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How can I check references for au pair?

(9 Posts)
strawberry Sun 20-Mar-05 15:01:39

I am thinking of employing a sort of mothers help. Ds is nearly 3 and baby due soon. I am self-employed at home and would like to keep work going on a low level if possible.

I basically could use an extra pair of hands to keep up with the housework and look after children for brief periods while I have a bath, and check e-mails. There would be no sole care. Approx. 10 hours per week.

The only people I have found to be interested in the work are Eastern European girls. I have asked for references, usually the host family where they are living. Is there anything else I can do to check references? Would you employ someone in your home based in this level of info? Do I need any insurance? What are the legal/tax issues in paying someone in cash? Thanks

Ameriscot2005 Sun 20-Mar-05 17:29:42

TBH, I'm not sure the references you get are particularly beneficial. Certainly, my Polish au pair who had references from the various women she had babysit for were nothing compared to reality (good references but negligent au pair).

I didn't bother getting references for my current au pair. I figure at 19, she isn't going to have much of a past. She has been great - a dream au pair.

strawberry Mon 21-Mar-05 09:18:40

Thanks Ameriscot. That's what I thought - all a bit of a lottery.

Anyone else please? Particularly on insurance and tax.

Ameriscot2005 Mon 21-Mar-05 09:22:52

You don't have to worry about tax issues for a traditional au pair. Just pay them their pocket money in cash. I think you may run into problems if you are paying above the NI threshold, which was £79 when I last checked.

strawberry Mon 21-Mar-05 09:30:05

This is where it gets complicated because this one girl we have found has about 5 jobs so surely she is responsible for her own finances. It is under the threshold for just the 10 hours we require.

majorstress Mon 21-Mar-05 09:33:52

You don't have to pay tax and PAYE below a certain threshold, something around £80 a week. There's a website called nannytax which has info, I hear. References aren't much use I agree, but should be checked to avoid real crooks. It's much better to phone and speak to the reference in person, or better yet face to face. I speak as someone who has GIVEN references lately, if the AP/nanny wasn't all bad, you tend to say at first that they were very nice, etc., just in an effort to be fair (or get rid of them if you still have them!). it's hard to point out the faults that matter to the new employer without any tone of voice, hesitations facial expression etc to read into. Such as, if they won't ACTUALLY do any ironing at all, like my last one, when it is written in the job description they are waving in your face asking for the raise rashly promised after 3 months service.

Ameriscot2005 Mon 21-Mar-05 09:36:04

I think if she works for other people as well as you, then she's self-employed and has to do her own taxes. All you have to do is pay her a fair wage and not worry about it, although it is unlikely the Treasury would ever see a penny of it.

Not sure about this, but you might be obliged to check their Accession State Worker Registration, which again, they are unlikely to have as an au pair (I'm assuming that you are looking at giving extra hours to someone else's au pair).

JoolsToo Mon 21-Mar-05 09:43:18

sorry for sticking my nose in here - I don't have and have never had an au pair, but don't you think that having 5 other jobs might be a problem? What if she was asked to extra by another employer? - where would that leave you? Does she work very long hours in total and if so is she going to give the quality of care you require?

We employed a cleaner once at our holiday let (to replace our brilliant previous one who retired) she had a few other jobs and the result was she didn't spend as much time or effort on the job we employed her for, so we had to let her go.

strawberry Mon 21-Mar-05 10:09:21

Jools - she has 5 cleaning jobs so only a couple of hours each. She is not an au pair. We just want someone to help around the house while the baby is small so that I can spend more time with children.

She actually cleans for a law firm so I'm kind of hoping they have done some checks! I am going to see if I can contact them for reference.

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