The au pair branch is faced with the new reality of a 1,5 meter-economy. Our business activities are spread over public and private spaces, from airports to living rooms. The vision of Bonapa is still to facilitate a European culture exchange program but to adhering to the new order of social distancing.
Cultural exchange during the pandemic
The pandemic has major economic implications and host families have felt the extra pressure during the closing of schools and the extra logistics that social distancing will create. During the current pandemic the au pair program has shown the even greater mutual benefits for both the host families and the au pairs. In these times au pairs are even more integrated within the family. Au pairs give the much needed extra attention to the kids while host parents need to work from home, and the host family gives the au pair in return the comforting home-away-from-home with ample amounts of quality time together.
Exploring continues in the time of social distancing and the current situation made au pairs more focused on their Dutch surroundings within the social distancing regulations. The cultural experience deepens by giving the au pairs first hand experience in the collective approach of the Dutch. Cultural organisations have prepared social distancing protocol and the RIVM confirms that life will soon normalize within the new regulations.
The au pair program is a well organised process that includes a thorough screening by an accredited au pair agency. Most agents’ activities already take place online, but for the scheduled contact moments Bonapa will introduce a few adaptations to the au pair program. The adaptations are also guidelines for au pairs and host families towards a safe and friendly way to adjust to new Covid-19 procedures.
The duration of the Covid-19 plan will adhere to the advice of RIVM guidelines.
Due to the exploratory nature of an intake meeting it is advised to conduct all such appointments through video calling that includes a virtual tour of the potential home for the au pair. In case a family or au pair candidate welcomes a personal introduction, a meeting can be scheduled adhering to 1,5 meter distance and only one agent on visit.
Thorough screening is a standard procedure with all members of Bonapa. However, due to the privacy legislation au pair agencies cannot be held responsible if candidates or host families do not wish to reveal medical information. Medical information is private but in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic an au pair agency will include specific questions with regards to previous illnesses. Candidates or host families will not be discriminated on terms of Covid-19 exposure, unless the RIVM advises otherwise.
Au pairs and host families need to adhere to airport regulations. To limit the points of contact all au pairs will be collected by one member of the host family. Physical contact e.g. handshaking can only take place after the au pair has taken a shower of bath at the host family’s home. Baggage should be sanitised outside the host family’s house. Au pairs are advised to sanitise their own belongings straight before packing in their home countries. Au pair agencies will inform the au pairs beforehand on the current Dutch Covid-19 regulations.
It is advised by the Dutch authority that on arrival new arrivals should undergo a self- isolation period of 2 weeks at the host family’s home. Each host family shall discuss their house guidelines with regards to Covid-19 exposure with the au pair. The au pair will be treated as a member of the family and once registered on the host families address will be legally part of the household.
Au pairs and host families should adhere to social distancing protocol within in public spaces. Host families and au pair agencies will make a special effort explaining the regulations in an instance where the au pair seems to deviate from the rules.
Au pair days
All au pair days will be cancelled until quarter 4 of 2020. Au pair agencies will offer an alternative to au pairs and host families in cases where the au pair days were included in the service package.
Replacements in the time of Covid-19 regulations are a challenge. With limit air travel au pairs are not able to go back to their home country or new au pairs candidates flying in. . We call on host families to extend their care for their au pairs during this transitional period.