Handling Expenses

Does your au pair need to make a last minute supermarket run to buy milk? is she taking the kids to the zoo and buying everyone’s lunch or paying for the carousel ride?

Whether you use a cookie jar with spare cash, a petty cash box with a set amount per week, or give your au pair a credit or debit card while requesting receipts, it’s important that you have a conversation about how to handle miscellaneous expenses as soon as your au pair arrives. This allows you to set the ground rules for acceptable expenses and will avoid money-related misunderstandings down the road.

Host Families

  • Clearly state what types of expenses are approved and not approved.
  • If you give your au pair a lump sum of money, let her know how long you expect the money to last.
  • Let you au pair know whether or not you expect receipts. Establish a certain spot (drawer, cookie jar, bulletin board) in your home for her to leave the receipts.
  • Clarify any instances of perceived misuse or misunderstandings during your weekly meetings. Do not allow this to fester.

Au Pairs

  • Only spend the money on pre-approved expenses.
  • If you’re not sure about buying something, ask your host parents before you complete the purchase.
  • Put your receipt in the established spot  on the same day the expense occurs to avoid any confusion.
  • Clarify any misunderstandings during your weekly meeting.  Do not allow these to fester.

Transportation Costs

Host families are responsible for the au pair’s transportation costs:

  • to and from classes and cluster meetings
  • transporting the kids
  • traveling to and from picking up and dropping off the kids (from school, play dates, etc.)

Gas: If your au pair is driving your car, determine how much gas she will use for these trips and either put gas in the car or give a gas allowance. If your au pair is riding to classes or cluster meetings with another au pair, you should offer to share the cost of gas.

Bus/Metro: If your au pair is taking the bus or metro, determine the amount she will need for these trips and upload the money ahead of time on her SmarTrip Card.

Uber: If your au pair is taking a shared-ride service like Uber, create a Family Profile to pay for these trips.

Au pairs are responsible for their own transportation when they are off duty.  Au pairs should replace the amount of gas used for personal use.

This post includes information previously posted on Christine Connally’s Au Pair Chatter blog.

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