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How Much Does an Au Pair Cost? | TRUE cost of an Au Pair in Australia

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, Australia!

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, 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 two most important questions are how much does an au pair cost and 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.

What is the difference between an au pair and a demi pair?

How can I get a free Demi_Pair_Brisbane - how much does an au pair cost australia Read our article on the differences between a demi pair and au pair by clicking here.

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?)

An average au pair wage will be approximately $200 – $250 per week for 30 hours. But what is ‘average’ and what is above average is debateable!

Families will vary on what they offer their au pair, but you will need to factor in an increase in household costs when you host an au pair.

Expect an increase in these costs for an au pair:

  1. food
  2. water
  3. electricity
  4. gas
  5. mobile phone bills
  6. car – running costs

Should I give my au pair a car?

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.  If they are going to use the car for personal use, are you paying for extra petrol or are they? You’ll need to buy, register and insure that car, so factor that in your weekly costs for an au pair too!

Considering all of these costs, some families suggest that this can be from $100 per week – $400 per week on top of the au pair wages!!

Do au pairs pay tax?

From January 2017 new rules came in that state that au pairs travelling to Australia on a Working Holiday (subclass 417) or Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462) will now be taxed at 15% for the first $37,000 of their income. They will need to apply for a tax file number (TFN), which will be their personal reference to the tax system. Host families in Australia must be registered with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as employers of working holiday makers. For more information, contact the Australian Taxation Office.

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.

Interview questions to ask an Au Pair

If you are thinking about asking an au pair to join your family, remember to ask some appropriate questions. We think these interview questions are a good place to start!

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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