Au Pair Tips: Holidays with Your Host Family
Tips for going, or not going, on holiday with your host family.
One of the big questions au pairs and host families need to ask themselves is what happens when the host family goes on holiday?
Does the host family need you to come and mind the kids or do they want a family holiday alone? Whatever the situation, it is important that you have an arrangement in place well in advance of the trip and have it written into your au pair contract.
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When thinking about holiday time, here are a few different options for you and the host family to consider:
- You go on the holiday to fulfill au pair duties
The host family wants you to go on holiday with them to lighten their load. Before you decide whether to go or not, find out exactly what the host family expects of you and decide if you are willing to do it. In theory, the working hours and pay shouldn’t be any different to when you are in the host country. It is also important that the family notes that if you are there to fulfill au pair duties, you are still entitled to your own additional holiday time off.
If you decide to go on the holiday in an au pair capacity, the family should pay for your flights, accommodation, meals and entrance fees for family activities. This should be laid out in your contract.
Before you make your decision, discuss the living arrangements with your host family. While in their home they are required to provide their au pair with a private room, this can be a big expense if they plan on staying in a hotel or rental apartment. Ideally, you will get your own private room but if the finances of it are a problem for the host family, you must be informed of what your sleeping arrangements will be and decide if you are comfortable with it.
- You go on the holiday as a member of the family
Some host families will be happy for you to go on their family holiday without the expectation of fulfilling your au pair duties. Essentially, you will be one of the family. In this scenario, you must decide with the family beforehand on who covers what expenses.
Typically, the family will cover the flights and accommodation but you may be expected to contribute towards meals and the cost of your own activities. The family are required to pay you your regular wage, but the number of days will be deducted from your overall vacation time.
Although you are not there to work, it might be nice to offer an occasional night of babysitting so the host parents can enjoy an evening or two alone together.
- You do not go on holiday with the host family
If you and your host family decide that you are not going on holidays with them, there needs to be clear guidelines about what you can and cannot do when you stay behind. For example, are they comfortable letting you have a friend over?
If there is a high level of trust between you and the host family, they might want you to stay in their house on your own, especially if there are household duties to be taken care of such as watering plants or walking and feeding the dog. In this case, they should pay you your regular wage, even though your hours will be less.
Alternatively, this could be a great opportunity for you to take your own personal holidays. If you choose this option, the host family are obliged to pay you for the holiday days that you are entitled to.
If there is any reason that the host family does not want you to stay in their home while they are on holiday, they should let you know well in advance so you have time to make alternative plans.
Every au pair and host relationship is different and requires its own special attention. Hopefully by the time you go (or don’t go) away with your host family, you will know, understand and trust each other. No matter what holiday decision you make, the important thing is that au pair and host family have total respect for each other and adhere to the au pair contract.
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