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Old 24.04.2015, 11:07
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Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

Asking for someone I know who has taken a job in Valais and after only a week is leaving for a number of reasons, e g parents insisting that she doesn't leAve the house with child during the day, except for 2 daily
Pram walks, being told that she must remain in 2 rooms of the house (which have cameras installed and the parents are actively watching.. She knows this fr
Comments they have made). In short, very confining and in my opinion unreasonable to expect her to do this job.

She is leaving and they are refusing to pay her for the week she has worked.
Can they? She hasn't signed a contract yet so I don't know if she has a leg to stand on. Any advice welcome!!
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Old 24.04.2015, 11:38
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

Sounds like horrible story. I hope she will get payed. Crazy people... If they p can't trust anyone what is the point of hiring a stranger who lives in their house. They are not used to it and paranoid.
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Old 24.04.2015, 12:19
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

Paranioa rules... OK!

Wonder why they need minder if they can spend so much time watching via cameras?

Maybe they had a bad experience with previous employee?
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Old 24.04.2015, 13:38
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

Did she come with an agency? I would contact them right away.
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Old 24.04.2015, 14:51
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

They might simply need to earn their trust. I can imagine it is hard to leave your kid with basically a complete stranger. Times have unfortunately changed from the days where trust was easily given. I am sure I do not need to give reasons why it changed with everything you read in the news today.


Tell her to sign the contract with a 1 or 2 month probation period. If things don't improve.....well then there is always the option to leave.
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Old 24.04.2015, 15:30
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

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They might simply need to earn their trust. I can imagine it is hard to leave your kid with basically a complete stranger. Times have unfortunately changed from the days where trust was easily given. I am sure I do not need to give reasons why it changed with everything you read in the news today.
Trust should be mutual. You may be afraid that the Nanny would do something bad to your child or family but what about these girls or women, not necessarily Au Pair but also Nannies and Housekeepers, that : work more than agreed, have no papers or insurances, are not allowed to leave the house, no food, tortured or worse?? We've heard about these cases also.
They trusted their employers.
And by the way, you can use a hidden camera if you have a real reason that your child might be in danger but if you use one every day, all day long, just to ''micro manage'' your Nanny, then you have to inform her and tell her why you are using one.

Last edited by princessduck; 24.04.2015 at 15:43.
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Old 24.04.2015, 22:14
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

So I assume from the lack of response to my actual question: can they refuse to pay her?, that no one knows the answer?
Didn't really mean to turn it into a debate about cameras and their usage... She wasn't told there would be cameras and she's not comfortable with them. Period. She's also not going to be confined to two rooms of a house for the duration of her stay, hence her decision to leave.
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Old 24.04.2015, 22:23
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

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So I assume from the lack of response to my actual question: can they refuse to pay her?, that no one knows the answer?
Didn't really mean to turn it into a debate about cameras and their usage... She wasn't told there would be cameras and she's not comfortable with them. Period. She's also not going to be confined to two rooms of a house for the duration of her stay, hence her decision to leave.
Without a signed contract she's basically screwed, unless she was placed there via an agency.
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Old 25.04.2015, 07:42
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

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So I assume from the lack of response to my actual question: can they refuse to pay her?, that no one knows the answer?
Didn't really mean to turn it into a debate about cameras and their usage... She wasn't told there would be cameras and she's not comfortable with them. Period. She's also not going to be confined to two rooms of a house for the duration of her stay, hence her decision to leave.
Legally, no, they absolutely cannot withhold the pay. Your friend worked, she had an oral contract, etc. Nor do I believe that the use of cameras is legal, though I think there was a previous thread on that and I can't recall the outcome.

Practically, they *might* get away with it; but I'm afraid I don't know the correct government agency to complain to.
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Old 25.04.2015, 08:07
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

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Legally, no, they absolutely cannot withhold the pay. Your friend worked, she had an oral contract, etc.
Personally I'd agree here. There is an agreement between the family and your friend, she has done her part for the week, so should be entitled to pay. In order to get that pay, it might be a long and complicated process, so I would say she just walks away.

As princessduck said, trust has to go both ways. Yes the family are concerned about a "stranger" looking after their child. But your friend most probably has moved 100's if not 1000's of miles away from home and family to somewhere completely new and different to live with these people, she needs to trust them too. If she's not comfortable there, she should leave.

As was already asked, did she come through an agency? Can she speak with them? Or was it one of the au pair websites, after leaving can she post comments/stories about her experience with the family to warn others who may apply for a job there?


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Nor do I believe that the use of cameras is legal, though I think there was a previous thread on that and I can't recall the outcome.
There was mention about video surveillance in a thread on dashcams [1]. This linked to a document about private video surveillance [2]. About half way down in point 3 of "Installation of a CCTV system" it says:

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3. The persons in charge of the video surveillance must inform everyone within range of the cameras of their activities by providing a clearly visible notice about the CCTV system.
From your comments above:

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she must remain in 2 rooms of the house (which have cameras installed and the parents are actively watching.. She knows this fr Comments they have made).
That sounds like she is only assuming that there are cameras, but has not been informed in any way, which would make them illegal.


All in all it sounds like a bad situation for your friend. I would tell her to get out of there, and although I believe she is entitled to the weeks wages, it would probably be too much time and effort to claim them. Life is too short, just more on with hers.


[1] Dashcam (Dashboard Camera)
[2] http://www.edoeb.admin.ch/datenschut...x.html?lang=en
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Old 25.04.2015, 08:12
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

She didn't use an agency and has given her feedback to the family... Who knows if they will bother listening because all in all they sound like nut jobs.

I have done some reading on the camera issue and it seems that what they do is not allowed. http://www.worldlii.org/int/other/Pr...1995/3/58.html
Because they are being used to "survey or control the worker".
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Old 25.04.2015, 08:20
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

Kirstyjayne, your friend's situation sounds awful - but sadly all too common in Switzerland.

Too many families hire Au Pairs to work as cheap child care and domestic labor contrary to the regulations of the visa. Unfortunately there is little oversight because the visa is actually a cultural exchange visa, not a work visa. And shamefully there is little will on the part of the authorities to do anything that might rock the boat.

Here is a good Swiss Info article discussing the problem, with a few links that might be helpful to your friend. But the article points out the difficulties that Au Pairs face in getting help dealing with unfair working conditions.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/overwork...limbo/38237570

---

Your friend should leave this family, no doubt.

But she should also make sure that she understands what leaving means in terms of her permission to stay in Switzerland, and make appropriate plans.

In the first instance, does she have somewhere to stay once she leaves the family? Getting out of a bad situation should be her first concern.
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Old 25.04.2015, 11:03
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

We have had many au pairs over the years, and via them, we have heard some real horror stories.... and this one does not sound like it will get any better... while it might feel disastrous for your friend, the best thing to do is to chalk it up as a learning experience, go home and try again.

It is clear these people do not know how to be au pair host families, and I doubt that will ever change.... An au pair host family MUST treat the au pair as part of the family...like an older daughter / younger sister to the parents.... it will never work without trust.

The parents need to give guidance, ground rules and suggestions .... and then they need to leave the au pair to get on with it.... While my kids are now older, I always tell them that the 'au pair' is the boss when she is on duty...

While it is a week of lost pay and other expenses, I think she should write them an extensive e-mail, discuss it with them, if there are no changes, she should leave. To get the lost pay and her expenses back, she should write a letter to the Kantonal authorities.

From now ON, she must document everything using time stamped e-mails....

It is a bummer, but there are always a few bad apples out there - she will learn and be better for the experience.... and hopefully, she will do a better job of evaluating the host family for her next search....

Lastly for her next family, she should only look at families that have had previous au pairs and she should request the e-mail address of one of the recent au pairs so she can get a real reference.

All the best to her,

-D


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She didn't use an agency and has given her feedback to the family... Who knows if they will bother listening because all in all they sound like nut jobs.

I have done some reading on the camera issue and it seems that what they do is not allowed. http://www.worldlii.org/int/other/Pr...1995/3/58.html
Because they are being used to "survey or control the worker".
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Old 25.04.2015, 11:47
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

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So I assume from the lack of response to my actual question: can they refuse to pay her?, that no one knows the answer?
Didn't really mean to turn it into a debate about cameras and their usage... She wasn't told there would be cameras and she's not comfortable with them. Period. She's also not going to be confined to two rooms of a house for the duration of her stay, hence her decision to leave.
I assume the family are angry with her leaving and not giving them notice, that is probably why they were refusing to pay her.
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Old 25.04.2015, 12:09
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

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I assume the family are angry with her leaving and not giving them notice, that is probably why they were refusing to pay her.
Which does not change the illegality of not paying for work done, e.g. two wrongs do not make a right.

This is the thread I was thinking of: Nanny spy camera
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Old 25.04.2015, 12:13
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

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They might simply need to earn their trust. I can imagine it is hard to leave your kid with basically a complete stranger. Times have unfortunately changed from the days where trust was easily given. I am sure I do not need to give reasons why it changed with everything you read in the news today.
Sorry, but if they're not able to trust the nanny without such draconian and invasive measures as described by the OP they should take care of their offspring by themselves. Really!
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Old 25.04.2015, 12:17
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

The au pair should

1. Issue an invoice, detailing work carried out and pay due, together with a payment slip, giving 30 days to pay.
2. When it's not paid, she should issue a second invoice, giving ten days to pay and an offer to discuss if there are problems with that, but warning that the next step will be issuing what in German is called a Betreibung, and possibly court.
3. When it's not paid she should issue the Betreibung.

These are the easy steps. Any and all correspondence from the family should be kept in a file. If she wishes to proceed further, the next step is going to a magistrate. Personally, I'd walk away after 3.

It is a general principle of European law that you cannot withhold payment for services received, except under very special conditions which must be laid out in the contract.
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Old 25.04.2015, 12:34
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

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Sorry, but if they're not able to trust the nanny without such draconian and invasive measures as described by the OP they should take care of their offspring by themselves. Really!
Agree 100% with you! The sense of entitlement some people have is disgusting. What the **** gives them the right to treat people like this?
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Old 25.04.2015, 18:27
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

Completely agree.

She should leave.

Take the suggested invoice approach AND document in time stamped e-mails all further interaction.

Really sorry for her...

-D

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The au pair should

1. Issue an invoice, detailing work carried out and pay due, together with a payment slip, giving 30 days to pay.
2. When it's not paid, she should issue a second invoice, giving ten days to pay and an offer to discuss if there are problems with that, but warning that the next step will be issuing what in German is called a Betreibung, and possibly court.
3. When it's not paid she should issue the Betreibung.

These are the easy steps. Any and all correspondence from the family should be kept in a file. If she wishes to proceed further, the next step is going to a magistrate. Personally, I'd walk away after 3.

It is a general principle of European law that you cannot withhold payment for services received, except under very special conditions which must be laid out in the contract.
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Old 25.04.2015, 18:49
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Re: Au pair who leaves early due to strange job requirements

How much money is involved? Is it really worth the hassle?
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