The Difference Between A Live In Nanny and An Au Pair

nanny with kids

Published on January 26, 2021

Have you heard of a nanny and an au pair before but didn’t know the difference between them? If you are considering hiring someone to help out with your children you might have heard of both options. But knowing the difference between a live in nanny and an au pair is crucial. So that you can make your best-informed decision picking the person best suited for you and your family.

There are a few significant differences when it comes to an au pair and a nanny. They are definitely not the same. The differences range all the way from age to working hours. Meaning that although both roles may be tasked with similar responsibilities, it is pivotal to be aware of the differences before making a decision on which one is best for you and your family.

What is an Au Pair?

An au pair is defined as a young person (normally between the ages of 18-30) without dependents. Who does not necessarily have any childcare experience or qualifications. They normally travel abroad to live with a host family. As well as to learn a new language and experience a new culture. The au pair will provide light childcare and domestic duties. This will be in exchange for accommodation, food and the opportunity to attend a local language school. This means the au pair is not normally classed as an employee. So they are not entitled to standard employee benefits.

The fact that they are not legally classed as employed usually means that they are not required to pay tax or national insurance contributions. The au pair will receive ‘pocket money’ of  £70-100 a week in return for their light domestic duties and to help them get by. If they earn over £112 per week, then the au pair would have to be put on a payroll.  

So it is pivotal that if a person wants to hire an au pair that they have provided them with a written letter of invitation detailing the conditions of their stay. The family must also provide a room for the au pair to live in during their stay.

Au Pair Plus

However, there is an au pair plus! Which is normally considered more desirable. They are usually older and could have more experience in terms of driving. But as well as childcare and a better standard of English. The same rules apply as mentioned above for the standard Au Pair. However, an au pair plus can earn up to £250 a week. The final difference with an au pair plus is that they are employed by the family. This means they will be put on payroll. And they are able to work more hours each week.

What is a Nanny?

When trying to understand the difference between a live in nanny and an Au Pair, let’s first look at what a nanny actually is. A nanny is very different from the au pair role. And in reality there isn’t much in common between them besides the fact that both can work in child care. A nanny at any level is a professional child carer that does not take part in any cultural exchange. And receives a salary just like any job. There are different levels of nanny. Starting with a junior nanny, followed by a nanny and then a super nanny. 

Junior Nanny

A junior nanny is a professional child carer with about 2 – 3 years experience. And could possibly have some child care qualifications to their name. A junior nanny can work long hours. And can even do 50 hours or more per week. A typical salary for a junior nanny is £350 – 450 a week. But this ultimately depends on the package being offered to them. Junior nannies can also work on a live in basis where they stay with the family on their grounds. Or they work on a live out basis where they commute to work each day.


 A nanny is the next level up from a junior nanny and will have more experience. They are a professional child carer. And they should have at least 5 or more years of experience in the job. Like a junior nanny a nanny can work on a live in or live out basis. And they would look to be earning upwards of £500 a week. Having said that, gain this is dependent on the package offered by the family. A nanny will be highly experienced and may even specialise in caring for a particular age range based on their previous experience.

Super Nanny

Finally, the top level of nanny is called a super nanny and they are the ultimate career nanny. A super nanny will have at least 8 years of experience so they will be extremely professional and well-versed at taking care of children. Super nannies also normally have a range of additional skills which are beneficial such as horse riding or a second language they can speak fluently. The weekly salary of a super nanny is normally around £800 a week subject to the package being offered to them.

Are you now more clear on the difference between a live in nanny and an au pair? If a live in nanny is indeed going to be the right fit for your family, we can help! Or even if you are still not sure, why not discuss things further with us as we will be able to advise you further. So why not get in touch and we can help you in your reach for the right childcare for you and your family!

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