Having an au pair live with your family is a wonderful and unique experience. These caregivers are dedicated to your children and help them develop social-emotional skills in ways that a traditional nanny can’t. However, you may wonder how much it costs to become an au pair. The program fees are very reasonable and will cover many aspects of the process.
Understanding the full cost of having an Au Pair live with your family is important before you agree to be matched. It includes the agency fee, weekly stipend and educational component stipend. It also has a few additional costs like the visa or “SEVIS” fee, background check and application or registration fee (though often these can be waived or discounted by getting a code from an area coordinator, an online referral or belonging to a discount category). Depending on the program, the agency fee is about $7,000 to $7,500. The stipend is about $1,775 per month. The education component stipend is about $500 (though both host families and au pairs can agree to higher amounts).
Other potential costs include travel, covering the au pair’s vacation or sick time and providing special toiletries and household items. In addition, the au pair may need a cell phone and be added to your data plan or car insurance. The best way to understand the au pair cost is to talk to the agency you are considering using. They will happily provide you with an estimate of the total cost. It’s also helpful to speak with au pairs in their current homes. They can share their experiences, insights and advice. They can also give you a first-hand look at how an Au Pair fits into their lives and help you decide if it fits your family.
Au pairs can also expect to pay an upfront agency fee ranging from $7,000 to $9,000. Many agencies waive application fees or give a discount on their costs; be sure to hunt around on Google to find the best deals. This fee is used to help the agency match the au pair with a family, help them with their visa, and provide additional support during the year. Most agency fees are non-refundable if the au pair cancels or does not complete their contract. Insurance is an important cost for both au pairs and host families. For au pairs, it can be a vital safety net in the event of an illness or accident that requires medical treatment outside their home country. In addition, it can cover costs for return flights home or accommodation if the au pair cannot travel due to a serious illness or injury.
In addition to a weekly stipend, Au Pairs are paid for room and board. Host families also provide a cell phone and may provide access to a car. In some states, Au pairs may need worker’s compensation coverage. Many Au Pairs must fly to their host location for their program to start. Au Pair USA charges a fee to cover some of the cost for Au Pairs, but this is not a full travel reimbursement. You will likely want to offer a credit card to pay for the airfare yourself or offer a car for your Au Pair. A program fee, a required part of the Au Pair program, pays for the Au Pair’s interviews and screening and the support system they receive once in the country (au pair events, meetings, assistance with questions or concerns, etc.). Depending on the agency you choose, this cost may be different amounts. You’ll also have to pay an education fee to encourage your au pair to take at least one credited course while they are in the US. It is a $500 contribution to the educational component of their Au Pair experience and may be in addition to their stipend. You can offset some of these costs by offering Uber/Lyft credits or a car for transportation to and from class.
Au Pairs receive a weekly minimum stipend of $1,775 per month (plus room and board), but families can agree to higher compensation. Families also contribute up to $500 towards their au pair’s education allowance to help them meet the Department of State educational requirement. For many host families, the benefits of having an in-home au pair far outweigh the cost. In addition to saving on childcare costs, au pairs can offer a unique cultural exchange experience for children and provide invaluable language practice. They can also add a much-needed diversity of background and perspective to the home. Depending on the location, Au pairs can travel for free or at a discounted rate. They can experience another culture while working in their field of interest, which can be invaluable for many au pairs. In addition, they can build strong relationships with their host family and become part of their family life. While it’s true that au pairs come from federally regulated programs, these programs do most of the work for hosts. They arrange flights and training, do background checks during interviews, and serve as a support system once they enter the country. The only other costs host families will have to cover is any additional auto insurance required for the au pair or workers’ comp in some states.