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Au pair, but required to buy food?

(6 Posts)
pjsgalore Sat 06-Feb-16 12:00:38

Hi! My lovely former au pair has just moved in with a new family and it turns out they only want her sharing their food on the three days she works. She works 12 hours a day, Monday to Wednesday. They do pay well - £170 a week. But it feels unfair to her (and me) that they're not giving her full board - to me that is what the deal is with getting an au pair. It's like they don't want to pay for a daily nanny, so got an au pair, but aren't really fulfilling their side of the bargain.

Anyway, she asked me for her advice - and I said I'd ask you! Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

Oh and apparently it was in the contract they gave her beforehand - but she (and me and my husband who read it) missed it.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Sat 06-Feb-16 12:04:07

Are you sure that it's in the copy of the contract that she has? Is it explicitly clear?

It'd be an unusual clause for an au pair, but if it's in the contract and she's signed it, the parents may well think that she was happy with the arrangement.

Has she talked to them? Would she prefer to sacrifice some salary in exchange for full board? It's probably unlikely that the family will just agree to pay her the same but feed her too, so if she doesn't want to do that, would she want to terminate the agreement and look for other work?

Her next steps will be to negotiate, but she'll need to be clear about what her preferred outcome is.

pjsgalore Sat 06-Feb-16 12:13:00

Good points Anchor - thank you so much! Will speak to her

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 06-Feb-16 12:42:17

UK employment law does not enforce minimum wage if the au pair lives as a member of the family eating them etc.
If however, they are not part of the family there is a minimum wage for live in staff with an offset for accommodation, £5.35 per hour which for her 36 hour week is £192.60 at 2015 rates (2916 has not yet been published).
My concern would be that if they are not aware of this or are trying to get round it they may not be paying her tax and NI as she is

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 06-Feb-16 12:44:25

UK employment law does not enforce minimum wage if the au pair lives as a member of the family eating them etc.
If however, they are not part of the family there is a minimum wage for live in staff with an offset for accommodation, £5.35 per hour which for her 36 hour week is £192.60 at 2015 rates (2916 has not yet been published).
My concern would be that if they are not aware of this or are trying to get round it they may not be aware of their other obligations.

Karoleann Sat 06-Feb-16 14:41:31

Au pair government website advice is that they should be eating with the family, but it doesn't say it has to be every day.

Our au pair doesn't eat with us most days, but we do provide all her food and she cooks it in her own kitchen. We also make this really clear before they join us. By the sounds of it they weren't great at making it clear at all.

I don't think expecting her to cook her evening meal 4 times a week is that unreasonable, but expecting her to buy her own food is. Unless she has her own kitchen, is she expected to label her own food so that it doesn't get mixed up with her host families? How about things like milk?

At the end of the day there are lots of au pair jobs and if she's not happy with the set up then I'm sure she'll be snapped up by someone else!

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