How Soon To Schedule Au Pair’s First Day Off?

by cv harquail on April 24, 2016

Venturing into the grey areas of Au Pair regulations and scheduling, a First Time Host Mom asks– how many days might a brand new au pair work before she must be given a day off?  5590750750_7fc145fd3d_m

(I phrased it differently in the headline of this post, but essentially it’s the same question).  She’s thinking about the first 8 days, total, of her Au Pair’s arrival.

Her details are below, and here’s my take:

I’m a big believer in following the rules to a T, especially at the start.  A day off in this time period makes sense conceptually, but also it’s probably what the rules require.  Remember that your Au Pair arrives at your house already having been “On duty” and working at her Agency’s training & orientation session… so what you might really be looking at is a 10.5-day stretch of being “On duty”.

  • Consider one less day or half day of training, and give your Au Pair this time off.  If you’re already considering a light training schedule for some of these days, it might be worth it to concretely schedule one of those as day off.
  • If training requires you taking days off, and then not having any days off to stay home while your Au Pair gets a break, try giving your au pair a half day of work — just 4 hours — so that she can have a half-day off. Between yourself and your spouse, you might be able to have one of you take a half day yourself.
  • Alternatively, this is a good time to hire a babysitter.  Presumably/ I hope for you that, you’ve had someone available to help with childcare so far.  If you could engage this person for a half day (while the Au Pair works a half day), you could cover the day.

It’s overwhelming for everyone the first few days.  You might need some time off from training, too!

Reading between the lines here, you sound like a family who really wants this to work out — being around for 4.5 days for training is a lot of commitment– and maybe too much?


Wise host families, please help!

We’re brand new to this process, and will be welcoming our first au pair in 8 days for our one son, 18 months old.

Here’s my question – Host Dad and I rearranged our schedules so that one of us will be with AP at all times in the first 4.5 days so that we can train – but because of that, we need her to start work the afternoon of day 5, and work on her own days 6-8 (half days are a possibility if necessary).

How do the rules work with days off? Do we have to give her one right away? We’re planning on only a few hours of training each day so that she has time to unpack, settle in, and see friends if she wants, but she won’t technically have a full day off until her 9th day with us.

I should note, I’ve asked this question to my LCC but she has yet to get back to me. Do the rules cover this?

Image: Cherry Blossoms, US Embassy Tokyo, on Flickr


When a new Au Pair arrives and is clearly not working out, sensible Host Parents start thinking about rematch.  If the Au Pair does something unsafe, dishonest, or mean — ask for rematch right away.

4621367697_87ff46dafa_mWith other situations, it makes more sense to give it a little time.

You might think your au pair is a terrible driver, but if you give him two weeks of concentrated effort and practice, his driving (and confidence) might improve.  Or, if your Au Pair seems homesick, clueless, nervous, or awkward with English, you might give your Au Pair time to get his or her bearings before drawing conclusions about their suitability for your family.

Because many situations can work themselves out with a little energy, focus, experience, and time,  Au Pair agencies are smart to require that families and Au Pairs work together for 6 weeks before considering rematch.

I know this from my own experience — I remember telling my DH the first night an Au Pair arrived that I thought I didn’t really like her, that her personality didn’t work for me.  In fact, she was the first Au Pair I didn’t really take to right away.  So of course, within a month she’d become one of my favorites.

The other reason (I think) that we’re expected to work on it for 6 weeks is that ALL relationships take some time.

If we were able to go into rematch the moment we had our first hesitation about an Au Pair, we’d all be in rematch. All the time.  So whenever it’s a personality thing, or a comfort-in-the-USA thing, I say — take the 6 weeks to work on it.

However,    [click to continue reading …]


What do you do when you’ve organized yourself and been clear about your needs, but find yourself unable to influence the behavior of your Au Pair?

When communication or training differences pop up, we usually go back to the basics:

  • Do you have a handbook?
  • Do you have regular check-in meetings?
  • Were you clear about your expectations during the interview process?
  • Is your family generally organized?

Running Late Au PairMost of the time, it’s one of these basic foundational elements that’s lacking…and “all” a host parent has to do is put this foundational element in place and (most times) the problem gets resolved.

Or, you might have these foundational elements, but just not followed up in practice. Then, “all” a host parent has to do is explain the “Why” behind the rule, or link the expectation to a larger sense of purpose and responsibility.

Alas, for HostMomLosingHerPatience, she’s done all of this. And more.  

Her situation is not one of those “rematch, now” kinds of things. It’s a little late in the year for that, but even more importantly, this issue speaks of a deeper frustration and disappointment with the Au Pair -Host Family experience.

Awaiting your words of wisdom —      [click to continue reading …]


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