How Long Must We House Our Au Pair Once Her Contract Ends?

by cv harquail on July 29, 2017

Dear AuPairMoms —

We have an au pair who is done with her year.  She decided she wanted to do another year, but not with us.  (redacted/ edited at request of OP, on Aug 4)

21044860080_29118d44bc_mShe found a match, but the new family doesn’t want her to arrive immediately after her contract with us ends.  So, the Agency asked if she could stay with us for an extra week or two or three.

I don’t want an open ended situation with a “soft” ending. And, I don’t want to wait ’till whenever the other family is ready.

My question is: What’s our obligation to continue to house/feed/provide phone and car for her after the completion of her year?

I saw on line that an au pair cannot be “evicted” but I don’t know what my obligations and expectations are at the end of a contract.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth July 29, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Tell the agency and LCC you are not able to house her – use an excuse (family coming, work to be done), etc. if you must. It is not in your contract to house her beyond her stay – that’s why they “asked” you to “allow” her to stay longer. In situations where an AP and HF have a falling out the LCC often hosts the AP – sure, the LCC would rather you do it but too bad. You pay a lot of money to this agency and you should not be the one put out. If the new family wants her they should be put out – again not you. Be direct and you will feel better, get what your family needs and more apt to stay with the program.

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Aspie Mom August 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm

I agree 100%.

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Marije July 30, 2017 at 3:36 am

What’s the actual reason you don’t want her to stay? Sure she hasn’t been a perfect match but you haven’t said she’s been rude or a bad person? Are you getting a new au pair when her year ends? Is that why you cannot host her? Look, to be fair and answer your question; yes you’ve paid your dues as a HF by keeping her untill the 31st and you’d be fine they couldn’t punish you if you made up some excuse why you couldn’t house her for 5 more days. She’d probably either stay with the LC or a friend or figure something out with the new fam for the in-between time. Morally speaking though I’d consider the fact that this is somebody’s late teenage early twenties daughter you’re putting out on the streets because (as I understand) you don’t ‘want a soft ending’. For me it seems simple that if you’ve been able to host her for a year and you could make her life so much easier by hosting her 5 more days out of the kindness of your hearts- why wouldn’t you? Speaking as an au pair who’s been ‘evicted’ by her HF and had to pack up all my stuff only to be with my LC for a week before moving to a new family and knowing how uncomfortable and unwanted it makes you feel as a human being, if you feel at all that you could deal with her being in your house for a couple of days more I honestly think it’ll get you some considerable karma points in life. If she’d done something unspeakably wrong or you actually didn’t have the space the situation would have been totally different.
So no, you don’t have to allow her to stay 5 more days. But do you really feel okay denying it?

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PhillyHostMom July 31, 2017 at 9:04 am

Marije, this is well put and I am a HM who tries always to be kind and generous – am am a big believer in Karma points! However, I would add that if she is going to be hosted through the 5th, she should be willing (and eager!) to work through the 5th — trying to be as helpful as possible. Offer to organize kids closets and playroom, babysit so parents can go on a date night, etc…

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TexasHM August 1, 2017 at 11:05 pm

She can’t legally work through the 5th. Her contract ends with the family on the 31st so just like she isn’t allowed to work on her travel month she can’t work past the 31st for first HF. The agency will be billing second HF for agency fees for that time period too so then she is employed by one family but working for another – this whole thing is just messy.

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Marije August 4, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Agree! Make her do some side jobs, win win for everybody!

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TexasHM July 30, 2017 at 8:24 am

Frankly this is the new HF and the agency’s problem, not yours. They can put her up in a hotel, LC host, friend host etc. Why can’t the new family take her until the 5th? If it’s just more convenient for them then honestly I’d push back. If they have a compelling reason (they are not there – like vacation, or dealing with a major event – funeral etc) then as said above I’d probably keep her the additional 5 days out of kindness but I’d set clear expectations.

Things like – no driving the car (you’re off the insurance July 31), depending on what else has been problematic I’d add it in. Maybe chip in for food, certain household chore everyday to contribute (nothing major just something like dishes) and she can’t stay in AP room.

Are you getting a new AP? This would color my answer as well. If you are and don’t want them to overlap then again, this is the agency’s problem not yours and I’d tell them you are unable to accommodate. The risk of the overlap not going well frankly would outweigh karma points for us. Yes, you should take the high road and be kind but you are not a hotel, you’ve fulfilled your obligation and having the next AP be colored by all this isn’t fair to her either.

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Frankfurt AP boy July 30, 2017 at 8:35 am

It is only 5 days – maybe there is some reason you havent mentioned as to why you want her out of the house so urgently. To avoid the “soft ending” you could simply do the dinner 4th and say that she has to help with the kids for those 5 days she is with you. On the other hand, there is no reason why the new family shouldn’t accept her a few days early or the LC provide her with some other accommodation. I guess they just assumed, wrongly, that 5 extra days on the end of a whole year wouldn’t be any trouble. Being that you are talking here about her moving out TOMORROW I think it would just be better to let her stay for the 5 days.

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2 kids and a cat July 30, 2017 at 3:54 pm

You are under no obligation to house her — and the agency asked because they have to pay a per diem to the LCC if she hosts, while they’d be relying on your free good graces. HF pay hefty fees to the agency to cover situations like this. For the sanity of your family, I would decline. To the APs who seem to think it’s not that long, five days of a houseguest, of any kind, is actually a long time, especially with 2 working parents and a family that’s trying to adjust to a new routine/childcare. It’s not to be malicious in any way to the AP, but to put the family first. This time period also falls during what would be the travel month — so if it really isn’t that long, why does the AP want a free vacay at HF’s house instead of going somewhere?

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German Hostmom July 30, 2017 at 4:15 pm

I agree that it is definitely not your business and the agency has to take care of it BUT I personally wouldn’t mind keeping her for just five more days. Especially as she has been with you for a whole year, if you made it through the year, five more days shouldn’t be a huge problem. And I don’t really get the soft ending thing. You could do your ending just five days later.

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A Host Mom July 31, 2017 at 9:40 am

While I understand that you are ready to move on, I would err on the side of letting her stay for an additional 5 days unless there will be an overlap with your new au pair and, even then, I’d probably still let her stay. Whenever faced with these decisions, we always are guided by the thought that we will treat the au pair the way we would want someone to treat our daughter. Since we’d never want our daughter to feel like she was “kicked out,” especially after living with someone while caring for the children.

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txmom August 4, 2017 at 10:46 pm

I agree. It’s only five days. She’s cared for your children for a year…let her leave with a good feeling from your family. It’s always best to be kind.

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TexasHM July 31, 2017 at 10:03 am

I totally agree with treat APs like someone’s daughter but I also wouldn’t expect someone to house my daughter an extra five days after having housed her and upheld their side of the contract for a year. And I would probably tell my daughter that it wasn’t prudent to ask for that. And if she did, I would probably tell her that she needed to offer something in exchange for the free room and board for five days whether that was in the form of cooking, doing dishes, offering to babysit for a date night etc.

We have housed several of our APs after the cutoff and we treat them like family. Here that means that they move out of the AP room and stay upstairs like visiting friends/family, they are expected to cook and clean up after themselves and generally pitch in and not infringe on others, this is not a hotel. Meaning be respectful and go and help with the flow.

This AP is not being kicked out, she is overstaying her welcome. Yes, I would probably let her stay like I said before but just illustrating that this isn’t about the HM being nice or mean. She has ZERO obligation to house a free guest for a single additional night, let alone five because it is more convenient for some other family she will never meet.

If I were the new family I would tend to think I would offer the AP a hotel room or see if she could send her bags to us and vacation with a friend until we were ready. I can’t imagine asking the agency or AP to ask her departing family to house her longer for my convenience but maybe that is just me. As others have said, it is a burden, no matter how great the person is.

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BearCo Momma July 31, 2017 at 4:23 pm

This happened to me with an AP — her new HF couldn’t take her till THREE WEEKS after our end date and the new family DID ask our AP to ask us if we could please keep her with us during that time because they couldn’t afford to host both her and their outgoing AP. I complained to the LCC because I felt hugely put on the spot – and I really did not want to overlap that long (or at all) with my next incoming AP. She said that it wasn’t even an option for me to do that if I wanted to – they were booking her flight for the day her contract started with the new family and that was that. My AP ended up dropping off her bags with them and then traveling around till they were ready for her.

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PacificNorthwestHostMom July 31, 2017 at 4:47 pm

This is the perfect time for your (former) AP to take a vacation, and get refreshed for her upcoming obligations and her new adventure. AND, it doesn’t count against her vacation time.
I agree with the other HMs that have said, this is NOT your problem. Bottom line. I know, we try and be nice, almost too nice most of the time. And we’ve (personally) always operated on the belief that our APs are extended family and that we’d want our daughters to be treated how we treat our APs.
However, we HAVE to draw lines in that. There are boundaries, and there are times, like these, when it becomes the agency’s burden, not our own. Our APs schedules are not supposed to inconvenience the host family, yet, it does time and time again and most of us, I would say, work very hard to accommodate them so there is a happy medium. In this case, you need to draw the line and move on.
She can go on vacation, get some rest or get refreshed, spend time with her friends, stay in an inexpensive hostel, or with friends, whatever.
You’ve fulfilled your end of the contract and her extending with another family and you shouldering the burden of their logistical problem is not part of that. Best wishes to you!! These are tough situations!

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Mimi August 2, 2017 at 11:58 am

The agencies have contingency plans for situations like these as 2 kids and a cat points out, and you are well within your rights to decline, even if she was a rock star AP. HFs make a lot of accommodations for APs during their time with us and the effects can be cumulative, especially when you struggle with an AP. This doesn’t have to be one of those times. Save the flexibility for when it’s really needed to avoid burning yourself out.

We typically have a week or two between APs to clean and reset. We have only had one occasion where an AP needed to stay a few days extra and we were willing to accommodate her for a number of reasons. She didn’t work those days, but contributed in all the ways she had during her stay with us as a member of our household and family.

We did have an AP ask to stay for two extra weeks after she decided to leave the program when we asked for rematch but we declined. She had already stayed with us through a two week rematch where she did not respond to match requests/interviews and was not working for us while collecting her stipend. It turns out she had already booked tickets to leave for a vacation to visit family (that she hadn’t told us about) and didn’t want to pay the change fee to leave earlier.

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Taking a Computer Lunch August 2, 2017 at 10:17 pm

The only APs I had any qualms about housing after their contract ended were the few “meh” ones I hosted. Because my “guest” room was the basement playroom, my rule was that each AP had to be entirely out of her bedroom by her last day (most of my APs took advantage of the travel month, which meant we stored suitcases and loose odds and ends in a closet in the playroom while they were gone – and when they returned they spent a day shuffling their belongings in said playroom. I always hosted APs from APIA, so I used the time from Tuesday morning to Thursday night cleaning like a mad-woman, so the next AP had a spotless (if not entirely perfume-free) beginning.

The APs with whom I had trouble:
1. The Chinese AP who never bothered to get a state driving license (despite my intention to reimburse 100% of her expenses) and had trouble extending with another family – she could not be out of in-pay status, we offered to put her up in the playroom, but the next family had to fund her from the moment she “left” our family

2. The immature AP who brought her homeless boyfriend into our house (thankfully no bedbugs, although we did make her watch a video and inform her that she would be fully responsible for mitigation expenses if they were found in her room). We wanted her gone, so we told her she was welcome to stay during her extension month, but there would be no overnight guests in the playroom (no privacy, not that she cared), and she was out of there. (It was a rule for her only – other APs had guests in that room, but they had been rock stars.)

3) The one AP with whom we rematched, who hightailed it out of our house the minute her last shift was over, but made us drop her off at a corner near where she was staying (did she think we wanted to stalk her?!?)

You make the rules. You don’t want to be mean and kick an AP out, but your not fond of her to have her around? Be strict. Sure you may stay, but since you’re not our AP anymore, you’ll have to move your belongings into X room while I clean the AP room. Tell her no visitors. No overnight guests. No food in the room. Without being downright mean, make the guidelines unpleasant enough for her to have second thoughts.

If you really can’t stomach having her in your house for another minute, then go generous, and book her into a hotel with a strict warning that she’ll have to pay for any extra expenses she incurs (pay for a hotel in her new city, and she’s unlikely to have friends to host).

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