How much does it cost to host an au pair in Massachusetts?
The total cost of hosting an au pair can be broken down into three parts1. The first part consists of the required fees that are paid to our agency. The second part is money that goes directly to your au pair. The third part consists of additional costs that come from hosting—such as room and board and additional insurance. Many families find the total costs to be competitive when compared to daycare or nannies on an annual basis. We also offer discounts for both new and repeat families.
On December 2, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued its decision that host families must comply with Massachusetts labor laws applicable to domestic workers, including the Massachusetts Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, in addition to the U.S. Department of State’s regulations governing the federal au pair program. Cultural Care’s role in the au pair program is solely as a U.S. State Department designated sponsor and, as a result, Cultural Care cannot provide host families with definitive guidance on the application of Massachusetts state law to the federal program. Please read this overview of the obligations for host families provided by the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General. Cultural Care has provided, however, a chart below setting forth its understanding of the required pay rates and potential deductions permitted in Massachusetts. Host families can also review this helpful checklist which is a collection of information and resources on other potential state requirements, considerations and financial obligations.
If you do not live in Massachusetts, please review information on pricing in other states.
Costs, part 1:
Agency fees paid to Cultural Care Au Pair:
Registration fee Due at time of registration to access our online database of available au pairs and begin matching.
Processing fee Due upon final selection of your au pair to secure your match.
Program fee Due 30 days prior to au pair’s arrival. This covers the services and support Cultural Care provides and other costs we incur related to the program, including the costs of au pairs’ international airfare2.
Costs, part 2:
Paid weekly to your au pair:
Au pairs who live with a host family in Massachusetts are entitled to a weekly payment directly from their host family, that is at least the greater of either:
The minimum federal stipend of $195.753
The MA minimum wage ($15 in 2023) times the number of hours the au pair is on duty for the week up to 40. If the au pair works between 41-45 hours during a week, you must pay time-and-a-half for the hours worked over the 40 hour limit. You may be able to deduct from the weekly pay to your au pair under the MA minimum wage laws for a meal credit of up to $42 per week and/or a lodging credit of up to $35 per week if you determine all state requirements for these credits are met. The chart below reflects examples using the 2023 minimum wage:
Count on-duty hours per week
Calculate minimum total due
Maximum deduction for weekly meals per MA law
Maximum deduction for weekly lodging per MA law
Confirm total is at least the State Dept. minimum au pair stipend requirement (>$195.75)
Pay your au pair at least this amount per week
20 30 40 45
$300 $450 $600 $600 + $112.50 (overtime)
-$42 -$42 -$42 -$42
-$35 -$35 -$35 -$35
Yes Yes Yes Yes
$223 $373 $523 $635.50
In 2023 minimum wage in MA will be $15/hr. and all requirements must be met for the deductions to be allowable.
Explore our Extended Payment Plan (EPP)
If you’d prefer to pay the program fee in installments, we offer an Extended Payment Plan. To be eligible, host families must host au pair for a minimum of 44 weeks. Payment through our Extended Payment Plan is accepted by eCheck only. Click the arrow for more details.
+ $200 enrollment fee
Due 30 days before your au pair’s arrival
+ $50 administrative fee
Due 2 months after your au pair’s arrival
+ $50 administrative fee
Due 4 months after your au pair’s arrival
+ $50 administrative fee
Due 6 months after your au pair’s arrival
Costs, part 3:
It’s important to remember that the au pair program requires consideration for the au pair’s experience as well as the family’s needs. When considering your family budget for the program, it’s also important to consider the additional cost of utilities and food, as well as the costs of including your au pair in family outings and experiences. Below are some incidental costs to keep in mind.
You’ll contribute up to $5004 towards your au pair’s education requirement of 6 college credits during their term.
Room and board
You’ll provide a private bedroom and regular meals for your au pair. Families often provide access to a car, cell phone, and include their au pair in family vacations.
If your au pair will drive, you’ll need to cover additional auto insurance, and in some states you may need workers’ compensation coverage.
1On October 30, 2023, the U.S. State Department published new proposed regulations for the federal au pair program available here. If enacted, the regulations would affect the total cost of and obligations associated with hosting an au pair.
2Au pairs pay a smaller program fee to the foreign company that screens them, but no portion of that fee is used to pay for the costs of their international airfare or domestic U.S. transportation. Au pairs may be charged additional fees in the event of special travel requests.
3The U.S. Department of State has determined that au pairs are required to receive from their host families at least $195.75 per week. Host families and au pairs are free to discuss and agree to compensation higher than the required stipend minimum; however, this cannot be in exchange for the au pair exceeding the regulatory limits on working hours (10 hours per day; 45 hours per week) or performing duties beyond childcare-related tasks. The State Department formula is based on the federal minimum wage and applicable room and board credits. Any change in the federal minimum wage or the applicable credits will result in an increase in this minimum stipend amount. Please note, should a family extend beyond the first year, they would be responsible for the stipend for each week of the extension term.
4This contribution towards an au pair’s education requirement is determined by the U.S. Department of State, and families agree to comply with any increase that is issued.