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Au-pair in London - duties and pocket money

(31 Posts)
Minki Tue 25-Nov-14 19:59:50

Just about to hire an au-pair for my 4 and 6 year old and wanted to check what I am offering is ok. She will be looking after them from 3-7pm 5 days per week plus babysitting once a week or fortnight. I told her that I also expect her to help the kids keep their rooms clean and tidy (and the parts (kitchen, lounge etc) and to do the kids laundry (but not ironing as we have a cleaner who does all the ironing). When she is looking after the children I would expect her to do the usual things, i.e collect from school, park, playdates, homework, cook them dinner, bath etc. I may also ask her to run errands occasionally, e.g. get bits and pieces of shopping etc. For this I was going to pay her �80 per week plus �20 towards travel. �20 is basically enough for a bus pass but not a full travelcard which is about �32 but she will not need to use the tube for the job, only the bus and even then only a couple of times a week as everywhere is within walking distance. She looked a bit dismayed when I said I didn't want to pay for a full travelcard. She will be doing a language course 5 mornings a week (9-1pm) so I think she wanted all travel paid. She will only have to top up by �11 I guess. Travel is expensive though and I often think twice about whether I need a travelcard! Obviously we will also pay for her food etc and she will have accommodation (double room overlooking the garden, sharing a bathroom with the kids) plus phone etc. Does this all sound ok or should I fork out for a full travelcard? It would mean that I am spending �110 a week on pocket money and travel, plus food (estimate at least �30) which isn't that far off what I would pay for a live out after-school nanny. Stony broke so cost is factor but want to make sure she is fairly compensated. Also a bit worried about the language course as it means she will never be able to help out in the morning. I was intending to do the school run most days but would have liked her to cover 1-2 days per week so that i can go into work early, or on time even. Any views?

NecesitoDormir Tue 25-Nov-14 20:08:23

Can you not split the difference?

eeyore12 Tue 25-Nov-14 20:13:49

An after school nanny for those hours would cost you approx a min of £200 a week net so you would need to add tax and ni and employers ni on top of that so your au pair is much cheaper overall.

I am a nanny and would do all you are asking of her which I think is a lot to be honest, they are there to help you out as well as learn the language etc so you can't really say she can't do the language course and I would pay for a full travel card to as then she can go out and meet new friends etc, otherwise if it was me and I had to pay for it myself I just wouldn't go anyway I would need to use it so would prob be around in your home a lot more.

i am sure someone who has an au pair will be along soon to offer their view but to me I think you need to offer more money say £90 a week at least for all you would like done plus a full travelcard.

OhReallyDear Tue 25-Nov-14 20:24:33

I think the travel card is part of the deal. She is paid almost nothing (and £80 is not much at all) but it's part of the deal. In exchange, you give her a room, food and a travel card. The travel card is not supposed to cover the journeys she does when working (she is not a nanny), but is supposed to allow her to visit the city. If you think it is expensive to pay the 12 pounds extra for the travel card, what do you think she feels when she is paid 80 freaking pounds a week?

jendot2 Tue 25-Nov-14 21:27:37

I also think if you live in London a travel card should be part of the 'deal' topping up £11 when you earn £80 a week is a huge chunk of your earnings.
Without a travel card you will most likely have a bored and miserable au pair lounging around your house!
£20 hours, plus babysitting, plus household duties and any 'morning' hours you want her to do with children who are 4 and 6 (which is quite a lot of responsibility for an au air) are top whack hours for an au pair and £80 is a fairly low ish pay range in London. You stand more chance of keeping an au pair if you can include some perks with the job.

Minki Tue 25-Nov-14 22:54:40

We live centralish and near lots of shops/restaurants/parks/libraries etc, so she won't be trapped in the house! I thought £80 a week for the going rate for au-pairs and she is not doing household duties other than directly relating to the kids. I often think twice about buying a travelcard as it's so expensive. I am well aware of the cost of a nanny as I was previously paying £200 a week for 20 hours (tax and NI are not that much on that salary) but, given that I will be paying at least £140 (assuming she only costs me £30 a week in food) plus phone, so lets say £150 plus I have the (sorry) inconvenience of someone living in my house, I think I might be better off with a nanny. Is a saving of £50 a week worth having someone live in? Not sure. Also, it's a lovely room/house/area, which I think would easily cost £700 or £800 a month if she was renting. I actually thought she was getting a pretty good deal. She would be working only 4 hours a day for free food, accommodation and travel, plus get to study. Am I missing something?

Minki Tue 25-Nov-14 22:57:48

Jendot, she isn't doing morning hours! Read my post - it says she is doing a language course 5 mornings a week and so CAN'T do morning hours. Honestly, every time I ask for advice on this site I come away with the distinct impression that most childcare providers are just out to screw parents over.

OhReallyDear Tue 25-Nov-14 23:03:37

"She would be working only 4 hours a day for free food, accommodation and travel, plus get to study"

Well, you want her to work 4 hours a day, plus 2 mornings, plus some housekeeping, plus one babysitting. So not exactly the same. Do you pay her language course? she doesn't have travel included either. Only part of it. And she isn you can't underpay her and not give her all the benefit she could expect as an au pair because you think it's too expensive.

You might be better of with a live out nanny honestly.

Schoolname Tue 25-Nov-14 23:04:15

Totally fine. £80 is standard for 25 hours and you are not asking her to do anything out of the ordinary at all, I think it's a fairly straightforward aupair job. I have had aupairs for many years and to be honest, usually pay £90 a week but that's it, no extras. I used to offer a phone and SIM with £10 a month but they tended to already have a phone and contract. I have never paid travel unless they are travelling with DC which was rarely.

OhReallyDear Tue 25-Nov-14 23:05:36

I am sorry but i am not sure you will find anyone telling you that paying an Au pair in London £80 a week, plus not even the whole travel pass is a good deal for her. It is definitelly a good deal for you. Not for her

Greenrememberedhills Tue 25-Nov-14 23:14:01

I think if you ask for 20 hours at 4 a day, plus one babysitting a week plus possibly one or two morning runs, you may be over the 25 hours legally allowed.

I have to admit I used to pay this kind of money to our last aupair. However, it wasn't London, she was only needed 4 days, and it was in 2006. I don't know how rules or typical costs have changed since then? My aupair had a couple of cleaning jobs, and didn't need lessons,and also was allowed to babysit for others, so she was very happy as she saved a little overall.

Cindy34 Tue 25-Nov-14 23:28:08

Assuming the aupair does not need a visa to work, there is no 25 hour limit. That 25 hour limit was due to the visa that was needed many years ago. Check with homeoffice regarding visas and which nationalities don't need one.

Minki Tue 25-Nov-14 23:42:46

Ohdearreally, are you joking? Why would I pay her language course? I am not a charity! She is getting 2/3 of her travel when she doesn't need to travel for the job. Many many au-pairs I have spoken to have been working was in excess of what I am asking. And she would not be doing housekeeping, just keeping kids' rooms tidy etc and clearing up after herself. Working 4 hours a day for free food, accommodation and travel seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Minki Tue 25-Nov-14 23:44:37

For the third time, she is not doing morning runs as she has a language course. It will be me (the single parent with a full time job) doing the school run, racing the office, racing home for 7, putting kids to bed, then resuming work around 9pm. It's not the au pair getting a raw deal here.

Minki Tue 25-Nov-14 23:47:57

So according to most of you, the au-pair is underpaid, so should receive a salary of more than £80 per week, which i assume means she should be paid £100 at least. Plus travel which is £31, plus phone of £20, plus food of say £40, which is £190, which is £10 off what I would pay a live out nanny for doing the same job. According to that rationale, she is paid the same as a live out nanny but also gets free accommodation. Why, in that case, does anyone get au-pairs? Waiting for some parents to come along and tell me.

grandmainmypocket Tue 25-Nov-14 23:52:24

I've sent you a DM.

rollonthesummer Tue 25-Nov-14 23:53:00

The fact you are a single parent and busy is pretty irrelevant to your AP though.

fluffymouse Wed 26-Nov-14 00:31:07

Op I think you are being unfairly attacked here.

80 plus a bus pass is more than fair. Babysitting is not included in the au pairs 25 hours.

For comparison we pay 100 per week, and gym membership, in central London. Au pair works 25-30 hours a week, plus babysitting. She is very happy.

citytocountry Wed 26-Nov-14 10:16:33

I also think you are being unfairly attacked.

We also pay £100, plus gym membership (£40 pcm) and the odd phone top up, but no travel (she uses the car) for Zone 3. Longer hours (some mornings as well, four days a week) and three kids.

I am definitely wondering whether an afterschool nanny would be better, as I don't think there is a huge cost difference in it if I do all the morning runs, and we don't have babysitting very often.

Karoleann Wed 26-Nov-14 11:07:26

I think it all sounds fine - but I would pay for her travel card.
You want them to be out and about and not sitting at home all day!

I've never paid for language courses as I think au pairs are more motivated to go to them if they've paid themselves. But, that's a very full on language course. There are many more that are not every day or with such and early start. Has she paid for them already? We need the help in the morning sometimes as well, so that would not fit in with our schedule.

Simmy12 Wed 26-Nov-14 14:30:37

OP I also think what you're offering is good and fair, but you really do need to understand that traveling around London is very expensive - and having a paid travelcard is a nice bonus.
Tbh having an au pair - especially a great one - can decrease stress so much and I often think it's nice to have that added support, another person to rely on. If you're getting an au pair solely because you see it as cheap childcare then maybe you'd be better off with a live out nanny.

Thewiseonenot Wed 26-Nov-14 15:48:12

I am sure that some of the attacks people get on au pair threads comes from nannies and childminders that see au pairs as cheap competition...

I think that some au pairs can be an emotional strain if things don't work out and it's not easy to get out of it.

It would be nice to offer the au pair the perfect deal but reality is that life is not perfect and even at work we accept cr*p because at the end of day you need to support your family and pay the bills.

You offer what you can, if she is not happy look for somebody else with less expectations. Job satisfaction is all about expectations and you seem to be starting with wrong foot already then.

I agree with Simmy on the fact that an au pair for you will be more than cheap childcare, especially if you are a single mum , it will give you the flexibility to nip to the shops for that pint if milk if she is in.

fluffymouse Wed 26-Nov-14 20:03:01

the wise I agree, plus I think its also parents who use childminders and nannies who are jealous of others having 'cheap' childcare.

The reality is that au pairs aren't that cheap when you include all the extra costs like increased utility and food bills, and losing a room which you could otherwise rent (££ in London). They do however provide flexibility that other childcare options do not.

Viviennemary Wed 26-Nov-14 20:13:24

It doesn't seem very flexible if she is never able to do mornings. I think you have to ask around to find out what the going rate for au pairs is in your part of the country. And I expect a lot depends on how hard working and reliable she is. You could try meeting her half way and giving her say an extra £10 a week.

Minki Wed 26-Nov-14 21:45:45

Simmy, I know how expensive travelling in London is because I live and work in London and I think twice whether to get the bus/tube as it is so expensive. It's the last week before I get paid and I am literally counting the pennies to see if I can fork out another �31 on a travelcard. Loads of people I know don't get travelcards as they use the bus or don't travel every day in order to make it worthwhile. It's a luxury rather than a necessity, especially as it is not needed for the job.

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