Is an au pair cheaper than childcare?

Tijana 7/9/2023 3 Min. reading time

Au Pair in Australia: Au Pair in Australia:Is an au pair cheaper than childcare?

The cost of childcare is always the subject of debate and whether friends are discussing it over a coffee or politicians are campaigning on television, everyone has an opinion.

The recent introduction of the new Child Care Subsidy really put the subject in the spotlight and if you have young children or are planning on starting a family, no doubt you are curious to find out more about childcare choices and how much they cost.

One of the questions that crops up most frequently is whether an au pair is cheaper than childcare.

It’s important to remember that what’s right for one family isn’t necessarily right for another and deciding on a childcare option really does depend on your individual circumstances and needs. These can also change over time, so it’s good to be aware of all options open to you.

In order to put the discussion about the costs of childcare versus those of hiring an au pair into context, it’s a good idea to first establish your needs.

What are your hourly/daily/weekly requirements for childcare?

Do you need childcare at home?

Do you need flexibility with regards to childcare, eg shift work?

Do you require a babysitter on a regular basis?

What’s your budget?

Does your child or children have any special needs?

Having a clear idea of what you want will help you make good, informed choices about childcare and will help you put the costs into perspective.

Some parents are lucky enough to have an affordable daycare centre close to their home or workplace. Others may not be so fortunate and may find themselves paying up to $100 per child per day. Currently, the average daily cost of childcare is estimated at around $112 before subsidies and costs will obviously increase when there is more than one child from the same family attending daycare.

Pocket money for an au pair starts from around $200 per week. Other extras to consider may include a family police check, a completion bonus for your au pair and vehicle costs if your au pair will be driving your car.

When it comes to babysitting, au pairs are also often willing to go the extra mile and because they live in your home, they can offer greater flexibility and a more cost-effective solution (and no taxi fares!).

And talking of flexibility, an au pair means families don’t have to worry about paying late fees at daycare centres because the children are looked after at home. Erratic working hours or unexpected delays at the office don’t have to cost you extra because of the flexibility that an au pair allows.

Once all the costs are tallied up, hiring an au pair is cheaper than childcare.

However, in the end, it’s not all about money. Deciding on the best option for childcare depends on many factors other than finances – and it’s important to spend time exploring all your options to see which suits your individual family circumstances best.