Can I Afford an Au Pair?
An au pair has many of the same advantages as a nanny: personalized, in-home, flexible care. But it tends to be much less expensive.
On paper they are deceptively similar: a dedicated caregiver for your children who lives in your home. The major difference is that most au pairs (usually in their early 20s) are traveling to a different country either for school or life experience, and you are seen more as a host family than just a regular employer. They do, however, have a set number of hours they work for the family weekly (generally around 45 hours a week) with a schedule customized to your family’s needs (including weekends or evenings).
Cost: Au pairs can be far cheaper than a nanny. But you do have to factor in room and board, plus the agency’s fees (most au pairs are matched up with their families using agencies like Cultural Care Au Pair or Au Pair in America) in addition to the au pair’s stipend and the portion of education costs you also contribute to.
Here’s a general pricing example:
Registration Fee: $75
Processing Fee: $300
Program Fee: $8,595
Weekly Stipend: $195.75
Education Fee: $500
Domestic Transportation Fee: Ranging from $0-300 depending on which state you live in.
And what about paying taxes for your au pair? Most au pairs are in the country on a J-1 visa making them a nonresident alien which means you, and they, don’t have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. You also don’t have to worry about any other tax withholding as it’s not mandatory. However, their weekly stipend does count as wages earned so your au pair will have to file tax returns for the year they worked for you. For more detailed information, check out the IRS’ Au Pairs page.
Karell Roxas is a writer and editor with a passion for creating informative, innovative, and smart content for women. She received her B.F.A in Writing from Pratt Institute and currently lives in the uncool part of Brooklyn with her husband Dave and adorable son Olli.