Au pairs working illegally due to lack of legalisation – FF

Tánaiste says review of issue is ongoing and is part of overall consideration of childcare

Anne Rabbit said 20,000 families who hired au pairs need to know where they stand

Anne Rabbit said 20,000 families who hired au pairs need to know where they stand


Many au pairs are working illegally because the Government has not put clear rules in place, Fianna Fáil’s spokeswoman on children has claimed.

Anne Rabbitte criticised a failure to clarify the legal situation for au pairs and the Government’s delay in reporting on the issue.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said the promised review was continuing. It was part of an overall consideration of childcare, she said.

Ms Fitzgerald, a former minister for children and youth affairs, acknowledged that there was potential for childminders to be exploited.

She said that many families wanted to continue with more informal arrangements but she noted that there were calls for legally binding formal agreements.

“But we certainly need good guidelines,” she said.

Ms Rabbitte said it had been 15 years since the issue relating to board and lodging allowances for childminders from abroad had been reviewed and they were still awaiting the Government’s promised review.

The Galway East TD said 20,000 families who hired au pairs needed to know where they stood on the issue, and pointed to the Fianna Fáil Bill on the issue introduced last July to give a legal definition of au pairs.

On Wednesday an au pair paid less than €5.65 per hour by a host family and not paid premium rates for working Sundays was awarded more than €2,250.

It followed the Workplace Relations Commission finding that the host family had breached the Minimum Wage Act, Organisation of Working Time Act and the Terms of Employment (Information) Act.

In March 2016 the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland recommended that au pairs should be paid the minimum wage, in the wake of a ruling by the Workplace Relations Commission that a Spanish au pair had been exploited. The commission awarded her more than €9,000 in compensation and back pay.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has also supported demands for the minimum wage for au pairs.