An au pair is an adult or a young adult aged between 18 and 30 years, who belongs to a different country and provides live-in domestic childcare for approximately 10 to 12 months. An au pair can play a role of an elder sibling for your children. You can find these individuals via au pair childcare agencies that ensure protecting the rights and interests of the involved parties. By the means of this exchange program, parents get a lending hand and reliable companion for their kids. Moreover, the au pair gets an opportunity to experience the country’s culture and learn its language.
Au pairs are often compared to nannies. However, there are some major differences between the both such as:
- Age limit – Agencies facilitating au pair childcare services have certain age requirements, whereas while hiring a nanny, there is no such prerequisite.
- Background check – Au pair services make sure that they thoroughly review the prospective au pairs as well as their families to thwart exploitative activities. On the contrary, a potential nanny’s records have to be verified by the parents.
- Working hours – Au pairs are live-in caretakers but they have designated work hours that can be anywhere from 30 to 45 hours per week, which are agreed upon by both, the host family and au pair. Similarly, nannies have specific work hours, but they should abide by the country’s labor laws.
- Nationality – The au pair program’s objectives revolve around positive cultural experience. Therefore, the au pair is required to be of another nationality. On the other hand, parents looking for nannies preferably want a local resident.
- Remuneration – An au pair is supposed to receive a weekly stipend, which is usually around $200 a week. Likewise, a nanny receives a weekly or monthly salary that should meet the country’s minimum wage standards.
- Education – If the au pair wishes, they can take up a language course during their stay in the country. The host family is responsible for managing the required fees. Conversely, a nanny doesn’t require a language course. Likewise, the family isn’t accountable for any of their educational expenses.
- Employee status – An au pair is considered as a temporary family member and friendly companion for the kids, while a nanny is an employee who is supposed to look after the kids mostly while the parents are away. Since an au pair isn’t an employee they can quit any time they want.
- Responsibilities – The duties of an au pair are only restricted to childcare and some light domestic work. On the contrary, a nanny’s routine tasks will depend on the agreement between the nanny and the employer.
The costs of au pair childcare services will vary across agencies. Typically, au pair childcare agencies charge a program fee, which can be between $7,000 and $9,000. These exclude the non-refundable application fees and minimum weekly stipend expenses.