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Au Pair manual

(21 Posts)
Giraffeymummy Tue 01-Sep-09 17:52:24

I've read in a few places about au pair manuals - Is there one posted somewhere on here, please?
Have had a few disasters with au pairs some homesick, some keeping plates of old food in their rooms for weeks (what's that smell?) and want to be clear and up front with the next one.
Have a wonderful summer aupair at the moment - the kids adore her - but she goes home in a week and want to be sure I get it right with the next one too, and it is not all down to luck.

BoffinMum Tue 01-Sep-09 22:14:46

I've got one but it's more a work schedule and timetable. Email me at boffinmum dot co dot uk if you'd like it.

You can never predict the nonsense - our wierdest one was the girl who emptied out her hot water bottle into the kettle 'to save water'. hmm Gave me a shock when I tried to drink my cuppa tea, I can tell you!

BoffinMum Tue 01-Sep-09 22:15:23

Sorry, I meant boffinmum at hotmail dot co dot uk

Millarkie Wed 02-Sep-09 09:53:14

YEUK!!! at drinking hot water bottle tea shock

I'll have a search and see if I can find my post with what I put in our manual. They are very specific to the family so I don't think anyone has posted an actual manual here though.

DadInsteadofMum Wed 02-Sep-09 10:11:58

Again I have a schedule but not a long list of does and don'ts. What is bizarre behaviour from one au pair that you introduce a rule for will just get you a look that says don't patronise me from the next one (e.g conditioner is not bubble bath).

catepilarr Wed 02-Sep-09 10:58:19

where was she from? perhaps from a place where water is an issue?
perhaps you could add all the bizzare behaviour stories into your manuals as a 'fun section'? ;)

BoffinMum Wed 02-Sep-09 11:51:15

Cologne in Germany!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She was a funny sort of girl.

madcows Wed 02-Sep-09 16:50:23

Well, I've just finished mine. It is cobbled together from things I've found on the web, and something a friend sent me... plus bits of our own. I wish someone had put one on here to save me all the effort - although - obviously - a lot of it is very specific to each family. So here - in all its glory - is (hopefully) our 'handbook'. If anyone things of anything that we've missed... please let me know!:

Welcome pack for Exxx
We want to work together with you to ensure that you are happy with the duties you are carrying out, and that you are comfortable using and enjoying the facilities our home provides. If ever you are in doubt, please ask!

You will find that we are reasonably well organised and try to keep things tidy as we go. We both work hard and spend time away from home during the day.
The basic working hours are as follows:

Day Morning Daytime Afternoon Evening
Monday 8:15-8:45 8:45-3:30 Free time 1:30 – 6:45

Mostly free time - Possible baby-sit up to 2 evenings per week to be arranged and agreed in advance

Tuesday 8:15-8:45 8:45-3:30 Free time 3:00 – 7:00
Wednesday 8:15-8:45 8:45-3:30 Free time 3:00 – 7:00
Thursday 8:15-8:45 8:45-3:30 Free time 3:00 – 7:00
Friday 8:15-8:45 8:45-3:30 Free time 1:30 – 6:45
Saturday Free time Free time Free time
Sunday Free time Free time Free time

While this will be our usual term-time routine, we will ask you to be flexible with regards to working hours, in particular during school holidays. We will not, however, ask you to work for more than 25 hours per week.

Important contacts
Our phone numbers – xxx
Other useful contacts:
Doctor – xxx
Ambulance - dial 999, give our address: 2 xxxxxx
yyySchool: xxx
Xxx nursery -
Other people with spare keys to house: xxx

Safety in the house
• Mains electricity fuses and switches are in the cupboard by the front door.
• Smoke Alarms are located in the kitchen and hallways. We will show you how to switch them off if they go off by accident

Basic Duties
Your basic duties are to assist in the smooth running of the house and to help to care for Yyy and Zzz. Specifically, we will require help from you in these areas:

Childcare Duties
• Keep Yyy and Zzz safe at all times
• Always hold both children’s hands when you are crossing the road or near any traffic including car parks
• Encourage and help the children to keep their toys and books neat and tidy.
• Help prepare Yyy’ and Zzz’s school bags and lunches each day.
• Collect Yyy from school each day at 3:15pm. Bring him home, give him a snack (fruit plus something), play with him and supervise his homework as appropriate.
• Twice a week (Monday and Friday) you will collect Zzz from the Nursery (at 2pm), and bring her home, before collecting Yyy as usual.
• Yyy and Zzz watch very limited TV, and we would therefore want you to engage them in alternative activities
• Yyy and Zzz only drink water or milk. They drink fruit juice as a ‘treat’, for example when we have visitors or friends to play.
• Yyy and Zzz should be encouraged to eat fruit everyday as a snack, followed by something else (biscuit, bun etc).
• Possible outdoor activities with the children: trip to the playground, library, playing on their bikes / scooters in the car park, play dates with friends (usually these will be arranged in advance).
• A typical day after school would be something like: 3:30pm - snack straight after school; followed by playing and homework; start preparing supper at 5pm so it is ready by about 5:30pm; bath time at 6:30; ready for bed by 7pm

Cooking Duties
• Help with clearing away after meals, loading and emptying the dishwasher and wiping the surfaces.
• Preparing Yyy and Zzz’s supper on school days and accompanying them as they eat. We will give you suggestions, and will often have home-cooked food in the freezer to use for weekday suppers.
• Let us know when provisions are low by noting on the list in the kitchen so we can replace them the next time we shop.

Household Duties
• Help the children keep their bedroom and toys tidy.
• Assist in clearing the table, loading and emptying the dishwasher as required – we will show you the best way to load it, and which items should be hand washed
• Unload the washing machine, hang clothes out to dry, and fold up dried clothes.

Discipline – We feel it is important that our children do as they are told the first time, and you should feel able to discipline them in the same way as we do. We normally ask once, ask a second time, and then say that we will count to 3. If they still refuse to do as they are told then they are asked to sit on the ‘naughty step’ (or naughty corner, depending where you are!) for a few minutes. They should also sit on the naughty step if they do anything that they know they are not supposed to do (for example hitting).

Sharing our home
Food: We hope that you will enjoy the food that we prepare, but do tell us if there is anything that you particularly want or don’t want. Whenever you cook anything for yourself please wash up and tidy up. We would like to have a meal together with you at least once a week.
Smoking: There is to be no smoking in the house or grounds, and never in the presence of Yyy and Zzz, even when away from home. We will appreciate you using your best judgment in avoiding the company of people who smoke if you are out with Yyy and Zzz.
Telephone and internet: We have provided you with a SIM card for your mobile and an amount of credit. Please keep this phone with you when you are out in case we need to get in touch with you urgently. The local shop provides top-ups when needed. We will also lend you a laptop (with wireless connection) which you will be able to use during your stay here whenever you are off duty.

Your room: If you would like your room cleaned please leave it tidy, and with the door open, on Friday mornings when our cleaner, ccc, comes.

Bathroom: The family bathroom will be shared by you with Yyy and Zzz and any guests we have to stay. Please keep the room clean and hang all wet towels on the rail provided. Please pay special attention to ensure that nothing other than toilet paper goes down the toilet. Sanitary towels should be placed in a nappy sack and then in the bathroom bin, which should then be emptied in to the dustbin daily. Please wipe out and rinse the bath and basin after use

Laundry: You can do your washing as part of the family washing. If you want to iron your clothes, please do this in your own time.

Locking up: Please observe the instructions we have given you regarding closing and locking doors and windows, and switching off heating. Please let us know if you are going out, and especially if you plan to stay out overnight. We will let you know of our whereabouts at all times

Guests: If you would like guests to visit, please ask us first and introduce us to them. If you entertain friends in the house please make sure that things are tidied up afterwards, and that any guests have left by 11 pm unless arrangements have been made with us for them to stay overnight. Please act responsibly with our belongings and ensure that your guests do likewise. We are happy for you to entertain suitable friends when you are off duty, and we shall attempt to introduce you to people locally so that you are able to make the most of your time here.

We would like to eat a meal with you at last once a week, which will give us an opportunity to discuss how things are going, and find out how you are settling into Kkk etc. We would also use this as a chance to discuss and plan the coming week. This time will also allow for you to ask questions about anything with which you are unclear or unhappy, and we can also voice any concerns we may have and find a solution. Of course, if there is a problem you can talk to either of us at any time as it arises.
Free Time: When you are off-duty you are free to do whatever you like, and we hope that you will make friends in Kkk. At the weekends you are free to eat with us, but it is fine if you prefer to be independent. Occasionally we entertain at weekends, or go away to visit friends and family. On some occasions you will be welcome to join us, but at other times this may not be possible. In the evenings Hhhh and I would like to be able to spend time together from about 8:30pm onwards. However, at least one evening a week we’d like to all eat together.
Holidays and additional time-off: You will be paid one week’s holiday over Christmas and one week over Easter. Any other time that you would like to have off must be agreed in advance. We will need you to be flexible, but will also try to be flexible, so that you can socialize and get involved in activities outside our home.

Pocket Money: We shall pay you £70 per week pocket money in cash each Friday. If by mutual consent you do more hours, we will pay you more money.

We have provided you with some information about the local area, and are happy to help you find out more about anything you are interested in knowing. We hope that this will help you settle into life in Kkk and with our family, as it is very important to us that you are happy during your stay here.
We hope everything is clear, but if not, please do just ask.

With all best wishes for your stay,

meeee and Hhhh

catepilarr Wed 02-Sep-09 17:58:09

i think there are manuals from us hostfamilies on the web - they have a group on yahoo

DadInsteadofMum Wed 02-Sep-09 21:07:48

Madcows - sorry but I bang on about this regularly on here - but you do know that if she are here for a year then they are entitled to 28 days holiday (pro-rated for less than a year) - you seem to be suggesting that she only gets two weeks.

becks5109 Wed 02-Sep-09 21:49:46

DIOM how can they be entitled to 28 days a year? Most normal offices jobs only give 20 - 24 days and an au pair is part time? I also thought that they are not deemed employees as they are under the tax threshold etc.? Am interested to know as our au pair is due to stay for a year but there's no way we'd manage if she took 28 days holiday in that time.

frakkinpannikin Wed 02-Sep-09 22:11:29

Bank Holidays count as vacation days.

So 4 weeks holiday + BHs = 28 days.

Au pairs are employees, they are being paid to provide a service. This means they are entitled to a contract, a disciplinary procedure, paid holidays etc. The fact that they are paid less that minimum wage is because they are live in and therefore they don't pay tax or NI.

Part-time only counts if you work part-time days, in which case it's pro-ratad down. So someone working 4 days would get 28/5 x 4 days holiday.

Millarkie Wed 02-Sep-09 22:23:23

If you can't cope with them taking all 28 days off (as Frannikin says, some of these are bank holidays) then you could see if they will take payment in lieu of holiday at the end of their stay.

BoffinMum Wed 02-Sep-09 22:50:44

Minimum holiday entitlement is now 5.6 weeks including bank holidays (pro rata).

Au pairs are exempted from minimum wage on the basis of being a particular category of domestic help, not because they earn under the threshold.

DadInsteadofMum Thu 03-Sep-09 13:10:00

Everybody else has already replied but yes 28 paid holiday days is standard for everybody including au pairs.

THe pro rata is for those that work short weeks not part time, if an au pair works 5 hours a day then when she has a day off she will only be paid for a 5 hour day so the holiday wouldn't be pro-rated down.

madcows Thu 03-Sep-09 16:07:25

Yes, thanks, DiM - she is here for 5 or 6 months.

DadInsteadofMum Thu 03-Sep-09 20:59:40

12 - 14 days holiday then

catepilarr Thu 03-Sep-09 21:26:36

well, that's what she is offering, isn't it...

catepilarr Thu 03-Sep-09 21:28:58

ok, it's not, my brain is drained.... wish i could delete

becks5109 Fri 04-Sep-09 13:13:35

ahh yes I see what you mean - our new one has just arrived and is so far wonderful. She has already asked to go home for 2 weeks at Christmas which we will allow even though its not ideal timing with school and nursery closed but we'll cope somehow so I guess at least thats 2 weeks done already out of her year with us!

dreamteamgirl Fri 04-Sep-09 23:04:14

Boffin um, I just emaield you asking for a copy, thank you xx

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