Au Pair Somebody posed this question on a different post, and I’m repositioning it here, along with the responses from the APM community. Please join the conversation!
Well this is my situation and I am so pissed off because it took me by surprise!
My host family decided to move from Colorado to Virginia in road trip. We are suppossed to leave colorado the first week of June. I did not know this as it just happened suddenly as a better job opportunity for my host family.
I have 2 months left to finish my 2 years as an ua pair and I had practically planned my travel months already.
My concern — what makes me angry — is that they not only told me this when I had everything booked, but also they told me that they “hope” I can pay for my own hotel room and have one of the kids with me while we are on our way to Virginia. It is going to be aprox. 5 weeks travelling because they want also to sightsee the national plarks around and have me on duty.
Also, 5 months ago we went on a family trip to Utah for vacation. I did not really work but I helped some with stuff. I had to share my room with one of the boys and pay 30% of the room cost. Was that fair? Can I still complain…? about the flexibility PFFFF hahaha what does that word mean? I think flexibility only works for host families we ap or at leats me are treated like slaves, I am pretty sure that If my host mom could have me working 24/7 she would do it… dont even ask about extra payment.. that is a paralel universe for me
I can not consider rematch because no family will want an au pair for 55 days, I do not know what to do and I do not think is fair to pay for my hotel room when I will vto work, we will not be on family vacactions, I will share room with the kids, I have almost all my flights and hotels for my travel month booked, my flight back home already booked, and I still have a vacation week left to take.
Please how can I wisely deal with my horrible situation?
I’d call your LCC. They have an obligation to provide you with housing. Presumably, if they have no house and are living in a hotel, they need to provide you with a room.
I would never consider having the AP pay for any portion of housing unless the trip was truly optional. In 4 years of hosting, I can’t think of a single instance where it would have been fair for them to contribute to the cost — and I have travelled a lot with the APs.
What somebody describes is really unfair. I hope the LCC can help her sort it out, though I would worry that a family that would do that (and hasn’t been so kind, according to your description) would elect to just finish the program early and not worry about you.
So this trip and the UT thing are 2 totally different cases. In the UT trip, it was a vacation week for you, you knew that when you decided to go and I presume they told you before you got to UT that you would need to pay your own way? As far as the HC sharing your room and you getting some money for that, I would assume that that was negotiated as well? I would say you had a choice to say no, I’ll pay for the whole room and have it to myself, or if you want HC to stay with me, we need to split 50/50 (or 66/33 if 2 kids with AP). If these things didn’t happen this way, it was likely due to you not asking for what you needed. I understand the imbalance of power in the relationship, but you can’t expect to get something unless you ask for it, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.
As for the move, I agree that it is pretty lousy to tell you about this move after you’ve made final travel arrangements. Hopefully they really didn’t know about it until it was too late to accomodate your flights. If this is the case, and they can afford it, it would be nice if they helped you changed your flights and tried to cover the cost difference.
If they want you to work during this 5 week trip, they are obligated to provide you with a place to live. Not only do they have to pay for your hotel, but technically, the state department rules require that the Au Pair has her own room. I wouldn’t nit pick this detail normally on vacation, but 5 weeks is a long time to have no privacy. If I were you, I would also get a written schedule in advance since it is very easy to fall into the trap of not being on duty but being expected to help 24/7 because you are there.
Talk to your LCC
I agree with you – if they are asking you to work during the move, then they should pay for the hotel room. If they cannot afford to bring you along, then they should make other arrangements (e.g. pay for your flight from Colorado to Virgina). They absolutely cannot ask you to pay for your room and have you share it with a child!
Sit down with them after the kids have gone to bed and negotiate. Don’t whine, calmly explain that you do not have the resources to pay for hotel fees for 5 weeks (it would be an unreasonable request under any circumstance). While I personally would not ask an au pair to share a hotel room with one of my children (and have wedged DH, myself and 2 kids into a tiny room to prove it), I understand that not all HF can afford a separate room when they travel.
Negotiate. If you travel with them from Colorado to Virginia then you understand that you are trapped and do not have down time. You will be pitching in and helping on a daily basis (mainly because you’re trapped in the car with them) and because you’ll be sharing a room with at least one child. In return, you want them to pay for your hotel room and 100% of your meals.
This is a good time to negotiate down time. Obviously your 1 1/2 days off a week go out the window, but be good humored about it. Are there any places between Colorado and Virginia you would be interested in seeing? Now’s the time to put in a request. Is it possible that the kids could have a movie in their room for a couple of hours so you could have some quiet time to yourself, say 1 or 2 nights a week?
I am not telling to put cash into this trip, but to be flexible and adventurous. Also, don’t think of it as a vacation. That you get in your travel month. It’s a family trip.
What else can you offer? Think about your options.
Thanks you very much I called my LCC today as after the talk with my HF they seemed dissapointed that I am not “willing to be flexible” with them. As for the utah trip, well those were they vacactions not mine, while they were hiking at Arches National Park, I was doing kids laundry at the hotel, when I complained about it because I was also paying they told me we were gonna do something I like to do after that, but Gues what?? we got out of time :S …