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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 all the facts for hiring an au pair in Brisbane!  You’re digging through Mt Washmore for school socks while the toddler does something…unknown to the dog.  You’re already late for work and you still haven’t found the dance uniforms for this afternoon.  If only you had an extra pair of hands! With rocketing child care costs, not to mention the cost of the mortgage/electricity/school fees… an au pair can be an affordable option for your Brisbane family.

No wonder so 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?

How do I find a Brisbane Au Pair?

Hiring an au pair is a big commitment.  This person will live in your home.  Eat with you, go to family events with you, take care of your kids – the most important question isn’t how much does an au pair cost, it’s how do you choose the right au pair for your family!  Finding an au pair is just the beginning, you’ll need to get to know her (or him) and make sure that they’re a good fit for you and your kids.

Au Pair Agencies in Brisbane

Brisbane has a thriving au pair agency industry and like most industries, there’s the good and the bad.  For most families, hiring an au pair is a big decision and the agency you use will make a big difference in how well the relationship works.  When looking for a Brisbane Au Pair Agency, it’s vital to look for:

  • An au pair agency that provides ongoing family support throughout the contract
  • Staff experienced in au pair recruitment (not just admin)
  • An au pair agency that can partner candidates with specific skills and attributes
  • Ensure the agency has a stringent screening process in place for your child’s safety
  • Vet au pair applicants to ensure they have adequate child care experience
  • Provide support throughout the recruitment process, including facilitating Skype or other interviews
  • Help you to ease your children into the new relationship
  • Some agencies may also offer extra services like checking the au pair’s driving history and specialist skills (language teaching, cookery, sports coaching etc)

TIP:  You will need to hire your au pair up to three months in advance of her arrival because of visa requirements.  If you plan to get an au pair for the new school year, you MUST start the process before the beginning of December. 

It pays to ask around.  Other parents will have recommendations for their favourite reputable au pair agency in Brisbane.  You can join these Facebook Groups to ask for tips and recommendations:

Au Pairs in Australia

Au Pair Host Families in Australia & New Zealand

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 full time 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 between $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.  Read our article on the differences between a Demi Pair and Au Pair by clicking here.

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.

 

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