What is the cost of an Au Pair in Ireland?

An au pair is typically a young person who has come to Ireland to live with a host family and provide childcare in exchange for board and lodgings, a fair wage and travel expenses. If you are considering hiring an Au Pair in Ireland, you may be wondering about the cost of this and how it compares to paying for traditional childcare. In this article, we’ll look at the factors that affect the cost of an au pair in Ireland and what to expect when looking for an au pair to support your family.

The typical cost of hiring an au pair

The cost of an au pair can depend on the country they come from and their qualifications but generally ranges between €175 to €400 per week. As of January 2023, the minimum wage for an au pair in Ireland is €11.30 per hour for those 20 years old and over, which is the same as the National Minimum Wage. Where an au pair is aged under 20 years old, a sub-minimum rate is applied – €10.17 p/hour if aged 19 years, €9.04 p/hour for those aged 18 years, and €7.91 p/hour for anyone under 18 years. These are the minimum wage rates for all au pairs in Ireland, regardless of the number of hours worked.

When it comes to payment, Au Pairs are usually paid a weekly fee. This fee is usually paid in cash, but some au pairs may also be paid by bank transfer. Overall, the cost of an au pair in Ireland can vary depending on the number of hours worked and the cost of lodging and board. Generally, an au pair will work between 25 to 35 hours per week and must not exceed working over 48 hours per week or an average of 48 hours per week calculated over a four-month period. An au pair should not work more than a set number of hours with hours spent babysitting usually included in this amount. An au pair is also entitled to annual leave of at least four working weeks per year and is entitled to at least one full day off per week. If an au pair works in a family with more than one child, they are entitled to receive one additional day off per week.

Minimum wage rates for Au Pairs in Ireland 2023

Age Minimum hourly rate €
Minimum wage (Aged 20 or over) 11.30
Aged 19 10.17
Aged 18 9.04
Aged under 18 7.91

Accounting for lodging and boarding

In addition to the weekly fee, au pairs are usually provided with lodging and board. This means that the au pair will have their own room in the family home and will be provided with meals. In some cases, if a host family is providing full board and lodging, a charge of €0.90 per hour worked (for board only), and €23.86 a week or €3.24 per day (for lodging only) can be deducted from the wages paid to the au pair. 

How does the cost compare to traditional childcare?

For many, traditional childcare via day centres and after-school childcare services in Ireland is referred to as the second mortgage and continues to remain stubbornly high. Coming in at an average of between €800 to €1350 per month, per child, and growing increasingly expensive. Whereas the cost of retaining the services of an au pair works out as significantly lower and is a more personalised and tailored experience for your family. Taking account of an au pair living with a family and the added support and assistance as well as enrichment through cultural exchange, the benefits can be far-reaching especially as a family grows and the traditional childcare options become increasingly expensive. While the cost of an au pair is not fixed and can vary depending on the age of your children, how much childcare is required each week, and what part of Ireland you live in, it is still considerably less expensive than the traditional route.

What are the costs of finding an au pair?

The cost of finding an au pair in Ireland will vary depending on the agency you use and the type of au pair you are looking for. The costs will usually include a membership or agency fee, the au pair’s travel costs, and any other associated costs. They may also require health insurance, to which you may choose to contribute. However, for an EU citizen, it is possible for your au pair to avail of a European Health Insurance Card (EIHC) which enables access to the public healthcare system in Ireland. For more information on the EIHC, see here. However, it’s important to note that there are variations in the care included in the public health systems from country to country in the EU, so it can be a good idea to highlight this to a prospective au pair so that additional private health insurance cover can be secured if needed. All non-EU citizens will be required to secure private health insurance before traveling.

Given that your child will benefit from one-on-one time with their au pair during the day instead of being part of large group settings like daycare centers and preschools tend to have, the cost of an au pair is commonly considered to be a very worthwhile investment and one which offers a higher degree of flexibility for busy parent and family life. 

As part of the process of finding an au pair, you will connect with and interview potential au pairs from all over the world. You will be participating in a cultural exchange and being part of someone’s experience in Ireland which oftentimes forges lifelong connections.  The final step after interviewing, and deciding, is to agree the au pair contract.  This is a legal document that underscores the agreement between the au pair and the host family. It is a critically important document and will help you to avoid any misunderstandings and to set expectations. A typical contract covers the au pair’s work time, salary, duties and responsibilities as well as the host family duties and responsibilities. You can review a typical contract here.

Choosing the au pair route has never been easier. You can get started today by registering with SureSitter. Our service is here to help you to find the best person for your family.