Difference between Au pair and nanny

How is an au pair different from an Australian nanny?

  1. Origin & Definition:
    • Au Pair: The term “au pair” is universal and comes from French, meaning “on par” or “equal to.” Au pairs are typically young individuals from foreign countries coming to a host country under a cultural exchange program.
    • Australian Nanny: A nanny in Australia is a childcare provider, usually a local or someone who has come to Australia specifically for long-term or professional work, not tied to a cultural exchange program.
  2. Primary Purpose:
    • Au Pair: The primary goal is cultural exchange. They come to experience Australian culture, improve their English, and share their own culture with their host family, while also providing childcare.
    • Australian Nanny: Their main role is to provide professional childcare. Cultural exchange is not the primary objective.
  3. Training & Experience:
    • Au Pair: While many have childcare experience, they might not have formal training. Their expertise often comes from taking care of siblings or babysitting in their home countries.
    • Australian Nanny: Many Australian nannies have formal training in childcare, and some may hold certifications or have completed courses related to early childhood education.
  4. Duration & Commitment:
    • Au Pair: They typically stay with a host family for a set duration, often between 6 to 12 months, depending on visa regulations and program agreements.
    • Australian Nanny: The duration of employment can vary widely, from short-term to several years with the same family.
  5. Living Arrangements:
    • Au Pair: They usually live with the host family, receiving room and board as part of their agreement.
    • Australian Nanny: While some nannies might live with the families (live-in nannies), many live separately and come to the family’s home for their scheduled hours.
  6. Compensation:
    • Au Pair: Au pairs in Australia receive pocket money or a stipend. Their primary benefits are room, board, and the cultural experience.
    • Australian Nanny: Nannies receive a wage based on hours worked. Compensation is usually more structured and might be higher than that of au pairs.
  7. Working Hours:
    • Au Pair: Their working hours are typically limited, and are usually 30 to 40 hrs per week ensuring they also have free time to explore, study, and engage in cultural activities.
    • Australian Nanny: Working hours can vary based on the agreement but can be more flexible or extended compared to an au pair’s.
  8. Cultural and Educational Component:
    • Au Pair: There’s an emphasis on cultural immersion and exchange. They might also be required or encouraged to attend educational courses in Australia.
    • Australian Nanny: There’s no inherent cultural exchange or educational component in their role, although continuous learning and professional development can be pursued.
  9. Regulations:
    • Au Pair: The au pair system in Australia isn’t as formally regulated as in some other countries. However, there are standard practices and guidelines set by agencies and visa requirements.
    • Australian Nanny: Employment is typically based on a contractual agreement with the family, and general labor laws apply.

In essence, while both roles involve childcare, the context, expectations, and structure of an au pair’s position differ from that of an Australian nanny.