Host Families can easily get screwed when the au pair that they match with is so bad s/he can’t or won’t make it through the initial two weeks.
When an au pair/ host family relationship breaks, there is an emotional and financial cost to everyone involved.
Au Pair Agency procedures are designed to push au pairs, host families and LCCs to find ways to ‘make it work’ — whether through retraining, renegotiation, or rematch. Each party shares responsibility (ideally).
But when an au pair leaves in the middle of the night, within the first two weeks of their stay in the USA, you’ve got to wonder whose fault that is.
And you have to ask yourself–Who should bear the financial burden of the ‘breach of contract’ that this kind of situation represents?
Take the case of the host mom, below.
Dear Au Pair Mom —
We got a European Au Pair through one of the big national agencies. She was with us for 1.5 weeks and then just packed up and left. Took the cellphone we got her, got a taxi, bought a ticket and flew back to Switzerland. Didn’t say anything was wrong.
In fact, the previous Friday we asked her how she was adjusting, she said how comfortable she was. But I knew something was off because she became tuned out quickly. Felt like a polite guest that I have to serve. Anyway, the Agency didn’t know what she was like in person, since our LLC hadn’t even paid her first visit yet.
We were left in a lurch to say the least.
That was more than one months ago. Since then, have been in this “rematch” nightmare. There was no “match”, just randomly throwing another AU Pair who was “transitioning” into our account.
[After talking to quite a few host moms during reference checks, I got the picture. The Au Pair program was marketed to Au Pairs as a great adventure, and marketed to us host family as a less-expensive, flexible childcare solution.]
So many families were in transition and rematch. I’ve probably read 10 of these rematch profiles, and talked to many host moms. Lately I was given 3 Au Pairs who just arrived (9/24ish), all in Southern CA. It’s a mess.
So I fed up and found a local live-in nanny (not an Au Pair). Then I found out the Agency’s refund policy, which translated into about $4000 for that 1.5 week of training our Au Pair!!!!!
Why is that nobody ever warned that something like this may happen?
I was quite outraged when I found out, yet I’m wondering if I have to learn to let this one go… what else can I do?
If you have a place, please put this in the “new host families lessons” learned for others to read. San Diego Mom
Readers, what do you think?
- Should she be asked to forfeit $4,000 if the au pair never intended to stay, and if the Agency won’t take an active role in helping her find a suitable rematch?
- Should the Agency be expected to refund her money, since they did not provide the kind of au pair she contracted for (i.e., one that will actually try to make a relationship with the host family and do a good job)?
- Should Au Pair Agency Contracts come with a clear, candid disclaimer that, if the relationship never even gets started, the host family pays anyway?
Let’s have your recommendations!
How do you get a refund from an Au Pair Agency after a flameout Au Pair?
Getting a Refund from an Unsupportive Agency
Reading the Fine Print: How do Au Pair Agency contracts differ?
When Agencies Reward Au Pairs Who Lack Commitment