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Can I Afford an Au Pair?
Updated on
March 7, 2023

Can I Afford an Au Pair?

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Can I Afford an Au Pair?.
Can I Afford an Au Pair?

On paper, au pairs and nannies seem very similar. Both offer personalized, in-home, flexible care. Au pairs, however, are usually represented by an agency and travel to a different country for school or life experience. They also live with the families they provide childcare for, and the cost of an au pair is significantly less than hiring a nanny.

Is hiring an au pair right for you and your family? Can you afford an au pair? We’re breaking down the cost of an au pair below.

How much does an au pair cost?

Although typically less expensive than a nanny, an au pair has a specific set of costs. These fees are generally paid upfront, however, many agencies offer payment plans. According to Cultural Care Au Pair, an au pair matching agency, the cost of hiring an au pair is comprised of two parts: “The first part consists of the required fees that are paid to [the] agency and money that goes directly to your au pair,” the agency says. “The second part consists of additional costs that come from hosting—such as room and board and additional insurance.” The fees vary slightly based on the agency you’re working with, although once you’ve settled on an agency, the cost remains uniform no matter where the host families live or how many children the au pair will be caring for. And while you don’t technically need to go through an agency to hire an au pair, it makes the process so much easier for everyone involved.

Here is a general idea of the cost of hosting an au pair.

Agency fees: Most au pairs are matched up with their families using agencies like Cultural Care Au Pair or Au Pair in America, which have the following one-time fees:

  • Registration Fee: $75
  • Processing Fee: $450
  • Program Fee: $10,595

The program fee covers things like round trip transportation, au pair orientation and training, part of the J-1 visa processing fee and other administrative costs.

Room and board: Au pairs are different from nannies in that they live with the host family while attending school. They can work up to 45 hours per week at various times based on the families’ needs.

Weekly Stipend: The weekly au pair stipend is typically around $195.75. This is separate from covering meals and room and board—it’s like an allowance.

Education fee: In addition to the weekly stipend, you’ll be responsible for paying up to $500 toward your au pair’s education requirement which is six college credits during their stay.

Miscellaneous expenses: Most families provide their au pairs with a cell phone and access to a car to drive during their stay. Keep in mind that if you provide a car, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of insurance and some states even require worker’s compensation coverage.

Do au pairs pay taxes?

In terms of au pair taxes, most are in the country on a J-1 visa which means neither you nor your au pair 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 au pairs are required to file a tax return for the year they worked for you.

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