We got a mailer last night from Cultural Care Au Pair, a company I'd looked into briefly a few weeks ago, but then determined to be unethical, due to their compensation for the au pairs. Then I mostly forgot about it. This mailer, though...geez.
Here's the bottom line: on average, it costs you $350/week (for 51 weeks), when you add up all the fees the company charges on top of the au pair's stipend. About $7.80/hr (because they are GUARANTEED to provide you with 45 hours of nannying time per week, including some other household work). That is only $0.55/hr more than the minimum wage in my state. For someone (aged 18-26) I'm trusting to take care of my kid(s). OH THE VALUE!
However, when you look more closely at this card, you see that the au pair actually receives a $196.75 stipend each week. Which is $4.37/hr. And they get THAT 51 weeks per year. So there's one week each year when they get to live on their awesome savings!!
Granted, they live with you and eat most meals at your house, so that saves them money. But would you ever evaluate a job applicant, and reduce their compensation if you knew they lived at their parents' house? Or that their spouse made enough to cover all their expenses? One of the benefits is supposed to be that they're available 24 hours per day. But 45 hours per week BARELY allows for parents to have full-time jobs. I'm typically at work 45-50 hours per week, but my commuting time adds 7-8 hours to that number. If you call on the au pair to assist you in the middle of the night, do you take time off work later in the week to make up for it? My guess is that most families (unintentionally or not) wind up exploiting the availability of these workers. How are they supposed to afford a car or car insurance on these wages? Read: they're stuck with you. All the time.
The company provides "basic health insurance" but urges au pairs to spend their measley stipend on MORE BETTER INSURANCE, through a partner company. The support in the USA bit basically seems to mean a guidance counselor/parole officer type of role. And here's their training: some books/miscellaneous materials they receive while still in their home country, and then FOUR DAYS of training. Four days. In real life. To handle not only the job of nannying, but also how the eff to live in America. That seems super effective. Who wouldn't be totally comfortable with a brand new culture and raising other people's kids after 4 days of training?! No one, that's who.
People in other countries want to come to America? I am ALL FOR IT. But when they get here, I want them to be treated like fcking human beings. This is glorified slavery. And I'm so pissed that so many Americans are selfish enough to fall for this BS.