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Am I being unreasonable? Au Pair wants to be paid for babysitting on a Saturday

(48 Posts)
SettlingBackIn Thu 15-Oct-09 10:09:29

Our latest au pair, a young swedish man, has said that because Saturday and Sunday are his days off we should pay him to babysit on a Saturday night even if he hasn't done any other babysitting that week.
Of the other 6 au pairs I have had since DD was born (10 years ago) none has ever suggested this.
We do not go out very often but when we do it is quite likely to be on a Saturday.
During the week in term time he does not have anything like 25 hours work to do but I have always been OK with this because it is balanced out by the school holidays when there is obviously more childcare to be done.
Au pair-family relationships always work best with a bit of give and take and I approach my own job in that way too.
I've always felt that our au pairs have quite a cushy number as I only work 3 days a week and the children have always been at school or childcare when I was working (apart from school holidays of course).
What do other people think? Does anyone pay their au pair for babysitting on their 'day off'?

MagNacarta Thu 15-Oct-09 10:12:17

When I had au pairs the agreement was that they babysat 2 nights a week included in their weekly pay/pocket money. I also agreed that we wouldn't have more than two weekend nights in a month (ie. Fri or Sat) and that if we wanted more then we'd pay. However all this was stated before they took the job, so they knew the score before they started. Did you make this clear? Tbh even if you didn't I still think he's being unreasonable unless you're taking every Saturday night and leaving non for him.

FourArms Thu 15-Oct-09 10:13:15

No, I didn't. Do you have a contract specifying all of this? I think expecting the give and take between term/hols time might not go down well with this au pair as well if he is quibbling the babysitting. What hours would he be working then?

SettlingBackIn Thu 15-Oct-09 10:24:04

We did not explicitly say that we wouldn't pay for babysitting at the weekend but as it had never come up before I was rather taken aback. Last Saturday was only the second day he'd had to babysit after being here for 5 weeks (I did say we don't go out much), the other one was a Friday a couple of weeks ago, and he had at least 2 weeks notice of it.
He's not doing very much with his free time and is not always out himself on a Saturday so I think he's being a bit cheeky here.
I think I did say at the start that there would be more to do in the holidays than during term time but if he has a problem with that then he's going to have to go.
We don't have a contract as such with him. We got him through an agency and I'm going to ring them to see what they think but I thought I would canvas opinion on here first to see whether I was in a minority of one on this.

Totallyfloaty35 Thu 15-Oct-09 10:44:03

I dont pay for wkends, none have ever asked to be paid for it either.He is being cheeky,if you went out every Sat that would be a different matter but fri/sat twice a month not unreasonable at all

nbee84 Thu 15-Oct-09 10:54:32

(*am not an ap employer) I have seen somewhere that babysitting in the contract should be Mon - Fri and that weekends are counted as extra as they are days off. If the ap wants to go out for the whole day on Saturday or even to go away for the weekend, then having to come back specifically for a Saturday night babysit cuts into that time.

However, given how little you use the baysitting on a weekday I would have thought a little give and take on the part of the ap should be forthcoming. Maybe base your discussion on that. If you end up having to pay him I would make darn sure I used my weekday babysits in future - make the most of the time and go for a swim or just out for a coffee or a bite to eat with dh or a friend.

FABIsInTraining Thu 15-Oct-09 10:58:35

I think you were remiss to specify the weekend baby sitting wouldn't be paid for tbh and I don't think he is being cheeky. I think it is good he can ask, rather than quietly be pissed off.

I think you should agree baby sitting deals you are both happy with but pay him for what he has done already.

Just because he hasn't gone out himself is irrelevant. That is his free time to do what he wants. If you feel he is in anyway why can;t he baby sit that is a bit off tbh as that changes his evening to having to listen out for the kids when otherwise you would be dealing wit them.

Inghouls2 Thu 15-Oct-09 11:02:00

Weekend babysitting is paid extra. As your AP pointed out, he doesn't work on those days. unless you specified it in advance.
We only went out once in a blue moon when we had an AP, but I had it stated in my contract that babysitting could be on a Saturday night. To be fair, I always tried to organise nights out on a Friday so as not to interrupt their weekend.

DadInsteadofMum Thu 15-Oct-09 11:02:41

You don't have a contract - as per previous threads on here (ad nauseum) you are required by emplyment law to have a contract and as we have also established on here many agencies will tell you that you don't need one - they are wrong.

Most of the problems like this arise because there are not clear contracts.

In this particular case if there had been a contract in place by the sound of things he would be in the right. Just because you don't take up the contract hours during the week doesn't mean he should work on his days off, how would you feel if your employer said you can go early today but you need to come in on Saturday evening for a couple of hours?

Sorry but on this one I am with him (and its not just a bloke thing smile)

Merrylegs Thu 15-Oct-09 11:08:16

Yes, I would agree with FAB. Our Au Pair's pay included 2 nights in the week babysitting, plus 4 hours work during the day. If we didn't use that 'allowance', that was our problem. Weekends are the au pairs time off, regardless of how much they have worked during the week. After all, they are really language students who help around the house a bit, rather than nannies, and their pay reflects this.

SettlingBackIn Thu 15-Oct-09 11:13:03

I'm not assuming that he should babysit just because he is in and if when we asked him to babysit he had already arranged something else then I wouldn't have insisted he change is plans.
You may be right about the contract - this has never come up before for me. I have always assumed that due to the unusual arrangement of the ap living in your house and officially being here to learn English and only being paid 'pocket money' that normal employment law did not apply.
I wouldn't expect my employer to ask me to work on a Saturday evening, although my husband frequently has to travel at weekends for work and doesn't get extra time off. But if I was employed on the basis that I had to work a couple of evenings a week AND I lived at my workplace AND I could say no if I already had other plans I might feel differently.

Can someone point me to the threads where it is confirmed officially that you should have a contract with an ap?

Does anyone know where I can get a sample contract?

greenday Thu 15-Oct-09 11:17:25

I don't have AP experience but I agree too that it should be give and take, and what he's asking for sounds unreasonable and cheeky to me, unless he had plans for the weekend and you made a last minute request. If so, then it would be good that you offered to pay but still, I find it rather daring for him to ask.

andagain Thu 15-Oct-09 11:18:08

I also thought that you don't need a contract for AP because they are not employees and the money they get is pocket money rather than a salary. Presumably it is because it is below the tax threshold.

duchesse Thu 15-Oct-09 11:21:16

Frankly I think in the circumstances he is BalittleU. You could suggest to him that either he does the odd weekend babysitting without being paid, or you find enough things for him to do in the week to make his hours up to 25. Leave him the choice between 7 extra hours of ironing and laundry folding, or the odd weekend babysitting... My guess is he'll take the w/e babysitting.

Slambang Thu 15-Oct-09 11:22:09

of course you should pay ffs.

He is not an unpaid slave for you to demand he gives his own free time to you unpaid. Very shocked that you would even consider asking this. No wonder au pair employers get a bad name for exploitation.

StillSquiffy Thu 15-Oct-09 11:52:22

here is the ruling that they are employees and protected by usual employment law (whatever your agency may say otherwise). So they do need a contract. They don't need to be registered with HMRC because their earnings are under the tax threshold, but that does not mean they are not entitled to normal employment law (there are specific exemptions to a couple of the laws because they are part of family, but these exemptions cover (1) maximum hours - not limited - and (2) families can ignore some of the discrim rules when hiring - eg they can select/reject by religion/gender)

CAT me and I will send you my AP contract.

FWIW my terms are that the AP will be expected to do up to 2 weekend evenings a month (Friday, Saturday or Sunday), notified in advance. In reality though we try to avoid askign them because it can really bugger up their weekends and that would just make them miserable,.

Totallyfloaty35 Thu 15-Oct-09 11:58:30

I had an aupair who was fab but went out from end of working hours on a fri and didnt come back til late sunday eve,she did this every wkend and always asked if i needed her to babysit any wkend nights,i rarely did but it was nice to be asked.Most people go out at the wkend that includes aupairs and host families and some aupairs are actually contracted to work saturdays,they are supposed to get 2 full DAYS a wk off,they dont both have to be wkend either.Sundays are the only day they have to have at the wkend.
You should sit down with aupair and say you would like say 2 fridays and 1 saturday a month,other days to be discussed or something and get yourself a contract,with every aupair though contract and handbook seem to get longer though wink

SettlingBackIn Thu 15-Oct-09 12:12:09

Thanks for that link Squiffy. I have read the contents and see the logic. Does the same ruling apply to nationals of EU member states? I assume it does but if I'm going to have to get into specifics and legalise I feel I need to get this straight.

Don't know what CAT means - can you explain?

Duchesse - I don't know what BalittleU means either but thanks for your support. I have been tempted to tell him to start cleaning all the windows inside and then scrub the floors on his hands and knees wink but feel that then I WOULD be exploiting him which at the moment I don't really feel I have been even if things will have to be different in the future.

madcows Thu 15-Oct-09 12:28:14

We ask for 'up to' 2 evenings a week of babysitting - which can be any day of the week. We included that in our letter of offer (contract) and in our 'welcome pack' ('Handbook'). I posted my handbook on here a month or so ago, if that is helpful.

madcows Thu 15-Oct-09 12:29:11

Sorry - should have said - *with no extra pay*. Did say we'd pay extra if she had to work over the 25 hours, tho'.

FABIsInTraining Thu 15-Oct-09 12:59:30

BalittleU means being a little unreasonable.

I can't believe the naivety about not knowing that an au pair needed a contract and thinking they are not employees. hmmshock

You pay them to do a job therefore they work for you and in most (all) jobs you need s contract.

NewTeacher Thu 15-Oct-09 13:12:45

I dont think you are being unreasonable. We have Saturdays as babysitting days. I think I used one last year and AP only babysat about 10 times the whole year...

Its give and take and he's being unfair TBH from now on I would personally make use of the 2 nights every week even if I was at home!!!grin

Have a word and say its only ever in a blue moon. I'm sure he's going to want a favour at some point in his stay does he really want you to not be so nice!

NewTeacher Thu 15-Oct-09 13:16:23

Also if you went through an agency you would have had to send an OFFER LETTER this is your contract.

mumof2222222222222222boys Thu 15-Oct-09 13:22:01

YANBU. However, as others have said, if it was in black and white in the contract, it wouldn't have been an issue.

We v rarely ask our AP to babysit on a Sat (not sure if we ever have!) but we have twice taken her away at weekends to weddings and she has had a hotel room, been a guest, had room service etc and an extra £20.

i think she really enjoyed the weekends - certainly no complaints!

dreamteamgirl Thu 15-Oct-09 13:35:32

Will read rest in a mo, but no you shouldnt pay extra for Saturday nights

If it was regular I would say yes he could be put out but if it is once or twice a month? No, he should just do it!

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