Vacations - Yours and Theirs
The State Department regulates that the au pair gets 2 weeks vacation per year. That is 'their' vacation. Numerous families, including myself take the au pairs on our family vacations, and have them work. This is 'your' vacation; not theirs.
If you take the au pair on your vacation, you need to pay for their lodging, travel, food and provide a clear work schedule; just like you would at home. Over the years I've heard of lots of issues that have arisen around vacations, overworking au pairs, etc; that could have been avoided if the family and au pair had communicated and the family provided clear expectations of the trip. Instead of "Hey great, we are all going on vacation to Disney World", you need to lay out the expectations prior to leaving.
This is a 'working' vacation for you. We need help with the kids.
We will provide your transportation to Florida with the family.
We will have a room for you to stay in.
We will expect you to work up to 45 hours, either during the day maybe in the parks or in the evenings so we can go out. We will let you know the schedule so you know when you are off.
You will have time off where you can do things on your own.
If you want to get into additional parks besides the ones we need you in, you may have to pay for your own park passes.
If you want to do additional activities on your own, paying for them is your responsibility.
We will provide you with meals with the family, like at home. If you want to go out to restaurants on your own, that is your responsibility, just like at home.
There is nothing to say you HAVE to take the au pair with you on vacation. If you don't need her to work, you can give her the option of staying home, taking a week of vacation somewhere else on her own as her vacation time, or traveling with you and paying her own way - as long as she isn't working.
I had a family do something like that. They didn't need the au pair to work, but they had the space for her in their vacation condo. So they gave her a choice of staying home, or buying her own ticket to Hawaii, but once she was there, she could house with the family. She bought a ticket!
When my daughter was 3, I gave my au pair the option of coming with us or staying home on a trip to Vegas. She chose to stay home. My mistake. After one week with a 3 year old in Vegas I decide I would never again travel without an au pair! It is one of those luxuries of having an au pair - have au pair, can travel!
As far as her vacation, just let her know well ahead of time that she needs to discuss and get approval in advance for anytime she may want off for vacation. This way you can make other childcare arrangements.