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Does this sound ok for au pair role?

(41 Posts)
cinnamonbun Fri 24-May-13 11:42:52

We're planning to get an au pair next year (I know, I like to plan ahead!) I know au pairs normally work about 20 hours a week but we'd need slightly more hours (and before anyone suggests a nanny, we definitely can't afford one!). This is what I'm thinking but feel free to tell me if you think I'm being unreasonable:

-9:30am-4pm Mon-Fri with one hour lunch break = 27.5 hours/week.

-Duties would involve looking after DS during the day (who'll be 1) and pick DD up from school. I'll be working from home.

-We'll all be out between 9:30 and 10am so this time could be used for tidying up after breakfast (while I bring DD to school), hoovering (3 bedroom flat) once/twice a week and ironing DH's shirts twice a week.

-5 weeks holidays per year plus bank holidays.

-Salary: £110/week? (We're in London.)

-We'd also probably offer to pay for gym membership (there's one in the basement of the building).

-What about phone credit etc.?

Oh, and does anyone have a contract template I could use? I'd be most grateful! smile

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 24-May-13 12:11:15

The wage is at the generous end of normal for an au pair, so that's fine. Although I'm not sure that not counting the lunch hour as a work hour is really on....though I suppose if she is absolutely free to do whatever she wants in that hour then it would be ok.

Many au pairs want to come to improve their English and therefore attend language school, which is why they tend to do before/after school hours. Here you've got the au pair booked up all school hours, all week. She could probably do a weekend or evening class though. Maybe have a look what is available in your area so you can advise the au pair about evening/weekend language school choices. There are some au pairs who don't want to attend language school of course, so you could get one of them!

Have you got adequate room for an au pair in a 3 bedroom flat with 2 adults and 2 children already living there? They'll usually need more than a box room and a share in the family bathroom.

cinnamonbun Fri 24-May-13 12:21:46

Some good points Outraged, thank you. As I'd be working from home, I'd look after DS during her lunch hour so yes she'd be free to pop out or whatever she likes.

Also, I forgot to mention that we want to get a Swedish-speaking au pair (as DH and I are both from Scandinavia) and I have yet to come across a Scandinavian whose English isn't near perfect so I don't think English classes would be necessary.

The flat we're moving to has 3 bedrooms but the children would be sharing. There are two bathrooms so hopefully that's ok.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 24-May-13 12:29:33

I know a Swedish au pair actually and her English is better than mine (though her parents don't speak any English at all confused)!

Largeish bedroom and bathroom to herself or shared only with children is standard I think.

ogredownstairs Fri 24-May-13 12:40:50

Sounds OK as long as those really are the hours and you genuinely don't expect her to help with morning/evening routine. The pocket money is at the top end of the recommended amount, and if you're in fairly central/naice part of London that will be an attraction in itself. My experience is though that if the 1 year old knows you're in the house it will be really difficult for all of you, so you'll need to sort out plenty of Monkey Music etc for her to take ds to during the day.

forevergreek Fri 24-May-13 13:32:15

If your out until 10, and can't really afford a nanny I would shorten hours 10-4. Is there anyway you can just work through lunch ( quick lunch in your home office), and then au pair work 10-3 with no lunch break ( will just eat with 1 year old).
This would appeal to more people as most come to study English/ something do your supposed to give one in the day for them to do this. Finishing at 3 would allow them to attend late afternoon classes.

I'm afraid not being able to afford a nanny shouldn't au pair does the same work. Also ironing etc is hard housework to me so could you afford a cleaner once a week to do this? All these things will give you more choice of applicants as another person is likely to be offering 5 hours, 5 days, no housework, etc etc

nbee84 Fri 24-May-13 13:36:13

Just a pointer - you may want to keep the wage at just under £109 per week which is the point at which you need to start paying national insurance contributions.

Have you thought about the effect on the baby to have 1 hour with you at lunchtime and then be handed back to the aupair? Some babies may be ok with that but a lot of 1 year olds will find it unsettling.

burberryqueen Fri 24-May-13 13:40:39

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Au_pair
www.contactaupair.com/info/what-is-an-au-pair

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 24-May-13 17:44:06

I'm imagining that the baby will be asleep during the au pairs 'lunch break', so won't actually know about the change in carer unless he wakes up.

NoRoomForMeInMyBed Fri 24-May-13 20:24:48

Sounds fair and good to me, as an ex au pair from Sweden. We have just emoloyed our first au pair, a lovely Swede too, and as part of the contract we will supply and pay a basic contract mobile phone as we will need her to be contactable when shes working. Any usage over the agreed sum she will have to pay herself ( allowance given to cover calls and txts needed). We are on the outskirts of London so are paying £85 per week.

There are basic contracts on au pair world for download.

Lycka till! smile

cinnamonbun Fri 24-May-13 21:19:07

Thanks for all the comments. ForeverGreek, I don't really agree regarding ironing being 'hard housework', I remember doing it as part of my au pair role many years ago and actually quite enjoyed it grin. Also, I think being happy to muck in when it comes to cleaning is quite important and not unfair. I'll only ask her to do the hoovering (DH and I will do the rest) and after all I'd imagine it's quite unusual for a 20-something year old never to have to do any cleaning, whether she lives with an au pair host family or on her own.

NoRoom, thank you for the suggestion re contracts - I found one on au pair world that I might use. Can I ask how many hours your au pair works and did you go through an agency? (We're thinking of putting small ads in a couple of Swedish and Finnish newspapers.)

forevergreek Fri 24-May-13 21:30:14

Sure they should contribute to daily housework that's created ie join in with whatever family does. Hoover if it needs it, wipe kitchen etc. having set days and chores isn't 'helping'. It's doing it for someone else so they don't have to.

Yes someone may do it but a limited amount. If there's 20 people that fit bill, only 2 may want to do that, hence me saying you could loose out on 18 potentially better applicates.

( have been an au pair when young, then nanny and maternity nanny for many many years...)

NomDeClavier Fri 24-May-13 22:33:25

I wouldn't use a contract of the Internet. They rarely have all the stuff you need. If you PM me I'll send you the one we use with ours (which is long because DH is a lawyer).

NoRoomForMeInMyBed Fri 24-May-13 22:50:53

We used the Aupair world site, and were very specific in what we wanted, Swedish speaker, independent and over 20. Its easy to use as you can read all the ads and the au pairs can apply to you as a family too. As you have to pay if you want to email the au pairs directly I did the cheapskate thing and googled/facebooked them instead. We had lots of applicants, and had a good selection to chhos from.
Londonsvenskar is good for swedes, there is a specific forum for au pairs and if you need a short notice replacement thats a good place to look.
As hubby and I work opposite shifts our au pair doesnt have set hours, we plan each week ahead and depending on our work load she takes over when needed. Its quite a cushy au pair job, lots of time off but sole charge of 3 when working. Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

NoRoomForMeInMyBed Fri 24-May-13 22:54:40

Oh yes, there is an agency specializing in swedish au pairs in London, google swedish connection. De annonserar på Londonsvenskar sajten ibland, ifall du föredrar att använda en agentur.

BranchingOut Sat 25-May-13 07:56:40

I don't understand how that isn't a nanny job if he/she will be looking after a one year old?

civilfawlty Sat 25-May-13 08:02:28

Agree with branching out. It's a nanny role, and you are being outrageous.

cinnamonbun Sat 25-May-13 08:14:58

I may be outrageous civilfaulty and I would employ a nanny if it wasn't for the fact that it would cost more than I earn but unfortunately that's not an option. hmm Getting a mature au pair and making sure they do a first aid course straight away is what I intend to do.

civilfawlty Sat 25-May-13 10:35:35

What I don't understand is why someone else should work for so little because you can afford a nanny?

ReetPetit Sat 25-May-13 11:36:13

agree with civilfawlty. what you need is a cleaner and a childminder for your 1 year old, or a nursery if you prefer - or can you not afford that either??

what you describe is not an au pair role surely - why do people take risks with their children like this? a 1 year old should not be in sole care of an au pair surely?

and expected her to have an unpaid hours lunch break? where she can do what she wants - well hardly, as she has to be back after an hour.

jesus, i despair of some people really hmm

NoRoomForMeInMyBed Sat 25-May-13 13:22:33

Having been an au pair, and have had many friends being au pairs, what Cinnamonbun describes is exactly what Au pairs do. I worked 7-7 for 35 pound a week, had sole charge of 2 little ones and had a super fantastic year. The family treated me like a daughter, I had everything I needed, was treated to days out and foreign holidays, and I still see the family regularly as the kids are now in their mid 20ies. Being an au pair gave me work experience and the references and experiences paved way for my current job. Its not slave labour. It is exactly what it is, experience and learning curves for all involved. My current au pair did the 2 day peadiatric first aid course from St johns Ambulance and is learning as she goes. She is part of the family and has a say. She doesnt have a paid lunch hour, she eats with us as a family. She has set times of work and time off. Its about respect and work. The main reason for having au pairs is the cost of course, but the language skills for bilingual children is invaluable. My english friend has a 5 year old that after 5 spanish aupairs (whos job spec states that they must only speak spanish when caring for the child) speaks fluent spanish. The child is fantastic, and the au pairs have all been fab. They go home with life skills, the child is bilingual. Being an au pair in the right family is a fantastic experience, but its not for everyone.

MrsHuxtable Sat 25-May-13 13:34:35

NoRoom, I assume you were an au pair a while ago because the dfference is that the law has changed since then and there are now rules about what is an au pair job and what is not.

However great your experience was, it wouldn't be legal anymore so it's a moot point!

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 25-May-13 13:39:23

I'm not understanding the outrage here tbh. It sounds a lovely au pair job to me. Would be a great job for someone looking to get into nannying. I am bit on the fence wrt to the unpaid lunch hour, but other than that it's all fine.

It's unconventional I guess which is maybe rattling some cages. The number of hours are not much different to a normal au pair role they're just arranged differently. Instead of working 7:30am-9:30am and then 3pm-7pm with school age children, she's working the middle hours with a younger child. This would be a preference for many. A lie-in and being finished in time to relax before going out in the evening, do other babysitting job, an evening course or even a shift in a cinema/pub/restaurant.

A 1 year old is absolutely fine being looked after by an older au pair, whilst their mother is in the house. What do you think is going to happen to him?!

Cloverer Sat 25-May-13 13:42:25

It's absolutely an au pair job hmm I'm surprised by those saying different!

Young person from another country
Living as part of a host family
Doing childcare and light housework
25-30 hours a week
Receiving "pocket money"

That's pretty much the exact definition of an au pair.

Tidying up breakfast, hoovering twice a week and ironing a few shirts twice a week seems reasonable for light housework too.

I think you will have no trouble finding someone to do that role given that you are in London and offering a generous wage (I'd make it £100 to avoid NI issues).

cinnamonbun Sat 25-May-13 13:43:26

NoRoom, tack för att du svarade...jag orkar inte själv ge mig in i ett gräl! smile

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