Establishing written house rules and guidelines is a very important part in the hiring process of your au pair. Establishing rules and guidelines can help both you and your au pair avoid misunderstandings, and sources of possible conflict.
Rules and guidelines will vary from home to home, but the following are some you might want to address:
- Set a day-by-day timetable, including start time, finish time, and what days the au pair has off
- Babysitting – how often it would be expected, and is it included in the au pair’s base pay. If it is not included in their base pay, how much will you be paying your au pair for the service
- Au pair wages – when are they paid, what rate the au pair is being paid, and how frequently they will receive their wages
- Curfew – if you have one, make sure you mention it. If your au pair is not spending the night in your house, by what time do they have to they let you know
- Are Smoking and drinking permitted, if so when and where
- Phones – important phone numbers (creche, doctor, parents, neighbours, etc.) should be stored on the au pairs phone, the phone should be kept charged, with credit at all times
- Establish rules that address the use of phones during working hours and mealtimes
- Computer use – when and where computers can be used, are your children permitted to use the computer with your au pair
- Au pair car use – when your au pair can use the car, can it be used during the au pair’s time off, and who is responsible for replacing petrol
- Cleanliness – address how your au pair’s room should be kept, how frequently they should hoover, change bed-sheets, etc.
- Cleanliness in common areas such as the bathroom, kitchen or living room – what are the standards expected, and who is expected to clean up after your children
- If you recycle make sure your au pair understands the process
- Children’s eating and sleeping times
- What times children need to be dressed by, and what time they should be in bedclothes by
- Children’s important activities and appointments, when they start, when they end, and where they are
- Treats for the children – for example sweets and television, are these allowed – if so, how much and how often, and on what conditions
Your house rules and guidelines should be communicated with your au pair as early as possible, during the hiring process, not after. Doing so allows both you and your au pair agree on what is expected, also, you will have a record of agreed terms and conditions should you ever need to refer to it.