Pocket money (salary), working hours and holiday scheduling for legal international Au Pairs in the USA are determined by the US Department of State Au Pair program regulations.
All legal Au Pair programs in the USA must follow the US Government rules regarding these areas. All agencies make sure their participants and Host Families are in compliance.
The US Government rules help to ensure that the program is an educational work and travel experience for the participant.
Au Pair duties in the USA
The Au Pair in the USA will be in charge of taking care of the Host Family's children. He/She will be responsible for everything that has to do with the children, for example cleaning the kids’ room, preparing breakfast and lunch, giving them a ride to school, social activities and playdates.
The Host Family should not use the new family member as a cleaning lady. The Au Pair is not responsible for any other rooms than her/his own and the children’s room. Having said that, the participant should help with the general household just as every other family member.
Both parties should discuss the duties.
Host Family duties in the USA
The Host Family has duties just as the Au Pair has. The family has to provide the participant with at least 3 meals a day and a private room. Even if the Au Pair has some days off, is sick or is on holiday, she/he can benefit from lodging and full board.
The Host Family also needs to take care of the Au Pair’s insurance in the USA. They also have to make sure that the Au Pair doesn’t work more than 45 hours per week and 10 hours per day. They have to give the participant enough time to join a course at the local college.
The hosts need to make sure that the participant feels at home. They need to help with any problems or organizational matters that might occur since the Au Pair is new in America.
US Government program rules require the Au Pairs to look after the children up to 45 hours per week and not more than 10 hours per day - including babysitting!
45 hours is a lot, so the participant should check with the Host Family at what times they need her/him to take care of the children so she/he can plan what day and time she/he can take a class at the local college.
The Host Family should always be the priority though and the schedule will be based on their needs. But remember: the Au Pair’s time off means the Au Pair’s time off.
If the Host Family requires additional care beyond what the participant can legally provide, we encourage them to obtain supplemental childcare resources or consider getting a full time nanny.
Time off and holidays
The program regulations require Host Families to allow their new family members 1,5 free days in a week, and at least one weekend off a month.
The participant will also have 2 weeks of paid vacation during her/his stay. If the Host Family takes the Au Pair with them on vacation, they should discuss if this is part of the participant’s paid vacation or not.
Make sure to state this fact in the contract as well!
Au Pair’s salary in the USA
The current pocket money that hosts need to provide to their new family member is at least $195.75 per week.
This rate applies to all participants, but some organizations may also offer professional or educational program options.
The professional Au Pairs will generally receive higher pocket money than $195.75, but they will need to have a high level of experience to qualify for these positions.
The educational program allows participants to work with families with older children, whereby the youngest child in the home is in school full time. Participants work up to 30 hours per week, but will receive less pocket money than $195.75
An Au Pair will receive a private, comfortable room and full board, which means they will also have at least 3 meals in the Host Family’s home. The participant does not have to pay anything for this, but will receive these benefits in return for providing child care services to their hosts.
The US Government requires Au Pairs to complete an educational course at a post-secondary institution while the participants are in the USA. The Host Family has to pay up to $500 for the course. The agency must ensure all participants complete this educational requirement.
It’s possible to take English classes or more diverse classes such as history, political science, literature or anything similar. Taking a class is a great opportunity to meet other international people and find new friends.
Please do NOT answer families that asks you to become their Au Pair with a tourist visa for 6 months or only with an ESTA form for up to 3 months! This is illegal! The border control in the US might catch you the minute you set foot on American ground and send you back home!
Au Pair USA: Experience America and join the Au Pair program.
Read More »
Au Pair USA: requirements and regulations for participants
Read More »
Au Pair contract and insurance in the USA - for a safe stay!
Read More »
Au Pair USA: J1 visa requirements and application process
Read More »