Au Pair or Nanny

10 Differences Between an Au Pair and a Nanny

When seeking childcare it is essential to brush up on your options. While many people think that the terms au pair and nanny are synonymous, they are actually two very different occupations. Ten differences between an au pair and a nanny include:

  1. Background: Nannies typically make a career out of childcare and have experience, certifications, and sometimes a degree. Au pairs care for children as part of a cultural exchange. They don’t usually seek a career in childcare and don’t always have the credentials or experience of a nanny.
  2. Rules and Regulations: Nannies enter an agreement directly with the family that’s hiring them. They typically work 40 to 60 hours per week unsupervised. Legally, au pairs can work a maximum of 45 hours per week, their duties, pay, and details are governed by an exchange program, and they cannot care for children under three months of age without supervision.
  3. Pay: Au pairs live with the host family while nannies may be live-in or live-out childcare providers. Au pairs typically work for room and board and are paid pocket money ranging from $150 to $250 per week. A nanny makes averages between $300 and $800 per week depending on experience and responsibilities.
  4. Taxes: Host families don’t need to pay employee taxes for an au pair, while families must pay employee taxes for a nanny.
  5. Length of Contract: A nanny can be employed for an extended period of time, while an au pair enters the country on a one-year visa. Some elite au pairs are granted a two-year visa.
  6. Age: To qualify for au pair programs the individual must be between the ages of 18 and 26. Nannies can be aged 18 and older.
  7. Relationship: Host families are expected to treat au pairs as a member of the family and usually sign an agreement stating that they will include the au pair in dinner, events, and trips. Nannies don’t require this level of family involvement.
  8. Housework: In most agreements an au pair is not allowed to do any housework unless it relates to the children. Depending on the personal agreement between the family and a nanny, a nanny can take on housework responsibilities.
  9. Local Knowledge: A nanny is likely a citizen of the country, or has lived in the country for some time, and is aware of the culture, customs, and geographical layout of the area. An au pair is a visitor and will be unfamiliar with the area and culture.
  10. Availability: Since an au pair lives in the home they’re available for emergencies, sick days from school, and other occasions. With a live-out nanny, it may be difficult to have her come in due to unexpected circumstances.

There are considerable differences between an au pair and a nanny. Depending on a family’s needs in terms of childcare, one of the options may be more suited to them. However, both a nanny and au pair are committed to caring for children and providing them with a safe and happy environment.