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Old 25.10.2011, 23:56
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English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Hello I'm a 19 year old English au-pair who has been in Zug, Switzerland for just over two months. I live with the family and provide extensive childcare and some housework. I know it may have been naïve but this was my first time I have decided to au-pair for a family, and I decided not to go through an agency as I've heard they can limit your pay, place you in unsuitable situations etc. So I signed up to a website where I posted my profile, and after a couple of weeks I found a suitable family. They happened to be in England for a couple of weeks, so I met them and decided I would like to be their au-pair. I then travelled out late August, extremely excited about the opportunity of living in another county & providing childcare (which I love!)

So I've been here for a couple of months, and the family have kindly paid for me to go to a language course (although I now am coming to understand that this is actually a legal requirement of theirs and that all au-pairs need to do atleast 4 hours at a language school each week.) Through the language school I have met some other au pairs, & they are now telling me I am working too long & for too little pay, & that the family should have registered me in the Kanton (I am not registered in any way at the moment, the family told me this was not a requirement).

So yes, I work from 7am-7.30/8pm, 6 days a week. So I'm working 75-78 hours a week, & I recieve 600 CHF a month (and they provide meals, board, travel costs within Kanton Zug, a little money on my mobile phone each month & my language course). I spoke to my language teacher & the other au pairs about this, and they all say I should seek some advice because they don't think it's right what they are asking of me BUT:

1. I worry that they will find out I have spoken to people about this, and things will turn sour.
& 2. I am not registered as working here, I do not want to get myself OR the family into legal trouble, so I am reluctant to get advice from the local government etc.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, could someone who is familiar with the regulations let me know what they think, I have tried to search for some information of the internet but have been unsuccessful. I just want to know whether what I'm doing is correct, and whether the family are asking too much of me (I definitely feel tired!)

P.S - Also, I am qualified in childcare, & I know this can sometimes make a difference to how much pay you receive etc.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 26.10.2011, 02:03
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

I don't know exactly what the legal requirements are. You can find them on this site. Just search "au pair" and you will get lots of information.

From my quick search I found that you can only work 30 hours per week. You can see the other requirements here:
http://www.admin.ch/ch/f/rs/142_201/a48.html (it in french, there is no english version but you can use google translate)

You MUST register for a permit. It IS required. The fact that they have you working 70hrs per week which is not legal is, I'm guessing why they don't want you registering.

This family has put you in a very bad situation. I'd sit down with them ASAP and let them know that they need to sort this out ASAP and they need to do is now.

Personally, if I were you, I'd look for a new job. You family sound like complete ****s. Go to the job section here and see what you can find. There is one job open on the French site.

Good luck.
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Old 26.10.2011, 07:16
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Hi,
I was an au-pair myself at your age here in Switzerland. Regarding the net salary: I think it is mostly correct, since they have you on their board and paying you extra costs aside from the compulsory language courses.
For working hours: this should usually be stipulated in an employment contract. If it was mutually agreed to work this pensum and now you want to change your working hours, you will have to deal directly with your employers. I was recruited through an agency and know of pro filia that operates nationwide and might advise you more professionally on such questions.
If you earn a monthly salary however, your employers have to pay AHV/IV/EO and BU/NBU (social security and injury risks insurance). Who's taking care of payment of health insurance? From your description I'm not sure theses costs are taken care of.
7.30 - 20.00 isn't unusual as a full-time au-pair, except of saturdays i would think and depending if parents commute from/to work. Managing a little time off between the child care and household duties seems possible. Best of luck.
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Old 26.10.2011, 08:17
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

I hope the post from telandy are useful for your info search:
Employing an au pair - language question and other info
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Old 26.10.2011, 11:33
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Try Information on au pair regulations in Switzerland. Best luck xxx
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Old 26.10.2011, 12:29
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Hi sweetie, I think you know that your host family are taking advantage! You appear to be working the kind of hours expected by a 'nanny' rather than an 'au-pair'. Au pairs work more limited hours, of which half should be with the mother or father also at home, so you should not be having sole responsibility for the children for all your working hours.
Please take serious note also of the previous posting which questioned your health insurance. The UK does not have any mutual agreements with Switzerland for health care and you would be shocked if you knew how much just a visit to the doctor will cost - plus of course you are required to have insurance of you are working here.
Can I suggest you call in at the Zug 'Fachstelle Migrations' - this is an advisory service for migrants in the city. They are commited to privacy and confidentiality, so you can have confidence that your discussions with them will remain your private business. They are probably a better starting point than the Immigration Office in Zug who will put the fear of God into you if they think there's any nonsense going on.
The Fachstelle Migration are at Zeughausgasse 9, in the centre of Zug, close to the main post office. They are open Mon - Thurs 11am to 12noon and then 1.30 pm to 4pm. The number is 041 728 2276. They have lots of friendly English speaking staff.
Get your facts straight and then speak to your host family. They will be in a lot of trouble if they are not doing this right!
And lastly (!) you are probably already fond of the children you are looking after and wouldn't want to do anything to upset them, but don't allow this love of, and loyalty to, the children get in the way of you asking to be treated fairly.

Good luck x
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Old 26.10.2011, 13:40
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

You should be registered here and hold a Swiss permit to work here. The maximum working hours for an adult are 42 hours per week. You are working illegally, and might be fined and deported!

The cleanest way out for you is to just get a new job, you do not need to give them any notice, as they are employing you illegally.

http://www.englishforum.ch/jobs-offe...rges-area.html

"Powerlauer" in Zurich will be looking for an au-pair soon! What is the notice period for an au pair?

After you have left, please give us your present employers' town, so we can warn others to be careful.

Please ask your au pair contacts for agency addresses they have used and can recommend. The agency will help you, and would not have let you get into this situation.

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If you earn a monthly salary however, your employers have to pay AHV/IV/EO and BU/NBU (social security and injury risks insurance). Who's taking care of payment of health insurance?

Last edited by Sbrinz; 26.10.2011 at 13:52.
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Old 26.10.2011, 15:23
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

My former au pair, who now rents a room from me is working in Basel for another family for 42.5 hours per week, proper contract and receives 4000chf net per month. No house work and all proper deductions and tax taken at source. She still has agencies offering her work. she also has no formal childcare qualifications.

As you said, you are an au pair, the rules are slightly different. But, as you also say you have a child care qualification, I would ditch your family and get a proper nanny / daycare job.

Also look at the nurseries in the cities, there are plenty of bi-lingual and english speaking day care centres, who would be very happy to pay you the going rate. You are a native English speaker with an EU passport....it should not be a problem for you at all.

Do a language course in your time off.....You should also have plenty of time off to go and explore, which is part of the point of being an au pair. Something you can't do working the stupid hours you do. Where the hell are the parents. They shouldn't have kids if they are away such long hours....
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Old 26.10.2011, 16:32
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

I think Fair Maid of Kent has the best advice.
I have been an Au Pair in Belgium, 5 years ago, for 6 months, and it was terrible for me BUT I stayed there for so long because I had a strong relationship with the kids and I didn't wanted to make them suffer. I was working from 6:30 am until 21:00 (Mon- Fri) and on Saturday from 7:00 until 17:00, 4 kids, I was doing everything in that house, for a very small amount of pocket money.
Now I can't believe how many things I had to endure just because of my love for the kids. Nobody to talk to and nobody to turn to. Believe me, after a while, it really gets to you!
Keep in mind- your mental health, your self esteem and your skills are more important for you than a family that doesn't care about you!
Now I am lucky I am an Au Pair for a wonderful family, eventhough after that experience I said I will never be an Au Pair again.
You have to take action before it is getting worse.
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Old 26.10.2011, 16:41
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Agree totally on the first sentance the host family are taking total advantage of the OP. Not even a nanny should be working 75-78 hours a week though.

Rosie you should be working a maximum of 30 hours per of which only 15 should be sole charge. Your employer should have registered you, be paying for 50% of your health insurance and all of your accident insurance as well as covering all of your board & lodging expenses. You are not an Au Pair you are being treated like a slave and you need to do something about it before you are found out by the authorities & deported for working illegally.


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Hi sweetie, I think you know that your host family are taking advantage! You appear to be working the kind of hours expected by a 'nanny' rather than an 'au-pair'.
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Old 26.10.2011, 17:08
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Absolutely. I forgot to mention health insurance. The family should by paying this for you. And you need it to register. I'm guessing that is another reason they don't want you to be registered.

Good luck!

Last edited by miniMia; 26.10.2011 at 17:55.
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Old 26.10.2011, 17:15
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Follow the links that the other posters gave you. Make a list with the rules regarding the Au Pair: hours, pocket money, language course, health insurance, permit etc. and present it to your host family. Try to find a solution. If it doesn't work, I suggest you start searching for another family and be careful to have a writen contract and to get a permit to stay here or any legal papers that you need to have to stay here.
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Old 02.02.2012, 10:34
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

I am 19 and have just recently returned back from a six month period of working as an Au Pair in Switzerland, I was in a similar situation!

I also did not go through an agency as the family I worked for were family friends and have known me since I was 6/7. I now regret not going through an agency as I didn't have any back up to advise me on pay, working hours or what I was entitled to.
I am desperately seeking some help or advise with my problem!! In Switzerland I worked 40+ hours 4 days a week and got 700 CHF per month, 120 CHF was then deducted off of my pay for a 'pension'. I got paid cash in hand every month and was not aware of having to pay a pension before I ventured out to Switzerland. Also, I did not receive any paper work or evidence of what apparently was my pension and now I am home in England I am worried that I will never see this money again.. So I am asking if this is legitimate or not?

When in Switzerland I faced many problems with my employee concerning money and hours of work but felt that I couldn't bring any of them to the surface after one experience which lead to me living in a very awkward atmosphere.
Due to these issues I left Switzerland 6 months early.

I would be grateful for any feedback you could give me,
thank you.

Last edited by Longbyt; 03.02.2012 at 12:02. Reason: Edited personal info out.
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Old 02.02.2012, 11:32
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Amy you have left Switzerland, and now it will be very difficult for you to do anything about your situation.

If you had gone to the social services in your village of Illnau when you were working here, they could have pointed you in the right direction to receive help and advice. As far as I know, pension payments are not compulsory for 19 year old people! Maybe you can write to the ex-employer and ask them where your pension funds are being invested. Did you receive an AHV membership number, which proves you are in the government pension scheme? http://www.bsv.admin.ch/themen/ueber...x.html?lang=en

Did you have a contract covering hours worked and rate of payments? Did you register here, did you pay sickness insurance, unemployment insurance, or receive accident insurance? And can you even prove you went into their house?

You cannot employ a lawyer, as he would use up any money which might be recovered.

To all au-pairs: if you do not have a working contract, leave your employment as soon as you have found a new job. You MUST have an employment contract showing working hours and the hourly rate of pay, and you MUST register personally in your local village or town where you live. You MUST have sickness insurance and accident insurance with a Swiss insurance company. The blue EHIC card is only for medical emergencies for tourists.
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Old 02.02.2012, 12:14
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Did you have a permit?

If you did not register and didn't have a permit there is no way the could have been making pension contributions for you.
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Old 03.02.2012, 11:42
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Thank you for the replys.. Yes I did have a permit, my employer did write me a contract but simply stating 'XXX will be working for me 4 days a week' which I found inadequate and scary to hav it accepted by the government! As far as I know I wasn't paying any other insurance, only this 'pension' fund was coming out of my monthly pay..

Last edited by Longbyt; 03.02.2012 at 12:03. Reason: Edited personal info out.
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Old 03.02.2012, 13:24
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

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Thank you for the replys.. Yes I did have a permit, my employer did write me a contract but simply stating 'XXX will be working for me 4 days a week' which I found inadequate and scary to hav it accepted by the government! As far as I know I wasn't paying any other insurance, only this 'pension' fund was coming out of my monthly pay..
Ok. Well, if you have a permit then it's possible they did pay your contributions.

Let's just give them the benefit of the doubt:

Start by writing them and telling them that you want to transfer your Swiss pension contributions to the UK and for that you need your AVS number.

You can also go directly to the AVS and ask them if they have a record of you.
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Old 03.02.2012, 22:17
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Paying the AVS is a requirement, and 120 sounds a credible amount. It is calculated not only on your pocket money, but also on the room and board that you are receiving, evaluated at approx. 30CHF per day.

So that goes to about 900, plus 700 of pocket money, 1600.- on which 6.5% (I am not sure the percent has not changed recently) is 104CHF.

It is a bit rough that they were deducting it from your money... but it is legal. Now, what you can do is to ask to have it trasfered back home, and it will tell you if they were really paying it.

A good rule of thumb for any prospecting au-pair would be not to go ANYWHERE unless you have a clear contract in your hands, specifying:
- number of hours to be worked per week
- exceptions and overtime if required
- pay
- deductions
- work permit
- insurance
- travel costs
- time off and vacations (what happens during school vacations? is the family vacationing? are they taking you along, or sending you home? are they paying you, or not?)
- type of room and board: how is your room, can you go out at night, with whom do you eat... etc
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Old 03.02.2012, 22:31
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

CHF1600 is below the threshold for pension payments. I pay my part time nanny more than that and have been informed that pension payments are not made with this level of pay.

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Paying the AVS is a requirement, and 120 sounds a credible amount. It is calculated not only on your pocket money, but also on the room and board that you are receiving, evaluated at approx. 30CHF per day.

So that goes to about 900, plus 700 of pocket money, 1600.- on which 6.5% (I am not sure the percent has not changed recently) is 104CHF.

It is a bit rough that they were deducting it from your money... but it is legal. Now, what you can do is to ask to have it trasfered back home, and it will tell you if they were really paying it.

A good rule of thumb for any prospecting au-pair would be not to go ANYWHERE unless you have a clear contract in your hands, specifying:
- number of hours to be worked per week
- exceptions and overtime if required
- pay
- deductions
- work permit
- insurance
- travel costs
- time off and vacations (what happens during school vacations? is the family vacationing? are they taking you along, or sending you home? are they paying you, or not?)
- type of room and board: how is your room, can you go out at night, with whom do you eat... etc
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Old 04.02.2012, 00:16
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Re: English Au-pair needing some advice on au-pair regulations in Switzerland.

Here is the link for the domestic help contributions guidelines in French. Note: this is a direct link to the PDF file.

It's too late for me to read it in detail but I can another day if you want.


http://www.ahv-iv.info/andere/00134/...Sn6A--&lang=fr
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