How much does an au pair cost?

Can I afford an au pair - helping with the housework

Wondering if you can afford an au pair and what the au pair cost would be to your family? We’ve dug up some facts.

As the cost of running a household in Australia continues to surge, two income families have become the norm, but for those with young children, this can present an expensive challenge.

Childcare places are in short supply and even if you can find a place, the cost can very quickly eat up any additional income gained by both partners working.

As a solution, many Australian parents are turning towards an au pair for reliable, practical and affordable childcare. But how much does an au pair cost in reality?

What’s the difference between an au pair and a nanny?

Can I afford an au pair for my child

Playing games with children

A nanny is an experienced and qualified childcare worker who will generally come to your home to work set hours before returning to their own home.

An au pair is a young woman or man visiting Australia from overseas, who takes care of your children while living fulltime with your family.

Au pair is French for “on a par with” or “equal to”.  They should be treated as a part of your family and often become “big sisters or brothers” to the children in their care.

So how much will an au pair cost me?

In return for caring for your children, your au pair will receive board and lodging in your home (with a bedroom of their own) and be paid weekly “pocket money”. This varies depending on the duties they undertake and the hours they do. Generally the first 20 hours worked are done for board and lodgings and the hours above that are paid at betwen $10 – $20 per hour depending on the tasks (and depending on what other things the family provides – mobile phone? car? petrol? wifi? outings?)

In some cases, au pairs are given access to a car, particularly if they take children on daytime outings or manage the school drop off and pick up.

What can I expect from my au pair?

Can I afford an au pair for my child

Au pairs can become long time family members

While most au pairs have no formal childcare training, the majority will have experience as a baby sitter, a vacation care leader or another similar role in which they worked directly with children.

They should provide your children with individual attention and activities appropriate to their age and interests. Other tasks might include preparing lunches, washing and folding children’s clothes, cleaning areas used by all members of the family and helping to get the evening meal started.

However, it’s important to remember, that for the au pair, visiting and spending time in Australia is also a chance for them to immerse themselves in our culture. When they’re not working, having regular opportunities to see the sights, meet new people or simply to have some time alone are imperative for the relationship to work well for both you and them.

Au pairs have long been popular in Europe and the United States and a growing number of young foreign travellers and local families alike are seeing the benefits of the au pair relationship.

The best advice is to work with an agency to help you find an au pair that will suit your family.

My Minder is a leading au pair, nanny and post-natal special agency which helps busy families find the right person to support the smooth running of their household. To find out more visit www.myminder.com.au or call 1300 009 400.

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