Although many people use the terms interchangeably, there is a significant difference between a nanny and an au pair.
Differences between an au pair and a nanny:
- Au pairs are, by definition, young people from overseas who travel legally to the U.S.to care for children on a cultural exchange visa. Nannies can be anyone employed to care for a child in its own home.
- Nannies can work part-time, full-time or even overtime. Au pairs working conditions are regulated by the U.S. Department of State, so there are rules that must be followed. An au pair can work up to (but no more than) 45 hours a week, 10 hours per day.
- Nanny fees vary widely depending on if they are part-time or full-time and where you live. Most resources quote from $400 to $600 per week. Au pairs are paid a set weekly stipend of $195.75, as dictated by the U.S. Department of State. When an agency’s fees are factored in, the total weekly cost is about $350.
- Some nannies are professionally trained and are in the field as a career. Others become nannies as a temporary way to earn money while they decide on college or other career paths. Au pairs are not professionally trained but many of them have hundreds, even thousands, of hours of experience as babysitters, tutors, kindergarten assistants, camp counselors and sports instructors.
- Nannies are employees. Au pairs are not considered an employee but rather an extended family member. The term au pair means “on par”.