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Au pair over using car

(38 Posts)
OneLtwoPs Mon 15-Feb-16 15:51:06

I might have screwed up but not sure.

Au pair has designated car, pays own petrol and can use it as she wants "within reason", as it says her contract, stupidly not defined but previous AP only pottered locally so hasn't been an issue. I pay her back petrol money for every school run, usually around 4 per week.

Just discovered she's done 1,200 miles in 28 days. Thinking of the the increased costs, I told her she's going to have to pay 10p per mile on top of her petrol when it's her own use but she had a wobbly as she's found a job 20 miles away and clearly feels I am curtailing her freedom (we live near a city so there are other jobs!).

Other than this she's a good au pair, nice, not an overly hard worker but ok. Cruisey job, only one DD to look after, nothing taxing.

Should I have suddenly slapped 10p per mile onto costs? Now I'm not so sure but feel she's abused my good will.

Any advice? Don't particularly want to lose her but am upset at excessive mileage.

Artandco Mon 15-Feb-16 15:57:36

I don't think you should go back on what you offered tbh. You have to just accept it as she is still ' within reason'. And then be more specific with next au pair.

1000 miles in a month isn't that much if that assumes she has used it at the weekends to explore the county your in and sound school runs daily. She is paying for petrol costs of her own use.

FrancisdeSales Mon 15-Feb-16 16:04:32

Well I think this is a case of both parties proceeding with their own assumptions. As you didn't put parameters around the use of the car and assumed her usage would be the same as your previous au pair then you can't blame her for just using it as she saw fit.

I think you should sit down and be honest with her that you didn't expect this (although the horse has already bolted) and you need to figure out a reasonable compromise. I think asking her to find another job locally is not unreasonable and explain the costs to you and extra mileage on the car. Give her a month to find another job or say she will need to take public transport. Young adults are not always aware of the costs incurred and ultimatly it is your asset (the car) that will be devalued if she drives it constantly.

Try and be calm, kind and reasonable and chat until you feel you have got to a place where you are both happy. The most important thing is to communicate openly and clearly and maybe put what you agree to in writing to avoid misunderstandings.

You can also discuss it with the au pair agency, as they will be used to dealing with communication problems between families and au pairs. They may be able to be a helpful third party in the discussion and help her understand your pov.

OneLtwoPs Mon 15-Feb-16 16:06:10

Thanks for thoughts. However she only does 40 miles a week for me, the other 210 miles a week are for herself or ferrying friends around -that's an awful lot of mileage and maintenance! Isn't it?!

Goingtobeawesome Mon 15-Feb-16 16:07:27

She wants you to provide the petrol for her to work another job?

Artandco Mon 15-Feb-16 16:11:32

I don't think 200 miles a week is loads if she has usuage of a car and thought it was fine to use and just pay petrol costs. It's not like she is handing over a huge petrol bill.

As a comparison we live in London, we don't use our car at all in the week for work or school, but on the weekends would go at least one day to visit family, go to beach, into new forest etc. Seeing as none are in London we easily do 2-300 miles most weekends. Just visiting closest family for lunch is 90miles each way, so 180 return, plus extra if we go to their house first then to another with them like a national trust place.

OneLtwoPs Mon 15-Feb-16 16:13:21

She pays her own petrol so not that bad :-) but I pay for all maintenance, insurance etc.

Thinking about giving her a weekly mileage over and above what I use, say 100 miles a week on top of school runs, then ask her to contribute to costs if she goes over, does that sound like a decent compromise?

Radiatorvalves Mon 15-Feb-16 16:16:28

What Francis said. This is one where you need to communicate and re-set expectations. That's a heck of a mileage to be running up on a weekly basis, and you need to explain why. If 10p a mile will cover costs and you are happy with that, fair enough. That's £21 week, or £84 per month. What will MOT likely cost? Is your insurance ok? Or would you rather she cut down the miles?

OneLtwoPs Mon 15-Feb-16 16:20:08

I have to amend insurance policy to accommodate extra mileage so yes my costs are going up. It's a small car but fairly new so depreciation will be big with all the extra on the clock... Am veering toward saying I've decided not to do 10 per mile until she's gone over her 100 mile a week extra limit.

BaronessEllaSaturday Mon 15-Feb-16 16:23:14

I think setting it as 100 miles is a bit low, the average mileage in the UK is 7,900 so if you work on that figure you would need to be 150 miles a week. You do need to check your insurance though as some do limit mileage or add on an extra charge for excess mileage.

Akire Mon 15-Feb-16 16:24:26

It depends how much really you are going to spend on the car. Is she really going to use an extra £1000 worth of maintence per year? I doubt it. Bit more wear tear on tyres and oil but not huge.

It probable works out better if she's having good 100 mile trip once a month then the rest on shorter journeys than using it all on v short trips. A set amount does sound sensible perhaps she can have option of doing X extra around the house or paying you instead?

OneLtwoPs Mon 15-Feb-16 16:25:29

Tks - so if she does 40-50 miles a week for school runs (she combines that with seeing her friends in the village) and 100 miles for herself that's 150 so probably on the nail right? yes I'm on it with insurance, putting it up to 10k per year

OneLtwoPs Mon 15-Feb-16 16:28:09

As an example this week she's done Portsmouth to Brighton and back, 4x Portsmouth to Petersfield and back, and wants to go Portsmouth to Oxford for the day tomorrow.

OneLtwoPs Mon 15-Feb-16 16:29:04

....that's not every week by the way, just because she's got 2 friends staying.

ImperialBlether Mon 15-Feb-16 16:30:47

I think she should get the train for that journey, then. You're giving her the car to do her job, not to go on day trips.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Mon 15-Feb-16 16:41:15

Portsmouth to Oxford? Plus two friends staying? She's onto a good thing. When does she actually do the au pair thing? <rhetorical question - no need to answer>

Thinking about giving her a weekly mileage over and above what I use, say 100 miles a week on top of school runs, then ask her to contribute to costs if she goes over, does that sound like a decent compromise?
Yes it does to me. Treating an au pair as part of the family only goes so far in my view.

Lightbulbon Mon 15-Feb-16 16:43:04

I think if you've given her use of a car as part of her deal and she pays for her petrol I think you're being unfair charging her extra.

Lots of au pairs don't/can't drive so she's a good one to keep, doing runs for you. The car is also getting her out and about no doubt giving you all peace and privacy in your home.

Happy au pair = happy dcs!

DropYourSword Mon 15-Feb-16 16:44:53

I think you're being exceptionally mean! She's paying for her own petrol. Isnt the insurance the same whether she does 40 miles or 240 a week. Just sounds unfair, controlling and a little precious to me.

DropYourSword Mon 15-Feb-16 16:47:23

Somehow missed your posts about increasing insurance for increased miles, but I still think it's mean!

Kelsoooo Mon 15-Feb-16 16:48:25

Ironically I was talking to my husband about car depreciation today. 150 miles in your neck of the woods seems excessive.

OneLtwoPs Mon 15-Feb-16 16:48:44

there's always one...

Kelsoooo Mon 15-Feb-16 16:49:19

lightbulbon she's not doing her host family a favour by doing the school runs, it's part of the agreement for her being their au pair. Part of what they are paying her for.

Radiatorvalves Mon 15-Feb-16 17:01:52

With all those trips is she actually there to do the job? I used to live in Portsmouth and MIL is in Oxford...I know those roads well! I think she sounds like she is having a jolly jape at your expense!

Radiatorvalves Mon 15-Feb-16 17:03:49

Fwiw I would never drive to Brighton as the parking is a nightmare and very expensive.

DropYourSword Mon 15-Feb-16 17:21:26

theres always one..

That disagrees with you? That misses an update? I would imagine there are always a fair few!

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