Au Pair Confidential
Au Pair Confidential
Should you have a confidentiality agreement
in your Au Pair Contract?
Confidentiality agreements are not solely for employees of celebrities or the super wealthy. They are an effective tool for protecting anyone’s privacy, including conversations about sensitive work or family matters. By proactively addressing these matters and providing guidelines and concrete examples, a confidentiality agreement can protect your personal and professional affairs.
Whether you have something written in a contract or not, an Au Pair must respect the private family matters of her family. Some families choose to write their privacy expectations into the Au Pair contract while other families address their concerns casually.
Think about all the things you say and do every day, as well as the texts, emails, and documents that may be open in your home. Wouldn’t you want to safeguard these important materials and your privacy?
This is the opportunity for the family to set their standards and expectations. Worst case, your family has cause for separation from an Au Pair who shares a play by play of your latest family drama on Facebook with other Au Pairs. We could preach on about the value in keeping this type of drama out of earshot of the Au Pair as well but that is another matter entirely… see our blog post “Why Au Pairs Quit” for more on that matter.
Here are a few reminders when it comes to privacy and confidentiality:
- Ask your Au Pair to use discretion and not gossip with others about private family issues. She should refrain from using names of family when getting advice for general issues. Above all, request that she not gripe or complain about your family on social media. Despite how private the group settings or audience, if the information is out there for people to see, then it can be shared and is out of the Au Pair’s control.
- Ask your Au Pair not to post photos or video of the children in emails, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or anywhere online without parental permission.
- Ask your Au Pair not discuss important issues about the child to child’s teacher or medical professional without parental knowledge.
- Ask your Au Pair not share personal details or information about the children online or in nanny chat groups (ages, names, or where they attend school). It’s okay to get feedback and ask questions in such groups but do not reveal so much that the family is identifiable to strangers.
- Ask your Au Pair not to read the family’s personal mail, emails, or snoop into their personal affairs. This is especially applicable if your Au Pair will be sharing the family computer, iPad or other devices.
- Ask your Au Pair not to enter the parents’ bedroom, closets, drawers, or private bathroom without permission.
Au Pairs deserve privacy and respect too!
If you wish for your Au Pair to respect your privacy then you too should respect hers. Be courteous and don’t snoop around in your Au Pair’s personal matters (or in her room!) It’s not your business who she dates or is friends with. Think of your own work environment and how inappropriate it would be for your employer to ask questions about your personal affairs, who you keep company with or what time you went to bed last night. Yes, your Au Pair lives with you but she is not your daughter and she IS an adult. If there are concerns about the Au Pair breaching any of the terms in her contract, sit down and talk to her. You don’t need to conduct an investigation into your Au Pair’s personal affairs behind her back. If you have questions, just ask.
Similar to your expectations of an Au Pair, be careful about sharing too much on social media. Your Au Pair also deserves privacy and talking to other host families about your Au Pair’s habits or cleanliness (for example) using on-line forums is not respectful. It is certainly okay to vent frustrations or talk in generalities but if what you are saying can in any way identify the Au Pair, think twice and walk in her shoes. If your comments are questionable, hit delete.
Communication is the most important component in the Au Pair/Host Family relationship. Contracts, Handbooks and face to face discussions all play a huge role in the success of the experience for both sides. If you are hosting an Au Pair or even hiring a nanny for that matter, you must be an effective communicator. The relationship WILL suffer and/or end in disappointment and failure if you cannot address key issues with your Au Pair. Our Toolbox and Document Library provides greater detail about creating Au Pair contracts and ensuring all your bases are covered. Reach out to us if you’d like more information on our Membership Packages.
The Canadian Au Pair Solutions Team