au pair

How is the Coronavirus affecting the Au Pair program?

by Felicia on Jun 26, 2020
Coronavirus and the Au Pair program
Dear AuPair.com community,
Given the worldwide concerns about the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus, we decided to deal with the topic from the Au Pairs’ and the Host Families’ perspective. Being the Au Pair program an international project which involves people from all over the world, our priority is to inform our users about how this virus is going to affect the Au Pair program. We know that you have many questions and we will do our best to clear the possible case scenarios when it comes to au pairing.
We will provide you with technical information about the virus and will give you an overview of the measurements taken by most countries. We are going to update our information in order to keep you informed about the situation. In any case, there is no need to panic

What is the Coronavirus

Before beginning to delve into the details, we recommend all our users to get the information only from reliable sources. The Internet is blowing news concerning the Coronavirus: always check and verify what you are reading.Taking advantage of the situation and spread the panic, even more, is extremely easy, let’s try to avoid it!
The World Health Organization explains that the COVID-19 belongs to a whole family of Coronaviruses, transmissible between animals and people.
The virus spreads from person to person, through the droplets of mouth and nose, on objects and surfaces, through contact with respiratory droplets. The symptoms are of respiratory nature, including fever and cough, and they can get worse causing lung problems.
The incubation period is the time between catching the virus and beginning to develop the symptoms and it can last from 1 up to 14 days.

When did it spread

As the majority of us knows, the COVID-19 (first) appeared in Wuhan, a city in the Hubei Province of China, in December 2019. The origin of the virus is still unknown but there may be a connection with the animal markets of the city. The bond with animals lies at the heart of other viruses, such as the MERS and the SARS.
After seriously affecting China, it quickly spread all over the world: from Japan and South Korea (where it already reached its peak, according to the health minister), to Europe (especially Italy), Africa (Egypt), the Middle East (Iran) and the United States.

Numbers

The virus is particularly aggressive towards older people and those with already compromised health. The virus is currently reaching its peak in many countries. Click on the Worldometers to check the updates day by day.

Case scenarios for Au Pairs and Host Families

  • Au Pairs who are already au pairing abroad: there is no need to worry and to leave before time. Follow the instructions of your Host Country and you will be fine. If you are not supposed to leave in the next weeks, just wait until the situation gets better.
  • Au Pairs who are going to travel to the red areas: avoid unnecessary trips. You’ll definitely have the occasion to visit those places once the situation will come back to normal. 
  • Au Pairs who are going to work abroad in the next weeks/months: keep updated with the Host Countries’ regulations and with the travel companies. Ask your Host Family about the situation.
  • For the Host Families: ask the institutions if it’s advisable to hire an Au Pair now and consider to put out the Au Pair stay. AuPair.com can help you figure it out.
  • Host Families who host Au Pairs who have recently travelled: if the Au Pair doesn’t show any symptom or hasn’t been back in her hometown in the last weeks there is no need to worry. You may consider to prolong her stay, if she is supposed to leave the next days.
  • Host Families who already signed a contract and want to quit: think about it and don’t make decisions that you may regret. Keep updated with the news and eventually decide to postpone the stay.
  • Families who are worried about their kids: kids appear to show milder symptoms. Older people are more likely to have complications.
  • Host Families who are currently looking for an Au Pair: we are receiving many requests from Host Families who need childcare support as soon as possible but the current restrictions prevent Au Pairs from many countries to travel abroad. Therefore, hosting an Au Pair who is already in your country could be a good solution for you.
    You can easily filter out those Au Pairs using the filter "Currently living in" and selecting the country where your family lives. The system will automatically show you the candidates who are already in your country. You can have a look at their profiles and contact the Au Pairs immediately.
  • Host Families who are currently hosting an Au Pair: please consider that this extraordinary situation doesn't change the meaning of the Au Pair program. Every Au Pair is allowed to work a limited amount of hours per week and even if your children can't go to school now, your Au Pair doesn't have to work additional hours even if she's obliged to stay at home. Au Pairs are not employees but young people taking part in a cultural exchange abroad.
    However, given the current situation, if you ask the Au Pair to help you more than usual, the candidate should agree with it.
    It is important that you appreciate the Au Pair work and help in such a difficult time, compensate them accordingly and also motivate them. Otherwise, the Au Pair could feel exploited and leave your family.

How is the virus going to affect the program?

The worldwide economy is already facing the huge effects of the pandemic and there will be direct - temporary - consequences for the Au Pair program as well. 
  • Less registrations overall: in order to respect the measures taken by every country, there may be a minor number of Au Pair jobs or Au Pair candidates for the time being. 
  • Impossibility to travel: again, given the measures taken by the countries, there may be serious restrictions on travelling. We suggest that you check the travel companies' websites to get updates. Consider that most airlines refund the cost of the cancelled flights. You have to check your flight status in order to get more information. See the information regarding the locking of the Schengen borders below.
  • Problems in getting a visa: there may be delays due to the impossibilities of embassies to submit visa documents. Please, check the Host Country’s embassy website in order to know whether they are working regularly or not.
  • Language schools may be closed, according to the area. Call your Host Family and ask them for more information about it.
  • Changes in the Au Pair daily schedule: since many countries are now closing schools, the Host Kids will be at home most of the time. Therefore, your daily tasks and schedule could change, in order to handle this extraordinary situation as best as possible. Flexibility and cooperation are required now more than ever, but the terms and the nature of the Au Pair program have to be respected, without exploitation or misuse.
  • If the Au Pair works less hours: Changing the Au Pair schedule means reducing the amount of hours she/he has to work? If the answer is yes, please remember that the pocket money he/she receives isn’t a proper salary but a compensation for the provided childcare. Therefore, the Au Pair still has to be paid during the quarantine, as agreed in the contract, considering the necessities and the resources of the Host Family. 

Update: measures taken in every country

Being China the first area affected by the virus, its government already took the necessary precautions some months ago in order to contain it. People are monitored every day, they are obliged to wear face masks and to pass a daily health check. Cities have been locked down, public gatherings have been suspended.
 
In February, the virus began to spread in Europe as well, especially in Italy. At the moment the quarantine measures are lighter than before: people still have to wear masks and to leave their homes only if necessary (a self-certification is required). Schools and universities will remain closed, until September. From the 4th May there will be some reopenings in the industry field, whereas restaurants, pubs and other shops will have to wait the 1st June. 
 
As for Italy, many countries have adopted the same restrictions on travels and large gatherings.
France also decided that the population can’t go out without a self-certification. The only reasons allowed are to go shopping, to see the doctor, to go to work if teleworking is not possible, to work out close to home, to take pets for a walk or to visit the family if necessary. Until a few days ago, only people who were hospitalized, suffering from severe symptoms or in intensive care were tested. Now, some hospitals are trying to set up a new system to test as many people as possible.  The lockdown in France will continue until the 11th of May. President Macron announced a progressive reopening of schools and kindergartens after May 11th.

The day after the start of containment in France, Belgium took very similar measures, followed by Spain who hopes to see the results of the lockdown the next days.
The situation in Germany is more stable: from the 27th it’s mandatory to wear masks on the public transports and inside the shops, whereas the Kontaktverbot will last until the 4th May.
 
The US stopped all the flights from Europe and extended the shutdown for further 30 days, being now the country with the majority of COVID cases in the world. From the 24th March, the UK is also under lockdown. 
The European Union has also decided to close its borders. No international flights can enter the Schengen area, except for repatriations. 

Many countries are preparing for the “second phase” of the COVID-19 crisis. Australia launched the COVIDSafe app, which should provide people with all the useful information concerning the tracking of the virus thanks to the Bluetooth technology.

Prevention

Let’s keep it simple. Preventing the virus is possible, we just have to take care of ourselves and to follow these steps. They can really make the difference!
  • Wash your hands - how many times have you told your Host Kids to do that? It’s time for you to lead by example.
  • Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose and mouth): if you don’t wash your hand, you shouldn’t touch your face. It’s actually something that we should never do. No news!
  • Maintain at least 1-meter distance: especially in crowded places. The new indications suggested 4,5 metres.
  • Don’t cough and sneeze on the face of somebody else - again, no news!
  • Avoid crowded places, especially if you already feel ill. 
  • Don’t panic: viruses like panic, don’t feed them!
  • If you have travelled abroad recently, stay at home for 14 days. It’s just a means to prevent the eventual diffusion of the virus. It’s time to check all the series on your Netflix list, 14 days can go very fast.
To read more about the protective measures click here.
This situation is pretty new for everyone but we can really help each other taking all the prevention methods seriously. It’s a sign of respect for all the people who already have compromised health and for the professionals who are working nonstop in clinics and hospitals. Let’s try to do our best! #stayathome
 
We are going to keep you updated with all the information concerning the Au Pair programs and the restrictions in every country. Stay tuned!

If you are running out of ideas to entertain the kids during the quarantine and you are wondering about the best way to deal with this serious topic with them, check out our new blog post! We will find tips and ideas which will be useful for the quarantine!

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Some Thoughts...
Portia
Mar, 11, 2020 - 08:03 pm
Very helpful. Thank you for such an informative article
Simon
Mar, 13, 2020 - 08:03 pm
How do we deal with the situation that the aupair didn't need a visa so far because she wasn't planning to stay more than three months but may be not able to leave because of travelling restrictions and therefore may exceed the three months?!
Julia, Aupair.com | Mar, 31, 2020 - 04:03 pm
Hello Simon,

Thank you for your comment. For now, it really depends on which countries you and the candidate live in. For example, in many countries around Europe, entering or leaving a country is not an option at the moment and EU citizens are still banned from entering the US. Please make sure to read the information on the embassy's website and think about postponing the stay.

We hope that you and your family stay healthy!
Milly
Apr, 02, 2020 - 09:04 am
We are due to be collecting an au pair from chile on Saturday. Should he still come?
Julia, Aupair.com | Apr, 06, 2020 - 09:04 am
Hello Milly,

Thank you for your comment. For now, it really depends on which countries you and the candidate live in. For example, in many countries around Europe, entering or leaving a country is not an option at the moment and EU citizens are still banned from entering the US. Please make sure to read the information on the embassy's website and think about postponing the stay. We hope that you and your family stay healthy!
Daniela
Apr, 09, 2020 - 08:04 am
My Au Pair Visa will be valid to enter Germany on 25th April, is it possible to enter the border by that time? I need to book for a flight ticket since the price is getting higher. Thank you.
Julia, Aupair.com | Apr, 14, 2020 - 08:04 am
Hello Daniela,

Thank you for your message. Please contact the German embassy in your country. They will be able to provide current information about entering the Germany during the Corona crisis.
Portia
Apr, 24, 2020 - 03:04 am
Waaaaaaw!!! That was so helpful and refreshing, because this Coronavirus it's confusing you don't know what to do!!! Thank you Aurpair.com team.
Julia, Aupair.com | May, 07, 2020 - 10:05 am
Hello Portia,

Thank you for your message. We are glad to hear that we could help you! :)
Sarah,
May, 01, 2020 - 05:05 am
My host family doesn’t let me leave the house. They don’t let me see my friends. They don’t let me see my boy friend. Is this legal? They tell me they will fire me if I leave the house. My friends are telling me this is illegal detainment Under USA laws. But I am not USA citizen. I’m scared and Uncomfortable. I am terrified if I say something that they will get me deported, what can I do to make them understand that I have a life her and simply just need to see the people I care ablout.
Julia, Aupair.com | May, 07, 2020 - 10:05 am
Hello Sarah,

Thank you for your comment. We understand that this must be a very stressful situation for you! Please try to talk to your Host Family about the current situation. Also, you can do some research to find out if there is an official lock down where you live. Every state has different regulations. If there is an official lock down, we would recommend you to only contact your friends and family via social media.

We hope that you will find a good solution!
Ayo
May, 05, 2020 - 02:05 am
How do we handle a situation where Aupair contract has ended and now host can't afford to pay aupair due to being out of work as a result of COVID-19?
Julia, Aupair.com | May, 07, 2020 - 10:05 am
Hello Ayo,

Thank you for your comment. We understand that this is a very difficult situation. In this case, the Au Pair should contact the embassy of her/his home country in the host's country. Usually, they take care of people who have troubles returning home.

We wish you all the best in this extraordinary time!
Maclee
May, 05, 2020 - 05:05 pm
I would just like to say that l appreciate your good work and may the good Lord protect us all from this pandemic. I hope we will all follow the prevention procedures that where introduced by our WHO because its just a phase that will come to past one day and on thay day l hope some of us will be able to have host families. So stay safe and don't forget to pray..
Julia, Aupair.com | May, 07, 2020 - 10:05 am
Hello Maclee,

Thank you for your comment! Stay safe and good luck in your search!
Ethel
Jun, 02, 2020 - 09:06 pm
Hi I am from Philippines. I am currenly living in Denmark. My aupair visa in Denmark will end in June 30,2020. Can you educate me if there will be any option I can do to stay a bit more? My home in the Philippines is far from the capital Manila. It will be hard for me to go home because I need to stay in Manila to be quarantined. Aside from that, we don’t have the free accommodation as per law. We have to pay our own expenses from the swab test and hotel accommodation while we are on quarantine. Covid cases are still increasing in the Philippines too. Will I ever have the chance to stay a bit more in Denmark even though my visa will expire June 30? For health and safety purposes. I hope you can help me about it. Thank you so much.
Julia, Aupair.com | Jun, 03, 2020 - 08:06 am
Hello Ethel,

Thank you for your comment. Please contact the local foreigner office or the embassy in Denmark. Unfortunately, every country has different means during this crisis and most countries have not been prepared for this outbreak. We heard from German clients that their Au Pairs get a document that allows them to stay for a few more weeks and they need to update this document regularly. Another client told us that the Au Pair visa got extended. But others also told us that they had to leave the country and that there was no exceptions even during the current health crisis. So, please contact your local authorities to learn more.

We hope for you that you can find a suitable and useful solution!
Rachel
Jun, 13, 2020 - 11:06 am
I am due to go to Germany to be an aupair on 4th July. I’m worried I may not be let into the country. I’m from the uk
Julia, Aupair.com | Jun, 15, 2020 - 09:06 am
Hello Rachel,

Thank you for your comment. As far as we know, Germany will open the border on June 15th. But please have a look at the embassy's website to get more details.

We hope you have a great stay!
Erin
Jun, 13, 2020 - 03:06 pm
Hi, I am planning to AuPair next month in Italy. There will be flights however I am not sure whether I can get travel insurance. Could you advise on this?
Julia, Aupair.com | Jun, 15, 2020 - 09:06 am
Hello Erin,

Thank you for your question. We know of Au Pairs whose flights got cancelled. The airline will most likely give you a voucher in this case. As far as we know, you can still get a travel insurance however you need to make sure that the insurance will cover your case.

We wish you all the best!
Andrew
Jun, 15, 2020 - 10:06 pm
Hallo, am Andrew From Tanzania my au pair is about to Start on date of July 27 will i be abble to inter in Germany? am non-eu
Julia, Aupair.com | Jun, 16, 2020 - 08:06 am
Hello Andrew,

Thank you for your comment. At the moment, it's not easy to answer your question. It will depend on the development of infections in Germany. Right now, the numbers are quite low and the borders are open for EU-Au Pairs again. Please contact the German embassy in Tanzania for more details.

We hope you can start your stay as planned!
Lucy
Jun, 21, 2020 - 08:06 pm
Hi there, If Italy is accepting tourists but the UL advices only essential travel, does this count as essential travel?
Julia, Aupair.com | Jun, 22, 2020 - 09:06 am
Hello Lucy,

Thank you for your comment. Eventhough Italy's border are open at the moment, we have noticed that flights to Italy get cancelled very often. We advise you to double-check with the airline company since many airports are still closed however airlines offer fligt tickets and cancel right after.
There is still a travel warning since no one can guarantee that you will not catch the virus at the moment. But officialy, EU citizens can enter Italy right now.
Sinead
Jun, 22, 2020 - 03:06 pm
Our au pair is travelling from Germany to our home in UK. She must isolate for 14 days. Does that mean she has to stay alone in her bedroom for 14 days? Or can she mix with us the host family? What are the guidelines for the isolation period?
Julia, Aupair.com | Jun, 23, 2020 - 09:06 am
Hello Sinead,

Thank you for your comment. The quarantine regulations depend on the part of the UK you live in. Please find an overview on the British government's website: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

We hope this helps!
Malaika
Jun, 27, 2020 - 08:06 pm
Hello! I was planning on searching for a family in South Korea that needs an Au Pair. I myself am from Germany. Is there anything known about when/if it is possible to go there in the next couple of months? Thank you!
Julia, Aupair.com | Jun, 30, 2020 - 08:06 am
Hello Malaika,

Thank you for your comment. We highly advise you to contact the South Korean embassy in Germany. They keep you updated on their website. We hope that you can become an Au Pair in South Korea soon!
Naluzze
Jul, 07, 2020 - 11:07 pm
Hello Au pair team..please am desperate i applied to be an au pair in the U.S ...am 26 and making 27 in november and due to corona i may not get my visa in time..am really stresed and due to the ban we are travelling next year... There is a possibility i will not travel due to age limit....please i really need help abt this
Julia, Aupair.com | Jul, 08, 2020 - 09:07 am
Hello Naluzze,

Thank you for your comment. We feel your pain!
Fortunately, some Au Pairs have already take action! They created a petition online to address this very topic. You can find the link to the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/united-states-government-extension-of-the-age-limit-for-au-pair-exchanges-1a352b7c-d2ef-4377-a201-581e7b23b0bd?recruiter=1059449119&utm_source=share_petition&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_abi&utm_medium=whatsapp&recruited_by_id=97954a10-6c48-11ea-ae96-bda320883e16&utm_content=washarecopy_20981181_pt-BR%3Av3&fbclid=IwAR0V6R08bzhejxXdoGCt4RX03x7rZQIs8gYF58GQBQW5upGTyKtDJsI0GTQ

We have already signed it and we will address it in our social media channels to gather more voices.
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