Going on family holidays without the au pair - how to handle?
Some weeks ago, we wrote about what ought to be done if an au pair was to accompany a host family on their holidays. Today we would like to focus on the other option: Below you will find some useful tips on what should be done if an au pair does not come along on the family trip.
Whether or not an au pair will accompany a host family on their holidays is something which needs to be discussed whenever summer holidays are approaching. Not all families or au pairs wish to spend their holidays together. This is an entirely valid option. However, there are certain arrangements you need to discuss in advance.
If your au pair does not come along on the family trip...
Should your au pair spend the time alone in your home?
You might not feel comfortable with the idea of having an unsupervised young person alone in your home. There needs to be a high level of trust between you and your au pair to make this option work. As it is the case with most of these kinds of matters, this topic also requires a frank and open discussion between both of you. If your au pair cannot stay at your home, you need to let them know prior to the start of their stay with you to give them sufficient time to organise their own holidays. Should you allow your au pair to stay at your home during your absence, try to find out if they are comfortable with the idea of having the house for themselves or if this solution would rather make them feel lonely.
What should your au pair be doing while staying at home during your holidays?
Should your au pair be staying at your house, you need to discuss if these days will be considered holidays or if they should be working a little around the house, doing household chores or taking care of your pets. Should your au pair be working during your absence, you must ensure that they have sufficient food at their disposal. Obviously, au pairs continue to receive their regular amount of pocket money, even if they work less hours than usual. The fact that that an au pair is staying at a host family's home during their holidays, entitles them to their full amount of pocket money, even if they do not work during this period of time. They do, however, need to pay for their own meals in this case.
Furthermore, it is quite important to avoid any type of conflict by clearly defining in advance what an au pair is or is not allowed to do during the family's absence. May they invite someone home, for instance, a friend or visiting family member?
Will your au pair need to take their holidays during this period of time?
Since au pairs are entitled to holidays, it is a great advantage for many families to see their au pairs going on a trip by themselves during the time of the family trip. It is, however, quite important for host families to let their au pairs know their exact holiday dates in advance to allow for enough time to plan their own travel during this time. Remember also that au pairs are entitled to their pocket money when embarking on their holidays on their own.
Check the regulations on the different host countries to find out how many days of holidays your au pair is entitled to.
Have you ever been on holidays with or without your au pair? Share your experience with us!