Tuesday 6 December 2016

I didn't last long as an au pair in Paris - but it was my university

Published 14/03/2016 | 02:30

'Life in a Parisian suburb was so disciplined. Every meal was a three-course palaver. Visits were by appointment. And I was constantly warned that I’d be raped if I walked home alone at night. I had never heard of such an idea'. Photo: PA
'Life in a Parisian suburb was so disciplined. Every meal was a three-course palaver. Visits were by appointment. And I was constantly warned that I’d be raped if I walked home alone at night. I had never heard of such an idea'. Photo: PA

Au pairs, according to a ruling by the Workplace Relations Commission, (WRC) are employees, should be paid the minimum wage and be awarded all the rights of employees, from social insurance to holiday pay.

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Perhaps so. We are in a world now where rights are paramount and there are legal watchdogs against abuse or exploitation - and maybe rightly so.

And yet I'm grateful that au pairing was a much more fluid arrangement - to use a polite word - when I was an au pair back in the day.

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