If you’re keen to spend a few years working as au pairs in the UK or elsewhere, you would certainly be wise to draft your own contract up to give to your host family so you know you’re protected in case something does go wrong.
It’s a good idea to make sure you include arrangements like your particular duties and what the family will expect you to do, pocket money, working hours and free time in your contract so that there’s no confusion and you can easily avoid any misunderstandings.
Remember that you may find yourself working with a family whose native language is different to yours and this can also cause problems, so do make sure that the contract is fully understood and agreed upon by both sides.
Legal officer with the Migrants Rights Centre Jane O’Connell went on RTE’s Morning Ireland earlier this month (February) to say that because au pairs are employees and “their position is clear”, legally they are entitled to employment rights.
Ms O’Connell discussed a case involving a Brazilian au pair who found herself charged over €500 by her employers when she quit with just two days’ notice. But the Labour Court awarded au pair Dayana Jonson Goncalves Generoso nearly €5,500 in total compensation after it was heard that she was paid €150 a week, plus board and lodgings by a family living in Milltown in Dublin.
She hadn’t been given a written contract or any statement of terms and conditions of employment with the family.