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, how many children you have, and where you live. The cost of hosting an au pair can be broken down into two main parts: Fees paid to an agency for the program administration and year-round support, and a minimum weekly stipend of $195.75, paid directly to your au pair.
- 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”.