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aupair payment dilema

(32 Posts)
flowerpower03 Sat 27-Jul-13 08:00:21


I am new to this site, and am keen to find out what other people would do in my situation.we have had many aupairs previously so have experience of lots of different situations. Our most recent aupair managed to loose her door keys a few weeks ago!! Which resulted in us having to replace door locks, should I deduct the cost of this from her payment? Also quite often on a Monday she will come out complaining she is ill after the weekend! And I have to sort out parents/friends to look after children, would you deduct for this? I ask because I feel like she is starting to take the Mick out of the situation and am getting fed up now!! We find our aupairs always start off well for a free months and then its like they can't be bothered anymore!

Any advice would be greatly received.


burberryqueen Sat 27-Jul-13 08:17:06

not sure, i thought an au pair was more like an elder daughter than a servant as such.

flowerpower03 Sat 27-Jul-13 08:19:50

I didn't mention her being a servant!she is here to gain experience and not be my daughter! I wanted to find out what other people who have aupairs would do in this situation.


Cindy34 Sat 27-Jul-13 08:24:50

I don't think it is fair to deduct on the first time key is lost. If they were you son/daughter sure you would be cross at their carelessness but you wouldn't make them help pay. If they did it again then you would, as you would have told them about how expensive it is to replace locks/keys plus warned them that if it happened again they would pay.

Cindy34 Sat 27-Jul-13 08:28:00

Failure to do their job, repeatedly, should result in them going home. Even if they are really ill every Monday then having a sick day each Monday in any job would result in dismissal eventually.

burberryqueen Sat 27-Jul-13 08:30:52

ssorry no what i meant was it is hard to know what angle to take with her

burberryqueen Sat 27-Jul-13 08:31:30

as au pairs are meant to be treated as you would an older daughter

bamboostalks Sat 27-Jul-13 08:34:06

Unacceptable that she can't do her duties that needs sorting. Probably wouldn't deduct for keys but would firmly warn that a further loss would incur payment. You need to sit down and a have a frank conversation ASAP. She sounds a piss taker tbh.

Mendi Sat 27-Jul-13 11:17:39

Don't understand why the lock had to be changed - do you not have a door key as well?

I would find the Monday hangover unacceptable. Time for a stern talk.

burberryqueen Sat 27-Jul-13 11:36:24

yes why did the locks have to be changed? was there something with the keys that had an address on or something?

Karoleann Sat 27-Jul-13 12:10:12

You can't make wage deductions unless its for a reson specifically Mentioned in the contract.
I would always have the locks changed if my keys were lost - someone could have stolen them knowing the au pairs address, or she may have dropped them just outside the house, or left them in the door and they've been taken.
Burberry - I'm not sure they are meant to be treated as a big sister, I don't think most big sisters would be expected to do 25 hours/week of child care and cleaning.
They're not an employee, but they still have a paid job to do. I would just remind her today that she is expected to be fit and healthy for work on Monday!

burberryqueen Sat 27-Jul-13 12:21:13

"The title comes from the French term au pair, meaning "at par" or "equal to", indicating that the relationship is intended to be one of equals: the au pair is intended to become a member of the family, albeit a temporary one, rather than a traditional domestic worker"
- wiki

dyslexicdespot Sat 27-Jul-13 12:25:02

You should not charge her for the locks. As others have said being hungover and unable to help out would not be OK. Give her a warning.

Isatdownandwept Sun 28-Jul-13 17:28:11

What the others said. No cost deduction but warn her to,pull her socks up re illness. Saying that, you should maybe ask why your APs can't be bothered after a few months? If its happening with all your APs then it might be that you're not building good relationships with them or investing time into making it a brilliantly positive experience for them. Far better to take the time and effort to ensure they enjoy their time as it will help foster close ties. My kids are still in touch with APs who looked after them years ago and it's like they have friends across the globe now, so I figure that taking the effort now is worth it for our children (even if the APs themselves might not merit it).

(I should however counter my waxing lyrical above by saying my last au pair stormed off in a huff, so even with the best will in the world it all goes tits up sometimes).

Goooooooooooooooooooooood Sun 28-Jul-13 18:12:59

Definitely don't charge for the locks but I would talk to her about having the Monday Blues. That is not on.

I don't think you can charge for the locks as she is only receiving a 'pocket money' wage. If she was a nanny I think you could charge, although I probably wouldn't.

NomDeClavier Mon 29-Jul-13 12:22:10

Well my parents charged me for changing the locks when I lost my keys aged 19. Short, sharp, effective lesson. However if you wouldn't do it to your own daughter then I wouldn't do it to her. A contribution might be reasonable if that's what you'd ask of the family. In these situations you need to be guided by the principle that they are living as one of the family.

On the other hand, and the second issue, she has come to do a job - she's agreed to provide a service in return for money (and the ECJ considers them to be workers which for all intents and purposes means treating them as an employee for certain things) - so she needs to do that and being ill every Monday isn't on. That you need to talk to her about. Treating them as a member of the family - joining in with activities, being fed the same at the same time etc - doesn't preclude them doing the work they're supposed to.

Strix Mon 29-Jul-13 14:09:02

My au pair is not treated as another child, but as an employee. She is paid for a job, and I expect it to be done. She expects to be paid. We have a contract that states all of this. She is entitle to paid holiday and everything else I expect from my employer. Well, not everything. She is not entitled to a pension.

If she lost her keys, I would not charge her. If she repeatedly did not show up for work on Monday (or any day), I would have to replace her.

Goooooooooooooooooooooood Mon 29-Jul-13 17:29:53

Au pairs are typically treated very differently from 'employees' and are not usually legally classed as workers or employees. Generally people use them as they are exempt from normal employment law, such as minimum wage and are much cheaper than qualified nannies. Obviously, there are plenty of parents that pay well and who's au pairs are treated vey well - I am not saying its all bad!

See Gov.Uk Website on Au Pairs and employment law

This is why I thought it would be wrong to charge for the locks although it is perfectly reasonable to expect her to be fit to work on Mondays.

NomDeClavier Mon 29-Jul-13 17:38:04 is wrong. They didn't do their research properly and since they abolished the old au pair programme all the legilslation which might have supported those sweeping statements is null and void. Case law upheld since in the High Court.

Charging your nanny for changing the locks would also be illegal unless you had previously specified in your contract that you could. It would be appropriate to request a contribution from either for the inconvenience (which is essentially what my parents did to me except they asked me for the whole lot! Case in point of how 'treating as one of the family' can mean riding roughshod over rights due but also how you might expect your daughter to contribute.

Goooooooooooooooooooooood Mon 29-Jul-13 17:51:42

It is a bummer that the Government website can't get it right. sad
I really wish they would tighten up all the legislation and 'guidelines' It is not right that people can take advatage of other people just to save money. If you look at a lot of the adverts for au pairs there are obviously a lot of families willing to exploit these women.(and men)

There is NOTHING wrong with the principle of having au pairs. It can and does work well for both parties in many cases but the lack of supporting legislation is shocking.

Strix Mon 29-Jul-13 19:43:32

I think we have too much and not too little legislation. What is needed is enforcement of laws that already exist. And I would like to point out that live-in qualified nannies are also exempt from minimum wage.

Hiring an au pair because you cannot afford a full time nanny does not necessarily equate to exploiting her/him, so long as you don't expect them to be a full time nanny for the price of an au pair.

maja00 Mon 29-Jul-13 20:55:01

I wouldn't charge her for the keys - you wouldn't charge either a daughter or a live-in nanny/housekeeper.

Every Monday off for a hangover is clearly taking the piss though - I'd be having serious words about that. If she can't work on Mondays then she can't really do her job.

NomDeClavier Mon 29-Jul-13 21:14:17

I don't think the problem is the amount of legislation (too much or too little!), it's the lack of clarity. It's one rule for x, another for y, this bit missing, that bit depending on something else etc.

At least the old au pair programme clearly set out what was and wasn't the deal, although it didn't protect au pairs in the same way.

Strix Tue 30-Jul-13 12:21:56

Really, there is no such thing as an au pair. The only thing that remains is the title. We just have childcare jobs for EU countries in my house. Can't be bothered with Visas and other such nonsense.

We have had great experiences with a wide variety of cultures and hardworking girls/women. No reason to look outside of the EU. And so the "au pair" visa / arrangement / standard is well and truly a thing of the past.

Besides, the government should stop advising people on childcare arrangements -- a subject on which they are very clearly ill qualified.

NomDeClavier Tue 30-Jul-13 16:48:56

We-ell Romanians and Bulgarians can still come in as au pairs with the 25hour limit, English spoken in the home etc. But the freedom of moment rules make the whole notion slightly ridiculous because someone coming as an au pair is expected to waive all the rights they would have as an EU childcare worker.

But again it's not the amount of legislation, it's the clarity, and the fact the Govt can't read their own laws. Au pairing isn't really a childcare issue so much as an immigration one, except they no longer issue specific au pair visas so it's turning into the Govt trying to make rules on childcare based on nothing at all and thereby muddying the waters even more.

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