100 Tips For Knowing the Right Salary to Pay an Au Pair
One thing that many people fret about when hiring an au pair is how much they should pay. If you’ve never hired an au pair before, you’re probably completely clueless about how much to offer. The good news is that weekly and monthly rates for au pairs are fairly standardized in most countries. It’s still confusing, though. To gain a clearer understanding about what you should pay your au pair, check out the following 100 tips.
10 Countries with the Highest Average Salary for Au Pairs
The following weekly salaries are listed in U.S. currency. They should give you an idea about what au pairs are paid around the world.
- In Italy, an “au pair plus” receives a minimum of $120 per week.
- In Spain, the rates are very similar to those in Italy. Therefore, an “au pair plus” should receive at least $120 per week.
- Au pairs in Iceland receive at least $160 per week. This is regulated, and you are not allowed to pay less than that.
- If you live in Belgium, you will have to pay your au pair at least $150 per week, although many people choose to pay more than that.
- In Norway, the average weekly rate that an au pair can expect to receive is around $180.
- Au pairs who work in the United States must be paid at least $195 per week.
- In Switzerland, au pairs earn a minimum of $220 per week, which is a lot more than au pairs in many other countries earn.
- The weekly rate for au pairs who work in Austria is $230.
- Au pairs who work in New Zealand typically receive at least $260 per week.
- For some reason, au pairs in Canada earn more than au pairs anywhere else in the world. They get a weekly rate of around $280.
10 Countries with the Lowest Average Salary for Au Pairs
If you’d like to pay as little as possible for your au pair, you might want to consider relocating to one of the following countries.
- The average weekly rate for au pairs in Sweden, $125, isn’t always set in stone. As a result, many au pairs are paid less.
- The United Kingdom does not enforce standard rates at which au pairs should be paid. It is customary to pay an au pair around $130 per week, but there’s no law against paying less than that.
- In the Netherlands, the average weekly rate for an au pair is $110.
- Au pairs in Denmark also earn about $110 per week.
- In France, au pairs earn an average of $100 per week, which is definitely a lot less than what au pairs earn in many other countries.
- Au pairs in Ireland also earn around $100 per week.
- In the country of Austria, the average weekly rate for an au pair is just $90, which is why Austria appears on this top ten list.
- Au pairs in Germany only earn around $85 per week. If you’d like to spend as little as possible on childcare, then, you might want to move to Germany.
- Regular au pairs in Italy earn about $80 per week. A “regular” au pair works less than a full 40 hours per week.
- The same thing is true about Spain. Regular au pairs in that country earn around $80 per week. Au pairs who work at least 40 hours are considered to be “super” au pairs, and they receive higher pay.
10 Reasons to Pay an Au Pair Based on Your Local Standard of Living
As you can see, the average rates for au pairs in the U.S. fall somewhere in the middle. Some people choose to pay based on their local standard of living; here are a few reasons to do so.
- It can be a nice thing to do for an au pair in a country where caregivers don’t earn a whole lot of money.
- If you are going to pay more than the local rate, you will have an easier time finding exceptional service.
- Like many people who work overseas, you may be paid based on your regular salary in the U.S.
- To make it easier to manage your budget, it may be necessary to pay an au pair based on the standard of living in your own country.
- You will get used to paying a certain amount for an au pair. If you’re overseas, paying the going rate in your country will prevent confusion.
- Having to pay more to meet the local standard of living could make it too expensive for you to afford an au pair.
- Another option is to pay based on your local standard of living but give a bonus at the end of the year.
- Paying based on your local standard of living will help you keep expenses low.
- Your au pair may be pleasantly surprised by the amount that you offer when you handle things this way.
- You might have to settle for an au pair with less experience if your rate is lower than average, but the trade-off may be worth it.
10 Reasons to Pay an Au Pair Based on Their Standard of Living
In some instances, it may be better to pay an au pair based on her standard of living. A few good reasons include:
- Weekly and monthly rates are regulated in many countries, so you may not have a choice.
- If you are in a country like Germany, where rates are low, you could save a lot of money.
- Your au pair will be used to the prevailing rates, so she shouldn’t have an issue with what you offer.
- You could offer a small amount more and take your pick from a selection of exceptionally experienced au pairs.
- The cost of living in some countries is lower than in the U.S., so it’s fair to pay the local going rate.
- If an au pair tries to say that you must pay what you normally pay in your country, don’t believe her.
- To make sure that you’re paying a fair amount, you can check with a local agency.
- Investigate the cost of staple foods in the area where you will be living. It will make it easier to choose a salary that is fair.
- If your nanny can’t survive on what you pay her, she may quit.
- In more expensive countries, you might have no choice but to pay a higher rate.
10 Benefits that May Be Offered in Lieu of Salary to Au Pairs
Some au pairs are receptive to the idea of receiving certain benefits in lieu of a standard salary. A few tips include:
- If your au pair will be allowed to travel with you and your family for free, it could be considered a form of compensation.
- You could offer your au pair exceptional living quarters in exchange for lower pay.
- Allowing your au pair to use a spare care for personal excursions could be a way to pay her less too.
- Allowing your au pair to order specialized food and other items could be offered in lieu of a standard salary.
- Permitting your au pair to have a pet is another option. Some au pairs have a hard time finding families that allow pets.
- If you own your own business, you could offer your au pair products or services instead of a standard salary.
- Another way to pay a lower salary is by giving your au pair exceptional amounts of time off. For example, you could offer three-day weekends or shorter work days.
- You could offer to contribute to an educational fund on behalf of your au pair in exchange for a lower salary.
- Keep in mind that you may not be able to pay less than a certain amount because rates are regulated in many countries.
- You could offer to give your au pair lessons in speaking the local language in exchange for a lower weekly or monthly rate.
10 Reasons You Get What You Pay For with an Au Pair
It’s nice to look for ways to pay an au pair less money, but it isn’t always worth it. You need to keep in mind that you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to hiring an au pair.
- Less experienced au pairs are usually willing to accept lower pay, so you can’t expect to get an au pair with a lot of experience if you’re not willing to pay a decent rate.
- If your children have special needs, you will have to pay more to get the right au pair.
- In a foreign country, you may have to pay more to get an au pair who speaks English fluently.
- An au pair who is paid less than the going rate is more likely to quit abruptly.
- You are more likely to have problems with an inexperienced au pair. You’ll pay less, but you may end up having to deal with a lot of trouble.
- When you pay less than is standard for an au pair, you’re sure to worry during the day while she’s taking care of your children.
- A poorly reimbursed au pair is less likely to be reliable. She may not be there when you really need her.
- Even with a decent background check, you are more likely to end up with an au pair who steals or does other illegal things when you aren’t willing to pay a decent wage.
- Au pairs who are paid well are happier and more enthusiastic about their jobs. If you want that kind of person watching your children, you’re going to have to pay for it.
- You might be able to pay very little for an au pair who is unwilling or unable to provide references. Of course, you will have no idea what you are getting.
10 U.S. Tax Laws to Be Aware of Related to Au Pairs
It’s easy to get into tax-related trouble when hiring an au pair, so you should familiarize yourself with U.S. tax laws prior to doing so. Here are a few key tips.
- If you are going to pay an au pair more than $1,400 in a year, you will need to file payroll taxes.
- Payroll taxes are made up of several different things: social security, Medicare and federal unemployment taxes.
- Social security and Medicare equal 7.65 of an employee’s gross earnings.
- Federal unemployment taxes, or FUTA, equal 0.8 percent of an au pair’s gross earnings, so you should be prepared to pay them.
- You will also have to pay for state unemployment taxes and for disability insurance taxes as well.
- Another thing to keep in mind is that you will have to make advanced earned income credit payments for eligible employees. Be sure to investigate this matter thoroughly.
- You do not have to deduct federal and state income taxes from the pay that you give your au pair. It is strictly optional, but it may make things easier for you both.
- If you choose not to deduct your employee’s taxes, she will have to pay them on her own. Be sure that she is aware of this.
- You will be responsible for quarterly wage reporting as the employer of an au pair.
- By U.S. law, caregivers are not independent contractors. They are employees. As a result, you have to issue your au pair a W-2 form.
10 Au Pair Expenses that You May be Able to Write-Off for U.S. Tax Purposes
In order to save even more money on the cost of child care, many people try to write off as many au pair expenses as possible. Be very careful. If you write off too many things, you could be audited.
- There are two big write-offs that you can take when paying an au pair: the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. You can only take one per year.
- Do not attempt to use both of the above methods in a single year. It will be a big red flag.
- The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit actually reduces the total amount that you owe at the end of the year. IRS publication 503 has more information.
- The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account may be a good option to consider. Additional information about it is available on IRS publication 929.
- People often get confused when employing au pairs and think that they are eligible to write off the au pair’s payroll taxes. That isn’t true.
- Business owners can write off things like payroll taxes and wages. Regular families can’t.
- In many ways, you will be saving money by hiring an au pair. Furthermore, you probably aren’t going to be paying her very much. It’s not worth an audit to try to write off too many things.
- It’s better to be conservative about writing off au pair-related expenses than it is to get audited and end up owing a lot more money.
- There is a lot of specific information about what can safely be written off on the Internet. Make sure to thoroughly understand it before you do so.
- The two credits mentioned above are the safest and best ways to save money on taxes when paying an au pair. Just remember that you can’t use them both in a single tax filing year.
10 Au Pair Expense that Families Should Not Have to Pay
If you’ve never hired an au pair before, you could accidentally end up paying for expenses that aren’t traditionally covered. The following expenses aren’t usually covered by families who use au pairs:
- Fuel for personal automobile use. When the au pair is using the car during the course of her daily duties, she should be reimbursed for the fuel that she uses. When using it for personal errands, she should pay for it out of her own pocket.
- Personal toiletries are not usually covered by the family. You could provide an initial selection, but she should replenish it herself.
- If your au pair runs up outrageously high cell phone bills, you should not cover them. This sometimes happens because the au pair calls her home country or sends too many text messages.
- You should not pay for unreasonable grocery requests. For example, you shouldn’t agree to pay for all organic food or other high-end groceries that cost a lot more.
- You should never pay your au pair more than her regular weekly rate. Everything should be determined and agreed upon ahead of time, and you should stick with it.
- Don’t pay for any grocery bills that haven’t been pre-approved. Your au pair should know what you will cover and what you won’t, and there should be a limit in place too.
- Au pairs should cover the cost of calling their home countries because international phone call rates are usually exorbitant.
- If your au pair wants high-speed Internet access and you don’t have it, she should pay the extra amount for it herself.
- If your au pair is involved in a car accident when she’s not on duty, you are not responsible for the costs that are associated with it.
- In fact, anything that happens to your au pair while she is off-duty is none of your concern. Don’t fall into the trap of paying for doctor’s visits and other random things.
10 Reasons Au Pairs May Actually Cost Less Than Other Childcare Options
If you think hiring an au pair is more expensive than putting your child in a regular daycare, you should think again. It’s often cheaper. Reasons for this include:
- You don’t have to transport your child to and from a daycare, so you will spend less on fuel.
- There’s no need to pay for expensive lunches from daycare centers. You can just roll the cost of your child’s meals into your regular grocery bill.
- Au pairs are right there, so you don’t have to worry about scrambling to find a different sitter if your child gets sick.
- When broken down from a weekly or monthly amount, an au pair may cost a lot less per hour.
- In some areas, daycare centers are hard to find and very expensive too. That’s why au pairs tend to be more popular in some areas than they are in others. Many families learn that it’s better to just have a live-in au pair than it is to deal with the high cost of a daycare center.
- Daycare centers don’t allow sick children to attend, which means that parents have to miss work. You don’t have to worry about that when you have an au pair.
- You might get a small discount if you enroll multiple children in a daycare center, but you will spend significantly less by hiring a single au pair.
- Au pairs often perform other duties around the home that can save you a lot of time. Time is money, as they say, so you can get more for less by hiring one.
- You don’t have to rush straight to a daycare center after work when you have an au pair, so you will spend less time getting home.
- Living quarters are a part of an au pair’s compensation. You may even be able to compensate her in other ways and pay her even less per week. Tax write-offs can help too. In the end, you could end up spending a lot less by simply hiring an au pair.
It’s not as common for people in the U.S. to hire au pairs, but the trend is starting to catch on around the country. More families are learning that an au pair is often more affordable and often offers a lot more than a daycare center. Furthermore, children are usually happier when they can stay in their own homes. With an au pair, they don’t have to be shuffled around from one place to another all day. It makes for a more peaceful home life. You just need to figure out the right salary to pay your au pair.