Au Pairs Vs Nannies

The Nannies Versus Au Pairs Question

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It’s a common enough question. I need childcare support, I know that I need some help but I don’t know if the best option open to me is a Nanny or an Au Pair. For many others, Nanny and Au Pair sounds similar, so choosing between the two is difficult.

We speak to a lot of families and on the initial conversation, they may feel they would like to host an au pair but when drilled down to their specific needs, hiring a nanny may be a better option. In other cases, we recommend an Au Pair is a more suitable option. The following comparison should help you in identifying which childcare option is more relevant to your situation.

Au Pair


Au Pair is a young person, inexperienced, here on a cultural exchange and is treated as part of a family.

A Nanny has a more formal relationship. It is more of a employee/employer relationship and there are clear boundaries as to the both parties responsibilities.

A family HOST an au pair (the family becomes a host family with responsibilities towards the well being of the au pair).

If they choose a nanny, a family is the employer.

Au pair gets a weekly allowance . Even taking into account of food and accommodation costs, hosting an au pair is still on average at least 44% less than employing a live out nanny.

A nanny is paid a salary and has clear holiday and maternity benefits.

Au pair needs a lot of training and a period of settling into a family's routine.

A nanny should already be trained and can do the job competently from Day 1.

Au pair may need help in interacting with their host children.

A nanny should already know what to do and how best to engage with their charge.

Hosting an au pair is an informal arrangement.

Hiring a nanny is a formal process with set contractual times

Au pairs tend to be foreign and therefore do not always have great English skills.

A nanny should already speak fluent English and will not require English lessons or time off to attend college.

An au pair should not have SOLE charge of any child under the age of 2.

A nanny can be hired to look after children of any age.

An au pair is a live in arrangement.

A nanny tends to live out. (there are exceptions to the rule)

Most au pairs can only stay for a short space of time, commonly between 6-12 months. Increasingly, due to the shortage of candidates, it is more common to see candidates for 6 months.

A nanny can be employed for many years and can see through a child from a young age.

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Do you have questions?

Call us on 01342 776151