Hiring How-To: Find an Au Pair

Unsure About the Child Care Arrangements?

Heading back to work after the birth of your firstborn can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re unsure about the child care arrangement that has been made. Although every mom wants the best for her little one, hiring full-time help is an expensive luxury that many families are unable to afford in these economically uncertain times. Thankfully, there is a way for families to enlist the help of a live-in sitter, without spending a great deal of cash.

The American Au Pair exchange program offers young women from around the world an opportunity to live and work in the United States for one calendar year. The rates paid to foreign child care workers are set by the United States Department of Labor, and a week’s worth of work (45 hours) costs only $195.75 for families who invite an au pair into their homes. Parents who utilize this service should also expect to pay a one-time agency fee that ranges from $5000 – $10,000, although the total cost paid to both the agency and the au pair averages out to around just $8 per working hour for the entire year.

Although a high-quality sitter who will accept such a low wage may sound too good to be true, the Au Pair program doesn’t focus on employer and employee relations. Instead, visiting au pairs are taken in as a member of the “host family” and are given a weekly “allowance” and room and board in exchange for child care services. Au pairs are expected to eat with the family each night and to uphold their share of chores within the house.

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