For host families, the initial upfront cost of getting an au pair can vary. When using an agency, it usually costs between €800 and €3500 depending on the country and the offerings which could include finding an au pair, reviewing documents, signing contracts, creating the weekly schedule, and applying for the visa. Additionally, the host family usually pays for at least half of the travel costs for the au pair. The norms around this again depend on country regulations, but there is always at least some contribution on the part of the host family.
Once the au pair is on the ground in their host country, there are monthly costs to consider such as pocket money, insurance, language courses, and travel and phone allowances. These equal approximately €500 monthly depending on the country. As the au pair lives with the host family, other costs such as accounting for utilities and groceries should be considered during their stay too.
An au pair agency is mandatory in some countries and others not, but either way, their job is to assist with the matching, visa, and arrival process of the au pair. In countries where the agency is required, the agency fee is likely to be on the higher end of the spectrum of around €2,000 to €3,000.
This fee covers all of the pre-arrival aspects of the au pair program such as recruitment and screening of au pair candidates. The cost is lower for families who find their own au pair and wish to have her screened.
Once a match is made, the agency helps with the next steps such as signing contracts, checking the house, reviewing visa documents, creating the weekly schedule, and applying for the visa. All of these elements are included in the upfront program fees.
The most important monthly au pair cost to consider is the pocket money that goes straight to the au pair and is her spending money as her other basic costs such as housing and food are included within the program. Still, these costs all in all often equate to less than a full-time nanny when parents are deciding if a nanny vs au pair is the right childcare choice for them. In some countries where regulations are a bit stricter like the United States, au pairs receive a weekly stipend rather than a monthly payment, which is in line with the legally applicable minimum wage requirements in the state they reside in.
The payment to the au pair should be paid out regularly to ensure a good working relationship. Some host families choose to pay out their au pairs with cash-in-hand directly. For matches with Nina.care, we payout the au pairs through our app to facilitate a secure process for both the au pair and host family. Depending on the regulations and amount of pocket money the au pairs receive, the host family or au pair may be subject to taxes in their country.
In addition to regular pocket money, au pairs are also entitled to additional funds that go toward their travel and phone allowance. This should be regular money on top of their pocket money that gives them access to public transport or gas money if they have a driver’s license and a phone that gives them enough monthly data.
During the au pair program, the au pair’s educational component should also be considered in relation to cultural lessons and language courses. As an agency, we offer an academy for €35 monthly that includes childcare competencies, a first aid course, and language courses.
Insurance both to protect against rematch and for health, car, and accident insurance should be taken into account into the monthly costs as well.
While we have outlined the main upfront and monthly costs for the au pair program, there are some varying costs to consider that we will outline. The first being the travel costs for the au pair’s arrival and departure from the host country. The responsibility of this cost varies by country, but as an agency we typically recommend the host family and au pair split these costs evenly. In some cases, the au pair’s nationality may require that the entire ticket be covered by the host family due to visa regulations.
The other costs to take into account of course are the room and board of the au pair. As housing and food is included within the au pair program, the host family should compensate in their budget for things like additional groceries, utilities, and housing necessities. When comparing au pairing to other types of childcare, the cost can often times average cheaper than daycare or nannying but families should consider all aspects of the cost and the program to determine if it is right for them.