There are no regulations requiring host families to give au pairs any specific holidays off. In the spirit of the au pair program, many host families will give their au pair the day off on major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, July 4th). Most au pairs look forward to sharing holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas with their host families to truly experience American family life.
There are other federal holidays (usually on Mondays), when many offices and sometimes schools are closed. These are regular workdays for an au pair, unless their host parents tell them otherwise.
There are also days when the children will be home from school. These can be on holidays, special work days for teachers or closures due to bad weather. Host parents and au pairs should review the calendar sent home from school and mark these on the family calendar and/or au pair work schedule. It’s a good idea for au pairs to plan some activities to occupy children who are at home. Keeping kids occupied and engaged can prevent boredom and sibling squabbles.
Au Pairs – Please check with your host parents before you assume you have any holiday off. Do not make any travel plans until you have received confirmation that you will not work on this day.
Host Parents – Please let your au pair know in advance when she will have a holiday off or a day when kids will be home from school, so she may plan accordingly. When there are school days off, be sure to make adjustments to your au pair’s work schedule to stay within the State Department regulations: not exceeding 10 hours per day or 45 hours per week (or 30 hours per week for Educare).
Photo: Dafne Cholet
Most of the school aged kids in our cluster are either back in school or will be returning soon. This will mean changes to the au pair schedule and possibly to the duties. It is very important to communicate these changes to avoid problems.
I suggest you discuss the following (if applicable):
- Au pair’s work schedule
- The children’s school and activity schedules
- Where the children get dropped off and picked up and who will be doing this
- What to do if a child is staying home sick, late to school, does not get off the bus (if they are supposed to)
- How to tell if school has been cancelled or delayed for bad weather
- Add the au pair to your list of people allowed to pick up the kids from school
- What to pack for lunch
- The routine after school (do they have free time before starting homework, what to give for snack, any chores, where do they put their backpacks & lunchboxes)
- How to communicate about what’s going on at school. (Kids in Care Log Books are available upon request from APIA)
At our August Coffee Meeting, I gave out Back to School Kits which included Printable Fill-in-the-Blank School Notes for parents. You may print these out and use them for times when the kids are absent, late, have early dismissal or you need to give permission for something.
If the au pair will be the one going through the children’s back pack and helping with homework, I suggest you designate an area for putting things that need to be read and/or signed by parents.
Reminder: It is illegal in the State of Maryland for a child under the age of 8 to be left alone in the home or car. Please make sure that your drop off routine does not include leaving children under 8 at home or in the car while dropping off another child. Even if a host parent gives permission to do this, it is not allowed, because it is against the law.