I am yet to meet an au pair who has come home with much in savings. Before you tell me otherwise, is that person really defined as an au pair? (As set out in previous text). This is not to say that there aren’t destinations that pay better than others. Two of note are New Jersey and Lake Garda, Italy. Otherwise, national regulations set maximums on au pair salaries, which families are all too happy to oblige. Any savings are quickly depleted by higher living costs of the host country and your touristy endeavours in the new and exciting destination.
So, what’s a typical monthly salary?*
Switzerland: 650-780 CHF
Germany: 260 Euro
USA: $780 USD
Denmark: 3000 DKK
Additionally, there are non-monetary benefits to be provided by the family. Depending on the length of your contract, families may partially or fully compensate you for the following:
- Accommodation | You should receive a private room with a locking door and window. Consider yourself lucky if you have access to wireless internet and/or a private bathroom.
- Food |An au pair is considered a family member which means you are welcome to eat the family’s groceries. Do you have special dietary considerations -are you a vegan, raw foodie or Celiac? Best to raise such a concern before accepting a contract.
- Language classes | Most countries stipulate that the au pair studies one of the national languages. When I was in Switzerland the family paid for a two week intensive German course and for one subsequent term (two classes per week for eight weeks) before they expressed that any additional language studies would be at my expense.
- Health insurance | Typically government regulation requires the family purchase health insurance for the au pair. In Switzerland this cost was deducted from my net monthly salary though in Germany it was absorbed by my employer.
- Flight | If you commit to a one year contract you should be compensated for 50% of your round trip flight. In Germany my contract was just 4 months so I asked that the family covered 1/4 of my flight expense.
- Holidays with the family
- Activities with the family (example: meals while dining out, ski lift if skiing with the family, entrance fees, etc).
- Transportation | This could be a discount card for train and bus travel (especially if you have to travel to a larger town for language classes or grocery shopping). My family in Germany bought me a bike -yay!
- Perks | Wine and beer in the evenings!