Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 09/03/2016. Tags: Parenting
A landmark case involving a spanish au pair has resulted in a host family being ordered to pay her over €9000 in back pay and compensation for a five month period she spent with the family.
The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI)
, which supported the au pair to take the case, has welcomed the landmark decision. MRCI Legal Officer Virginija Petrauskaite said, “This judgment sends a very clear message: au pairs are workers, and any family employing an au pair must abide by employment laws – including the National Minimum Wage Act. The au pair at the centre of this case was paid just €100 a week. Unfortunately, her case is not an exception; in fact we know many au pairs whose treatment was much, much worse. The work done by au pairs and other childcare providers is absolutely essential to families, communities and the economy, and this landmark decision and award is a clear statement that it has value.”
The family was found to have breached aspects of the National Minimum Wage Act, the Organisation of Working Time Act, and the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, and was ordered to pay a total of €9,229 to the au pair.
In response to the judgment, the au pair stated: “When I arrived at the Migrant Rights Centre I was exhausted, depressed and weak. It has been a long process, and many people there worked on my case; finally I have found the reward and respect that I needed. Without all those people, this would be impossible.
The Irish Examiner
reports that forty similar cases are pending, including one involving a claim for €35,000 by an au pair who completed a two-year placement with an Irish family.
The ruling by the Workplace Relations Comission means that au pairs have been classified as employees and are therefore entitled to the minimum wage, holidays, rest periods etc just like any other employee. Up until now, Au pairs had been considered by many as being outside standard formal employment arrangements with pay being termed pocket money.
It is estimated that over 20,000 households in Ireland use Au Pairs and these families will now be expected to register with Revenue as employers and pay full wages if they take an au pair into their home.
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