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First Au Pair, what should I include in my house rules / contract?

(8 Posts)
NoRoomForMeInMyBed Wed 01-May-13 13:41:58

Just need pointers to check I have included the essentials. Ive googled and read examples but some are too American, some are just OTT (the children should wash their hands 15 times per day....) Help Please!smile

Mendi Wed 01-May-13 14:14:50

Jumping in as am also interested in what people include in their AP contracts and house rules.

Also, is anyone willing to show me their APWorld ad so I can get an idea of what a good one looks like? Can PM me if worried about privacy. I'd be so grateful, as I've never looked for an AP before.

andagain Wed 01-May-13 14:27:36

If you PM me I am happy to send you my contract and house rules. I have our old advert too I think.

cjn27b Wed 01-May-13 15:05:07

You can search on au-pair world pretending to be looking for a family - gives you a good idea of what to include!

Also, we had a contract for our first au-pair. It was a waste of time. 8 au-pairs later, I think it is safe to say you can have a few clear rules (not so many that overwhelm them, but enough that the really important things are covered).

Each au-pair is so different. These days, we generally figure out what needs putting in place as you go along. I always take time out for the first two weeks so I am with the au-pair 'training' them as such. This way they learn how we do things in our house.

We have some au-pairs who know how to behave in someone else's house and haven't had to be told anything. Others who need to know that waking the whole house up at 5am isn't on.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Wed 01-May-13 16:26:29

We have a letter of invitation which covers the hours they're expected to work during the day, duties, pay, arrangement for language schools, accommodation, vistors, holiday entitlement, notice period, grounds for immediate dismissal, and a description of our family life.

The language is not formal the way our nanny contract is, as for one thing I am not sure how much all the au pairs would understand of that and I wouldn't want them to stop reading! But it covers the areas of interest.

We do this because I want the au pair to be fully informed of what she's taking on before she arrives - we'll have discussed most of it, but I want them to see it in writing and email me back saying, I've read it and I've understood. I just think this is best practice in terms of being fair to the au pair and protecting ourselves.

I have the feeling that some of these girls are so excited to get an offer, they accept immediately and may not have thought it through and really SHOULD be seeing it all again in print.

This doesn't mean they never need to be told again - and I am not sure how enforceable these docs are. I mean - if I had a really unhappy au pair would I hold her to the four wks notice? Probably not. But I think showing that you are starting on a professional basis kind of 'shows how you mean to go on' so to speak.

cjn27b Wed 01-May-13 20:31:13

What LadyHarriet says is very true. I think the difficulty is very formal contracts, as an au-pair isn't a 'job' as such. We cover all the issues like hours, money, duties etc.. in emails and make any applicant talk to at least one former au-pair to get a more 'insider' perspective. Still, there are a lot of people who haven't thought it through and apply.

A lot will also depend on what sort of au-pair style you have in mind. The role can vary hugely depending on the age of your children, if anyone works from home, what sort of household you have.

I do feel the most important thing is taking time to Skype (video) as much as possible. This is the best indicator of a person, as anyone can read something, agree to it and not have the contents really register.

As au-pairs are living with you it's vital you get a good fit. Living with someone who clashes with your family is a horrible experience, particularly when they're looking after your kids. We do a lot of skyping with potential au-pairs and have found this is the best way to get a good match and avoid hic-ups which are unpleasant for all.

NoRoomForMeInMyBed Fri 03-May-13 10:57:34

andagain thank you!! flowers

Have rewritten mine, feels much less patronizing and friendly after reading yours and getting inspired for the right tone to use. Thank you so much!

andagain Fri 03-May-13 11:22:45

You are very welcome!

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