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Aupair-surely starting work at 7am shouldn't mean you get up at 7am?????

(36 Posts)
Totallyfloaty35 Mon 01-Jun-09 07:21:10

Got new aupair,she is nice girl,gets on with kids ok and her work is good standard.Just one little problem,her work start time is 7am and yet for past 4 work mornings i have had to bang on her door to get her up.As i was knocking her door this morning at 7:07 her alarm had just started going off,so i found myself saying loudly through her door"you start at 7,you dont get up at 7!"
Now i dont mind girls coming down in their PJs,but im getting bit annoyed with this,if i got up to go to work at time i was due to start i'd get fired.
I have had this happen with a few aupairs so i must be doing something wrong,anyone else got this problem?

FourArms Mon 01-Jun-09 08:00:25

Perhaps you need to make it clearer that starting at 7, means coming down fully dressed at 7am (I'd say showered too if that doesn't interfere with your bathroom arrangements?). Then you can assess whether they are down on time more effectively.

Littlepurpleprincess Mon 01-Jun-09 08:00:57

Your right, if she is employed to start at 7, she needs to be up and dressed by 7 o clock.

MuffinToptheMule Mon 01-Jun-09 09:53:43

When I worked as an AP I started at 7.30 and I woke up at 7.20. I often went down in my PJs, but so did the mum. It was pointless for me getting up any earlier because the bathrooms were too busy.
Just make it very clear to her about what time she starts work.

ingles2 Mon 01-Jun-09 10:00:07

sit her down tonight and tell her clearly that you expect her downstairs and ready to work at 7... not 5 past, or 10 past and she needs to treat her working hours like a job.
Do you have a contract? If so, I'd give her a warning if she does it again.

Totallyfloaty35 Mon 01-Jun-09 10:35:29

We have more of a verbal contract,i sit down with all girls and tell them whats expected,whats not allowed etc.Maybe i should do a written one to.Her start times are written on her schedules,in big letters saying she must be up and ready to start work for 7am,i also told her last night that she started work at 7 and to make sure she was up.Just had a chat so will see how she is tomorrow,think my hammering on door and shouting may have done trick thoughblush

Littlepurpleprincess Mon 01-Jun-09 16:31:31

I would definalty do a written contract.

AtheneNoctua Mon 01-Jun-09 16:39:48

One of my house rules is that you show up dressed and presentable and ready for work. I don't mind the bit about being in her pjs as much as mind trying to give important instruction as I'm flying out the door to someone who is still half asleep. So, yes, 6:30 start means you need to be dressed and AWAKE at 6:30. See, you are generous. Mine start at 6:30.

I am not talking about my current nanny, just in case you are reading. smile

DadInsteadofMum Mon 01-Jun-09 18:32:13

Here AP starts at 0645 and her alarm goes off at 0640. No expectation of being dressed and showered she has a morning routine that means that she can fit it before the school run.

If the family is wandering around in PJs I think it would be unfair not to let AP do the same, being an AP is about fitting in with the family; but, if you start at 7 you are up and ready to start at 7.

Totallyfloaty35 Mon 01-Jun-09 18:48:09

Dont mind if she not showered or dressed,would just like her to be up and ready to start at 7,not alarm going off at 7;05 and then wander into the bathroom for another 10mins.
But she is pretty great at all the other far

catepilarr Wed 03-Jun-09 15:01:09

not sure why some people tend to tell their aupair they need to be showered in the mornning?
if she is ment to work from 7am then i guess she needs re-telling that it means getting up before 7 to be up and awake at 7. cant see anything you are doing wrong. just bad luck for aupair who cant get up on time. hope shes's improved.

frAKKINPannikin Thu 04-Jun-09 13:01:49

Yes you need a written contract. See either ACAS for guidance on creating a written statement of employment (but they're reviewing their guides) or

APs are now classed as live in domestic employees so are exempt from min. wage etc. (and consequently tax and NI if under the threshold) but in every other respect they have the same employment rights as any employee including a written contract.

catepilarr Thu 04-Jun-09 14:05:36

out of interest who says that aps are classed as employees now?
as far as i have searched ther is nothing regulating aupairs now apart from british aupair association. aupairs from new eu countries do not have to register under wrs /everyone who comes to work to the uk from a new eu country- has to/.

Stigaloid Thu 04-Jun-09 14:09:19

Can i ask what time she finishes? Am interested in hiring Ap and this thread is interesting to me in terms of what is expected.

bigchris Thu 04-Jun-09 14:11:34

well I would assume if she is meant to looking after the kids from 7am, she cant come downstairs in her PJs and then use the bathroom for half an hour at 8am as who would be lookign after the kids?

catepilarr Thu 04-Jun-09 14:11:55

stigaloid - if you search this forum, there is surely a thread called something like what hours does your ap do or what is your ap's duties

Stigaloid Thu 04-Jun-09 14:47:24

thanks have been searching and checking things out. Sorry to hijack

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 04-Jun-09 15:29:47


<blonde shudders at athenes start time>

are your children up then as well?

my friend starts work at 6.30 but as children dont wake till 7am she doesnt get out of bed till then

but yes totallyfloaty - if the start time is 7am then she should be up at that time

which i know contridicts what i said about my friend, but her mb doesnt see the point in her getting up till children are up

AtheneNoctua Thu 04-Jun-09 16:19:23

If they are not up already, she gets them up. I like to see my kids in the morning. So they are up. Unless I'm travelling for work and they do not have school. Then they can all sleep in.

But, they leave for school at 7:30ish, so 6:30 is not really that early. And anyone who thinks it is should try getting up at 4:00 on Tuesday to catch a flight with me.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 04-Jun-09 16:28:51

guess as you need to leave 7.30 for school, you do need to get up at 6.30- need an hour really to get up,wash, dress and brekfast

<passes cucumber slices for athenes tired eyes tuesday morning>

thats early!!!!

frAKKINPannikin Fri 05-Jun-09 13:54:01

catepilarr: 'Au pair' was a visa status which no longer exists. It's been replaced by the tiered mobility scheme, with the exception of EU nationals who weren't 'au pairs' anyway. See the UK Border Agency for confirmation of this.

In fact, you make my point perfectly for me - there is no such thing as any regulation for au pairs becuase they don't exist. What are they then? They are domestic employees, employed on exactly the same basis as any other person you expect to do a job whether that's in a shop, an office or a home. In effect they're mother's helps (or father's or parent(s)'s helps) and if they come from abroad then they're classed as migrant workers. If they are legally working in the country, either because they are an EU citizen or they have a visa entitling them to work then they have exactly the same rights as anyone else under UK law. These include, but are not limited to:
Paid holidays
Paid sick leave
A written statement of employment
Minimum wage if live out (the CAB have useful guidance on this)

Unless they are here on a student visa they no longer have the legal right they previously had where language classes took precedence over contracted working hours. Other changes are they're no longer limited to 25 hours work per week and they're residence in the UK is not related to their employment status.

The situation regarding the A8 countries is complex and Bulgaria/Romania even more so. Technically au pairs from A8 countries are supposed register under the May 2004 legislation if they plan to work for more than 1 month and have been resident and continually employed in the UK less than 12 months according to the UKBA. As far as I remember it's actually the responsibility of the employer to get a copy of this registration but the responsibility of the employee to register. Bulgarians and Romanians need permission to work before the enter the country and this is very rarely granted for chilcarers.

Please note, though, that my training on this is nearly a year out of date because I don't do advice work any more! Everything I did remember and have said here I've checked on the internet from reputable sources and quoted them for you to see.

Apologies for the hijack totally

frAKKINPannikin Fri 05-Jun-09 13:58:53

And some typo corrections...

If they are legally working in the country, either because they are an EU citizen or they have a visa entitling them to work, then they have exactly the same rights as anyone else under UK law.
their residence

Really must not confuse preview and post!

DadInsteadofMum Fri 05-Jun-09 17:49:02

[Happily joins in hijack]

FP is substantially correct if taking rather a hard line. Au pair is still perfectly acceptable as a job description but is no longer tied to a visa type.

The new visa regulations are more restrictive than the . Citizens of the EU AND THE EEA (mainly bits of Western Europe not in the EU e.g. Norway) AND Switzerland have an automatic right to work here, except for the restrictions already outlined.

The new visa classification "Youth Mobility Scheme" is only open to citizen of Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan so excludes a lot of countries that previously were traditional sources of au pairs and mothers help. More significantly is does not tie them to one employer, so if they feel they are not being treated fairly it is not a visa violation to go and find a new employer.

The point about paid sick leave and paid holidays are spot on and important. My current standard contract covers both. You can direct when holiday is taken, so my contract allow for 4 weeks paid holiday a year (pro-rated for shorted contracts) with 50% to be taken at a time of the APs choosing (hoping they will choose Chirstmas/New Year) and 50% directed by me (when the DCs are away with the outlaws).

frAKKINPannikin Fri 05-Jun-09 18:28:10

Better take a hard line and lay it down then hope that people who have APs are prepared to maintain the spirit of the cultural exchange than let employers think that nothing's changed.

There was a thread on here recently about an au pair who threatened legal action and the reason she'd have been able to do this (although she was a complete nutter by the sounds of it) is because there was no contract and her employer wasn't aware of the rights (and responsibilities) of an au pair as an employee. By all means continue to call them au pairs but personally I feel it's a bit of a misnomer and perpetuates the idea that it's okay to exploit a defenceless teenager, kick them out on the spot when you're fed up with them or they don't do things your way, not let them have any holiday, withold their pay if they're ill and say you're doing them a favour by letting them be part of your family. Better call a spade a spade and an employee an employee (a 'live in domestic helper' in this case according to the collective wisdom of MN!). I know the vast majority of au pair host families AREN'T remotely like what I just said before anyone flames me and there are bad au pairs out there as well but it's the sorry few 'host' families who make the hard line necessary. Once you've got the foundations then you can smudge the edges a bit but for goodness sake protect yourselves and get it all done properly! People with au pairs are employers, much as they'd like to think of themselves as just a host family, and it's the same as employing a nanny - just a less professional relationship. It's perfectly possible to do it legally and nicely though and DIOM seems to strike that balance extremely well.

Meandering slightly (sorry totally!) I'd like to see agencies know what the heck they're talking about too - most of them haven't got a clue.

Totallyfloaty35 Fri 05-Jun-09 19:45:19

Thats all really helpful actually,thanks to both of you.
Aupair has been great about getting up ever since,she seems to be a good one,all dds very fond of her already.

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