An Au Pair Vs. Nanny: What's The Difference?
Are you weighing au pairs vs. nannies to hire? It’s a good idea to get informed about both your options before you make your choice. Both types of childcare have pros and cons and it’s important to weigh your decision carefully to figure out what option works best for your family. Here are a few things to consider when you’re weighing an au pair vs. nanny.
An au pair is a foreign young person who comes to the UK to work in exchange for housing under a prescribed set of guidelines and weekly au pair pocket money.
A nanny is a broader term to refer to anyone a family employs to look after a child or children in the household.
Nannies are typically residents of the UK but not always from the UK. Nannies can be Swedish, French, British, German or other.
Nannies can be live-in or live-out, while all au pairs must be live-in childcare providers.
Au pairs may or may not have prior childcare experience, so it’s important to check with the agency if a candidate has worked with children before.
Nannies can provide full-time or part-time childcare for your family, depending on your needs.
Au pairs typically provide up to 45 hours of childcare a week.
Both au pairs and nannies can provide household upkeep services. If you’re working with an au pair agency, it’s important to find out exactly what services an au pair will provide. If you are screening a nanny, you can discuss individual job duties with an applicant.
If you’re hiring a nanny, you have a range of options but the best one is to use a good nanny agency.
Au pairs may speak little English causing a language barrier.
An Au Pair: What Will It Really Cost You?
If you’re considering an au pair for your household, the good news is that the guidelines for how much you should pay her are pretty clear. £70-150 per week but it depends on the hours and the agency will help with this.
The agency fee covers the processing of the paperwork. The placement fee covers the cost of recruiting and screening an au pair, a local ref, training program, some courses, an au pair network and much more.
Benefits of Hiring a Nanny over an Au Pair
Weighing in on the decision over whether a nanny or au pair works better as a childcare solution for your family isn’t easy. If you’re looking for reasons why hiring a nanny is better than an au pair, read on.
Childcare isn’t a decision to make lightly. When you decide to hire a nanny, you can meet an applicant face to face in an interview and see how that person interacts with your child.
If you decide to hire a nanny over an au pair, you can limit your search locally with a good agency.
When hiring a nanny, you can be more flexible about the qualifications you’re looking for. Whether it’s a certain number of years of experience, CPR certification, or the ability to work part-time hours, you’re not limited to a prescribed search criteria set up by an au pair agency. Nannies do not necessarily have limitations in terms of duties, hours, commitment period, schooling, etc. as au pairs do.
How Au Pair Agencies Work
One way to get childcare help is through an au pair agency.
However, typically, you can contact one of the au pair agencies by phone or through their website. A coordinator will get in contact with you and inform you how their program works. The coordinator will then match you with an au pair based on your time frame and requirements or you could receive a list of au pairs to choose from.
Understanding the Au Pair Program
If you’re a family in need of more affordable childcare for up to 45 hours a week, the au pair program is a viable solution for your needs. An au pair program matches your family with a screened childcare provider who will live in your home in exchange for a monthly stipend. Typically, the au pair is a young person who wishes to live in the United Kingdom for a time period while watching a family’s child or children. An au pair may reside in your home for just the summer or for up to two years.
Au pairs must have their own room, the provision of food, one and a half days off every week, and a full weekend off every month. Part of the expense of paying an au pair includes an amount towards the au pair’s educational expenses. An au pair has proficiency in conversational English and typically has a minimum amount of childcare experience. Au pairs have a standard weekly stipend that the host family pays.
When an Au Pair Might Be the Right Choice
Hiring a nanny isn’t necessarily right for every family situation. Sometimes, an au pair does make a better childcare choice. Here are some situations where an au pair makes better sense:
If you want temporary childcare just for the summer, an au pair could work out best. Au pair programs provide temporary childcare during the summer months.
You’re comfortable with a live-in childcare situation and want to welcome a foreign student as part of your family. If you’re interested in offering your home as a host family to a young person from another country so that you can have childcare, an au pair might be better for you.
You’re looking for an affordable option and are comfortable with having an au pair agency screen an applicant for you. Nanny wages can vary widely. However, on the whole, an au pair is an affordable option. The monthly stipend can be less than some nanny wages when you compare the cost of a live-in nanny.