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Questions regarding the regulation of au pairs and entering a contract with them

(8 Posts)
stressed2007 Fri 25-Jul-08 06:17:27

We are hopefully in the final stages of at last finding an au pair ourselves from a website. I have a few questions if anyone can help me.

Did you have an actual contract with your au pair? If do where did you get a pro forma contract from. Obviously if you recruit an au pair through an agency then you sign a contract with the agency but I don?t know what the norm is if you found a lady yourself.

Are there actual regulations governing what an au pair can and cannot do and how much she should be paid; how much time off she should have etc? Has anyone got a link to any helpful pages. I know that one agency I saw said 25-30 hours and 2 nights babysitting (is this actually set out anywhere) but is there anything to say you can't have 35 hours help and no babysittiing if the au pair is agreeable to this?

I have found one contract that is entitled agreement relating to an au pair placement subject to the European Agreement on Au Pair Placement of 24 November 1969. It is very detailed and I assume this is out of date. Does anyone know?

It also refers to the host family taking out a private insurance policy covering illness, pregnancy, birth/labour and accidents.(!). This is not something we were going to do ? has anyone done this?

Many thanks for your help.

nannynick Fri 25-Jul-08 07:31:32

Currently INF16 applies. Part of the definition of an au-pair is: helps in the home for up to five hours a day with at least two full days off a week, in return for a reasonable allowance and their own room.

nannynick Fri 25-Jul-08 07:33:26

Therefore a lot of au-pairs seem to come from EEA countries, as they can come to the UK as mother-help's/nannies but call themselves au-pairs. As they don't come in to the UK with a Visa granted under INF16, they can work longer hours.

SqueakyPop Fri 25-Jul-08 07:39:43

If the aupair comes to the UK on a visa (ie aupair or working holidaymaker) they have to comply with the conditions of the visa.

Most aupairs come visa-free from the EU, and they are as entitled to work here as a British citizen. In these cases, you follow the 'convention' - 25 hours per week or childcare and light housekeeping, 2 nights babysitting, weekends off, £60-80 pw + one week's holiday pay after 6 months, own room and all board, time off for language classes.

You can make your own arrangements with the aupair as long as they are equivalent to the convention.

It is common to have an aupair for 35 hours per week, and this is called an Aupair Plus.

The aupair does not need insurance because she can use the NHS.

blueshoes Fri 25-Jul-08 07:52:26

Hi stressed, I don't think it is usual to sign a contract with an aupair, though I can see it is good practice. My new aupair who is starting in September specifically asked to sign one, so I drafted one up. But I would not otherwise bring up the issue of a contract. I believe most families just rely on a set of house rules and timetable which are communicated to the aupair ahead of or more usually on arrival.

25 hours + 2 nights babysitting is referred to as the norm, but you can agree any set of hours or scope of work (within reason) with your aupair. I find that more often than not, families seem to require aupairs for more than 25 hours, so your 35 sounds fine, provided you pay more pocket money.

The important thing is to make it clear to the aupair what you require before you make the offer, highlighting any potential snags. For example, in my case, my aupair has to do my dd's school run on foot which involves 25 minutes of walking each way and she has to change my ds' nappies. I make that clear in advance.

I quickly looked up the European Agreement in the past - this is what I learnt ie DON"T incorporate it into your contract as it does not apply to the UK (cutting-and-pasting from a previous thread):

The "[Council of Europe's European Agreement on Au Pair Placement 1969] was only ratified by 5 states, UK not included.

Read more from this page from the European Committee for Social Cohesion :

"3. At the outset, the CDCS would like to stress that the employment of an au pair is intended primarily to promote cultural exchange between young people and very rarely leads to situations of domestic slavery, despite the occasional cases of abuse that have been reported.

The European Agreement on Au Pair Placement dates from 1969. It contains provisions – now obsolete – on the relations between the host family and the au pair. In view of the small number of ratifications (five member states), the CDCS began by considering whether it would be worth revising and updating the Agreement. The replies to the questionnaires it sent to all the members showed that this question excited little political interest and that very few states would ratify the Agreement even if it were altered.""

If you are looking for a standard aupair contract, I found this one to be closet to the spirit of an aupair arrangement: here. I also put in a sentence about the aupair having to comply with my reasonable houserules.

blueshoes Fri 25-Jul-08 07:54:39

nannynick, squeaky, good point about the visa. I only hire aupairs from the EU so forgot about visa requirements.

stressed2007 Fri 25-Jul-08 07:55:01

blueshoes I think I sent you an email via CAT earlier today - can you check if you get it later when mumsnet team are in to forwrd the CAT message? Thanks

blueshoes Fri 25-Jul-08 08:09:42

ok, will look out for it smile

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