Au Pairs, Don’t Even THINK About Driving For Uber

by cv harquail on January 18, 2017

When I saw the first mention of this in the comments several weeks ago, I was surprised.

Au Pairs driving the Host Family car as a second job?

What Au Pair would even presume s/he could use the Host Parents car to drive on off-duty hours to earn some extra money?

carsWith the Host Parents’ car?  You know, the car that’s worth thousands of dollars, that costs thousands per year to maintain and insure? The car that’s a lifeline for the family and the Au Pair? The car that’s a privilege, not a right?

I sent the commenter an email asking for “the rest of the story”, but imagined that there really wasn’t much of a story to tell.

Then today, I received this email:

I recently rematched my au pair, for many reasons (lying, falling asleep on the job, complete inability to cook or drive, etc.). When she returned her smartphone, I found messages on it showing that she had signed up to be an Uber driver, using my car!

The good news is that I never allowed her to drive my car, because I had her evaluated by a driving instructor when she first arrived. She got the lowest possible score on every single skill on the driving evaluation. Still, she was planning to take driving lessons at her expense (I don’t need a driver for the kids), and she clearly planned to work for Uber or a similar company in the future. My insurance doesn’t cover driving for Uber, so it would have been a financial disaster for me if she had gotten in an accident while doing so.

Have other host moms run into this? I never thought I needed to include “no driving for Uber or any other commercial purpose” in my au pair handbook, but I certainly will now!

Au Pairs, if you are thinking this just might be a way to earn extra money — forget it.  

There is almost no way that an Au Pair could meet the requirements for an Uber (or Lyft) driver. A driver must be:

  • 21 years of age or older with 3 or more years of US driving experience
  • Or, 23 years of age or older with 1 or more years of US driving experience

Beyond the age & experience requirement, though, the insurance requirement is something that an Au Pair just might be able to meet.

An Uber or Lyft driver has to be listed by name on the insurance policy of the car. (Most of us put our Au Pairs on our insurance policies, of course, if our au pairs drive our cars more than once a month or so.) So, an Au Pair who was older (23+) and extending (with 1 yr US driving already) and who was on the Host Parent’s car insurance policy could conceivably sign up…. but oh, what a bad idea.

What a bad idea.

Au Pairs should not be working jobs other than their Au Pair hours. It’s against the State Department regulations, and it muddies their relationship with their Au Pair responsibilities.

See: 6 Reasons why your Au Pair should NOT work a second job

And, Au Pairs shouldn’t be putting miles on the family’s car(s). It is expensive to maintain a car, and expensive to repair a car, and these costs fall to the Host Family.

See:  6 Ways to Limit the Au Pair Car to Protect Your Au Pair
The 3rd Car: Avoiding a sense of entitlement

Seriously, are there really Au Pairs who’ve driven for Uber?

If so, we might want to start mentioning this in our Handbooks…..

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Aupair Lauren January 18, 2017 at 11:13 pm

This is absolutely CRAZY to me!!!!!!!!!!!

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Aupair Lauren January 19, 2017 at 3:55 am

Just to add another point: if any AP is actually thinking of doing this – aside from the obvious reasons why NOT to – they should realise that the amount of time they would actually be able to work this side job (not to mention you need to have a fairly decent car) Will hardly earn you all that much money UNLESS you really put the work, commitment and hours into it!
Source: I have two non AP friends from home who drive for Uber.

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Frankfurt AP Boy January 19, 2017 at 5:28 am

“Have other host moms run into this? I never thought I needed to include “no driving for Uber or any other commercial purpose” in my au pair handbook, but I certainly will now!”

I hope that is a joke – if I saw that in a handbook I would be quite concerned about how stupid the parents think I am. I think it is best not to let your experience with one au pair affect that of future au pairs.

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Taking a Computer Lunch January 19, 2017 at 9:41 pm

While I agree with you, Frankfurt, that driving Uber should be an obvious no-no, there have been several instances on this list when HP have discovered extra mileage on their cars because an AP was visiting a boyfriend/girlfriend/family member on a regular basis. Especially for HF that assign a mileage limit, it doesn’t take long for an AP to max out if the trip is 20-40+ miles round trip. For some families it’s not that the AP replaces the gas (which should be done for all personal trips), it’s the wear & tear and extra insurance on a vehicle. However, for an AP considering picking up extra income by driving her HF vehicle around – that’s an increased risk for accidents (both outside and inside the vehicle) – not to mention the extra mileage.

I think I’m one of the rare HP that does not have a vehicle curfew/mileage limit. Only one have I retracted the privilege – for the AP who slammed into the side of Hummer on her birthday because she failed to yield at a stop sign. It was her 2nd distracted driving incident (that I knew about), and followed several incidents that showed a sense of entitlement and an overall lack of common sense. Every other AP has regarded that vehicle as a privilege to the point that it functions well at 12 years old (4 1/2 years after it was rebuilt as a result of said accident) and child #2 will learn to use a manual transmission from it (which may be pointless – because if child #2 kills it – how hard will it be to purchase another car with manual transmission?!)

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LuckyHM#3 January 27, 2017 at 4:23 pm

@Frankfurt

Unfortunately in life, past experiences almost always impact future reactions. As a HF, if I faced such a situation as the OP, I would certainly include it in my HB. Don’t really care if potential APs are offended. I always send our HB to finalist APs and have one last Skype with them before a final decision so there’s an opportunity for the AP to say no to us if they don’t like anything there

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Frankfurt AP Boy January 28, 2017 at 6:04 am

Forgive me LuckyHM – I was directly my comment on people that do care about whether the au pair is offended or not. And yes, you’re right, it doesn’t matter how hurt a prospective candidate is because there are 100s more that could go in their place. Like it or lump it – as they say.

Saying “don’t do Uber” is like saying “don’t abuse the kids” or “dont burn down the house” if they are going to do any they will do it regardless of whether you put it in your handbook. The only thing that it achieves is showing how embittered you are by your past experience and how little you think of your current au pair (if you believe they would even consider that – why not choose one of the other 100s of candidates?). I see nothing to be gained.

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HRHM January 28, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Frankfurt AP Boy,

The most important lesson I’ve learned as time goes by, both as a person and as a Host Parent, is – never assume anything. I have plenty of very specific rules and instructions in my HB. There have been a few APs who have asked “why x, y or z rule” is in there. And when they do, I generally tell them about the AP who didn’t think it was a problem to 1) go into my closet and borrow my clothes and makeup while I was at work or 2) lend the car to her friend that she met in the bar last weekend – she just needed to run to the bus station to pick up another friend or 3) start a dogsitting/babysitting business in her spare time or 4) allow her friends to hang out in our house alone while we were at work and she was out picking up the kids (she’s certain they aren’t the ones who stole my jewelry – although no one else was ever in the house)

So while I’m happy to explain why we are so deliberate in laying down the law, what I know for sure is that if I don’t say you can’t do it up front, when you do it and I balk, the first thing the AP turns to is “well I didn’t know this would be a problem, you never said it would” . And while that may be an idiotic response on the part of an AP, I’d rather just lay it all out up front and avoid the situation in the first place. Honestly no AP has ever been offended, more often they seem highly amused that their predecessors have been so obtuse.

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LuckyHM#3 January 30, 2017 at 2:22 am

Again, you seem to think HFs would prepare different HBs for each potential AP. I send the HB before signing the match document so everyone has all the information going in. To me, ” don’t drive for Uber” is not even in the same planet as ” don’t burn down the house”. Like HRHM, I too prefer to mention things ahead of time instead of assuming that common sense is common as my grandma used to say. I’m sure you know what they say about ” assume”

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TexasHM January 19, 2017 at 9:28 am

I haven’t heard of this happening locally but I’ve heard it twice now in national groups. In the first story there was exceptional mileage and they thought she was seeing someone far away or something and she lied repeatedly until the HF called the LC over and she fessed up. AP was sent home.

I understand the desire for a side hustle (I worked 3 jobs in college) but this is a truly terrible idea and very poor judgment. I would liken it to renting out the HFs extra rooms as a hotel! You aren’t just impacting you, this is a major deal breaker and horribly selfish.

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HMof2 January 19, 2017 at 9:57 am

I have a paragraph in the handbook about how working outside of the AP program is violating the visa and illegal. I give examples such as babysitting another child for a couple of hours for money. Maybe I need to add uber, now. But I wouldn’t go as far as a dedicated paragraph about uber. It is but one of many ways an AP can earn extra money and violate the program rules.

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NJ Mom January 19, 2017 at 11:01 am

To even have to explain this to an AP would be a big red flag. I wouldn’t fault an AP for researching it, but for an AP to seriously consider working for uber after looking into it would make me question her judgement. We haven’t come across this personally, and never would have thought about putting this into a handbook or to even discuss it. We don’t even need to expressly forbid it as the LCC does it for us. During the AP initial meeting with the LCC, LCC explains that the AP is not allowed to work outside the 45hr for the HF and gave examples of babysitting, local restaurant, extra work for HF, etc.

And yes, working outside the HF is illegal, but I can’t imagine that HF would rematch for every single illegal action like driving over the speed limit. It’s categorizing illegal actions into minor or major infractions and understanding potential impact and consequences.

I probably wouldn’t forbid an AP from taking on an occasional easy babysitting job in her free time. But taking on anything on a regular basis, anything that requires specialized skills, anything official, anything that would impact her AP responsibilities, anything that uses HF resources, anything that would endanger herself or others, etc would be a big nono.

In light of that there are a handful of “second jobs” that are so obviously out of the question if an AP even seriously considers it, I would rematch. Things like a regular job, uber, escort, get rich quick schemes.

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TwiceBurned January 25, 2017 at 2:08 pm

We just went through rematch, so I never confronted our AP about this (other reasons were the basis for the transition) – but we put in a car tracker about a month before rematching, and I *strongly* suspect that she may have been using our car for Uber or similar. Her stops, routes, and destinations made absolutely no sense unless she was doing something on the side, and I know she picked up outside jobs with a previous family before ours. If we hadn’t rematched, I would’ve asked her directly.

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