Au Pair definition - What is an AuPair?
The word "Au Pair" is a French term, which means "on par" or "equal to", denoting living on an equal basis in a reciprocal, caring relationship between the host family and the children. An aupair will typically be a young woman and sometimes a young man from a foreign country who chooses to help look after the children of a host family and provide light housekeeping. The aupair is given room and board and is typically paid a weekly "pocket-money" salary. Aupairs generally stay with their host family for one year.
In the US an aupair is usually between the ages of 18 and 26 years old, yet some countries allow younger and older aupairs. If you want to hire an international au pair, rather than someone from your home country, be sure to see all of the country-dependent program requirements in the AuPair Visa section.
Aupairs are typically in search of a new cultural experience while also desiring to serve as an integral part of a parenting team. This experience usually draws aupairs to a new country and often times involves improving on their foreign language skills.
An aupair is not considered a domestic employee and therefore taxes need not be paid as such. An aupair is not a nanny. Please see AuPair & Nanny Differences.
In Europe, there are three different categories of Au Pair:
Au Pair - See Au Pair in Europe under Au Pair & Nanny Salary
Au Pair Plus - See Au Pair Plus in Europe under Au Pair & Nanny Salary
Mothers' Help - See Mother's Help in Europe under Au Pair & Nanny Salary
While the specific duties and responsibilities of an aupair will vary depending on the age of the children and the family's requirements, below is a good starting point for most families and aupairs.
Click Host Family Expectations for more detailed information on what to expect as a Host Family.
Click AuPair Expectations for more detailed information on what to expect as a First Time AuPair.