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Au Pair problems. WWYD

(35 Posts)
springlenner Thu 16-May-13 22:56:24

Our current AP has been with us 3 months and most of the time she is good ... Except when it comes to school pick drop offs and babysitting.

Basically, she loves to clean - I had specified some cleaning from the outset but stressed this was not her primary role. She does all of our washing, ironing, empties the dishwasher, cleans floors, bathrooms etc. I have to stress SHE wants to do this. I often tell her she's doing too much but she really likes to do it. I pay her extra for this £180 per week as the house is so clean there's no need to get a cleaner.

We both work full time. DH leaves the house at 7, I am supposed to be at work at 8.30. DS1 is in school from 8.40-3.20 and DS2 in nursery from 9 -12 five days a week.

However, here's the problem. I dont think she likes childcare!! Firstly, she doesn't want to bring the kids to school, its a five minute cycle / ten minute walk. She refused to do it a few weeks ago and since I've been quiet at work I've brought them but she had to take them this morning as I needed to turn up on time! I try to get home by 5 - usually earlier. Today i was back at 4. This evening we had been invited over for a cup of tea to an elderly neighbours house at 8pm. She has had one weeks notice that we would be out for an hour.The kids were in bed but not asleep. As I was leaving at 8.10 she announced I needed to be back by 9 as she needed "some free time and some peace and quiet"
I know she is working up to refuse to babysit tomorrow night. My brother is here just for one night from abroad, and I gave her more than 6 weeks notice that we'd be out tomorrow night. She already asked on Monday what time I was going out and told me I needed to be back by 10pm.
She is always grumpy like this about babysitting and I'm not sure how to approach this.

She's not a cleaner, she's an au pair, she's paid well and I think I treat her well. But the whole point of having an AP live in our home is so we can have some help when we need it i.e. school drop offs and occasional babysitting.

I am absolutely useless at confronting people and she's very direct in her manner - I know I need to sit her down and talk to her but I don't have the skills. Please put words in my mouth.

My DH was going to talk to her in the morning but she's just texted ( from upstairs ) to say she's too tired to get up and would I mind taking them to school !!

Help please! Sorry, that was long after all!

middleeasternpromise Sun 19-May-13 08:30:35

Managing au pairs is quite possibly one of the most difficult jobs I have ever done (and I manage people all the live long day at work). Because they live with you and study yr every move, staying on top of the boundaries and roles is nigh on impossible.

I've had several au pairs, when it works its fantastic but alas thats not as frequently as you would hope. Im just winding up my latest contract and am switching back to external childcare as I need a break and I need my home back. Never under estimate the challenge of managing the AP !!!

MrAnchovy Wed 22-May-13 14:35:35

You are creating a problem by paying more than the job is worth.

For 25 hours a week to and from school £70-£80 is the right amount (assuming home counties). If you want cleaning on top, add what you would pay a cleaner. £30 a week?

themaltesecat Wed 22-May-13 19:12:16

If you're such a hotshot, why not pay a fair wage for a nanny?

blueshoes Wed 22-May-13 19:33:51

This is a no brainer. Get rid and find yourself a cheaper better aupair that does housework and childcare cheerfully.

Says me with the mickey mouse job and but am a tiger at home.

Cathyrina Wed 22-May-13 20:26:45

I don't think the money is the problem, why wouldn't you want to pay a very good Au-Pair a bit more than usual when you can afford to do so? It's just the thing 'You pay more than usual for something that isn't the way you wanted it to be' that doesn't work, maybe someone else would be absolutely brilliant and does it the way you want it to be done and then why not reward her with a few pounds more

Mendi Wed 22-May-13 22:13:27

MrA, MrA, I don't understand! On my thread earlier this evening you said that £120 a week for 20 hours was an appropriate rate for an AP in Surrey and yet here on this thread you say £70-£80 for Home Counties. Which is it?!

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 22-May-13 23:10:21

Mendi he wasn't saying that on your thread. I'll let him explain further what he was saying, but it wasn't that you should pay £120 a week for 20 hours.

Mendi Thu 23-May-13 06:22:06

I thought I was probably being thick, Outraged, but he hasn't returned to explain. I'm going to take him at the advice on this thread and start advertising I think. Will soon find out if any interest.

Cloverer Thu 23-May-13 10:11:02

I think the £120 a week was for 20 hours at minimum wage, so £80ish pocket money + £40 worth of bed and board = £120.

Usually in live-in jobs, you still have to pay at least minimum wage, but can offset the cost of accommodation up to £34 a week. So, for example, if you have a live-in nanny or live-in barmaid in a pub working 40 hours a week, and pay her minimum wage of £6.10 an hour (£244) you can take £34 off for accommodation and only pay £210 a week.

However, if your au pair lives as "part of the family" - eats meals with you, joins in family activities, day trips etc - then you are exempt from minimum wage anyway.

MrAnchovy Thu 23-May-13 13:01:00

"Usually in live-in jobs, you still have to pay at least minimum wage, but can offset the cost of accommodation up to £34 a week. So, for example, if you have a live-in nanny or live-in barmaid in a pub working 40 hours a week, and pay her minimum wage of £6.10 an hour (£244) you can take £34 off for accommodation and only pay £210 a week."

This is a bit of a red herring. The accommodation offset does indeed apply to live-in barmaids etc. but it is generally accepted that the exemption from NMW applies to live-in nannys as well as au pairs although the legislation is not well drafted and has not been thoroughly tested in the courts. Note however that if separate self contained accomodation with its own external door is provided for the nanny they are not treated as live-in for this purpose.

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