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Au Pair contracts, insurance, handbooks etc...

(11 Posts)
4gotoindia Tue 23-Jun-09 16:38:17

We are just in the process of confirming our new (first!) au pair to start in Sept. I've been searching around for info re contracts and handbooks. People mention the Au Pair World contact, which I've downloaded. But am not sure if this is the most appropriate, with the changes in visa rules. ALso, not sure that it covers the most important things... So - anyone any tips on writing a contract?

I went to Universal Au Pairs, who have a sample handbook - seemed very detailed. Is this overkill? (But then reading some of the horror stories on here, maybe not?!) What do others use?

Also, do we need to get additional insurance if we have an au pair? (EU, which presumably means they are covered on the NHS for health?)

Thanks for any tips!

Millarkie Tue 23-Jun-09 21:01:59

I used the au pair world contract the first time - but this time round will be adapting one (which I'm sure is not legally binding but really seems to set the expectations right) I've nicked acquired from another mumsnetter
We also do a handbook (yes, very detailed and several pages long) and a list/timetable of duties. (Hasn't stopped us from sub-optimal au pairs though). I posted a very long list of what we have in our handbook a week or so ago, so try a MN search.
We have liability insurance included with our house insurance and AP is european so covered by NHS. Our contents insurance cover is less because we have AP - has to be signs of a forced break-in for us to be covered for theft so if anyone leaves the windows/door unlocked then we are not covered.

DadInsteadofMum Wed 24-Jun-09 09:49:25

Wasn't nicked - quite happy to give away.

With regards to NHS - don't have to be European just resident, however are you going on holiday at all, might need to take out separate holiday insurance.

I don't do a handbook (far too lazy) but do sit them down every evening for the first fortnight with here's what went well, here's where you went wrong kind of thing and giving them the opportunity to say what they find tough and what they enjoyed.

4gotoindia Wed 24-Jun-09 12:10:23

DioM, Would it be possible for me to get a copy of your contract?
Re the handbook - I'm not sure I've found the thread you're referring to Millarkie, but have found various threads on here. THink I'll cobble something together from these, and then may post on here for comments!
Thanks re the insurance - something we'll have to look into when we get back to the UK....

DadInsteadofMum Wed 24-Jun-09 13:03:08

Sure CAT me and I will send through

Millarkie Wed 24-Jun-09 16:01:17

Found the post I was thinking of - cut and pasted

We don't do curfews either - my feeling is that it's up to them to make sure they are up and able to work at 7am and if they go back to bed in the middle of the day I don't care
I do try to emphasise security (close windows/lock doors/switch on alarm when leaving house) because our contents insurance only covers us if there is evidence of a break in (because we have a 'stranger' living in the house).

In our 'pack' we have:
- list of important phone numbers - our mobiles/work/nhs direct/AMBULANCE dial 999/doctors/school/grandparents/people with spare keys to house and addresses for some of these.
-safety info about the house - location of fire extinguisher/fire blankets. main fuse for electrics, water stopcock, LPG cylinders
- how to work washing machine, cooker, etc
- where things are kept - craft stuff, puzzles, games, computers (and passwords)
- children's routines, parent's routines. hours of duty for AP - info on children's allergies/diet
- suggestions for snacks to feed children (and simple meals if AP is going to prepare some) and our philosophy on food - we eat everything except fast food, fizzy drinks and chewy gelatine containing sweets, but we try to eat lots of different colour food every day and keep sweets for treats.
- ideas for things to do with kids - puzzles, games, bike rides, football, singing and dancing, reading
And we provide a folder of information for the AP's entertainment, so a map of village and local walks,map of local town, map of local city, A-Z of London, train time table, bus timetables, info on free touristy things to do locally, info on nearest cinemas, gym, pool opening hours, and (if we haven't already sorted it out) info on the different English courses.
I think that's all.

In their rooms I put a dressing gown, (usually get them slippers once I know what size their feet are - we have cold wood floors), new towels (our APs destroy their towels within a couple of months!) and generally something little like some nice showergel/flowers/chocolates. Their room is a bit like a student bed-sit with en-suite shower/loo, tv/computer and hairdryer,rack to dry washing on, laundry basket, etc so they can be as self-sufficient as possible.

4gotoindia Wed 24-Jun-09 16:13:20

Thank you both so much! Now I'm off to find out how to CAT someone...
My internet here is v slow... so may take a while!

4gotoindia Wed 24-Jun-09 16:30:07

hhmmm... looks like i won't be able to CAT, as I don't want to use my credit card with this v dodgy internet, and an out-of-date virus checker, and one laptop that has already been trashed by various viruses. (A long story, but only a few more weeks in India, and we should get it sorted when we get back to England...)
DioM, I may get in touch in a few weeks. (Or is it possible to CAT me, even if I can't CAT you? Sorry to sound so ignorant! (Still don't know what CAT actually means!)
thanks again!

claxton Tue 14-Jul-09 13:27:04

I too would be keen to be sent copies of contracts, handbook etc. that others are using. But I too am new to this site and don't know how to CAT. Our situation - we are due a french AP for August and have no formal agreement. Our introduction was via my husband's colleague at work who's girlfriend is the sister of the AP in question. All communication to date has been via facebook and email. All I know is that she has booked her flight and we are due to take her home - by car/ferry (though I don't have her home address or any contact details e.g. her parents?) as part of our own holiday to France. We have no itinery or ground rules set - apart from she know's our daughter is 5 and will need some looking after during the school holidays.

Am I mad to enter into this so blindly?

limonchik Tue 14-Jul-09 13:49:48

You'll be her employer, so I think legally you have to provide some kind of written contract.

DadInsteadofMum Tue 14-Jul-09 19:15:04

Erm - yes

Have you spoken on the phone so you know what her spoken English is like for communicating with your dd?
Have you requested and taken up references?

She will be an employee with all the statutory rights that entails (but NOT NMW)including a written contract, holiday pay etc.

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