Here’s a request for some of your host parent wisdom:
I am in need of opinions as to whether or not I am being unfair to our au pair.
We have had the pleasure of hosting a delightful young woman for 1 year and we both agreed to a year-long extension. We have been pleased with her work and genuinely like her. She has been with us for 16 months.
Just recently, one of our AP’s parents passed away, and our AP wanted to go home to attend memorial services. There was a great deal of difficulty with the au pair agency and their insurance provider regarding a round trip ticket home for her. They were both refusing to pay for her ticket home and back. There was also some reluctance to let her finish her year early and provide a one-way ticket home, as she did not “complete her contract” and the agency did not want to “set a bad example for other au pairs.”
Our au pair really wanted to finish her year with us, so my husband and a decided to purchase her round trip ticket so she could be with her family during this difficult time.
( I was ready to end my relationship with the agency over this–I really could not believe how cold-heartedly they treated our au pair. If we had not been able to afford the ticket, she would not have been able to attend her parent’s funeral. Once I announced my intentions to take my business elsewhere, the agency agreed to reimburse me for the cost of the ticket.)
We realized that she would need to renew her visa and she was able to make an appointment midway through her three week visit to do so. She told us that without doubt she would find out the day of the interview if she could get her visa. That way, if she could not return to us, I would have at least 2 weeks’ warning and could start looking for alternative child care.
(During the 1 week before she left and the 3 weeks she will have been gone, we have had grandparents come from out of town to care for our only toddler. Both my husband and I work outside the home in demanding jobs in which we cannot easily take days off for child care issues.)
Now the date for the visa appointment has come and gone and she has been told she won’t know if she has gotten the visa until her passport is mailed back to her. She is not able to give me an idea as to how long this will take. Since the visa question was not answered the day of the interview as promised, I have given her an additional two days to find out if it will be granted or not. I have told her I cannot wait any longer before deciding what to do next because I need to find someone to care for our child.
I’m not sure if I am being unfair or unreasonable by setting this time limit. She knew when she left that this visa issue was time sensitive and that we needed an answer ASAP. We just can’t keep on waiting.
Do you think we are being unfair or unreasonable?
Thanks for considering my question. — Mommy Needs An Answer
Image: Orange vespa and pink wall from A National Acrobat