AU PAIRS ARE NOT DOMESTIC WORKERS BUT NEED PROTECTION
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An au pair is a young foreign person, who resides fulltime with a family and contributes to the household by doing light housework and helping with childcare in exchange for food, lodging and pocket money (like any teenager or young adult). Au Pairs are recognised and treated as equal members of the family. It is a cultural exchange, a give and take on both sides.
Families welcome young adults from overseas and play an important role in enhancing and supporting their new experience: they help to minimise the culture shock and homesickness factors and introduce them to the country’s traditions and culture. They help the au pair learn a new language & also will facilitate them in attending language classes (provide transport where necessary or pay for public transport). They integrate them into their family life with events, excursions, outings etc.
Families have a duty of care and responsibility towards their au pair: they are obliged to provide food, a private room and to help and encourage the au pair to integrate into daily life in their host country.
Au Pairs are not professionals and expectations and demands of families are reasonable. The required hours and duties are limited.
The au pair programme is an affordable way for a young person to spend some time abroad and to improve their proficiency in a foreign language
WRC and MRCI must cease trying to impose existing employment regulations on the Au pair programme. Those rules simply are not fit for purpose.
Don't take this rewarding opportunity away from families and au pairs by rulings which are unworkable and inappropriate. Au pairs are not domestic workers. Host families are not employers. Considering au pairs as domestic workers would simply destroy the spirit and essence of the au pair programme. In other jurisdictions the Au pair programme is formally recognised as being apart from employment law (U.K. for example)
The lack of specific legislation/regulation for the programme in Ireland has created a grey area and left the way open for abuse. The term au pair in Ireland has been misused and abused as there is no legal definition of an au pair. Au pairs agencies have terms and conditions to which families must abide. Unfortunately, au pairs can also be recruited on line where no guide lines or support are provided.
To stop the abuse in the sector, the government urgently needs to legislate the au pair programme and regulate the stakeholders. However, treating au pairs as domestic workers isn’t the solution.
Please support APAC Ireland, support this petition - for a happier future for au pairs and Irish families!
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