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Chapter 12. Child Care: Life on the High... > The Difference Between a Nanny and a...

The Difference Between a Nanny and an Au Pair

Nannies, au pairs, who can keep it all straight? While both provide child care, there are some important differences between the two. The phrase au pair is French and means an arrangement in which services are exchanged on an even basis. For example, an au pair helps out with the children in exchange for room and board and the opportunity to live in a foreign country. Although there are American au pairs, most au pairs are young European women between the ages of 18 and 26. Finding an au pair and making the arrangements for her to work in your home is usually done with the help of an au pair agency. Unlike most nannies, an au pair is not an employee in your household. Au pair agreements state that he or she work a 45-hour week, reside in your home, and return to his or her native country in one year. The cost of an au pair depends on experience and education level. If an au pair has two years experience and has a degree in child development she will be more expensive than one who is less experienced.

The Cost of an Au Pair

An au pair provides child care to your children in exchange for the opportunity to spend a year in another country.

Average cost estimates:

Agency fee range $4000 to mid $5000
Application fee for agency $250
Travel expenses for au pair $300
Weekly “pocket money”[*] $139.05 for an au pair with limited experience $200 for an au pair with two or more years experience
Education fee $500

[*] The weekly “pocket money” salaries are regulated by the U.S. Department of State in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.



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