Welcome to the wonderful world of trying to figure everything out without having any information on how to do it! Let’s see if I can try and give you an extra hand! (Keep in mind this is just advice based on my experience ((in Milan, Italy)).
If you are still trying to figure out how to become an au pair check out: HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT AUPAIR WORLD PROFILE
If you have already done that and just need help filtering applications visit: Application Overload
Okay let’s get down to it:
Why should we think of au pairing any different than a normal job with a contract? YOU SHOULDN’T BECAUSE IT IS NO DIFFERENT AND YOU NEED A CONTRACT!!! This is the one thing I find CRAZY, is when my friends tell me they DO NOT HAVE A CONTRACT! An au pair contract will allow no lines to be crossed and no misunderstandings to happen when a disagreement arises! So follow along to find out why a contract is a MUST HAVE!
When to get a contract agreed upon:
DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE AT THE HOST FAMILIES HOUSE TO SIGN THE CONTRACT! Make sure you go over ALL topics BEFORE you arrive and even before you say YES to them! This may seem dramatic but there’s NOTHING worse than my friends that work over 30 hours a week and only get about €250 a month and did not previously talk about paid holidays. That is right you SHOULD get them!!
What should be in your contract and things you should negotiate for:
- PAY this means how much you get paid, FOR HOW MANY HOURS OF WORK, and how often you will get paid
- OVERTIME Remember how the kids got sick for a WHOLE WEEK and you were working about 8 to 10 hour days? Ya, make sure you GET PAID FOR THAT! This means that any time you go over the legal 30 hours per week you will get compensated for this either by having 1) paid vacation or 2) extra pay
- BILLS yes au pairs do have bills. Discuss beforehand who is responsible for paying these. This usually is a metrocard, cell phone, and insurance (although INSURANCE IS SOMETHING THE HOST FAMILY HAS TO PAY!!!). The others you can talk over and see if they can pay or chip in (my host family paid for all)
- PAID HOLIDAY this is a big one and is the only thing I did not have in my contract so it ended up biting me in the butt! RULES BY AUPAIRWORLD (Italy) say that au pairs working for 6 months are able to have TWO WEEKS OF PAID VACATION! So where did I go wrong? The family did not understand the second part.. It is also stated that “IF THE AU PAIR IS AVAILABLE BUT THE HOST FAMILY CHOOSES NOT TO USE THEM THEY STILL MUST BE PAID IN FULL”. That is a mistake that hurt me. At the end of my stay I had to work 68 hours free to pay everything off (and it should not have been this way) but it was not specified in the contract.
- LEAVING EARLY sometimes you will not get along with your host family and will need to change them. DO NOT WORRY, THIS IS NORMAL!! So what do you do? You make sure that your host family gives you two weeks notice so that you can find another family. HOWEVER, if they kick you out (YOU SHOULD PUT THIS IN YOUR CONTRACT) they will have to pay for the first 5 nights of your accommodation cost. This covers you just incase something bad happens and you have to leave immediately.
I hope that some of this information has helped you! However, if you are having troubles in a situation make sure to reach out to me on INSTAGRAM @travelrichmoneypoor and http://www.aupairworld.com
One thought on “Who Said What Now? (Contracts are Critical)”
Love all the good info in this article. Great job and great travel recommendations.
Jan, from Portugal