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au pair babysitting - what's your policy?

9 replies

HeidiFinn · 08/09/2005 11:51

Hi, it's Exasperated from Dulwich again... could you post your policy with regards to au pair's babysitting duties (evenings)? our agreement has always been that she does 2 nights a week babysitting (as adviced by the agency, in fact all the agencies we have dealt with). in order to be fair, we have agreed that only one of these evenings is a weekend night (fri/sat) so that she can have the other to herself. Now as yet another 'i don't think it's fair' sulk, the au pair wants every other weekend off without babysitting so that she can go visit friends in another city. Do you think I can refer to the original plan and say take it or leave it or am I being a tyrant?! thanks!

OP posts:

colditz · 08/09/2005 12:05

I'd say refer to the original plan! Did she agree to it then? If so then she doesn't have a leg to stand on.


shimmy21 · 08/09/2005 12:30

but if you don't agree a compromise then presumably she'll never be able to meet up with her mates if they live quite far away. That seems a bit tough on her to be honest. If I was living in a foreign country I'd probably be desperate to meet up with friends in other cities every now and then. Could you compromise and say she can have the whole weekend once a month or something?


HeidiFinn · 08/09/2005 12:59

in practice that's what happens, I just don't want to agree to every other weekend automatically. Plus I am beginning to get tired of this practice of AP agreeing to house rules in the beginning but then gradually demanding this and that...

OP posts:

dizzydo · 08/09/2005 13:28

I had this trouble with one of my AP's. Basically Why go to the incovenience of having someone living in your house full time and then only being able to go out one night every other weekend. I think offering her once a month (planned in advance) is more than reasonable. Also if she agreed to it in the beginning she hasnt really got much of an argument.

for info our au-pair sits 2 nights a week (almost always one of them is a Friday the other mid-week) and if we want her to babysit on a Saturday we pay her an extra £15 pocket money regardless how long we are out.


Ameriscot2005 · 08/09/2005 13:56

The most common description of au pair duties that you find on the web say 2 evenings of babysitting, with at least 2 whole days off without any babysitting; if Saturday is a normal workday for them, then you should give them at least one Saturday evening per month free of babysitting duties.

My view is that if you want to go out most Saturdays, then you should make their days off Sunday and Monday. If this won't work, then pay them to babysit - it should be a lot cheaper than hiring an outside babysitter because you only really need to pay up to about 10 o'clock, even if you are rolling home after midnight.

Depending on where you live, an au pair job can be really dull and lonely and a lot of girls really look forwards to the weekend when they can meet up with their friends and do young-people type activities. I think they need an incentive to work Saturdays, like extra pay and maybe letting them invite one of their friends over to keep them company. OTOH, it's not reasonable for them to never work Saturdays (paid), so if they are inflexible, they risk the heave-ho.

You can budget into your au pair costs the price of Saturday babysitting - you can pay them slightly less than you might for their normal duties and make it up with the Saturday payment. For example, if your instinct is to pay £70 a week, so pay them £60 and £10 for Saturday night.

I know that they agree to terms and conditions up front, but I don't think many au pairs know what they are getting themselves into and their main objective at the time is to secure the job - they'll say yes to anything, it seems. If you hold them to this, then you will have a grumpy au pair in no time and a horrible atmosphere in your house.


goldenoldie · 08/09/2005 14:57

Agree with Colditz - if she agreed with this at the start then she is being a bit cheeky - it's not like you have suddenly changed the rules.

However, for the sake of harmony I would negotiate on this for something that would be good for you both - such as she can have one weekend a month off - as long as all the ironing is done before she dissapears on a Friday afternoon/night.


Tanzie · 08/09/2005 17:54

We've always paid for babysitting (at 6 euros an hour). If we need her at the weekend and she has already arranged to do something, we can usually get a neighbour to sit or get someone from the commune for 2 euros an hour. Bargain! If we go out it tends to be midweek or Friday, and her big night out clubbing is usually Saturday so that works quite well.

Do you ALWAYS go out at the weekend? Could you not be a bit more flexible and do it every other weekend, or dock her wages and pay someone else to sit if she wants to go out?


HeidiFinn · 12/09/2005 16:02

what, is it not allowed (going out every weekend that is...)

just to be clear, mine is an au pair plus because of her hours + experience/age, she is paid £120 per week for 40 hrs, 20% above agency guideline because of the Friday night babysitting (or occasional saturday night)... and in Central London there should be plenty of things to do and people to meet. The agency has provided a list of tel numbers for other au pairs around our neighbourhood but for some reason she does not like Polish people and refuses to meet them! oh well... but all in all she is a sweet girl and amazing with my son, which is what counts!

OP posts:

Ameriscot2005 · 12/09/2005 21:45

Of course you can go out every weekend, but you can't automatically expect your au pair to be the babysitter. She has a life too.

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