Au pairs have reported working way over 45 hours per week, and being berated by host dad and mom; some have seen their meals restricted, or their actions monitored by surveillance cameras. Afraid of being despatched residence early, many endure in silence.
A Brazilian au pair in New Jersey who stated she was verbally abused day by day by her host’s kids and was “principally a maid,” was afraid to ask for a change. “There’s loads of tales about women getting kicked out of the home after they ask for a rematch,” she stated.
When she reported the scenario to her native company counselor, she was instructed in an e-mail to work issues out or she would doubtless be despatched residence. Solely after the host mother permitted the rematch a month later, the au pair stated, did the company conform to facilitate a change.
These experiences are removed from unusual. A 2018 investigation by a number of labor-rights teams argued that the J-1 au pair program is a piece program with little actual alternative for cultural alternate, and that au pairs must be protected as home staff.
“That is an employment relationship. The legislation has upheld that to be the case,” stated Rocío Ávila, a senior lawyer with the Nationwide Home Staff Alliance, one of many co-authors of the report. In December 2019, a Massachusetts courtroom dominated that minimum-wage legal guidelines utilized to au pairs in that state. Consequently, in Massachusetts, the weekly value of a full-time au pair rose from the roughly $200 minimal stipend ($4.35 per hour for 45 hours) to greater than $500 in weekly wages, after deductions for meals and lodging.
“I feel it’s the sponsor’s position to set the expectations of each the au pair and the host household,” stated Jean Quinn, the director of Au Pair in America, an company. “What we would like are each households and au pairs to come back with the proper expectations. It doesn’t do anyone any good if that’s not the case,” she added. “I feel we do an excellent job at making it clear that this has to work for each side to ensure that it to be a profitable placement.”
Additionally key to au pair protections, labor advocates argue, is extra authorities regulation: know-your-rights training for incoming au pairs, and a extra streamlined system for complaints, impartial of personal companies.