Au Pair vs. Nanny – The Difference Between

What is the difference between an au pair and a nanny? A nanny and an au pair are…

What is the difference between an au pair and a nanny?

A nanny and an au pair are terms used to label those who work with and care for children in their own home. There are similarities in the work that both do, but there are major differences between them.

What is an au pair?

An au pair is a nanny, but it is a person from another country that you hire to look after your children. You are the host family for this person and you pay the au pair a monthly allowance. There are rules and restrictions set down by the government as to the type of work an au pair can perform. These people are usually young  – in their late teens to early twenties.

The term “au pair” comes from Europe where it was used to describe a person who comes to a country to work and study for a specific period of time. It comes from the French language and means “equal to” or “on a par with”. This person should be treated as an equal and as a member of the family. When you hire an au pair, that person lives in your home. He/She learns the language of your country and at the same time teaches you and the children the native language of the country from which they come. Although an au pair does not have to work in the home, the most common duty is that of looking after the children.

What is a nanny?

A nanny is a person who looks after the children when the parents are away from the home, but they can also work in this capacity when the parents are at home. This job entails the complete care of the children for a specified number of hours during the day. At one time, the term was used to refer to a servant, but today many nannies are certified in their profession and have First Aid training. Some may have a degree or diploma from an educational institution that offers child care programs.

The difference between au pair and nanny

An au pair comes from another country but a nanny is a person from the country in which you live. Therefore a nanny has a better knowledge of the language, the customs and the traditions of the country. An au pair lives in your home and has to have a separate bedroom. You are responsible for supplying this person’s meals and paying a monthly salary. A nanny, on the other hand, usually comes by day although there are situations where a nanny does live in the home of the employer. In this case any services you provide can be deducted from the salary.

A nanny is responsible for the complete care of the children and as such is a servant. There are rules regarding the hiring of an au pair. For example, an au pair has to have one free weekend per month and an annual two-week paid vacation. He/She cannot be asked to work more than ten hours a day or more than 45 hours a week. This person is to be treated as a member of the family.


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