We’ve talked recently about the issues related to having an au pair work extra hours for the host family, and we’ve also talked about whether you should let your au pair babysit for your friends. But we haven”t talked about whether you should permit your au pair to work at another job.
“Why haven’t we talked about this before?” you might wonder. The answer is simple:
Having your au pair take a second job is a bad idea. A bad, bad idea. Never works out well for anyone. Ever.
Of course, now that I’ve written those words, we’ll hear from the two au pairs who were able to manage a second job because their host families only needed them for 20 hours a week, or something. But, having talked to so many host parents, I can tell you that I’ve never heard of a host parent for whom this has worked out.
It is against the rules for an au pair to work a second job. It is also illegal.
And, it is a horrible idea, for these 6 additional reasons:
- She’ll be too tired to work when she’s on duty with your kids, because she’ll be working too many hours.
- She’ll get attached to the extra money and start to devalue the non-cash compensation and the non-financial benefits she gets from you.
- The job with the official paycheck, out in public, where when meets people, will begin to feel more important than your job, at home, with your kids, which becomes just babysitting.
- She will schedule herself to work, and then not be available when you need her.
- She’ll work all of those hours (like weekends, and Saturday nights) when you’d rather have her on duty, but which you’ve set as her free time so she can relax and socialize.
- She may need your car to get there and back. If it’s your third care, she probably won’t compensate you for the mileage. If it’s your second car, you and/or your spouse will be stranded.
Here is a question from a host family who is trying to figure out how to respond to their au pair, who wants to get a second job.
Our au pair is considering taking a second job. My husband and I have set some strict ground rules and made it clear she will have to quit if it interferes with her au pair duties. She knows that it is against the terms of her visa and of the au pair program, although we have said that this is between her and the agency and state department. And, my DH and I are on the fence about the whole idea.
I’m curious about other host families have experienced with this issue. Here’s what I’d love to know:
Did you say no if your au pair asked to get a second job?
Have you allowed (or just turned a blind eye to) your au pair having a second job in retail or waitressing, for example?
How did it impact her performance for you as your au pair?
Did you set ground rules?
Did you ever find out that your au pair had a second job, and then asked her to quit? Or reported her to your LCC/Area Director?
What are the implications for you if she is caught by the LCC/Area Director or the sponsoring agency?
Serve up your advice parents!
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