How does your family handle the Au Pair’s time spent with the family over a long car or plane trip?
Formally and officially, we are supposed to count all of this time as “on duty” hours.
But, if you have a long haul to get to your vacation destination, you can use up a whole lot of hours — so many that it might hardly seem worth it to bring your au pair along. And, if your Au Pair is off sitting in another row, watching a movie, it’s hard to feel like that’s really “work”, especially if s/he will be having some off duty days in your vacation destination.
This is one place where, I’ll admit, I’ve stretched the rules. I’ve counted the hours in the car or plane at a reduced rate.
(For example, I’ve taken the 7 hours from our house to Granny’s as 4 or 4.5 hours on duty, and counted the 5 hours on a plane as 3 hours. I do not discount the time spent hanging in the airport, because I’ve always needed our au pair to watch kids while I went to the bathroom, got coffee, wrangled the luggage, etc.)
My logic here is:
- The Au Pair is stuck in the car/plane with you and the kids and can’t be free, so technically s/he’s working.
- But if the kids are sleeping/watching a movie/being cared for by you, s/he’s not full time working either. S/he’s free to watch a movie, nap, and relax. S/he’s just stuck in the conveyance with us.
In all cases, I’ve discussed this with our Au Pair in advance and confirmed that it’s okay with her. And, I’ve made sure to be explicit when she should go ahead and nap, watch a movie, or try to entertain the kids, so that there are concrete expectations. But, I am aware that this isn’t following the rules to a T.
What does your family do?
From Traveling Host Mom:
We are going on a family trip soon, and bringing our Au Pair. It will take 6 hours for us to drive there. We have a 4.5, 3.5, and one year old. We are leaving at 6am. Do I have to count the drive time towards her hours? How is this best handled?