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-
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
experience and has a degree in child development she will be more expensive than one who is less
The Cost of an Au Pair
An au pair provides child care to your children in exchange for the opportunity to
a year in another country.
Average cost estimates:
Agency fee range
$4000 to mid $5000
Application fee for agency
Travel expenses for au pair
Weekly "pocket money"
$139.05 for an au pair with limited experience $200 for an au pair with two or more years experience
The weekly "pocket money" salaries are
by the U.S. Department of State in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
For a listing of au pair agencies that meet federal guidelines, see Appendix B at the back of the book.
A nanny is typically a
, although there are some male nannies, who either lives in your home or
to your home each day to care for your children. The
"nanny" is tossed about
who looks after children can say that he or she is a nanny. However, there are professionally trained nannies who have studied child development, early education, CPR, nutrition, and first aid and hold diplomas from certified nanny programs. (Contact information for the American Council of Nanny Schools can be found in Appendix B.) A nanny can be found through a professional agency, an ad in the newspaper, or by word of mouth. A nanny's responsibilities in your home could be bathing and dressing your children; getting them ready for school; preparing meals; and shuffling the
between school, specials, birthday parties, and doctor's appointments. While a nanny may do some light housekeeping, he or she is not
If you search for a nanny via a professional nanny agency, you will be charged a placement fee
from $350 to several thousand dollars. Often that fee covers background searches, health examinations, and training. Some nanny agencies are more than simply referral businesses. Some agencies will maintain the nanny as their own employee and will assume responsibility for his or her health insurance and workers compensation, distribute a W-2 form, and file tax information to the IRS.
Be cautious and don't assume that all nanny agencies are created equal. In other words, there are some agencies that are ethical and properly screen each candidate while others say they do when sometimes they don't. An agency is "supposed" to investigate a candidate's health, employment history, references, criminal record, and motor vehicle record. Keep in mind that this is a business that makes money when a nanny is placed. Ask for several references and by all means call them all. You probably should ask the agency about the company that
their background checks to verify that your nanny candidate has been properly investigated. A nanny agreement with a professional agency should stipulate that your nanny will be
if he or she does not work out in your home. It's never a bad idea to ask around to see if anyone has ever had a bad experience with the agency.
The Cost of a Nanny
Nannies come in two types ”live-in or live-out. In general, a nanny's salary can range from $250 to over $700 per week depending on:
Years of experience as a nanny
The number of children under his or her charge
Whether your nanny will live-in or live-out
Whether or not your nanny requires health insurance