Do You Round Up Your Au Pair Stipend? (poll)

by cv harquail on January 12, 2015

Here’s a quick poll to get a sense of the numbers behind our responses to Why You Shouldn’t Round Up Your Au Pair’s Weekly Stipend

For Host Families:

Host Families, Do you 'round up' the Au Pair's Weekly Stipend?

View Results

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For Au Pairs:

Au Pairs, does your Host Family 'round up' your stipend?

View Results

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This is for a regular week, no ‘extra hours’, and no ‘extra expenses’ that the additional $$ are intended to cover.

This is not a scientific poll, just a quick assessment of the readers on the blog right now.


NYCAuPair January 14, 2015 at 12:05 am

My HF doesn’t pay me extra hours because they don’t make me work extra hours because they know you can’t do that.

SKNY January 14, 2015 at 7:27 am

Yes we Did.
There was this talk in an Au Pair blog and most families do. We also observed some resentment from Au pairs whose families did. THEIR racionally was something in the order of: I already make very little and 4 extra dollars are a lot for me, but little for them.
Their perception.
Honestly, Au pairs don’t see all the hidden costs of hosting, the increase in utilities, wear and tear of the car, insurance, grocery bills… But they notice ANY box that comes from amazon, the car we drive (not aware of how hard was it to pay), the times we go to restaurants, etc… And for them it is pitty that we don’t give the extra round to 200.
In my case I felt it was worth it to just round and make them “happy”.

Anon January 15, 2015 at 11:43 am

We don’t pay them extra in the form of their weekly stipend. That feels messy to me.

But our APs do get extras whether they realize it or not. For example, we routinely will say, “Oh don’t worry about putting gas back in the car for your [2 hour round trip] meet up with your other au pair friends. Our treat. Have a great time!” And so on.

Host Mom X January 15, 2015 at 2:17 pm

We pay by electronic funds transfer, so we just set it up with the exact stipend amount, the same way my salary lands in my bank account by electronic funds transfer, with whatever $__ and change that amount ends up being with taxes, etc. removed. My employer doesn’t round up. The first few weeks when we pay cash before our APs have their bank accounts set up, we just hand over $200 because it’s easier than counting out change.

In terms of giving extra $ because the APs already make so little – my view is that rounding up to $200 isn’t the answer to that “gripe.” If a host family wants to give a larger stipend for whatever reason – and extra $4.25 is a small and random amount to give, in my view. I see rounding up to $200 as a convenience if you pay cash, but if you want to give your AP extra money for a job well done, or just because you think the stipend should be higher – I’d think you’d probably give more than an extra $4.25 / week exactly.

andrea conrath January 17, 2015 at 9:46 pm

We do not round up, I see that as potentially muddying the records for reporting purposes so we have exactly $195.75 auto transferred to her account every week. I also thought about that that $4 per week added up to (a little over $200) and figured that $$ could be better spent on gift cards given here or there when things are particularly tough or if she’s gone over and above to be helpful.

this may be seen as conniving but I feel the ‘good will’ by such random gifts would go a long way – more than simply upping the $ by $4 a week.

I also have tried to address any dissatisfaction w/ the amt of the stipend head on when I can work it into conversations. For instance, wills say how I know some ap’s feel cheated when they meet nannies and find out how much the nannies are paid per week; but how the nannies are paying their own rent, food, utilities, phone, car insurance, car maintenance, etc. and the list goes on – and how much that can add up to per month. I think it’s pretty easy to see that the ap’s are getting at least as much compensation as the nannies are (esp. in my area where housing costs are through the roof). And while I do not make a habit of openly discussing personal family finances or personal information, at times I don’t shy away from discussing some of the expenses w/kids or husband, where she can hear thinking perhaps it helps her to realize what the monthly expenses of keeping a family of 6 with 3 drivers going from month to month (i.e. reminding kids to close door, turn off lights, noting we pay over $500 a month on heat and electricity). Not that I discuss on purpose, I’m not that conniving (:-) but I figure it doesn’t hurt to let her know we are not swimming in extra $$. We live within our means but not a whole lot left over at times. Like my husband will say – “Do YOU have $200 free and clear a week as spending money?” LOL – not at the moment! But basically the ap does.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 18, 2015 at 12:31 am

The nanny vs. AP issue turned into a break-it in our relationship with AP #1. Her BFF was a nanny making $15 an hour – never mind that we provided an “AP car” for which we paid maintenance and insurance, paid 100% of her college expenses, and I took time off from work so she could attend her university classes. She pushed to the point that I said “Enough. Goodbye” (we had applied to sponsor her as an employer and had put her on a student visa in the interim so she could legally leave the U.S. and return – and it nearly broke our bank).

On the other hand – yes most of the AP’s monthly ~$800 salary is spending money, but up until this point her parents supported her and suddenly she has to budget for drinks and meals with friends, movies, gas, travel, education fees, textbooks, gym fees, lattes, clothing (because even if she paid extra her suitcases could not possibly held enough), and discovers that they really add up! If she really thought about it, she’d realize that DH and I don’t eat out a lot, rarely pay for entertainment (family game night, anyone?!), take long walks instead of going to the gym, etc. She has us on clothing, after all, we’ve had years to build up our closets.

So, the next time your AP complains about being broke, just gently say, “I know, it’s there are so many things to do in our city that its hard to chose between the free and expensive activities.” And then point out local listings of free activities in your newspaper. Because part of navigating adulthood is making choices and learning to make the best one, not the favorite one.

AupairInMadrid January 18, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Just out of interest, how far do 800$ in the US go? (I’m sure it depends heavily on where you live, but just roughly.) I’m asking because I had a conversation with a few au pair friends the other day (we are all European girls aupairing in Spain) and all of us agreed that we would have no idea on what to spend all that money of if we had gone to the US, but maybe we just have no idea how expensive stuff is. We all get around 250€/month which is already far more “spending” money that I ever had before or will have for at least the next 5 years or so while I’m at uni.

NoVA Twin Mom January 18, 2015 at 6:07 pm

I’m outside Washington DC, so one of the more expensive areas of the US but not THE most expensive area. Some examples – a cup of coffee at Starbucks (expensive but the “cool” place to go) is about $5. A movie ticket is between $7 and $10 depending on the theater and time of day, popcorn and a soda at the theater would be about another $15 but could maybe be split with a friend. To ride on our subway system into the city would be $6 each way from where we are. Once you get into the city there are a lot of free things to do or you can choose something with an admission price. The most expensive admission I know of is about $20. I don’t go clubbing anymore (and didn’t go often when I did) so someone else might need to chime in here but I imagine there would be a cover charge then pay by the drink. A beer would probably be about $5 and a mixed drink would cost more. Tickets to a sporting event could run anywhere from $10 for cheap baseball tickets to we’ll over a hundred dollars for “good” American football seats. Concert tickets would probably start around $50 and go up quickly from there. Jean’s

NoVA Twin Mom January 18, 2015 at 6:12 pm

Sorry, jeans would also start around $50 and go up depending on the brand. A plane ticket to California from here would be a minimum of $500, probably more, but you can get a bus ticket for $25 each way to go to New York City. And although they’re not well-known, we do have youth hostels in most major cities. So $200 a week with very few actual expenses goes quite a ways but a pairs do need to watch expenses, just like everyone.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 18, 2015 at 6:54 pm

My LCC advises APs to save $50 from their stipend each week – to pay for taxes, the difference between the education allowance and the actual cost of meeting the requirements, to pay for doctor’s fees and medicine, to pay for the insurance deductible should they have an accident, to pay for their baggage fees when they return home, and to give themselves spending money during their travel month when they don’t have income.

I had one AP who spent $50 a week (she didn’t drink alcohol, which does add up quickly) – she always ate meals with us, didn’t buy a lot of new clothes, but did join a gym and occasionally splurged on travel. She saved enough to spend a week in a hotel on Hawaii, do a 10-day West Coast tour from San Francisco to the Grand Canyon, and visited a few other spots couch surfing with friends. She had a fantastic year. I had another AP who joined a gym, drank in bars, splurged on clothes, who spent her travel month on vacation with us, her HF, because she had spent every last dime. She, too, had a great year.

Having lived in Europe, clothing, electronics, and food can be cheaper in the U.S. – however, medical care and university fees are through the roof in comparison. I broke my ankle in Europe, and for 18 pounds (then about 25 dollars) I had full medical care and a pair of crutches – about the price of a hospital aspirin in the U.S.

WestMom January 18, 2015 at 10:21 pm

On that note, AP5 asked me to save $25 from her stipend each week. She realized two months into her stay that she was spending too quickly (clothes mostly) and would not have enough for vacation. She ended up with a nice sum, enough for 10 day trip to Costa Rica and then some.

Missing.the.US March 11, 2015 at 9:46 am

The US au pair stipend is more than enough. At the end of my year I was able to pay for a $4000 travel month and I still had around 3K in savings after that. The problem is that a lot of au pairs don’t save and go to the mall multiple times a week….

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