What, if anything, do you do if you become aware of a situation where another host family is taking advantage of their Au Pair?
Here are the specifics, as shared by our Host Mom:
… A friend that my Au Pair met at the Au Pair "school" in NY just recently moved to our state as a rematch. She rematched because her first family was very "cold" and distant and did not take the "part of the family" aspect of APing seriously — in fact, the parents literally never spoke to her at all. She’s only been with the new family for a few days, but she thinks she’s going to be much happier with this family, who has been very warm and welcoming and are excited to have her there.
However, she mentioned to my AP that she’s a bit nervous because she is going to be expected to care for the children alone over Memorial Day weekend while the parents are away. Her nervousness comes from the fact that she will have only been with this family for three weeks and won’t necessarily know the kids and their routines well enough by then — I’m not sure if she’s even aware that the family is legally not allowed to have her care for the children overnight (let alone the fact that she’ll also be working more than 45 hours that week and more than 10 hours each day). The family’s former Au Pair (who is still there — they have about a week overlap) told my Au Pair that she once had to care for the children for TEN DAYS while the parents were out of town!
Obviously, this is illegal, and the family is taking advantage of their Au Pairs. Either they don’t know or don’t care that they aren’t allowed to have the u Pairs work overnight or over 45 hours a week/10 hours a day.
I don’t know how they could NOT know, since our agency (and probably all of them) gives us several copies of the State Department regulations throughout the application and matching process.
Then there’s the LCC — who either doesn’t know or is purposely looking the other way. I was thinking of mentioning it to our LCC, who could then decide whether to talk to their LCC or do something else (or do nothing).
But is it my place to do or say something about it? . Everything inside of me is screaming that I need to do something about this, but I am worried that the AP won’t appreciate my intervention. What if the family gets "in trouble" over this and then this poor Au Pair ends up in rematch again (and probably gets sent home)?
Where to begin???? The situation is unsafe for the kids and unfair for the au pair. What are the host parents thinking? This is one of those situations where, imho, you do want to intervene. I had something not quite as drastic (but also a situation where the au pair was being taken advantage of), I talked with the LCC who intervened effectively. And, I also talked with my own au pair and the au pair in trouble so that they felt supported in their concerns. But it’s awkward. (I didn’t know the host family personally and they never knew that I had told the counselor…. but we all worried that they would take out their anger or embarrassment on their au pair. Thank goodness, they didn’t.)
So, moms & dads, wwyd?