck are you talkin' about on the other thread? Pls tell me just as our nanny has resigned I will NOT have to deal with PAYE for an AP....

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 02-Oct-12 19:29:04

End of June will be tight for the Germans as the good ones may still be tied up with Arbiter examinations. Better off for mid July.

Frakiosaurus Tue 02-Oct-12 19:56:53

"Employers and pension providers will send this information to HMRC online for payments made to all their employees including those paid below the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit (LEL)."


LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 02-Oct-12 20:09:27

completely insane Frak.

catepilarr Tue 02-Oct-12 20:18:02

in my opinion the job as you outlined it is fine, lots aupairs would love to have a one three yearold to look after. dont expect an aupair do other work while s/he is watching a child apart from fixing his meal or sweeping/tidying after meal/ shoving laundry into the maschine. as other people said aupairs are not usually experienced enough to multitask and certainly doing cleaning and watching a child is not fair thing to ask.
you can say that you pay her for her language classes if she stays whatever time you agree on, as a kind of a bonus. otherwise you might end up with a course paid and an aupair gone.
and an occasional swap of a saturday morning for an afternoon sounds ok to me. just needs to be discussed upfront (before matching).

blueshoes Tue 02-Oct-12 20:28:04

Sam, why do you need someone to arrive mid-Aug to be available end June? I think 4 weeks is plenty of time, so start looking around mid-July, as Harriet says, is fine. I have hired aupairs in less than 2 weeks from start of looking to their arriving where it was a childcare emergency.

The risk of hiring too far in advance is that they might find other things to do in the meantime and then you would be left high and dry if they don't show. <Thinking of a certain French aupair ... hmm>

SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 20:30:18

We are away all of July (from 30th June to 31st July) and it will difficult for me to do any recruiting during that month. So ideally I need someone lined up before we go away.

dikkertjedap Tue 02-Oct-12 22:19:04

As others have pointed out, I don't think you can expect the au pair to clean whilst looking after your three year old. I also don't think that it is reasonable to expect her to babysit on a Saturday evening, she is supposed to have the whole weekend off unless you give her two consecutive days off at another point during the week (which needs to be mutually agreed upfront). Saturday mornings are a no no as well.

Normally au pairs are expected to follow language courses during the day, not during the evening! Alternatively, you could look for an au pair who has already got very good command of English and is not interested in following a course.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 02-Oct-12 22:24:34

I have never heard that 'rule' abt saturday babysitting. It is definitely NÓT standard never to ask them to do it in the evening. We pay extra and woukdnt do it more than twice a month but of course an AP Will babysit on a sat evening from time to time.

blueshoes Tue 02-Oct-12 22:58:59

Dik, I don't agree with your 'rules' on weekend babysitting. Everything is subject to agreement between the host family and the aupair. It is an employment relationship, as any other.

MrAnchovy Tue 02-Oct-12 23:23:34

Well it's not quite totally up to the employer and employee to agree, you have to comply with certain aspects of the Working Hours Regulations, in particular regarding daily and weekly rest breaks.

But I don't agree with the early posters on this thread, particularly this:

"Sole charge childcare [of a 3 year old attending nursery] 4.5 hours x 5 days, domestic duties (laundry, housework etc), babysitting." - this is EXACTLY the description of a typical au pair role.

MrAnchovy Tue 02-Oct-12 23:24:24

... and paying for language school is very rare.

chloeb2002 Wed 03-Oct-12 04:40:45

I am no expert but have had aps for 5 years now. We are based in australia so we are not governed by what appears to be tight UK management of aps. Ours with only one exception have stayed a year and had a great time. I figure I treat my ap like a younger .sister. I dint expect much in the way of house work just to be tidy and help out as a part of the family. My ap does at most 3 days a week and normally two. Every weekend off and time to travel around my leave and juggling my roster. I fear many people have ap as live in slaves? I guess I am soft.. but I do all the washing, I tidy bedrooms, I clean up and I cook. But my ap gives me peace of mind that my children are looked after at home, collected from school, Kindy.. and all for a sensible amount of money and offering someone a new experience.

OttillieRidiculous Wed 03-Oct-12 08:31:38

OP - the aupair is supposed to get something out of the experience other than bed and board. I think you need a childminder and cleaner.

Bonsoir Wed 03-Oct-12 08:40:09

Your minimum (4.5 hours per day, five days a week) is 22.5 hours of work, unsupervised. If you added one Saturday morning (five hours) per month and one babysit per week, that would be a reasonable amount of work.

RTchoke Wed 03-Oct-12 08:48:54

Mumsnet au pair threads are always full of people saying that the OP is expecting too much, shouldn't give sole charge etc. In RL au pairs often willingly work more than this OP is envisaging. Their pay should reflect this but it's v normal.

I would always go for Canadian or Australian au pairs so there is no language barrier and language courses are of course not a factor. They often come for the experience (although most want London) and weekends off to party and travel are a must but they are usually happy to work hard in the week.

SamSmalaidh Wed 03-Oct-12 09:37:54

dikkertjedap - there aren't really any suitable language courses available in the day.

Ottillie - what kind of thing should they be getting from the experience? I'm not clear on this confused I assumed they would want to live in a new country, go out in the evenings, learn a language, and not sure why working in the afternoons would prevent this...

MrAnchovy Wed 03-Oct-12 09:48:44

"We are based in australia so we are not governed by what appears to be tight UK management of aps"

This is a myth promulgated by the British Au Pair Agencies Association. There are in fact NO regulations applying specifically to au pairs in the UK (although Bulgarian and Romanian nationals and anyone entering under the Youth Mobility Scheme are subject to certain restrictions).

MrAnchovy Wed 03-Oct-12 09:53:30

On the subject of trial weekends, we (and a number of other MN AP veterans) swear by them. Cheap European air travel makes it a practical proposition, certainly less than an agency fee: we have saved ourselves from two disasters this way.

QuintessentialShadows Wed 03-Oct-12 10:02:10

Your au pair will be looking after your child from 11.30 to 4.30 - so 5 hours.

Who takes your child to nursery? You?

What time does your au pair need to leave home to be at the nursery for 11.30 pick up?

So, I take it your au pair will have free time every morning until 11, when she needs to get herself ready to pick up your child. Then spend 5 hours with him sole charge until you get home from work.

You want her to tidy his room and do his laundry.

When does she eat dinner? With you, or will you expect her to cook her own food?

I honestly think this is too much for an au pair. Usually au pairs are young girls/boys, aged 17-19 with very little child care experience.

I would not leave my child so many hours with unqualified child care.

QuintessentialShadows Wed 03-Oct-12 10:07:42

Usually au pairs are used as wrap around care, not THE child care.

Ie, my au pair would get up with me in the morning, help get the kids ready for school/nursery, and then take them there. Then she had the whole day off, until 3pm pick up time, when she brought them home and spent time with them until I finished work. Or she took them to the park, or to spend time with another nanny/ au pair friend and their charges.

I worked four days per week, and on that day, she took the kids to school/nursery, and I picked my youngest up from nursery, and did fun things with him, while she picked my oldest up at the regular time. Unless we did something together all of us.

The 4.5 hours were spread out as help in the morning, and after school, NOT 4.5 hours sole charge!

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