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Au Pair and English classes

(25 Posts)
DramaticGene Wed 17-Mar-10 21:06:14

Hi Everyone

Advice needed. We've had our au pair since August. She's doing English classes on Tues and Thurs from 9:30 till 12:15 at the local college (she's paying herself though I've thrown in gym membership to offset some of the cost).

Have two kids 7 and 5 and both me and DH working fulltime. Well I'm studying fulltime.

Anyway, I'm starting to get a bit resentful that neither child can be sick on either a Tues or a Thurs. I currently have a daughter upsatirs with a temperature and I know she's not going to be right for school tomorrow. So, either one of us doesn't work or we ring Mother in Law 45 mins away. Am I being ridiculous not to ask au pair to step in? She's not the type to offer. Whenever children have been sick before on a Tues or Thurs (maybe twice since Sept) she went off to her classes and we coped.

Advice needed please from all of you with au pairs out there.

Deirdre

PS. She's our first au pair

JennyWren Wed 17-Mar-10 21:22:24

What, if anything, did you agree at the beginning about this? We also have our first au pair and TBH I do consider her college day sacred - we have a fairly fixed arrangement of 'on duty' times and if I need to work unusual days then she will fill in if she can, but I would never ask that she skip college. It is one of the things we offer in our contract - bed and board, pocket money and the chance to attend language classes (which we facilitate, but don't directly pay for). Asking her to skip class is reneging on the deal.

Missus84 Wed 17-Mar-10 21:36:58

Au pairs should have time to go to college - that's her reason for coming to the UK, and it's the reason you're paying her so much less than a nanny.

Surely she has working hours? If you want her to be on call outside those hours are you paying some kind of a retainer?

EColi Wed 17-Mar-10 22:21:23

She's in England to learn English. She's paying for an English course. Yes,it's unreasonable to expect her to drop it to look after sick children.
(Have hosted 3 au pairs).

frakkinaround Thu 18-Mar-10 05:26:23

She should be able to go - if necessary get an emergency nanny for the morning and pay her overtime for the afternoon.

You can offer her the chance to do it for extra cash but tbh I wouldn't as then she might feel obliged when really she isn't.

Could MIL just do the morning?

NewTeacher Thu 18-Mar-10 11:11:04

Well I'm sure I'll get flamed but hey ho.

When any of my AP's have taken English classes its only ever been for a fixed 12 week period (as the cost of classes are quite high). So if she misses a class and does an extra week does it really matter?

My AP misses her 2 lessons on the weeks that my DS has half term. Her college allow her to take those weeks forward (most of them are quite flexible). And she is happy to do it too. Its all about give and take, she gets time of in lieu so everyone is happy.

Honestly where are you supposed to find emergency childcare for your kids when they are sick? Either you or your partner take time off or you get parents to help and this isnt always possible. Work are not that sympathetic if you keep taking time off when kids are not well.

I would ask her if her college lets her take those days forward and if they do she isnt losing out and you can probably pay her to cover her 'off time' or give her time off in lieu.

HarrietTheSpy Thu 18-Mar-10 11:32:52

This is the problem, I find, with not paying for the classes. If I were paying I would feel able to tell the AP that I would like her to do some overtime (paid obviously) and skip the class. As it stands because I am not, I do what the others do and she goes to her class. The classes aren't cheap and if I were her parents (who are paying) I would be pissed off if she missed them.

Just talk to her about it. She might not mind if you are paying her overtime. If she really bristles think whether this is really the time you'd want to press it.

smupcakes Thu 18-Mar-10 11:42:02

If you are studying full time, why don't you skip your class? Why is your study more important?

She only has a limited amount of time to learn English at her college, whereas surely you can catch up a missed lecture?

Sure you could do readings etc for your course at home with your sick child?

HarrietTheSpy Thu 18-Mar-10 11:43:08

I have to say my attitude (rightly or wrongly) is influenced by the fact that our AP went to a bilingual high school and is basically fluent. The purpose of the class is to get out and about and meet other APs from her country!! If I had an AP where I felt this was really her main opportunity to make progress in English I would be inclined not to press it...unless you are the sort who's happy to give her free lessons in your spare time!!

Mingg Thu 18-Mar-10 13:25:10

I must have had really nice APs but they have all (bar one) voluntarily missed classes when the little one has been unwell...The nursery has the AP's number as well as ours and normally calls her if a pick up is needed. The APs have then rang me to tell me what is wrong and that they are picking DS from the nursery.

If DS has been ill and not been able to go to the nursery at all, one of us has always stayed at home (DS is only 2 and a bit) but the APs have always offered to stay and help... and they all have paid for their own language courses too.

DadInsteadofMum Thu 18-Mar-10 14:29:55

What does your contract say?

Under duties of employer mine has that I will make time for her to attend Englsih classes if she requires; this would seem to leave two choices:

She goes to class at arranged time;

If possible she goes to class at different time but total time on English classes remains same (and if that incurs extra costs then employer should make them up).

That said, current AP is Australian so doesn't want to got to English classes; if the DCs are off sick and she is at home with them she gets paid overtime but there is not an automatic assumption that if they are off sick she will be responsible.

Treeesa Thu 18-Mar-10 16:05:51

In the past we have explained the situation the evening before regarding children being off and some of our au pairs have volunteered themselves. I'd get them something nice for helping out. It's only happened a handful of times when it clashed with English and In one case I did feel guilty after they'd offered and told them they should go as I didn't want them to feel coerced into offering.

We think that a happy relationship is all about give and take though and helping each other out. If our au pair helps us out we just make sure we are also willing to do something for her whenever we can.

Julesnobrain Thu 18-Mar-10 22:13:15

If you are studying full time why can't you look after your child as well?? If you had an urgent I must go or I will get fired appointment I could understand but for anything else I think its a bit much to ask the AP to miss her lessons for your own child when your not prepared too.

SimpleAsABC Thu 18-Mar-10 23:10:23

Maybe it's an exam or something which the op can't miss?

sunnydelight Fri 19-Mar-10 06:02:48

She doesn't work Tuesday or Thursday mornings so why would that change if your children are sick? Yes, of course it would be nice if she offered, but tbh do you really expect a teenage girl to want to look after a sick child rather than go to her English class with her friends? Au pairs are not nannies (which is why they don't get paid like nannies), you can't expect the same level of commitment from them. If you need a more flexible childcare arrangement I'm afraid you have to pay for it.

DramaticGene Fri 19-Mar-10 18:10:13

Hi

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

My DH stayed home, au pair went to her classes and DD has improved a bit.

Au pair is bilingual having au paired for a year in US before. It's more of a social thing for her.

I'm doing a techer training course so used the term 'studying' loosely -- I'm full time, full on teaching in school. If it was the case of just missing a lecture I defintely would (and have).

I think I will only get au pairs who don't want to do English classes from now on though. A nice Aussie. :-)

lathers Sun 20-Feb-11 20:55:45

so my current aupair isnt bothered about english courses.. her english is good, she wants to be part of a family int he uk...
ive found that the applications for the next one, her replacement whens she goes home to college in germany, they all seem to want to go to colege, but i dont really know where to look to find a suitable course.. or a cost effective one? any help or links would be much appreciated we are in the north west...

Treeesa Sun 20-Feb-11 21:35:10

If you can be a little more specific in terms of location then there may be someone who posts on here with an AP can point you in the right direction..

WeeBitWobbly Mon 21-Feb-11 13:31:50

My opinion might not be the best, but I've had aupairs in the past who have takent he time off class when a child has been ill.
I see it as a give and take - we have been very flexible with extra holidays/time off when family/friends visiting etc.
Harder for parents to take time off work and having live in help is meant to make those things easier isn't it??

Perhaps you can ask in future that she covers the sick children or make sure with your next placement this is put into place.
Missing one or two classes is not the end of the world.

lovefrox Thu 26-Apr-12 19:13:53

Looking for English lessons for new Au Pair round Bucks / Oxfordshire areas - Preferably inexpensive, 1-2 part days a week & close to train station.... Any suggestions or experience would be much appreciated!

Julesnobrain Thu 26-Apr-12 23:12:02

I disagree with most posters here. Having an AP in your home is a huge amount of work and one of the benefits is if your children are sick they step in and look after them. A) I ensure all our AP's know this is expected B) if they missed college that they are paying for I would and have reimbursed them for the missed class cost.

deefin Fri 27-Apr-12 09:55:13

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cccgibass Thu 26-Jan-17 15:49:13

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harshbuttrue1980 Thu 26-Jan-17 17:55:31

OP, imagine when you qualify as a teacher. You get a job working on Tue and Wed. On Mon, you do something social and lovely that you look forward to all week. Another teacher is ill and your school wants you to work on a Mon to cover that teacher. Do you think you should have the right to say no? Therein lies your answer.
An au pair isn't a slave. I was an aupair when I was younger and loved it funnily enough, I'm a teacher now), but accept the facts - aupairs get a low wage, and in return they help out. They are not dedicated career-nannies whose whole life revolves around their charges. They come here to learn English, have an adventure and - yes, shock horror!! to socialise and make friends. Want a dedicated career nanny?? Fine - but you'll have to pay a much higher rate.

floopyloopy Thu 26-Jan-17 22:47:44

This thread was started 7 years ago. I imagine the aupair is long gone by now!

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