It’s the kind of situation that gives host families a bad reputation…I got an email tonight from an au pair trying to help out another au pair…. can you offer her your advice?
Dear Au Pair Mom Helper,
My friend has a problem and I am trying to help her out as much as I can. I do not know who should I ask for advice and how can I help her. I thought I will try on Au Pair Mom website. My friend (whom I haven’t met in person, just thru the au pair forum) told me about her situation.
She has been in the US since the beginning of the summer (maybe 6 or 7 weeks).
Lost I-94 form
When my friend arrived at her host family’s, she discovered that she had lost her I-94. (This is the form that says she’s entered the US legally. Many states require it for a drivers’ license.) I explained to her that she needed to fill out a form from the USCIS website, include a fee, etc. Her host dad helped her with the paperwork. The family paid the $320 fee for USCIS I-102 form for replacement I-94. Everything seemed just fine.
Now, things are falling apart.
Family ignores the rules re: scheduling
Unfortunately, her family doesn’t know how the program works and what are the family responsibilities. This au pair works every day, weekends too. This week she tried to make a schedule, because working everyday is not an au pair job. Host mom was quite surprised and admitted that she didn’t know an au pair needed a schedule…
The au pair was informed about a schedule, they didn’t work it together out. She was suppose to have a one Sunday off (yay!), but today host mom decided that the plans have changed and since Sunday is the first day of the NEXT week, the au pair will have to work Sunday anyway.
Now, the family just wants to get rid of her.
Finally the family told her today that they don’t want her service anymore. They explain that because she doesn’t have her I-94, she can’t get SSN and can’t have Driver’s License yet. The family needs her to drive the child to school starting September.
On to a rematch, but…
She is suppose to work for them WITHOUT A BREAK untill August is over, then move to LCC out and rematch.
Forced to work to reimburse the fee
The family paid the $320 fee for USCIS I-102 form for replacement I-94. The au pair is suppose to pay them back by working constantly for two weeks straight until she moves out. Is this fair?
Is this family OK by kicking her out, because she lost her I-94? They told her “she costs them money and they don’t need her anymore”. But it’s not like she is not working! She works everyday, flexible hours, Saturdays, Sundays, whenever host mom says “I’m tired, take care of the kid”. Is this how the program should work? ARE THEY A GOOD FAMILY?
I really want to help her out. Calling to LCC won’t do much, because family informed LCC about THEIR plans, but no one asked the au pair how the situation looks like and what she thinks about it.
[[ Note: ApFriend, this is not fair. Although officially they are not allowed to dock her pay, many would find it reasonable to make her pay the fee back through work… but she could ‘pay them back’ by working two 45 hr weeks, each with a 1.5 day vacation. Being asked to work 14 days in total is unfair.]]