Paying Stipends When Au Pairs Overlap

by cv harquail on May 29, 2012

When your departing au pair has finished training your new au pair, and they are both in your house but only one of them is working, do you (still) need to pay your departing au pair?

If your outgoing au pair still has a week or two on her contract, you must still pay her, whether or not you schedule her to work.
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Contractually, you’ve agreed to pay her a weekly stipend for a total number of weeks (it varies with your agency and contract, but usually is 51 weeks). You must fulfil your end of the deal.

Moreover, your au pair was not responsible for there being a redundancy in your chaildcare arrangements — you host parents are the folks who scheduled the overlap for your convenience. It’s up to you to manage the bumps related to your decision.

Alternatives:

–  Create an additional vacation week for your departing au pair.

Often when there will be a longer overlap because of the arrival schedule of the agency, host parents opt to give the departing au pair a vacation week. Sometimes you can nudge things around so that the departing au pair expects the remaining week to be an unpaid vacation so that he or she doesn’t feel the loss or lack of that week’s stipend. And, if you and your au pair can create a situation where s/he is obviously not working and not attached to your home or family, this extra time might help him or her transition into her/his next adventure.

–Find some extra ‘work’ that your departing au pair can do.

This will help you feel like you’re getting some value, and your au pair will feel like s/he is earning the week’s stipend. This might be a good chance to sort toys or clothes, or complete other kid-related chores that might make your life more sane. You might even ask your au pair to do some family-related chores that aren’t arduous, like take the minivan to the carwash.

Also consider finding ways to get your departing au pair out of the house and away from the kids, so that s/he isn’t tempted to keep working AND so that s/he leaves the new au pair on her/his own to establish a relationship with the kids.

Our incoming au pair arrives a full two weeks before our current au pair is scheduled to depart. After our current au pair spends a week training the new one, the departing one will still be with us for another week or so. If she’s done working, can we just host her in our house without paying her? She’ll be leaving in the middle of a week, so we would just not schedule her from Sat. until she leaves…

More on au pair overlap:

When Au Pairs Overlap, who gets the room? (Poll)
6 Potential Problems with Au Pair Overlap
6 Reasons to Have Au Pairs Overlap
Your Advice Wanted: Should you have your new Au Pair overlap with your old Au Pair?

When you’re away, you still have to pay: Stipends when your Au Pair isn’t working

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{ 30 comments }

NoVA Twin Mom May 30, 2012 at 11:29 am

I completely agree – if you have two au pairs “on contract” you have to pay them both. However, I see something in the original letter that might not quite be this situation –

That after training the new aupair, etc, “the departing one will still be with us for another week or so. If she’s done working, can we just host her in our house without paying her? She’ll be leaving in the middle of a week, so we would just not schedule her from Sat. until she leaves…”

We didn’t have an overlap, but we did have this with our first au pair – her “year” with us was over on a Friday, but her flight for her travel month didn’t take off until Tuesday (after all, midweek flights are much cheaper!). She stayed with us for those three days without working – which worked out great for us, because her “last weekend here” wasn’t a time we could expect her to work even if we wanted to (we’re one of the “use all 45 hours Monday to Friday” families).

In this narrow circumstance, which I hope is what the letter writer is describing, then yes, I think it’s OK for the outgoing au pair to stay with you “for free,” without working, without being paid a stipend. At this point, they’re no longer an employee, they’ve moved into the “family friend who needs a place to crash for a few days” category.

But if there’s any amount of work going on, and *certainly* if there’s any amount of time left on the au pair’s contract, then the family needs to pay both au pairs.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

In our agency, we pay the au pair to the calendar date of her arrival of orientation, which is usually a Monday (this year being a leap year, it’s a Tuesday). Our LCC sends a reminder email to HF of departing APs that we are legally responsible to pay the AP for that Monday. She calculates the portion of the stipend for that day (this year those days).

I agree with the OP – if you begrudge her a couple of paid days when she isn’t needed to work because training for the incoming AP is complete, then give her child-related errands or work to do. She knows best how to organize the kid’s closets and drawers, so have her tidy up their rooms, organize the playroom, bring the clothes they have outgrown to your favorite charity (or pack them away waiting for younger siblings to wear them).

However, an equally generous option – especially if she’s been a hard worker for you all year, is to give her the days off with pay as a bonus.

DCMomof3 May 30, 2012 at 10:00 pm

What about just doubling up on help so that you don’t feel like you are paying an AP to do nothing? Even if you usually use your 45 hours during the week, assign one of the girls to some night and weekend duty. You can go out with friends, catch up on extra work, go to the gym, shop alone, lock yourself in your room and scrapbook – the possibilities are endless. While you may want to see your kids when you are not working, I think that for a week or so, you can find things to do for yourself and make optimal use of that AP overlap time if you are paying for it.

LuvCheetos June 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I would like to ask a somewhat related question. We are intentionally not having au pair overlap. However, our au pair has announced that she would like to come back for a few days in between her travel period and her departure. We had not planned on that becuase she hadn’t mentioned it. We didn’t want overlap largely because we don’t think she does a good job and she has had some attitude probelms and we didn’t want her “poisoning” our new au pair –although it turns out that the new AP is so different from the old AP that I’m not too worried about this. However, the larger issue with her coming back is that our kids get very attached to the au pairs and they are very attached to her. I don’t want to go through the whole good bye celebration and all of the tears, only to have to re-live it all again a few weeks later. I think it’s unfair to the kids. I also think it’s unfair to the new au pair, who is trying to get established and bond with the kids. It so happens that the old AP would be coming back the first weekend the new AP is here. I think the old AP’s return would completely upstage the new AP.

I don’t want to be inhospitable. We would certainly welcome old AP back for a few days if it had been before the new AP was to arrive or several months after once the new AP has established herself.

I raised this with old AP, who hadn’t really thought about how it might impact the children. (I’m not exaggerating — my child cried for the old AP that left last year for 2 months and never bonded with her replacement, who we rematched a few months later, ending up with the current AP.) She said she would ask and see if she has a friend she could stay with. If she can’t find a friend, would it be rude to have her stay with our inlaws, who live about 40 minutes away? She really likes them and they’d be nice to her. I understand that she probably wants to use our car and see her friends again before she leaves, but I can’t let that be at the expense of my children’s emotions and their potential bonding with the new au pair, who we will have for a year, hopefully two.

How have people handled this in the past?

Taking a Computer Lunch June 7, 2012 at 8:05 am

We welcome our outgoing AP back for for a day or two in her travel month with open arms. Typically, our APs have traveled for 2-3 weeks, and by the time they have returned the incoming AP has established her routine, made her rules, and developed her relationship with the kids. The outgoing AP usually is running around like crazy, shipping things that don’t fit into her suitcase back home, saying goodbye to friends and other HF, and purchasing last minute items for family members.

We always drive the outgoing AP to the airport. The Camel, my child with mental and physical disabilities, does not go – she stays with the current AP. My other child has not wanted to go in the past, although last year he chose to join me in the trek – he felt like he needed one last hug and goodbye.

Most of my outgoing APs have chosen to stay for only a night or two. Last year’s outgoing AP decided it wasn’t enough time – she felt very rushed, so I suggested to my current AP that she consider staying two nights. Last year, when my outgoing AP returned, she learned how little her successor had made an effort to get to know the area, and drove her around, showing her places that she ought to know. However, she did not interfere with the AP’s childcare routine and let her take the lead on discipline.

We usually ask the outgoing AP to drive the family vehicle, so that the new AP feels that the AP car is hers. The outgoing AP sleeps in the playroom in the basement, which isn’t private (and thus doesn’t encourage a lot of hanging around – but has plenty of floor space for suitcase arranging). The outgoing AP stows her extra luggage in the playroom closet and when she returns sorts and repacks.

It has worked. Of course we feel sad, but that is a perfectly natural emotion when saying goodbye to someone. If you’ve had enough APs, then your children have learned it really means goodbye. Make it clear to the outgoing AP that she’s not to upset the routine.

Who’s driving her to the airport if she’s not staying with you?

SingleHM July 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm

My outgoing AP wants to do this. She wants to go do a couple weeks of traveling and then come back for a week or so before flying home. She said that she would just hang out and the new AP would do the work.

I’m not comfortable with this. I’m comfortable with a day or two, and driving her to the airport, but not a week or so!

Did you decide what to do with yours? How do I express this?

Thanks.

LuvCheetos July 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm

We told our outgoing AP that it would be too hard on the cildren to have her ocme back and would interfere with the new AP’s bodnign with the children. We offered an alternative place for her to stay, but she found a friend to stay with.

I will caveat by saying that our old AP would have returned during our new AP’s first weekend (i.e new AP arrives Thursday night and old AP would have returned Saturday or Sunday). Also, our old AP had been really problematic for us (2 car accidents of which one involved texting while driving, lots of partying and questionable behavior, other host families complaining about her, LCC hated her, poor example for our children, etc.) so I didn’t really feel inclined to bend over backwards for her. Also, my children really do tend to get very attached (although as it turned out, they ended up not being too upset when she left, which kind of surprised me).

Taking a Computer Lunch July 13, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I think you should sit down and ask her to think how it would go (esp. if your AP was beloved by your children) if she were to come back and hang out for a week. Ask her to think about how hard it would be on the new AP, who had not yet developed a good relationship with the kids, to do all the work while the kids preferred to play with her.

One or two days of shopping, seeing friends, and saying goodbye is fine with me (AP #6 found it very stressful to come back for 24 hours, unpack from her travel month, do her laundry, shop for family & friends at home & repack. I encouraged AP #7 to stay more than 24 hours for that reason.)

A week seems rather long, unless she has a boyfriend (or girlfriend) for whom she needs to say goodbye (and then she’ll be more likely to crash there).

I remind outgoing APs that they will be sleeping on our futon in the basement playroom (as in zero privacy).

When you have the goodbye, time to pack up chat with your outgoing AP, remember that it is a very stressful time for her. The journey from childhood, where one might have had the same close friends for years, into adulthood, when friends come and good with greater frequency, is a shock. If you & your AP have had a great or even just a very good year together, it will be emotionally difficult for her to say goodbye. So, instead of closing the door, do offer, “We will always consider you part of the family. You are welcome to come back and visit, but…”

I take time off from work to drive my outgoing AP to the airport, and offer to transport any friends who might still be left behind to and back. The goodbye weeks are so tense.

I’m trying not to be in countdown mode myself and AP #7 has been so absolutely fantastic about remaining proactive, that it’s easy to forget she only has a few weeks left.

NoVA Twin Mom June 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

Luv Cheetos –

Notwithstanding everything TACL said – because all of it sounds like a great idea – if you don’t think it will work, and your in laws are willing to “host” the outgoing au pair, that sounds like a great solution. Having just had an au pair that (ahem) I wouldn’t have wanted to have overlap with a new one, I can see where you’re coming from.

The issue might be, as you said, the “further afield” home base and lack of access to your car – but she wouldn’t have *really* had access to your car anyway, because now it’s the new au pair’s car. Maybe she hasn’t thought that part through? Do you even have an “extra” room for her to stay in? Bunking in with the new au pair is not an option here…

I don’t know about where you live, but here 40 minutes isn’t that far away – maybe her friends would be willing to “go to her” to visit?

Your kids come first, so you need to figure out what’s best for them, while taking the au pair’s – and your own – thoughts/feelings into account. It sounds like the best situation might be if the “old” au pair stayed with your in laws, especially if they like each other.

LuvCheetos June 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

If she stays with a friend, I assume the friend would drive her, although I’d be happy to do so. If she stays with my ILs, either I or my ILs would do it. Our first AP (who we loved) left directly from her trip, so I haven’t dealt with this issue before.

I’d welcome her back with open arms if it wasn’t the new AP’s second day in town. I feel like it’s unfair to the new AP and the kids. I guess we could hold off on the goodbye dinner/gift until after her trip so the kids don’t have to say good bye twice, but I still feel that it overshadows the new AP. We are really trying to get off on the right foot with her because our last 2 AP experiences (our current AP and the AP we had before who we rematched) have not been great. I’m really conflicted. Although she has been a lackluster AP, I like her and under any other circumstances, I’d be happy to have her come stay with us. I feel it’s not fair that she gets to just parachute back in whenever she feels like it without any regard for what we have planned and the emotional toll it will have on the the kids and the new AP. I’m not overplaying this. When our first AP left, my older child cried for months for her and didn’t sleep well for a long time. They were very close. She’s not as close with this AP (our first one was with us for 18 months and this one has only been here about 8) but our younger child is close to this AP. I guess as the kids get older, they will get used to the APs leaving, but we’re just not there yet.

I know there are families on here who intentionally do not have overlap. How do those families deal with this sort of issue?

Taking a Computer Lunch June 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I don’t overlap. It has happened twice that outgoing and incoming APs have been on vacation with us.

First, we ended up in Las Vegas on a last-minute family trip with AP #3 as AP #2 was ended an AP tour of the West Coast there – and that was a great experience, especially when The Camel went into a medical crisis that my parents and AP #3 couldn’t have known how to handle but AP #2 knew exactly what to do and stablized her until DH and I could return to the house.

Second, we took both AP #4 and AP #5 on a family vacation with us that was a disaster for many reasons, mostly because AP #5 didn’t have to step up to the plate on many levels (we had not read the Don’t take your new AP on a family vacation in the first month posting here, obviously).

We have learned that with our special needs child it is best a) if we show how we each do it (DH and I often do things differently which makes it okay for the AP to set her own routine as well) and b) we give the incoming AP space to set her own routine. We would never tell the outgoing AP she would have to leave – but she knows she has to sleep in the very open basement playroom (which I call my son’s Man Cave). Most generally tour and then come back for a day of laundry and repacking before heading out.

The Camel goes through her own grieving process, I’m sure, but since she cannot talk, using a voice output device, or even gesture particularly well – we don’t know what she’s thinking. It takes each AP 2-4 weeks to figure out how to feed her and establish a good relationship with her (about the same time that they realize that despite the hard work, she’s the “easy” child).

My son actively grieved – our first AP lived with us for 3 1/2 years – from the time he was an infant until just after his 4th birthday. He was completely bilingual in English and her language. I would say they had a great relationship for the first 3 years, but in the last half year with us, it was clear that dealing with an older preschooler was outside her skill set. AP #2 put up with a lot of garbage and resentment from him, and handled it amazingly well and they bonded. She used him as an excuse to see the animated films she loved – and to date has been our only AP to explicitly ask to spend one-on-one time with him at the weekend. By the time AP #3 came on the scene he was 5 1/2 and handled the change much better.

Now, he’s used to the change and has a very different relationship with each AP that is based on the strengths she brings (for #4 it was baking, for #5 it was eating her cooking, #6 it was the Wii, for #7 it was stick-fighting in the back garden). While he reviews all the applications of AP candidates whom agree to interview with us, he has turned down offers to participate in the actual interview.

And for the record – I have driven every AP to their transportation destination except #1 who chose to remain in this country. I offer a space in the car for friends that wish to say goodbye, I have driven friends whose host families told them they could pay for their own shuttle who were going out the same night as my AP, but I always drive. Most have wanted me to accompany them into the airport and to have a final goodbye.

For an AP with whom you’ve had a good familial relationship, it is important to understand what an emotional time it is for them, too. I personally feel that a good good-bye at the end of their time with you, leads to a healthy (especially for the kids) ongoing relationship. It is so much easier to remain connected, with Skype and other tools, than it was a decade ago. I’ve written extensively elsewhere on the emotional impact of the goodbye for au pairs as I have witnessed it in the 11 1/2 years I have hosted so far.

Your case is special since you’re obviously having quite a bit of a gap between APs (I usually have 3 days to scour the AP room and clean the house to put my best foot forward). I don’t think it’s necessary to throw her a big party after her return from her trip if it’s her successor’s 2nd day on the job.

However, think what message you’re sending to her successor if you close the door to her short-term return… It sounds all emotionally charged. Sit back, make a pro/con list.

And for the record – 40 miles where I live is the ends of the earth – here we measure distance in time not miles (as in “I live 10 minutes from there.”)

Should be working June 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm

LuvCheetos, is it very soon that this will all happen or can you rearrange things a little so that the outgoing AP can come a bit later? Or earlier? It sounds like that’s not possible. Do you mean ‘the weekend after the new AP arrives’ as in, TWO DAYS after new AP arrives? Two days is different than 6 days in my view.

TaCL’s arrangement sounds good for her situation, but if your children have detachment issues I can’t see how it is fair to them to have old AP come back for a few days. Staying with a friend sounds ideal. Staying the in-laws is generous on your and their part. Would the old AP see the kids at all? If so, I’d save all the celebration and goodbye for that final visit.

Your kids are a year older than last time, but still, if departure of the AP is rough, I’d make it my priority to have it be as easy as possible on them–which means also on you. And if that means old AP can’t stay with you, so be it. If you really wanted to be generous you could get her a hotel room.

LuvCheetos June 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm

It’s actually 2 days or so. The new one comes Thursday night and the old AP would come back sometime between Friday and Monday. So the new one would have just moved in and barely had time to rest from her jet lag. Our usual introduction and training period would be thrown into confusion.

I considered the hotel room idea because I’m 90% sure the AP doesn’t actually care about seeing us and would be fine with a free place to stay and a car to use, but I just don’t have the extra money for that now.

TACL, the ILs are about 40 minutes away. It’s not metro accessible and after her 3 accidents this year I doubt they’d let her use their car, so she really would be cut off from her friends. It would really just be an accomodation for her since she booked her tickets without asking, assuming she could stay with us, and otherwise would have no where to stay. I understand that she probably wants to see her friends, so it’s not ideal.

In addition, MIL usually comes and stays with us for the first work week the new AP is here to help her get adjusted. I think AP intends to stay until Tuesday or Wednesday. Having old AP at our house means no room for MIL. If AP stays at MIL’s then MIL won’t be at our house at the beginning of the week to help train, so I will have to take off of work, which is difficult as this is my busy season. And of course, since old AP didn’t do a very good job, we don’t want her to assist in the training of new AP (and besides, she would no longer be working).

Tristatemom June 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Lovecheetos, I admire your desire to do right by the old AP here but I think a little selfishness is in order. She crashed the car 3 times and you think she may wants to have the car the few days she is back?? I wouldn’t do that. Also, she does not seem to take your concerns into consideration by making her plans without consulting you first. Offer her your in-law’s place, even the drive to the airport but then be done with it, you went above and beyond! The new AP needs all your energy and devotion.

Gianna June 7, 2012 at 10:03 pm

You know what jumped out of the page at me ? The comment that you feel pretty sure she ( old AP ) doesn’t really care if she sees you but would be fine with a car and a free place to stay ? That would hurt my feelings alot – if someone who didn’t care about seeing me wanted to borrow my car and pop in for a visit. Does she care about seeing your kids ? You sound like a really nice person . I think the major difference between your experience and TACL’s experience is the ambivalence you feel about being used. Honestly. I would explain that it just is not feasible for her to stay with you or borrow your car at this time. Her year is finished , after all, and my guess is that you have been very kind all year. I am very sympathetic to the description of kids who bond closely . I would have qualms about putting them through the process again. You aren’t denying an entitlement just opting not to go an extra mile. There’s nothing wrong with that, in my book . I think your main responsibility is to your new aupair now – just my opinion

DCMomof3 June 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I agree with this. While most of us would go out of our way to accomodate a much-loved AP who wants to spend a few extra days with us and the kids, its a different story when the person just wants a place to stay. The fact that she did not ask you before she booked the tickets demonstrates some disrespect on her part. If she were more caring and considerate of your feelings, she would have talked to you about the best way to approach the situation before buying tickets.

We’ve done overlap every time except for one (when I sent the AP home early) and its worked out fine. I always have our outgoing interview the incoming so they already are in contact. I explain to the new AP before she comes that the outgoing AP is a loved member of our family and we need a few final days with her. This has actually been very reassuring to my incoming APs b/c it makes them feel as though they are walking into a family that may actually treat them as family. Of course, I also make sure to lay it on rather thickly that the reason that the outgoing AP can come back and be with us and get a second going-away party or whatever is because she did such an amazing job that we are sad to see her go. So, maybe I make the incoming feel good but also a bit nervous about the bar being set so high, but so be it – hopefully they all just know that they have to step up their game.

Alice NOT in wonderland June 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Hi my name is Alice, and I am right now dealing with a difficult situation. well, not really right now but my hell will start very soon. My host parents and the oldest boy are going to Italy for two weeks in 3 weeks. My host mom told me that she will expect me to be at home with the two young kids from the sunday the depart until the next two weeks sundays when they retun, what mean I will be working 24/7 without extra help, extra payment and even withouth my time off duri ng those two weeks, She told me that instead the week they return I will just work 3 days but still I find it unfair since during two weeks I will be working too much to just have 2 days off next week. I honestly want my extra payment because I will not only be babysitting the children but being the one in charge taking care of everything at home including the dog and my children are very difficult. I will be by mysekf for two weeks with a 2 year old boy and a 15 months old boy. How can I tell politely my host family that what they suggest is unfair to me and that I want they to respect the rules of the program paying me the extra hours and giving me the required time off..

Taking a Computer Lunch June 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Are you in the U.S. or Europe? In the United States there is a system to prevent such abuse. I’m not sure about the situation in Europe. However, there are several families from Europe who participate in the Blog, and if you were to reveal in which country you live, they could advise you.

If you are living in Europe AND you feel that you have to accept this two-week 24/7 situation, then I would advise you to re-negotiate your salary for those two weeks (e.g. take your typical Euro-per-hour salary, multiply it by 24, and then ask for a bonus on top of that for playing the role of parent). Personally, I would also ask for an extra paid week off for playing parent for an infant and toddler for two weeks.

There might be au pairs in the United States who FEEL compelled to accept such a situation as the one you are describing, but legally they would not be bound to it.

ReturnAupair June 9, 2012 at 3:10 am

Your Hostmom is really abusing your kidness and you should not let here do it. She might forgoth that you are a human!
You should talk to your Counsler about that. They are not allowed to do that and your counsler will know it. But before tell here, that you are afraid to handle this situation two weeks without any breaks and that you also want to follow the US Department Regulations (you can google it) And ask if its possible the you get help from babysitters or maybe grandparents. Dont ask for more money, you really should not stay 2 weeks alone with the Kids. If anything heppen, its going to be your foult and they send you home.

alice in NOT wonderland June 10, 2012 at 2:54 am

TAKING A COMPUTER LUNCH: I am currently living in the U.S

Taking a Computer Lunch June 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Then you need to contact your LCC, and if she is the sort to do nothing, call the HQ of your agency and complain. It is against the law in the U.S. to require an AP to work more than 10 hours per day or 45 hours per week (yes, I know some APs tolerate a longer schedule). If your HP want to leave the country without the youngest children, then they ought to ask relatives to come and help out.

If you’ve been routinely asked to work extra hours and you haven’t mentioned it to your LCC, now is the time. In my experience, a good LCC will back APs up in situations where their schedule is abusive.

Now is the time to ask your HM exactly what she intends to be your schedule while she is away, and if she truly expects you to work 24/7, then you need to politely confront her (remember that documentation you both signed when you arrived? – time to bring it to the table). I recommend asking for a meeting time AFTER the kids are in bed, so she is not distracted.

Gianna June 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I know that there are LCCs who do not like to go toe to toe with host families but this is so over the top that your LCC will have an obligation to speak to your host parents and the agency headquarters , too. The agency would be liable if something happened under such conditions. Most likely, your host family will get angry that their plan is foiled but be brave ! There are ways they could handle this without breaking the rules. TACL mentions bringing a relative in to take charge. Are you the first aupair in this family ? I honestly do not see how they could have gotten through the whole application process without knowing that this is unacceptable – the rules are very clear and apply to every agency.

DCMomof3 June 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Alice, you say something about wanting extra payment, but I would really not go down that road. Being an AP to two toddlers while parents are working is VERY different from being responsible for them night and day when you are not used to trying to get things done for yourself at the same time that you are watching the kids – personal time for sleep, rest, eating, showering, etc. will be gone. Not to mention the fact that these kids are too little to do anything on their own and if you get hurt or get sick or anything else happens, there will be no one there to back you up. You need to tell this host mom that you cannot do this alone. (I’m really stunned that she has not figured this out already). Even if she does not have family to come in and work all of the hours beyond your 45, then she can hire a babysitter or a night nurse or a temp nanny or whatever to cover the time. As a mom, I cannot imagine leaving my toddlers alone for that long with an AP. I travel internationally for work and always have my parents come to cover all of the hours that the AP is not working. Even if my husband is home, he cannot be counted on ever to get home from work on time (client pressures) and I don’t want to leave my AP in the position of depending on my husband to show up when expected after she has already worked a 10 hour day. I also do not want to leave my children totally in the hands of an AP. No matter how good my au pair is, she is still a young woman who is not used to handling kids 24/7 nor is she expected to do that.

super au pair June 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm

hey that happened to me too, I have a great and proactive au pair and she came home and talk to mu family and explained to them that it was so unfair. they paid me extra and also gave me extra off time because they felt so bad. After that episode things with my host family have improved 100% and now if they need me more they dont schedule me unless I have agreed to work extra and of course with extra payment.

super au pair June 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I meant great and proactive LCC, I am the au pair lol

au pair from europe June 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm

well I think DCmom pointed out that because we au pair are young women we are not used to handle kids. Let me tell you, we can handle children better than parents do, I can say that taking into account not only my experience as an extended au pair with my kids in particular but also because I know a lot of au pairs who deal with the kids more than what a mother would do. Now, answering the original post of the parent travelling to italy, rematch now, that is the kind of family that will always have you working more if you let them do that the very first time, it is very difficult for an au apir to be respected as a human being too, host families believe we are machines that never get tired but guess what… WE spend more time dealing with you dam kids more than you lazy parents do….even if you dont work!!!

Taking a Computer Lunch June 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Why do you want to be an AP? A reply to a post like this cuts off dialogue and raises the hackles of everyone. None of the HMs advised the AP to accept the HM’s treatment of her.

Seriously, if I were your HM and I found out you referred to my children as the “damn kids” (dams are for water BTW), our relationship would be over. I would be taking the rest of the week off and you would be heading to the home of the LCC. I realize that caring for your HF’s children is just a job, but if you don’t enjoy it, then admit it. There are plenty of young women itching to fill your shoes.

For my feelings about APs who end an argument with “I more than you” – see my other postings. Sure, I have witnessed plenty of HP out of their league when it comes to raising children. However, at the end of the day, au pairs come and go. We’re about to start with AP #8, and my son can’t recall #1-3 at all, even though they did an exceptional job of helping his Dad and me to raise him.

DCMomof3 June 13, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Hmmm, I think I just pointed out that au pairs are not used to handling kids overnight, on weekends, totally on their own. I’ve been hosting for 6 years now and while I have had some truly excellent au pairs who could handle virtually any situation, being alone for 2 weeks with the kids is not a situation that any au pair should be placed in. I think I was trying to say that asking for additional compensation is a way of agreeing to that situation when the real answer should be that the au pair should never be alone with the kids for 2 weeks straight.
You are clearly disgruntled, but you really shouldn’t generalize and say that “host families believe we are machines” etc. Maybe you had a bad experience with a particular host family, but that does not mean that everyone is like that. Its always a 2 way street and I agree with TACL that you probably should think about why you are au pairing in the first place if you have such a bad attitude about it.

sweet nanny June 13, 2012 at 9:11 pm

hey that’s true, my host family did that to me when they went to dominican republic for their anniversary, even if the grandma was home it was very tired because this freaking old lady thought I was the maid and she wanted me cleanning everything and every time while she was doing my job. She actually told me to wash her blankets and pillows because they smelled… I said NO, so she called my host mom and she called me back telling me that her mother was very difficult to deal with so I better say yes and then she will compensate me. However, I ended up making her fucking laundry and she did not even say thanks. Not to tell that I had to cancel my meeting with my friends because I had no time off, …when HP came back the compenstion was a T-shirt.. SERIUOSLY?? would a t-shirt compensate the almost 75 extra hours I worked, they did not pay me extra because I was being helped by the grandma but this is totally bullshit she did not did anything but complain or give orders.. My LCC did nothing!!!….I rematch after 5 months with them.

AP to be August 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

I have been reading this blog for a while and have found it extremely helpful in my preparation to become an AP in a few month’s time. I would really appreciate some advice. My HF informed me in the matching process that I would be overlapping with their current au pair for a few days. I thought this was great, as she could show me the ropes and so on. However, this AP has contacted me (mostly to introduce herself – she seems lovely) and mentioned that she will be on duty for 2 weeks after my arrival, and will be staying on for 2 more weeks after that. Meaning I will have a one month overlap with her. I am trying to look at the positive elements of this, and there are a few. But I’m also scared that this will get in the way of me establishing my own unique bond and routine with the children while their much loved au pair is still around. I’m also not sure how things will work when she is technically on holiday but still there. On a slightly more selfish note, I’m not sure if the children will be exited or even want me there when they still have their old AP. Have any of you (HF’s and APs) ever experienced such a long overlap? How did things work out? I’m quite nervous about this.

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