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Paying aupair's travel.. AIBU??

(69 Posts)
cockatoo Sun 20-Oct-13 10:04:22

I have agreed to pay my aupair for every bus journey she does which involves my kids inc if getting bus home from dropping kids at school and getting bus to school to pick up kids. She uses an Oyster card which she loads up and I transfer money into her bank account. I have just found out that she has walked some of the journeys but I have been paying her the bus fare. I am a bit annoyed. It is obviously her choice to walk so I shouldn't pay her bus fare if she hasn't used the bus surely??

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Oct-13 14:36:07

Sapfu - I just don't see the problem. The AP has to take the bus one way as the OP doesn't want the children walking. The AP has to get the other way either by bus or by foot. The OP is happy to pay her return fare if she catches the bus - so what if she chooses to 'save' that money and walk and frankly, the oyster card reports are notoriously inaccurate so I wouldn't base anything on that. Just pay the AP £2.80 for every trip she has to make to the school/nursery and be done with it.

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 20-Oct-13 14:49:10

I do see your point OP and I kind of agree with you actually.

I don't think she's being reimbursed for 'travel', she's being reimbursed for a bus fare, a bus fare that she didn't spend. If I did this I could claim £19.20 a week, £998.40 a year (actually a bit less because of holidays etc.). That's a lot of money.

Would it be ok for me to claim nearly a thousand pounds a year for an expense I hadn't expended? I don't think so.

That said, it doesn't sound like she's claiming anywhere near that amount. It could well be an error with the Oyster card or an oversight. I would keep an eye on the statements. If she's doing it deliberately it's dishonest and I'd keep a close eye on the rest of her work related spending.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Oct-13 14:57:17

Outraged - I do see what you are saying, however, I see it a bit differently. The AP has to do the journey on the bus with the children, the OP is happy to pay the return fare and it makes no difference to her if the OP sits on the bus or walks home - the only one this affects is the AP - so if she wants to walk and save the money I don't see it as a big deal. She could get the bus home then go for a walk and the OP would be paying the same money and not care about it. It just seems like such a pointless thing to worry about (added in how often Oyster is wrong!!).

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Oct-13 14:58:19

it makes no difference to her if the OP AP sits on the bus or walks home

HerrenaHarridan Sun 20-Oct-13 14:59:35

I beg to differ I said IF you choose to be a dick about it.
With reference to a future course of action you may or may not take.
You may or may not generally be a dick but IMO to kick up a stink about this would be dickish.

Lets face it you can't insist she walks and are paying her to do it. As long as it doesn't affect the children I don't see that it's even your business to repeatedly snoop onto her bus journeys.

Especially considering several people have pointed out that the fault may be with the log not you ap.

If it bothers you sooooo much that she would rather earn £1.40 more by walking home get the weekly ticket.

I really don't get why you think it's a problem tbh

IMO the best thing you can do is stop snooping and winding yourself up!

elastamum Sun 20-Oct-13 15:06:45

Sounds like you have more than enough on your plate with your ex and it is stressing you out and spilling over into other things - been there myself sad

An au pair that you generally like is a godsend when you are on your own with young DC.

Pick your battles OP. Big enough to matter - small enough to win!

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 20-Oct-13 15:10:34

I think it's the principle chipping. IF she's doing it deliberately, she's fiddling her expenses and that's dishonest. I don't think that's right.

I'm a nanny, so get lunch provided. I could bring/buy a very cheap lunch, but then claim extra. My employer is prepared to pay that much and it makes no difference to them whether I've had expensive food or cheap food and kept the difference. It's not honest though is it? If I did that every day, say claim £1 extra on lunch, that's £208 a year.

I don't think anyone should fiddle their expenses, MP's claiming for moat cleaning or AP's bumping up their travel costs. It's dishonest.

sapfu Sun 20-Oct-13 15:40:31

Agree with OFL.

I can't understand why an employer being happy to meet an expense, means the employee gets to choose whether they make the expense or pocket the cash.

That said, I do think the best way forward is to tell the au pair there will now be £x per week for travel and that's it. Up to her to choose how to spend it. Or bung a travelcard on the Oyster.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Oct-13 15:53:24

Outraged I do understand what you are saying - I just don't think it's that important to be worrying about. It's the occasional £1.40, when you have someone living in - (to me) it is just a completely irrelevant amount of money to get in a lather about (she's likely to use more than that if she takes a long shower, does an extra load of washing etc). I'd rather just pay the return fare everytime the AP took or collected the kids - much easier.

Also, it sounds to me like the AP just gets 'money for the Oyster card' & hasn't worked out how much she's entitled to, just assumes the OP is giving her the right money. I think it's probably a case of the OP having worked it out by assuming the AP was taking the bus both ways and then given the AP the cash, rather than the AP saying I took the bus x times so you owe me £x.

Frankly, unless she asks the AP to keep a record of how many times she takes the bus and works it out from that (which I gather she doesn't) it is rude and unfair of her to accuse the AP of being deceitful.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Oct-13 15:57:37

sapfu The AP doesn't do the same number of drop offs/collections each week - so that's not going to be fair on the AP unless the OP pays for the maximum amount of trips the AP would ever do, every week and surely that will add up to more than the occasional time the AP walks.

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 20-Oct-13 15:58:25

'Frankly, unless she asks the AP to keep a record of how many times she takes the bus and works it out from that (which I gather she doesn't) it is rude and unfair of her to accuse the AP of being deceitful.'

I agree with that. I don't think it's clear that the AP is deliberately fiddling her expenses, far too many reasonable explanations for the discrepancy.

IF she were though, I would take issue with it.

valiumredhead Sun 20-Oct-13 16:01:38

Please don't say anything OP, it's ridiculous to get into a conversation about wether she chooses to walk or not. Some people buy their au pairs gym membership-see this as a cheaper version of thatwink

Also, how have you already said how you have discovered she is walking?

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 20-Oct-13 16:08:43

How far away is the school. Need to know that before I respond I think.

sapfu Sun 20-Oct-13 16:12:20

Chipping, money sits on an Oyster card until it's used, it doesn't expire. What I'm suggesting is handing over to the au pair the balancing of work and personal travel expenses. So if cockatoo worked out an average week or month, then a bit to cover, that could work.

However I take your point about ending up paying more, so a travel card mightn't be cheaper, plus it might be impractical to work out an average week/month.

Technically, she's fiddling expenses, but she could just not be paying attention, or think cockatoo is happy for the au pair to pocket any savings she (ap) chooses to make.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 20-Oct-13 16:17:21

Either the school is reasonable walking distance or it isn't. If the children can't manage the walk presumably it isn't and if it's too far for the dc to walk it's too far to expect the au-pair to walk and perfectly reasonable to expect to pay the au-pairs fare(s) when she's on her own. End of. If the au-pair then choses to walk some days and make a bit of extra pocket money that's entirely up to her I think. But does the au-pair realise? If I were you I would charge the card for the journeys for the children and give the au-pair cash for her own journeys. That way she can add them to the card or use the extra money as she wishes because she is prepared to walk rather than use the bus. I think you're overthinking it a bit OP to be be fair and I've had lots of au-pairs in my time.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Oct-13 17:30:55

Valium she has been going through the Oyster card report as the card is in her name. It is not reliable.

Married it makes no difference whatsoever to the discussion. The OP does not want her children to walk. She has told the AP she will pay for the bus to do the school run (both ways). I can't see why it is such an issue if she pays the return fare whether the AP walks & keeps the money or 'gives it' to the bus driver. Mountain - molehill.

Sapfu - I know what happens with money on an Oyster card hmm Averaging it out may not work no and generally an Au Pair would not in the financial position to be subbing the OP if it isn't enough and she shouldn't have to. The simplist option is to pay the return fare for any drop offs or collections, but if she wants to nitpick then she should get the AP to make a list of the journeys she does with the children & pay from that.

Why are you insistent she is fiddling expenses? The AP has been taking the kids to school and bringing them back when asked to, the OP has trf money into her account to put on the Oyster card. To me it sounds like the OP has just assumed the AP is getting the bus both ways and has trf'd the appropriate money. On occasion the AP has chosen to walk - she might have just fancied killing a bit of time walking. So shoot the poor kid for not thinking to tell the OP.

sapfu Sun 20-Oct-13 18:03:14

Sorry I didn't know that you didn't know how oyster cards work.

Again, I don't think cockatoo can ask her to top up out of her own money and then reimburse her. So I don't think the au pair should sub cockatoo. I think that ideally you'd have a situation where there was always enough on the Oyster to cover work journeys but the au pair could be in charge of managing her expenses. But this is clearly too complex a situation for that.

And I think the nitpicking comes from being a short of cash. I'd nitpick then too, tbh.

I am not insistent that she is fiddling expenses, as in, on purpose (if that was to me). I absolutely accept perhaps it's an oversight on her part, rather than deliberate.

In any event, the au pair seems to be claiming an expense needlessly, which might be accidental or she's not thought it through. Technically she's claiming what she's not spent. So in that sense it's fiddling, she could just not be paying attention etc.

If it were me, I'd shrug it off and assume the au pair was making 4 bus journeys and for the sake of a few quid, not bring it up (though I'd roll my eyes and probably grr my teeth a bit too, I'd look like this confused ) Anyway, it would irk me but I could afford to bump up the Oyster expenditure.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 20-Oct-13 18:20:22

I agree with you chipping perhaps I didn't make myself clear.

MGMidget Mon 21-Oct-13 13:56:23

Is the au pair walking back during her 'on duty' hours and taking longer than it would if she took the bus? If so you are paying twice, OP. You have paid for the bus fare plus her extra time to make the journey more slowly by foot which may mean she has less time to do other jobs for you. If that's the case her decision to walk has made a difference to you.

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