Au Pair Advice, Day to Day

A letter to host families and au pairs: On-duty vs. Off-duty time

(This is an email that went out to host families and au pairs in 9/2012)

Dear Host Families and Au Pairs,

We at API hope that school is off to a good start and everyone is transitioning well.  There has been some questions about schedules with the start of school so your Regional Directors wanted to address those questions.

Karol from Costa Rica

As you know, the regulations state that au pairs can work up to 10 hours per day and 45 hours per week.  This includes the time that is necessary to get the child-related housework done.  Families need to give their au pair a schedule with a start and end time and au pairs need to be dressed and ready to go 5 minutes before that start time.  When it comes to the time that au pairs are suppose to be off, we know it is difficult to be home at an exact time every day, but it is important for families respect their au pair’s time off and try to be as consistent as possible.

When an au pair is on-duty, that time needs to be devoted to providing active childcare.  We expect our au pairs to be involved with the children whether that be playing with them, cleaning up after them or helping them with homework. If you want some ideas, follow us on Twitter @AuPairInt where we give craft ideas and advice.  TV, cell phones and computers should not be in use during on-duty time, unless for the benefit for the children

Marion from The Netherlands

and with the permission of the host family.

Host families, please recognize that your au pair will need some down time once her time is over.  Just like you need a break from your job, your au pair needs a chance to relax once you take over.

Shuo from China

Au Pairs, you need to remember that this is an exchange program and part of that is interacting with the   family like a member of the family.  You should pitch in at times, without being asked.  If everyone is cleaning, you should be cleaning too.  If your family is making dinner, you should ask if you can help or volunteer to watch the kids.  While you do need your alone time, you should not be disappearing into your room whenever you are not on duty.  On the flip side, your host family is going to want some time to just be a family.  Please be understanding of that.  The most important thing is to communicate with each other and come to an agreement that works for everyone.

Please take some time this month to look at your schedules, discuss the changes that might be happening with the start of school and discuss how best to manage them together.  Your area directors will also be addressing this with you.

Have a great day,

Lisa Kempton & Alexia Smith

Regional Directors

Au Pair International

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