If the Au Pair is Driving Under Influence

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

Most of the time an au pair can use a car of the host family in order to get around with the kids, to go to the language course or even to use it in their free time to meet some friends. The host family trusts the au pair during the time of the car use and expects them to be responsible. Unfortunately this is not always the case.

Young people don’t know their borders sometimes. Although they are no teenagers anymore, they got a driver’s license, can vote, can work, they are not always acting in the most responsible way. During a night with friends they might make the choice that a beer or two wouldn’t be so bad, although they took the car. They underestimate the influence  that even one beer has on their consciousness and don’t think of the consequences taking the car although they have been drinking might have.

A host family can never be sure what exactly the au pair is doing, so it’s all about trust. Yet it is important that the au pair doesn’t play the family.

What if…

Sometimes there is a wrong evaluation of the au pair’s personality and the host family will be surprised after a few weeks or months if the au pair is not behaving in a proper way. She/He described herself/himself as responsible  and all of a sudden in turns out that there is a huge lack of responsibility. Sometimes the au pair changes the character because of wrong friends and acquaintances. She/He is new in the country and wants to make friends. At a young age people tend to change in order to impress the new “friends” around them.

They make irresponsible, stupid and even dangerous decisions, drink with their friends and think they are still able to drive although they shouldn’t sit behind a wheel even after only one drink.

The laws of each country when it comes to driving under influence are very different. In some countries the blood alcohol level has to be 0,0 per mill, in others it’s around 0,5. Especially in a foreign country where the au pair is working for a family with children, she/he should prove that she/he can be responsible and not even drink a sip of alcohol. The consequences are just too severe.

Alcohol Level in different countries

Country Alc. Level ‰ Fine
Germany 0,5 from 500 €
Belgium 0,5 from 150 €
Denmark 0,5 up to 1 monthly salary
Finland 0,5 from 15 daily rates
France 0,5 from 135 €
Greece 0,5 from 80 €
Great Britain
Exception: Scotland
6.414 €
Italy 0,5 from 530 €
Croatia 0,5 from 90 €
Netherlands 0,5 from 325 €
Austria 0,5 from 300 €
Poland 0,2 from 145 €
Portugal 0,5 from 250 €
Sweden 0,2 from 40 daily rates
Switzerland 0,5 around 545 €
Spain 0,5 from 500 €
Czech Republic 0,0 from 100 €
Turkey 0,5 from 230 €
Hungary 0,0 up to 970 €
USA 0,8 up to 2.500 $
Canada 0,8 up to 1405 €
Australia 0,5 up to 2.906 AUD
New Zealand 0,5 between 2.716 – 12.070 €


There is no way around serious consequences for the au pair. The host family can decide what they think is best. How severe these consequences will be probably depend on the situation. How much did the au pair drink? Was there an accident? And of course there is the trust issue that will be there automatically and it will be very hard for the au pair to gain back the trust of the host family.

Possible punishments can be: 

  • No more personal use of the car, either for a certain amount of time or for the rest of the stay
  • No more friends over at the host family’s house
  • Report the au pair to the online agency or agency where you have found her/him
  • Fees the au pair will have to take care of by themselves
  • Changing of the host family
  • Being sent home, because a family wouldn’t be too excited to invite an au pair that has had problems with DUI

How you proceed as a host family is absolutely your decision! It is important that the au pair understands that there are rules and laws and that breaking those can be very dangerous.


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