The Difference Between an Au Pair and a Babysitter

Difference between baby sitters and au pair

A babysitter is someone who you employ for ad hoc childcare services. This will usually be in the evenings or on the weekends. Their duties usually include feeding and bathing your child(ren) in the evenings while you are out, putting them to bed, and staying with them until you get home.

Babysitters often have full time jobs during the weekdays, and babysit on occasion for families for extra income. They will get paid an hourly rate or between R80-R100. You do not need to sign a contract with a babysitter as they usually work for under 24 hours a month (below the BCEA requirements).

An au pair is someone you hire to assist you with daily childcare duties- this can be from 3-7 days a week for a full or half day. Their duties include the following:
– providing nurturance, care and companionship for your children
– fetching your children from school
– transporting your children to extra murals, therapies, doctor¹s appointments etc.
– supervising and assisting with homework
– liaising with teachers, coaches and therapists on your behalf
– arranging and supervising play dates
– purchasing necessities for, and assisting with, projects and assignments
– running errands for you
– grocery shopping on your behalf
– engaging in intellectually stimulating play and activities with your children
– preparation of meals for your children
– they will also do babysitting work for your family in the evenings or the weekend.

Au pairs rely heavily on their au pairing salaries, and require set monthly salaries with overtime. A half day au pair will earn anything from R3000-R8000 per month (depending on amount of days/hours required, as well experience), and a full day au pair anywhere from R10 000 – R15 000 per month.

You will also be required to pay AA rates per kilometre for any driving they need to do or you during working hours (such as collecting from school, running errands etc.). Au pairs are entitled to all the requirements of the BCEA- you need to sign a contract with them.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Baby Sitting

Can I have the same babysitter each time I book?
Yes. If you would like to hire the same babysitter you have the option of interviewing a number of candidates and then employing one of them as your permanent babysitter. Once you have chosen your babysitter, will not need to book with the agency for each occasion, and will liaise directly with the babysitter for all future babysitting. This costs a once off placement fee of R1500, payable to the agency before he/she starts working. The babysitter’s salary will be paid directly to him/her from the family.

Is there a maximum number of children per babysitting?
This will depend on the ages for the children. The rule of thumb is 2 children maximum if both are under the age of 2, and up to 5 children if they are 3 years or older.

How much notice do you need if I want to book a babysitter?
We need about 48 hours’ notice, we are however able to source in 24 hours but it is not always guaranteed.

What time does the service start and do sitters stay after midnight?
A babysitter will start anywhere from 5-7pm, and will stay as long as you need them too. If you need a babysitter to stay until after 12pm, then they will charge you R100-R120 per hour after midnight. If you need the babysitter to sleep over, they will charge you their hourly rate until 12pm, and then R200-R300 for the sleep over.