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au pair contract

(13 Posts)
HarrietTheSpy Sun 16-Aug-09 10:05:35

Further to recent threads, is everyone now doing an au pair contract which basically looks like a nanny contract?

What are people saying in their contracts about 'other employment' apart from a bit of babysitting for other families? When I've asked this before, the feedback has mostly been, don't cause they're too tired, etc. But now, of course, it's clear there are tax implications. Ours will be earning under the taxable amount (£80 p/w) but I presume we would need to file something if she ended up getting a job in a cafe or something at the w/e or another time which took her over the taxable limit. Can I really say no, we don't want you to do that? I know people did this before with au pairs, but not sure this would theoretically be allowed now. I wonder how people with live in nannies work this.

Another question, which is mostly for Squiffy if she sees it: we will still be part of a nanny share, this girl will be helping me out in the mornings, on another day during the week when I'm working from home, and as kind of an assistant to the nanny on certain afternoons (as otherwise far too many children.) How has this worked in the past for people who have been in this situation? Our nanny is very professional and has managed people in a nursery setting before, I have no concerns about her being able to be diplomatic, etc. But I'm wondering, to be clear, do I need to say something in the contract to the effect of, in our absence the nanny has the final word regarding the care of the children, etc?

I can't get in to too many details as to why we've gone for this situation, which I know sounds potentially crazy. The thing about a possible second job in particular is that if we ended up paying tax on two employees there is NO WAY this arrangement makes any sense at all for us, though, so it's pretty important. But I do want to be fair to her, as obviously even though £80 for what she's going to be doing is a decent au pair allowance, it's obviously not vast sums.

The agency we got her though (another new and potentially barking step for us which I said I'd never go down) doesn't have a clue either and might even think we'd lost it, sending her a full contract. Also, not sure her English is up to reading the technical language, and it could be intimidating from that point of view if her agency and mine are telling her it's all unnecessary.

MrAnchovy Sun 16-Aug-09 14:28:20

Good points. Here are my thoughts:

Currently you don't start paying tax until £125 per week (although you must register as an employer if you are paying more than £95 per week).

As I understand it you are required to register as an employer and operate PAYE if a new employee has another job when they start working for you, but there is nothing that affects you if they start another job while they are working for you, so no need to worry about this (it is the second employer that has to deduct basic rate tax on the whole salary).

You should definitely clarify in writing to everybody who has the final word in your absence.

'The agency doesn't have a clue': why am I not surprised?

Personally I am not worried about the requirements for the written statement of employment. Most of the things that are required you would want to put in writing anyway:

* your name and your au pair's name
* the job title (au pair) and a brief job description
* the date when the job starts
* the pay rate and when and how you will pay it
* the hours of work
* the holiday entitlement
* the place of work
* notice periods
* if it is a fixed term job, when it ends

I am not going to lose any sleep over missing out the remainder of the requirements:
* sick pay arrangements
* information about disciplinary and grievance procedures
* any collective agreements that affect your employment terms or conditions (there aren't any)
* pensions and pension schemes (there aren't any)

Without these, the offer letter (which forms the contract) need not be intimidating at all.

As far as I am aware there is no penalty for not providing a fully compliant statement within two months: the worst that could happen is that if you dismissed your au pair an Employment Tribunal might be more inclined to view the dismissal as unfair if the employee wasn't told about disciplinary procedures. Except where you have broken anti-discrimination law, you cannot be sued for unfair dismissal in the first year of employment: after that, compensation is one weeks pay per year of service.

Having said that, if you include the missing items in an au pair handbook you will be following the letter of the law anyway.

HarrietTheSpy Sun 16-Aug-09 19:30:55

Thanks very much for your detailed message. I think it's probably safe to work on the assumption that you are correct we don't have to employ PAYE if she gets a second job as long as what we're paying her stays the same. It doesn't make sense we should be penalised for that.

Regarding the contract, I am a little concerned about not mentioning sick leave. I've always had the stat comment in nannies' contracts (but generally paid in full anyway). Will give that some thought.

Will definitely mention grounds for warnings and immediate dismissal, more so we're clear about what behaviours won't be tolerated, not nec because I'm worried about an employment tribunal if we haven't communicated our expectations (although as Rebekkash's thread from earlier this year makes clear, it's probably nothing to fool around with!)

Will still be curious to hear form other people how they managed the au pair nanny dynamic.

Now...if only someone will share their handbook with me!

catepilarr Sun 16-Aug-09 20:41:51

the agencies always say that you pay the aupair pocket money even if they are ill. which then could result in her taking the piss. i think with nannies people often have in contract ssp after three days but then usually pay their nanny anyway, if she is genuinly ill.

madusa Sun 16-Aug-09 21:59:01

an au pair doesn't normally earn enough to be entitled to sick pay.


StillSquiffy Sun 16-Aug-09 22:32:28

Ref Au Pair/Nanny thing - I try to keep them apart generally tbh, although I always use Nanny to help AP settle in - much more easy for them to ask questions they wouldn't dare ask me (and nanny gives me really good feedback as well on what she thinks of them).

The AP contract does clearly state that where the nanny and the AP are working together then the AP's role is to support the Nanny; but the AP's have usually assumed that anyway. My nanny is far more important to me than my AP's (simply for continuity/educational reasons), so I always let her choose her hours and then get the AP's to fit around it. It works out really well for us because we have 6am starts, when I had just the nanny I always felt it was 'unfair' for her to do that 5 mornings a week and it is much easier to split it between two. Also I can plan for long days to be split between them. My current AP and nanny get on so well that I can have them working together so they can take the kids to the beach etc; but this is the first time it has happened; normally they have little in common and I don't force them to be together.

FWIW I keep a schedule going forward quite a few weeks so that I can get the AP to cover for Nanny holidays and vice versa.

I have found that it works really well and gives us loads more flexibility than before.

frAKKINPannikin Sun 16-Aug-09 22:33:47

I manage other staff, including a second nanny, as part of my current job - I don't think it's in the contract but it's always been made very clear who is in charge. If it hadn't been that way from the beginning it might have been difficult but we all know where we stand.

Put everything in the contract or the handbook as there's no point leaving yourself open to problems.

HarrietTheSpy Sun 16-Aug-09 23:16:30

Thanks guys
Ours have to be together as the idea is that she's going to be her assistant for part of the time. Overall, we will be spending more time with the AP than the nanny at this point.

DrEvil Mon 17-Aug-09 10:55:14

I thought that if the AP earned over £110 per week then you had to pay tax? I'd be happy to be wrong if you can point my in the direction of your info.

MrAnchovy Mon 17-Aug-09 11:29:17

Tax and NI rates for 2009/10

DrEvil Wed 19-Aug-09 18:02:03

thanks for that, MrA, it's a useful little link. Looking at it though you are right in that you don't pay tax on less than £125 a week, but looking at the table you do pay NI on over £110 per week.

DadInsteadofMum Wed 19-Aug-09 20:52:03

YOu pay NI at the Employment Threshhold but have to register as an employer at the Lower Earnings Limit (thats the £95 per week one) as this point they are deemed to have paid NI (even though they haven't - tax law is sane and logical) had heance become entitled to benefits such as SSP.

I have always paid APs when sick, except one who was ill enough to take herself home for a couple of weeks, I paid her while she was ill here but not while she was ill elsewhere (don't ask me to explain the logic of this).

MrAnchovy Wed 19-Aug-09 21:11:44


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