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How is it fair?

(182 Posts)
princessfiona Thu 03-Feb-05 10:14:35

How is it fair?

1. To expect someone to work for 10-12 hours a day looking after your children for so little money?

2. Would you do it for so little money?

3. Even if they come from a country not as wealthy as UK or USA etc.

4. Do you think they should have a pay increase?

5. I know that it is allowed legally to pay under the minimum wage but does it mean that looking after your children is worth so little?

6. If your daughter went to another country would you want them to be treated in the same way and paid the same?

7. How much time off do they have? Whole weekends without babysitting?

tarantula Thu 03-Feb-05 10:29:58

Think you need to explain exactly who and what you are talking about. Nannies?? Au-pairs??? Childminders??? Nanny/housekeepers??? Cant really comment till then

princessfiona Thu 03-Feb-05 10:30:10


vict17 Thu 03-Feb-05 10:31:55

Princess Fiona - are you a nanny? Which country do you come from?

princessfiona Thu 03-Feb-05 10:35:38

Really it is nannies and au pairs

Because Au pairs are paid so little but only work for a few hours a day and then go to language school.
If that is what happens then that is ok

But my question is really why pay so little to someone who is in sole charge of your children
For 10-12 hours?

Uwila Thu 03-Feb-05 10:37:31

Could you define "so little"? And, is this about fair compensatio to aupair / nanny for their hard work? Or is it about who should pay it?

Ameriscot2005 Thu 03-Feb-05 10:37:49

Au pairs only work 5 hours a day, and don't have sole charge of small children. Once you add in the cost of their room and board to their pocket money, they don't do badly for unskilled workers.

Nannies get paid quite a bit, don't they?

Gwenick Thu 03-Feb-05 10:39:14

Yes if my children were to work abroad as Au Pairs I would expect them to only get a very small salary. Being an Au Pair is as much about the individual learning more about the language/culture of a country as it is for the parents to have help around the house.

I don't know 'how' being an Au Pair works in this country - but certainly in some countries abroad I believe the Au Pair not only gets paid a small amount (pocket money?), but has accomdation and food for free? I don't think Au Pairs are in 'sole' charge of the children either - generally they tend to be 'helpers' rather than actually 'doing' the child care.

Of course nannies are a different question - they DO the child care and I believe also get paid a decent salary.

princessfiona Thu 03-Feb-05 10:42:52

It is really

why is it fair to pay someone such a small wage below UK national minimum wage?

If they just work about 3-4 hours a day and are allowed to go to languge school to learn english I think that is ok because employer is helping learn english.

But why can empolyers pay under minimum wage and expect someone to work for 10-12 hours, just because they come from foreign country?

princessfiona Thu 03-Feb-05 10:45:17

yes but some employers pay under minimum wage

and leave their babies and children for foriegner to look after for 10-12 hours every day?
With out a break for lunch

Gwenick Thu 03-Feb-05 10:45:24

because they get their accomdation and food for FREE! So their 'salary' already goes towards their rent - they just never see the money (if you see what I mean).

It most certainly ISN'T ok for employers to charge under the minimum wage just because someone is a foreigner - it's against the law!

Ameriscot2005 Thu 03-Feb-05 10:46:41

<<<1. To expect someone to work for 10-12 hours a day looking after your children for so little money?>>>

I don't. My au pair works 5 hours per day.

<<<2. Would you do it for so little money?>>>

If I had thought of it at the time. Gap years weren't very common when I was that age - <sigh>

But girls are lining up to be au pairs - no one is forcing them!

<<<3. Even if they come from a country not as wealthy as UK or USA etc. >>>

But they get a lot out of it too. To speak fluent English is worth investing in. They get higher salaries when they return to their home countries if they can speak English

<<<4. Do you think they should have a pay increase?>>>

My au pair is already getting more than I wanted to pay her, and she is only with me for six months - so no. DH only gets an increase once a year...

<<<5. I know that it is allowed legally to pay under the minimum wage but does it mean that looking after your children is worth so little?>>>

Hey, I get paid a big fat zero for looking after my kids. With room & board factored in, my au pair gets a lot more than minimum wage.

<<<6. If your daughter went to another country would you want them to be treated in the same way and paid the same?>>>

They have to go along with the market in that country. No one is forcing them to go.

<<<7. How much time off do they have? Whole weekends without babysitting?>>>

I don't get any time off. But my au pair will finish work at about 10.30am Saturday and resume at 8am Tuesday.

princessfiona Thu 03-Feb-05 10:47:01

but some people say it is ok just because you come from eastern europe

but is it morally right

princessfiona Thu 03-Feb-05 10:49:27


Thankyou you are ob a very fair employer and treat your aupair well not expecting her to work for many many hours

Gwenick Thu 03-Feb-05 10:50:14

princessflora - what has sparked all this????

There's probably as many British youngester working for 'under the minimum wage' as Au Pairs across the world as their are Au Pairs working in Britain (that's a guess have NO idea of the numbers).

Au Pairs CHOOSE to do that - if they had to pay rent and buy their own food then they'd probably get paid a higher salary - but seen as though they're living there it makes sense just to 'deduct' the living expenses from the salary.

And besides - most do it for the EXPERIENCE rather than the money!

How many people do VOLUNTARY work in the UK (I'm talking British people here) and work for 12hrs a day every day - and never get paid a penny - are they being taken advantage of tooo?

Ameriscot2005 Thu 03-Feb-05 10:53:59

It takes two to tango, Princess Fiona. No one is forcing an Eastern European to stay here are work in unreasonable conditions. They are not even trapped here by visa conditions.

Yes there are some employers who think they can get away with it - and they do, because their au pair lets them.

But saying that, some Eastern European (at least one - the one that I fired), thought she was extremely hard done by on hours (which weren't any more than 5) and she didn't appreciate how cushy her job was. Now she's cleaning a sandwich shop and either paying rent or living in a squat. Welcome to the real world of living in the west: the streets are not paved with gold. If you don't like it, you can always go back. We do not owe you a living.

serenequeen Thu 03-Feb-05 10:54:33

if i understand what you are getting at...

no it is not fair to pay an au pair's wages for a nanny's job.

no it is not fair to pay someone less just because they are from eastern europe.

otoh - if there is no compulsion involved, i.e. you are here legally and freely entered into the agreement, then if you're not happy i suppose you can look for something else, right?

expatinscotland Thu 03-Feb-05 10:56:47

1. NO

2. No

4. Yes

3&5&&. Can't anser as I do not employ a nanny or au pair.

6. Empathic NO

Uwila Thu 03-Feb-05 10:56:52

I think that it often comes down to working parents struggling to manage childcare costs. Sure, there is the odd example of the wealthy employers who are just plain stingy. But, if you both work full time and make say £40 each, how much money can you really afford to spend each month on childcare for say 2 kids?

I think all of this boild down to a balance between what the nanny is worth and what the parents can afford.

Personally, I think the gvernment should step in with A LOT more tax breaks for working parents. I would even go so far as to say that I think that every penny a working parent spends on childcare (whether that be nanny, nursery, childminder -- and it should be the parent's choice not subject to government approval) should be exempt from income tax. Then parents could afford to pay nannies more without going into huge amounts of debt.

moondog Thu 03-Feb-05 11:03:51

Ameriscot, why on earth SHOULD you get paid for having kids? Your choice.
Ditto the time off.
You say we owe Eastern Europeans nothing.
Noone owes you anything either!

Ameriscot2005 Thu 03-Feb-05 11:06:38

??? I'm not getting paid...

skerriesmum Thu 03-Feb-05 11:09:42

Just out of curiosity is childcare not tax deductible in the UK either? It sure isn't in Ireland. Compare this with Canada where my sister can claim back 60% of her childcare costs (and they're a fraction of what we pay, OK childminder vs. large creche, but still...)

princessfiona Thu 03-Feb-05 11:11:39

Why do you work then if it costs so much to pay your lady?
What about staying at home is that an option?

Gwenick Thu 03-Feb-05 11:12:43

Expat I'm suprised you say you wouldn't let your child be an Au Pair and get paid such little amount. I had a gap year (not working as an Au Pair but on a VERY small wage - accomdation and food all provided) and it was by FAR the best experience of my life in terms of personal development. I learnt so much about myself, the country I was living in, sadly didn't learn much of the languages (although English is on of the official languages) despite my best efforts (and even 6yrs later married to a man I met out there STILL can't speak any LMAO).

I did look into working as an Au Pair and what I understood from most of the organisations I contacted was that I would be payed 'pocket money' in exchange for light housework and helping to look after the children. I'd have my food and accomdation payed for and I would also have time to learn about the country I was living in, by attending language lessons and other 'cultural' activities.

moondog Thu 03-Feb-05 11:12:57

Yes, but you make the point as if it is a source of grief...

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