Yeah, it happens. The phone falls out of a pocket into a puddle. Or a purse gets stolen. Whatever the reason …
If your au pair loses or breaks the smart phone that you provided for her/him, it is up to her/him to replace it, or to pay to replace it.
One of our au pairs lost a cell phone when she was on a long trip with AP friends… It was pretty fancy (fancier than mine at the time). She found the same model of phone- used- online, and bought it. She took it to the Verizon store and got it activated with her/the au pair phone number, and it all worked out.
We appreciated that she not only took care of replacing the phone (in nearly exactly the age & condition her original one was), she also took care of the administration and schlepping that replacing the phone required. Great job, au pair!
But it’s always complicated. Like the au pair car, smartphones are both a privilege and expectation, an ‘extra’ and required for the job. A ‘work’ thing and a personal thing.
As NYAPHost Mom writes:
We provided our AP (our first) with a Droid Smartphone – a relatively new one. She lost it in a bar (claimed it was stolen but really, what difference did it make – it was gone).
DH was about to get yet another new phone at the time AP’s was lost/stolen so he offered to let her buy his then current phone at a discount to the value he was going to get to trade it in – around $150. More or less, she paid to replace the phone. But —
Now our AP is getting ready to leave and I realize we screwed up. Since she paid for the phone, does she own the phone? Are we out 2 expensive smartphones?? Is it ok for us to ask her to leave the phone with us? It won’t work in Europe unless she puts a very expensive plan on it and I know she has an iPhone waiting for her at home. We should have told her that her $150 was to pay us for the lost phone – it’s all semantics, right?
So what’s the right thing to do? We need a phone for our incoming AP and it doesn’t seem right we should have to buy a new one…