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Old 22.08.2013, 09:50
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I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

I work as an Au Pair but I'm not contracted as one, my contract comes under another business my employer owns.
I work on average about 64ish hours a week, 5 days a week, from 06:45 - 18:45.
I get paid 1000chf per month as I'm living in.
I can give details abut my schedule if its important, but I don't really have a break.

My employers said that they don't count hours as its just 'finicky' and there are no marked hours in my contract as far as I'm aware. They do say that any over hours are not counted as we have to work together as a family. As far as I'm aware, my waking the (3) kids early so they can sleep til 10 isn't working as a family. I have asked the and they said if I'm not really doing my job properly then I'm just a bit of a waste of money.
Is there anything I can do about the long hours?
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Old 22.08.2013, 09:53
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

Quit. They are exploiting you. Officially, "aupairs" cannot work those hours. You can challenge them legally, of course, but can't imagine that would lead to a conducive live-in environment afterwards

Suggest you leave
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Old 22.08.2013, 09:54
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

Look for another job. This family is abusing you.

45 hours is the maximum usually worked in Switzerland. Ask them to employ a second au-pair to help you with the hours.
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Old 22.08.2013, 10:00
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

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Quit. They are exploiting you. Officially, "aupairs" cannot work those hours. You can challenge them legally, of course, but can't imagine that would lead to a conducive live-in environment afterwards

Suggest you leave
I'm leaving in October, I told them earlier in the week. The hours are leaving me too tired to socialise haha.
Is exploit really the right word? They're nice people for the most part but I think the hours are a little unreasonable.
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Old 22.08.2013, 10:05
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

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My employers said that they don't count hours as its just 'finicky' and there are no marked hours in my contract as far as I'm aware.
Firstly, and most importantly, I support the suggestions above - Quit.

It's not nice, and it's clear that you are being exploited.

To further the advice though, I would also suggest trying to find another job while you are employed. It's much easier to find another job while you are employed, rather than being unemployed and looking.
This being said, don't expect an amazing reference from your troll overlords.
(this is not your fault, so don't take it to heart).


Once you have a new job in place, give your notice, and take FULL advantage of the fact you have no 'contract' ours in place.
Keep working at a reasonable level but when they complain........ just laugh it off and say they are being "Finicky".

Good Luck.
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Old 22.08.2013, 10:05
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

The status of Au Pair is a very protected one. Maximum 30 hours, only 50% of that in sole charge of children. No heavy/dirty housework, must live as a part of the family (not just in same house) and have sufficient time for a language course paid by the family, and by law an Au Pair has to be employed via a Agency to protect Au Pairs from such abuse. Because abuse it is - it happens all over the world sadly, not just CH. When we employed Au Pairs in the UK, we were forever 'rescuing' other Au Pairs and re-homing them, for the same reasons. But if the employer is also fiddling with employment contracts and tax, it takes it to a whole new level.

Not sure where you come from, and whether quitting NOW and IMMEDIATELY is an option- but this is what I would advise. Not sure whether you can't, because your situation puts you as an illegal, depending on where you come from... but I would report them to the Valais social services- because if you do not, they will get another Au Pair and abuse her just the same. And of course he is on the fiddle with the tax as he puts your salary against tax, etc. Do you know if he pays social costs and insurance for you? Makes my blood boil. So you are paid 4CHF per hour approx. B****rds.

If I can help by pm (I am a native French speaker), do ask.

Last edited by Odile; 22.08.2013 at 10:17.
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Old 22.08.2013, 10:09
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

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I'm leaving in October, I told them earlier in the week. The hours are leaving me too tired to socialise haha.
Is exploit really the right word? They're nice people for the most part but I think the hours are a little unreasonable.
Exploit is still the correct expression but at least it is relative to the pay rather than the working conditions. Being 'underpaid' is still exploitation.... but it's also "supply and demand".

If you received 10,000chf a month I'm sure you wouldn't mind.


Try to keep them onside though for your future reference. It sounds like they fully understand your circumstances.
Don't let it blow out of proportion.
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Old 22.08.2013, 10:30
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

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Is exploit really the right word?
You can use slave labour if you like that word better
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Old 22.08.2013, 10:31
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

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The status of Au Pair is a very protected one. Maximum 30 hours, only 50% of that in sole charge of children. No heavy/dirty housework, must live as a part of the family (not just in same house) and have sufficient time for a language course paid by the family, and by law an Au Pair has to be employed via a Agency to protect Au Pairs from such abuse. Because abuse it is - it happens all over the world sadly, not just CH. When we employed Au Pairs in the UK, we were forever 'rescuing' other Au Pairs and re-homing them, for the same reasons. But if the employer is also fiddling with employment contracts and tax, it takes it to a whole new level.

Not sure where you come from, and whether quitting NOW and IMMEDIATELY is an option- but this is what I would advise. Not sure whether you can't, because your situation puts you as an illegal, depending on where you come from... but I would report them to the Valais social services- because if you do not, they will get another Au Pair and abuse her just the same. And of course he is on the fiddle with the tax as he puts your salary against tax, etc. Do you know if he pays social costs and insurance for you? Makes my blood boil. So you are paid 4CHF per hour approx. B****rds.

If I can help by pm (I am a native French speaker), do ask.
Thank you so much.
I could quit now but I've already said to them that I'm leaving in October.
Actually I worked it out and it's more 2 or 3chf an hour as I work til 8:45pm , not 6:45 pm hah.
I come from the UK so there is no problems there as far as I know.
Is there anything I can do aside from reporting them? I don't have any options for leaving until October so I don't want to be out of a job and a room ha. Besides, they're well respected and known in the town...
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Old 22.08.2013, 10:46
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

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Thank you so much.
I could quit now but I've already said to them that I'm leaving in October.
Actually I worked it out and it's more 2 or 3chf an hour as I work til 8:45pm , not 6:45 pm hah.
I come from the UK so there is no problems there as far as I know.
Is there anything I can do aside from reporting them? I don't have any options for leaving until October so I don't want to be out of a job and a room ha. Besides, they're well respected and known in the town...
Well, they won't be after you report them. Did they even set up a language course for you? This is way over the top and don't hesitate to report them, otherwise other girls will end up in the same situation.

If you want to continue working as an au pair then contact an agency so you're not exploited again. I'd start the process now so you have something to go to in October.

There's more info here on au pair regs, etc:

LOOK HERE FIRST for Childcare/Schooling / Family Info / Help Sites
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Old 22.08.2013, 10:56
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

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Well, they won't be after you report them. Did they even set up a language course for you? This is way over the top and don't hesitate to report them, otherwise other girls will end up in the same situation.

If you want to continue working as an au pair then contact an agency so you're not exploited again. I'd start the process now so you have something to go to in October.

There's more info here on au pair regs, etc:

LOOK HERE FIRST for Childcare/Schooling / Family Info / Help Sites
They told me they were going to but it doesn't start until feb or something.
I don't think I want to work as an au pair again, actually, this is my first time as one haha. That's life I suppose!
They've had aupairs for I think around 6 years, so I don't want to be one that's Whiny, yknow?
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Old 22.08.2013, 11:00
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

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Thank you so much.
I could quit now but I've already said to them that I'm leaving in October.
Actually I worked it out and it's more 2 or 3chf an hour as I work til 8:45pm , not 6:45 pm hah.
I come from the UK so there is no problems there as far as I know.
Is there anything I can do aside from reporting them? I don't have any options for leaving until October so I don't want to be out of a job and a room ha. Besides, they're well respected and known in the town...
Those sort normally are.

Write a story for the local newspaper about your exploitative employers.
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Old 22.08.2013, 11:01
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

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!
They've had aupairs for I think around 6 years, so I don't want to be one that's Whiny, yknow?
So you'd let another poor girl (or boy) suffer the same abuse you went through, to avoid being "Whiny" (sic)?
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Old 22.08.2013, 11:01
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

Why give them loyalty until October- and protect their reputation? They don't deserve either.

Perhaps there is a family right here who could employ you legally and with a proper contract from NOW - is there? If you give me more detail by pm, I'd be very happy to contact the Commune and ask for advice. Hey, why not contact the Hebdo magazine and expose them 'good and proper' for what they are. I'd be happy to arrange for that too! Happy to write a letter to the Commune and Unia too.

The way I think of it, you could be my daughter or grand-daughter... and what is totally unacceptable for them is not for you either. What on earth do your parents think about it all? If I lived nearer and didn't have other commitments coming up, I'd be happy to host you for the rest of the time- maybe somebody else here would?
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Old 22.08.2013, 11:14
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

1) Keep track and have a record of all your working hours.
2) Once your contract is over sue them for any outstanding overtime compensation.
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Old 22.08.2013, 11:16
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

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Why give them loyalty until October- and protect their reputation? They don't deserve either.

Perhaps there is a family right here who could employ you legally and with a proper contract from NOW - is there? If you give me more detail by pm, I'd be very happy to contact the Commune and ask for advice. Hey, why not contact the Hebdo magazine and expose them 'good and proper' for what they are. I'd be happy to arrange for that too! Happy to write a letter to the Commune and Unia too.

The way I think of it, you could be my daughter or grand-daughter... and what is totally unacceptable for them is not for you either. What on earth do your parents think about it all? If I lived nearer and didn't have other commitments coming up, I'd be happy to host you for the rest of the time- maybe somebody else here would?
I have a weird mental thing about failing. October is the longest I could see myself having this job! Haha
My parents are furious. Really really angry. I spoke to my father a few days ago and I hadn't heard him so annoyed at something.

I really thank you for your kind words
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Old 22.08.2013, 11:32
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

Failing? Leaving would show strength and success imho. They have totally failed to act legally and fairly- and from what you say have done with many others before and intend to continue- and they should be stopped.

As said, this is not just a Swiss thing- 1000s of Au Pairs are in the same situation all over, including the UK. Unlike you though, many are here illegally from non EU countries and cannot leave for legal, financial or other reasons, their passports taken away from them and without the finances to buy a ticket home, and even worse conditions if they go back - so put up and shut up.





"Au pair in Switzerland

Official Au Pair in Switzerland Program Information
It is possible to work as an au pair in Switzerland. Young foreigners from non-EU countries must be aware that there are tight restrictions and a limit to the number of residence permits issued. Host families must contact their local canton authority should they want an au pair from a non-EU country. In general, Switzerland accepts non-EU au pairs from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. The best advice we can give au pairs is to contact your local Swiss embassy or consulate for more information.

Au pair in Switzerland Mandatory Criteria
An au pair in Switzerland must be between 17-30 years of age for EU / EFTA nationals
An au pair in Switzerland must be between 18-25 for non EU / EFTA nationals
You must have a written contract from the host family in Switzerland, where the terms and conditions of employment are clearly stated
An au pair in Switzerland must attend a language course

Au pair in Switzerland Host Family Mandatory Criteria
If hiring a non EU citizen, a host family must engage a licensed Swiss agency accredited by SECO to obtain the appropriate visa and work/residence permits
The host mother and father must not have the same first language as the au pair in Switzerland
Host families must have children under 16 years of age if employing an au pair in Switzerland
One of the host parents must be present in the household for at least half of the au pair's working hours

Au Pair in Switzerland General Information

Pocket Money

An au pair in Switzerland is paid approximately sFr. 700-sFr. 800 per month after taxes / deductions depending on age, experience, working hours and canton
A cash allowance for meals (determined by the AHV) is to be paid on days off and during holidays should the au pair not eat with the family
Tax at source and social security contributions for the au pair and half of the health/worker's compensation insurance premium may be deducted from the au pair's pay
The au pair must also have outside work accident insurance and the host family may deduct this cost from the au pair's pay
An au pair in Switzerland is required to pay taxes on income in the year they turn 19

Working hours, free time and holidays

An au pair in Switzerland can work up to 30 hours per week, 5 hours per day.
Free time is 1.5 days per week and at least 1 whole weekend per month
An au pair in Switzerland has 4 weeks holiday per 12 month stay, 5 weeks if you are under 20 years of age

Accommodation and Meals

An au pair in Switzerland is provided with their own lockable, well heated room, 3 meals per day and free access to the family home
Should an au pair in Switzerland not receive all board and lodging provisions, compensation must be made

Travel Costs

The au pair is to pay for travel costs to and from Switzerland in most instances, check with local canton authority
Please refer to our Travel Partners for discounts on flights and travel insurance

Language skills and courses

TheBestAupair recommends an au pair in Switzerland have basic German or French, but it is not mandatory
Your host family is required to enrol you in a language school. You must commene classes within 4 weeks of entering Switzerland. You must complete at least 120 hours of language classes. The host family pays the course cost. Confirmation of enrolment in the language school must be sent to the AWA.
Length of stay

An au pair in Switzerland can stay for up to 2 years for EU / EEA nationals and 12 months maximum for non-EU nationals

Insurances

EEA citizens who possess a European Health Insurance Card can access healthcare services during temporary visits abroad. Please read through the relevant sections for you to decide if this insurance is appropriate for you and if it is, please take your health insurance card with you.
Work accident and health insurance is paid by the host family
Accident insurance outside of work must be paid for by the au pair
We recommend non-EAA citizens take out comprehensive travel insurance which includes medical, hospitalisation and repatriation cover

Job Duties

Au pair in Switzerland duties include childcare and ight housework"



So don't forget to insist on your holiday entitlement!!! In time or payment in lieu. + of course the cost of the language course they never provided and charge for hours over 30 per week- even at the measly ridiculous and exploitative pay of around 3CHF per hour- it would still be a nice bit of extra.

Last edited by Odile; 22.08.2013 at 11:47.
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Old 22.08.2013, 12:55
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

Is your father annoyed that you are leaving early, or upset at the hours you have to work? Give me his phone number and I will have a few words with him...
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Old 22.08.2013, 13:33
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

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I have a weird mental thing about failing. October is the longest I could see myself having this job! Haha
My parents are furious. Really really angry. I spoke to my father a few days ago and I hadn't heard him so annoyed at something.

I really thank you for your kind words
It is common for abuse victims to consider it is their fault they're being abused, and also to think that the abusers are nice. Hanging on until October is failing - failing to protect other potential au-pairs.

It isn't your fault. Your abusers aren't nice.
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Old 22.08.2013, 13:47
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Re: I don't think my hours are fair, is there anything I can do?i

As a matter of interest- how did they find/recruit you? Did they draw up a contract as per the law- do you know if they pay social and insurance, as per the law.

And how old are the children? Are they at school most of the day? I guess you were not enrolled in a language course, paid by the family, as per the law- where on earth would you find the time
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