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Au Pairs - how much do you check them out beforehand?

(34 Posts)
FeatheredHeart Sun 26-Jul-09 21:30:29

I would really feel much happier if I could get references, a police check and a letter from their doctor saying they've
no serious communicable diseases...

Does anyone do this?

CaramelisedOnions Sun 26-Jul-09 21:40:39

communicable diseases? like what? I don't think I would trust a letter from say a Polish 'doctor' giving my au pair the all clear....

limonchik Sun 26-Jul-09 21:42:21

You can ask for references easily enough - depending on the country it might be possible to ask for a police check too. I think expecting a doctor's note is a bit much though.

FeatheredHeart Sun 26-Jul-09 21:42:53

Well, i dunno, anything really. If it's on headed paper from the practice wouldn't it be ok? Would someone go to the bother of forging that? It's not as though it'd be hard thing to get hold of.

FeatheredHeart Sun 26-Jul-09 21:43:48

Anyone know if they have to get the doctors letter if they want to work in schools here?

CaramelisedOnions Sun 26-Jul-09 21:52:12

sorry but wonder if asking for a doctor's letter will put some APs off when it comes to it as other families won't ask for one.

Personally I would go for an au pair who definately has childcare experience if that is what you want help with. We have got our second summer student here ATM and they seem to be a bit esoteric and not so practical.

DD1 suggested the childcare experience if we ever do it a third time or else get a grafter if you want housework.

I find that if you ask them for references they will always be good ones so you kind of have to speak to them and go with your instincts to a certain degree....

limonchik Sun 26-Jul-09 21:54:22

No employer has ever asked me for a doctor's letter, I think I would find that a bit intrusive.

I think experience/desire to work with children is important if you need an au pair fr a small child - and check references.

Majorca Sun 26-Jul-09 22:01:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

catepilarr Mon 27-Jul-09 01:24:50

agencies often ask for a medical form from a doctor. it has date of immunizations plus a note saying something like XY is physically and mentally able to work with children.

why would you not trust a polish doctor? i actually think that polish doctors must be better that the british ones.

DadInsteadofMum Mon 27-Jul-09 10:57:11

In most western European countries an infividual can ask for a copy of their police record, which they can then send to you - I have had French au pairs do this in the past.

I always request references and insist that they include a work tyoe email address (rathe than gmail hotmail etc) so that I can (a) follow them up and (b) be confident that I am not talking to the AP or her best mate via a different email address.

Never gone down the doctor's note route though.

madeindevon2 Mon 27-Jul-09 11:19:06

my AP volunteered a health check letter from her GP.
also police check. both were translated and fine
also spoke to previous employers on the phone.
she had been AP before so i guess she was asked for them previously?
and she seems lovely and great with my son (day 5 today...)

dreamteamgirl Mon 27-Jul-09 12:29:47

The agency I used supplied drs letter, police check and 3 references, so it cant be that unusual a request.

FeatheredHeart Mon 27-Jul-09 19:27:23

ok, thanks all!

AtheneNoctua Mon 27-Jul-09 21:20:42

I wouldn't ask for a doctors note. but i would ask some questions about her nedical history. And if she got the job and then it turned out she had lied about her health, then I would take approriate disciplinary action which may or may not include dismissal.

If I were young au pair from Poland and you asked for a doctors note, I might think you were a nut job and decide not to come work for you. smile

frAKKINPannikin Mon 27-Jul-09 21:26:17

I'd actually struggle to provide a doctors note. I'm not sure who my GP is and I haven't been to see anyone remotely medical in years....

Doctors note would probably read something like: "Haven't seen her before. She appears to be sane."

CaramelisedOnions Mon 27-Jul-09 23:02:14

discipliniary action/dismissal? Let's not forget that an AP is meant to be a guest in your house who you pay pocket money to in return for an agreed amount of help/work. There is no formal contract of employment here.

catepilarr Mon 27-Jul-09 23:17:15

lol, fap!

limonchik Mon 27-Jul-09 23:42:30

An au pair is an employee under British law. Legally there should be a contract.

AtheneNoctua Tue 28-Jul-09 06:25:56

Onion, I think those days are gone. And, I wouldn't be inappropriaately harsh. But say if I asked her about her medical history and she lied and then she was actually unable to do the job, it would be a problem.

frAKKINPannikin Tue 28-Jul-09 08:59:38

Au pairs are employees. They have a right to a contract of employment with all the bells and whistles just like any oher employee.

There have been numerous threads on MN about this and somewhere there's a link to a judgement from the European court which says they are.

DadInsteadofMum Tue 28-Jul-09 10:36:46

Onions if you don't have a contract defining misconduct (gross or otherwise) you run the risk of being sued for unfair dismissal, au pairs have full employment rights and any employer who fails to acknowledge this is leaving themselves wide open.

OnceWasSquiffy Tue 28-Jul-09 10:49:57

I used to expect all this but I now rely pretty much on instinct given that (A) Any Dr's note can be faked and you have no way of telling if it is fake, (B) Most AP's will be able to persuade an aunty who she's babysat for a couple of times to act as a reference and tell you she is Mary Poppins, and (C) Some countries (eg UK for example) will charge a fortune for police statements, and even if they didn't they can take a long time and I think this is a hoop too far to expect someone to jump through for a job which is likely to last less than a year.

If the AP has previous AP experience then of course I follow it up, but I have learnt from the hands of an expert (nanny nightmare from a few years back) that all manner of documented/reference stuff cannot be trusted at face value, but instincts usually can.

Saying all that, I do make mine sign a disclaimer when they accept a job, covering stuff like convictions, drugs, driving infrngements and the like.

AtheneNoctua Tue 28-Jul-09 11:05:14

"Saying all that, I do make mine sign a disclaimer when they accept a job, covering stuff like convictions, drugs, driving infrngements and the like. "

Excuse me, can I have a copy of this??? Sounds like a good idea.

DadInsteadofMum Tue 28-Jul-09 11:24:05

Me too - could I CAT you for a copy, it can then become a paragraph within the standard contract.

OnceWasSquiffy Tue 28-Jul-09 11:32:49

Here is the document - if you paste it into word the formatting should work OK. I also have a clause in the AP contract itself which gives me the right to enter their room and/or contact their next of kin if I have a suspicion of illegal drug taking.

Required Information

Please complete and sign the following:-

Permanent Address in Home Country
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Passport
Date issued …………………………..
Passport number …………………………..
Full name …………………………..
Date of birth …………………………..

Driving Licence
Date issued …………………………..
Licence number …………………………..

Please list, with dates and details, any accidents, fines and endorsements

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Drugs
Please indicate whether you have ever used any of the following

Heroin Yes/No
Crack Cocaine Yes/No
LSD Yes/No
Ketamine Yes/No
Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) Yes/No

Police
Have you ever been arrested, charged, or cautioned? If so please provide full details
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
…………… …………………………………………………………………………………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Previous Employment
Has an employer ever dismissed you for misconduct of any kind? If so please provide full details
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
…………… …………………………………………………………………………………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………………………………… ………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Medication
Do you have any medical conditions which may affect your ability to perform your work, or which we need to know about in order to advise health workers in the event of a medical emergency? If so, please provide details.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Next of Kin
Please provide contact details of your parents and any other key persons, so that we can alert them in the event of an emergency
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
……… ………………………………………………………………………………………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
…………………………………………… …………………………………………………………….
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………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
…… …………………………………………………………………………………………………….


Signature:

I declare that the information given above is true

Signed…………………….. Print Name…………………….. Date ………...

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