Free Daily Reads 2022: Article 163

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Article Title: Think Uber drivers have it bad? Take a look at au pairs


Article Summary

This article titled ‘Think Uber drivers have it bad? Take a look at au pairs’ describes that low pay and lack of rights for these au pairs workers amounts to exploitation. The government should intervene. In theory, an au pair is a young person, normally from another EU country, who will do 25 to 30 hours of childcare and housework in exchange for room, board and “pocket money” and is treated as a member of the family. In practice, the working and living conditions of au pairs often fall far outside these expectations.

Moreover, since 2008, au pairs have been specifically excluded from the legal definition of “worker” or “employee”: they have no right to the national minimum wage, they are not covered by health and safety regulations, there are no limits on their working hours and they have no legal right to holidays or any time off. The article further describes the working conditions and problems being faced by these people. The main problem is that while Uber drivers and Deliveroo couriers are left without rights because they are deemed to be self-employed, au pairs’ work is quite simply defined as not being work.

In conclusion it has been mentioned that new guidelines on what an au pair should be, have been released. The suggestion presented by the writer are: At the very least, the government needs to adopt these and enforce them. But a bigger step would be to recognise childcare and housework as real work.

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Words to learn from this Article:

Striking: attracting attention by reason of being unusual, extreme, or prominent.

Overwhelming: very great in amount.

Denigration: the action of unfairly criticizing someone or something.

Arduous: involving or requiring strenuous effort; difficult and tiring.


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