au pair

Au Pair vs. Nanny?

What is the difference between an Au Pair and a nanny?  This is one of the frequently asked questions we get on our website. An Au Pair is defined as a young person (between the ages of 18-30), who goes abroad to live with a native family and learn (or perfect) a language  in exchange for childcare. Meanwhile, a nanny does not take part in any cultural exchange and gets a salary as in any other job.
Today there is no official “Nanny abroad” or “Live in Nanny” program. Nevertheless, it is possible to hire a nanny under a regular job contract (instead of the Au Pair contract). Families that are willing to hire a nanny  must take into consideration that in most countries no visas are issued for this job. 

Differences between a live-in nanny and an Au Pair

There are several differences between an Au Pair and a live in nanny. In reality, they have not so much in common besides the area of activity: childcare. In order to make it clear for our Host Families, we have made a comparison list with the main differences: 

Au Pair Live-in nanny
Has a specific age barrier for each country. Does not have any age barrier. He/she can be hired at any age.
Has a maximum permitted working hours per week in each country. This must be respected by the Host Family. Working hours are agreed with the family and regulated by the host country's labor law.
The Au Pair participates in a cultural exchange program and must come from a different country or have a different nationality than at least one of the host parents. Hiring a nanny does not normally involve a cultural exchange.
An Au Pair receives pocket money from the Host Family  A nanny is paid a salary that should at least match the minimum wage of the country.
An Au Pair must have the possibility to attend a language course A nanny does not need to attend a language course.
An Au Pair is seen as a temporary family member. A nanny is perceived  as an employee.
In many cases, Au Pairs need a visa. Many countries offer a specific Au Pair visa. A nanny coming from abroad may need a work permit or visa. He/she is not allowed to work with an Au Pair visa.
Duties and responsibilities of an Au Pair are strictly related to child care and light domestic work around the children's area. Nanny's duties and responsibilities depend on the agreement between the nanny and her/his employer


See also

Pro Aupair