au pair

What to do if your rights as an Au Pair have been infringed?

⏱ Reading time: 4 min.
We know that the illusion of being an Au Pair is a dream shared by many people around the world. However, although our team makes every effort to ensure that all parties have a good experience, there are cases in which the Host Family may not comply with the rules of the program and may violate the rights of the Au Pair. Read on and find out what to do in those cases.
rights as Au Pair have been violated

Since its creation, the Au Pair program has helped thousands of Host Families and candidates from all over the world to live an enriching experience of cultural and linguistic exchange. In fact, we, at AuPair.com, can assure you that most of the people who participate in the program express their satisfaction with its results.
 

Countless Au Pair candidates from all over the world have benefited from the Au Pair adventure to grow personally and professionally, and to create unforgettable memories.
 

However, on the flip side of the coin, situations in which some Host Families exploit and mistreat their Au Pair are not uncommon. The absence of a precise regulation in most of the countries where the program takes place, makes Au Pairs victims of a legal limbo in which they are not considered as formal workers or employees, but as “family members”.
 

This unclear status allows some families to take advantage of the imbalance of power that exists between them and their Au Pair so that the candidates become underpaid domestic employees with lots of extra hours of work. 
 

At AuPair.com, we completely condemn this type of mistreatment, and we strive to help candidates live a true exchange experience in which they genuinely become members of the Family during the period they decide to stay in the host country. 


We are not a full-service agency. This means that we do not have the influence or legal power to help the candidates report any kind of mistreatment received by the Host Family to the local authorities of the host country. Of course, this does not mean that Au Pairs are helpless or that we are not interested in their welfare during their stay. Our team works hard to process, as soon as possible, any complaint filed by users of our platform. However, we feel it is important to emphasize that our power of action only allows us to block undesirable profiles from having contact with any other member of our website. Click here to find out how our team deals with complaints we receive and what action we take to ensure a resolution. 
 

The good news is that there are several effective measures you can take to find the ideal family and make the most of your stay. Here are some tips you can follow to stay away from and/or protect yourself from families that do not fulfill their obligations as hosts. For this, we will divide the most common problems that occur into two categories: Violation of your rights as an Au Pair and Violation of your rights as a human being. 

What to do if your rights as an Au Pair are violated? 

Firstly, we must be precise about what we mean by your “rights as an Au Pair”. Pay attention, because before starting the program, it must be clear to you what these rights are, and you should make sure, through the interviews with your family, that they also know them. As an Au Pair, you are entitled to: 


  • An Au Pair contract signed by you and your Host Family before the start of your stay.

  • A private room that you can lock. 

  • Three full meals a day.

  • A fixed amount of pocket money paid promptly (the amount varies depending on the host country). 

  • A fixed work schedule that does not exceed the number of hours established by the program in your host country. 

  • A certain amount of days off and vacations in accordance with your host country’s regulations. 

  • Time off to attend your language course


If the interaction between you and the family does not work out, you also have the right to receive advance notice to allow you to find another family or place to stay in the host country. 
 

In some countries, the Host Family must even provide the Au pair with medical insurance
 

In case you do not receive some of these benefits:
 

The first thing you should do is to speak directly with the Family. Speak clearly about how you want things to be, you can even rely on the contract you should have previously signed. Try to be assertive and respectful at all times. Good communication should be one of the priorities of the coexistence between you. 
 

If you don't notice any change after you have expressed your dissatisfaction, it's time to consider changing your host family. Make sure you have alternatives, do not close or inactivate your AuPair.com account. Look for another family in your area as soon as possible, and let your current host family know well in advance that you have decided to leave. 
 

If you want, you can file a complaint on our platform. This will prevent other users from going through similar problems as you. Please note that we can only process complaints that are supported by evidence. So always try to keep screenshots of important conversations with your family, and a copy of your contract
 

Remember, it's good to be flexible, but not too much. It is clear that there is an imbalance of power between Au Pair Families and Au Pairs, but your rights should not be negotiable. If you don't get what you deserve, it is up to you to find a family that does respect the rules of the program. We assure you that there are plenty of them on our platform. 

What to do if your rights as a human being are violated? 

Here we get more serious, the violation of human rights is something much more grave and requires the intervention of the authorities of the host country. There are several ways in which a Family can violate your rights, these are some of them: 


  • You have been a victim of physical, verbal, or psychological abuse (you were beaten, insulted, or they try to manipulate you to do things you don't want to do). 

  • You have been sexually harassed by a family member. 

  • You were locked up and left without food for several hours or days. 

  • You have had to deal with a parent who is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. 

In either case, we recommend you proceed as follows: 


  1. Get out. The above are non-negotiable cases. Locate a support group, as soon as you arrive in the host country so that you can go to another place in case you have problems. These supporters can be a local Au Pair group, international friends, or even your country's consulate. 

  2. Be sure to collect evidence and file a report with your local law enforcement office. You can go to the police to report your case. The process will be much easier if you have proof. Remember, save screenshots, images, or videos that can help you demonstrate you have been a victim of that family. Is there any entity that intervened in the process of obtaining your Au Pair status? Contact them. You are not losing anything, on the contrary, you are helping to ensure that your abusers receive the full weight of the law. 

  3. If you have difficulty speaking the local language, ask someone from your support network for help. Some police stations, in particular host countries, also have translators who can assist you in communicating. 

  4. Don't forget to file a complaint on our platform as well. This will help us to protect other users. 

 




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