AN IRISH couple has been forced to compensate their Spanish au pair for 'exploitation' after she was forced to work long hours for just €100 a week.
The nanny, who does not wish to be named, said she felt 'exhausted, depressed and weak' and was able to prove she was earning far below the minimum wage for the Republic of Ireland.
This was set at €9.15 per hour before tax on January 1 this year.
Dublin's Immigrant Rights Centre (CRCI) handled her case for her as she was unable to afford a lawyer.
She has been awarded €9,229 in compensation by the Working Relations Court (WRC) in the Irish capital, where her employers live.
Her solicitor said the case was one of literally hundreds where aux pairs were exploited.
The victim sent out a message to others in the same situation, saying: “You deserve respect, because the most valuable members of the family – the children – are in your care, and this is a huge responsibility.”
At the WRC hearing, the judge warned how too many foreign nannies were being seen as cheap labour, and the CRCI said many of them were treated 'far, far worse'.
“This is not an isolated case, unfortunately,” said spokeswoman Virginija Petrauskaite.
“We know of many aux pairs who are treated much, much worse.
“Their work is essential for families, the community and the economy.”
Ms Petrauskaite has urged the Irish government to launch an awareness campaign so that all families employing nannies were aware of their rights and duties.
“Authorities need to put an urgent end to au pair agencies who advertise illegal working conditions, as well as those parents who employ them,” Ms Petrauskaite concludes.
The CRCI, in its 2015 report, revealed it was currently supporting over 1,000 aux pairs – a dramatic increase from the 40 cases it dealt with in 2012.
According to the paper, foreign nannies worked 'full time' and were 'expected to be flexible' at the drop of a hat, but regularly earned 'a fraction of the minimum wage'.
Of the 554 nannies interviewed, 37% were working for cash in hand and 40% only had verbal 'contracts', whilst 58% earned less than €120 a week.
A total of 28% of aux pairs were Spanish nationals, and 48% were Brazilian.