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Au pairs cannot see their rights diminished – Cullinane

9 March, 2016 - by David Cullinane TD


Sinn Féin TD and Workers’ Rights spokesperson David Cullinane has said that workers in the au pair sector should not see their rights and entitlements diminished simply because of certain working arrangements that exist within the sector.

The Waterford TD put the situation in context by saying that no one in this country would abide waiting staff in our hospitality sector existing in an American system of miniscule wages and seeing forced dependency on gratuity.

Deputy Cullinane said:

“The commentary around au pairs in the media in the past couple of days has betrayed the mentality that somehow those in the au pair are not workers in the true sense and therefore should not have the full rights and entitlements as a worker in a different industry.

“Workers in the au pair sector, who are predominantly women, cannot be left in a precarious position where they are trapped into a job as they cannot afford to leave a position as their bed and board is supplemented but they have little to no savings or disposable income. This is akin to indentured servitude.

“Workers should not be penalised for working in a particular industry by being excluded from the minimum wage. No one in this country would abide waiting staff in our hospitality sector existing in an American system of miniscule wages and seeing forced dependency on gratuity. While changes will have to made in the au pair sector, a system whereby the minimum wage is ignored cannot be allowed to continue.”

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