FAQs for Families
FAQs For Families
How much does a homepair cost?
Check out our comparison chart to estimate how much your homepair would cost versus a traditional au pair. Our fees are $175 a month – 5x lower than au pair agency fees, we have the fastest on boarding process, great candidates with a diverse range of skills and talents and shorter transition periods. We will also do our best to help you find the right match and like to think that our size allows us to provide you with a ‘white glove’ experience you wouldn’t get anywhere else.
When can my homepair start?
You’re ready to go as soon as you have both ‘designed and signed’ your homepair agreement. Our booking process is all online and as fast as you want it to be. Unlike hiring a traditional au pair – we have no delays for visa processing, arranging international travel, or attending cultural orientation boot camps – a process that can take up to six weeks alone.
You will also notice a shorter transition period when your homepair arrives at your home compared to an international au pair – the absence of cultural and language barriers makes the adjustment into family life and ‘the routine’ far smoother for everyone.
How do I contact a homepair?
There are two tools you can use to connect with homepairs once you have full access to our site…
“CHAT / VIDEO CALL” – Click to chat or have a video call with a homepair (just remember that you both have to be logged into Homepaired at the same time to do this ‘live’). Use it to say hi, leave a note, make first introductions, and agree times when you can both be online to talk in person (trust us, frustrating games of ‘chat tennis’ over a period of days are seriously not fun!).
“CALL / TEXT” – Click to have a ‘cell phone to cell phone’ conversation. We don’t give you the homepair’s real phone number – only a ‘proxy’ for it – and likewise when you call, the homepair won’t see your real phone number. Once connected – you can call, text, and leave each other voice mails just like any other phone conversation – a great way to stay connected without necessarily having to be logged into the site.
Whatever method you choose (we hope all of them) – please remember to be responsive and courteous at all times, and most importantly to never solicit or share private or personal information per our Terms. We have built these features for your convenience and safety so you never have to.
If you have any questions or experience difficulties with communication – as always, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
How do background checks work?
When you make a booking, you will be asked to run background checks on your family (anyone over the age of 18) and, of course, the homepair. This is a really important step in your vetting process and hiring decision that any employer should take. You are free to choose any company that you like – just be sure that they are ‘FCRA compliant’ that governs how background checks are run.
We like companies like Clearchecks – you just need email addresses to get started, pricing is fair with a fast turnaround. Whoever you go with – be sure to choose a package that you are comfortable with. Most companies will offer ‘Basic or National’ packages (covering the big ticket national crime and public registers) and ‘Detailed or County Level’ packages (where county courts and driver’s records maybe added to the search).
The Basic or National package ($20 at Clearchecks)
We recommend that families, at a minimum, run ‘basic’ background checks on themselves and the homepair. Clearchecks’ ‘National’ package is a good example of what to expect one of these searches to cover:
- Social Security Number (SSN) Trace
- Full Name, Alternate Names, & Aliases
- Date of Birth (DOB) Verification
- Current & Previous Addresses History
- 7-Year National Criminal Record Search
- Multi-State Sex Offender Search
- FBI Most Wanted & Terrorist Watch List
- INTERPOL Most Wanted List
- Federal, State, & Local Wanted Fugitives
- Federal & International Sanction Lists
The Detailed or County Level package ($30 at Clearchecks + state surcharges)
Families often want a more thorough background check on the homepair where the package includes searches of county records and driver’s records.
Choose what you feel is comfortable, and always supplement with reference checks also. At no time do we see or are privy to any background checks that are ordered – these are private reports between yourself and your vendor, however you will naturally need to share those results with your homepair. When you are both satisfied with the checks and had a chance to review them – you can continue with your booking and start on your bespoke childcare agreement.
How do I design my childcare agreement?
We do the hard work for you – we can build a first draft for you in seconds, using data from both your profile and your prospective homepair. Then follow a simple online Q&A to customize and edit right down to the ‘House Rules’ – we provide lots of room for ‘free text’ and clarification. We’ll also indicate if Federal or State Labor Laws need to be considered in relevant sections.
Once your homepair receives the first draft, there are opportunities to make changes and revisions before your homepair finally signs – no jargon, no anxiety and no paperwork – it’s that simple!
How do you handle 're-matches'?
‘Re-matching’ is a very common practice within the au pair industry…it is when a family wants to replace an au pair, and is often a lengthy and stressful process managed by the au pair agency.
We don’t believe that ‘re-matching’ will be as big a problem with homepairs for a variety of reasons – but if you find you need to end your placement early, we offer a simple solution. Simply go online to search and book a new Homepair as normal, and we will ensure that your new booking fee is offset with any ‘unused’ fees from the prior arrangement – easy, fair and hassle free – the way it should be. We offer a 1 month ‘grace period’ to book a new homepair, at which point the fees you will be able to offset will reduce daily and will be owed / due as normal.
Please review our Terms of Service for more details or contact us if you have any questions.
Do I pay my homepair if they are 'on call' overnight?
Occasionally families will need their homepair to be ‘on call’ if they need to be away overnight and not present at home. So how do you treat this time in terms of hours worked and paid? Thankfully, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) offers some guidance here!
If your homepair is ‘on call’ overnight but gets eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, you do not need to count those 8 hours as worked (the ‘8 hour sleep time exemption’). If they need to attend to your children during the night, that time would count as hours worked as normal, but if that interruption results in the homepair receiving less than 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep – then all 8 hours would need to be paid (i.e. you wouldn’t be able to use the 8 hour sleep exemption).
If you think you would need your homepair ‘on call’ on a regular basis, you should discuss that during the interview process to make sure they are on board, and always make a note of any ‘on call’ arrangement you agree within your childcare agreement.
Do I pay my homepair if we are on vacation?
Bottom line is that you must pay your homepair for childcare hours worked – whether that’s performed at home or during a family vacation shouldn’t matter.
If you decide to take a vacation, but your homepair stays behind at home – decide (and document in your agreement) how you would like to handle that scenario. Most families do not feel it necessary to pay their homepair any ‘childcare’ wages, but might offer something for looking after the house and taking care of the pets etc. It’s also quite common for families to request the homepair take their paid vacation during this time – this way the homepair still gets paid and the family doesn’t lose any childcare time when they return, an arrangement that works for everyone.
Whatever you decide, just remember to make a note in your agreement so there are no surprises!
Do all homepairs speak English?
The majority, if not all, of homepairs are American with English as their first language – so language barriers should be one concern you can cross off the list. You can also search for homepairs with fluency in foreign languages if that’s a vital skill you want your children to benefit from (just search the ‘World Traveller’ skillset in a user’s profile and select languages you are most interested in).
Can homepairs care for infants or children with special / medical needs?
Absolutely! You can search for homepairs with special needs experience and also look for any certifications they might have to help you with your selection process. You should discuss this topic in more detail when you connect with a prospective candidate to assess if that experience is a fit for your specific situation.
Please note that homepairs can not be the sole caregiver for children under 3 months of age.
Do you have male homepairs?
We don’t discourage anyone from signing up to be a homepair, and appreciate that male homepairs are the preferred choice for many families with boys. That being said, you may find there tends to be a higher ratio of females to males looking to be a homepair on our platform at any one time.
Do homepairs drive?
The vast majority of homepairs will have a US driver’s license (you can check their profiles to be sure) – another reason why choosing a homepair is less complicated than a traditional au pair. Homepairs understand the US highway code which means your kids are immediately in safer hands on our roads from day one.
Remember to discuss with your homepair if they can bring their own car to your home, many families have welcomed the added benefit of not needing to share the family car.
Where do homepairs come from?
We recruit our homepairs in a variety of ways – the vast majority are through college job boards, word of mouth, our great referral program and social media to reach a wider audience. We don’t discriminate anybody from signing up to be a homepair – as long as you are legally allowed to work in the US, over 18, have medical insurance and at least 1 years childcare experience, you are free to put your profile up on the marketplace. For that reason, word of mouth often means some candidates on our site will fall outside the typical 18-26 year old student – but please consider everyone – we have a search feature that allows you to find candidates that meet your specific requirements and preferences!
Because the focus of our launch is the NYC and tri-state area, we are generally targeting students from the South, Midwest and West Coast who want to experience what it’s like living next to one of the most exciting cities in the world!
Why do students want to be homepairs?
Read here for more details. Students are motivated because they love the idea of being a role model for children, and to leverage/hone their skills and talents. They are excited about experiencing life in new places, making new friends and connections, and the opportunity to build a network somewhere desirable they may return to in the future. They love the flexibility it offers – working summers, or gap years, or even while doing online studies.
Most of all, students are looking for good paying jobs to lower their student debt. Living ‘room and board’ free is a huge part of that equation that makes this work – especially when you consider how prohibitively expensive living in and around New York city is. Remember that when you choose a student…you’re not just giving yourself and your kids the best possible childcare, you are also making a profound difference in the life of these young adults.
Who pays for the travel expenses to your home?
Usually the family pays for the travel as they would if they hired a traditional au pair (and most homepairs would expect it). They may need domestic flights to get to your home, but many may be already in the area, or will offer to drive because they want the convenience of having their own car.
Every situation is different which is why we simply leave this as an open question for you to determine when you draft your childcare agreement.
Do I need to pay ‘nanny taxes’ for my homepair, and are there any tax breaks?
Read our ‘Nanny Taxes’ info page for more details. In short – yes, you should. The IRS requires anyone with household help that earns more than $2100 in a year – whether it’s a nanny, babysitter, housekeeper or homepair – to pay employment taxes. This means paying your share of Social Security and Medicare taxes (7.65%), withholding the homepair’s share of these taxes from their paycheck (ie you collect 7.65% from them), and pay some federal and state unemployment taxes (2 to 4% depending on where you live).
The good news is that nanny taxes are almost always completely offset with tax breaks available to you (such as the Child & Dependent Care tax credit and Flexible Savings Accounts). Although this may seem like a wash – the mechanism for paying nanny taxes this way is important because it provides your homepair with a social safety net that every other employee enjoys, including being able to claim unemployment and building their credit history.
For little personal cost, think of paying nanny taxes as not only the right thing to do but also a valuable benefit you can provide your homepair which makes for a more happier and stable working relationship!
How do you help homepairs settle in and not feel homesick?
A caregiver’s happiness can often be overlooked, but it’s perhaps the single most important factor that determines whether a placement will work out or not. The last thing any family wants to worry about is whether their caregiver is enjoying themselves or getting homesick. We don’t think this will be as much of a problem with homepairs as it would with foreign au pairs – however, having a close knit group of friends is important no matter who you are or where you have traveled from.
That’s why we offer every homepair that gets hired an instant ‘social network’ to every other homepair that is in placement via our instant messaging and video calling app and social media pages. They can say hi, make new friends, arrange nights out or days off together, and even plan shared play dates so your little ones are making new friends too.
We also have a referral program that encourages homepairs to sign up with their friends, and we will also hold the occasional social event with the Homepaired team and local influencers to make sure every homepair feels part of the community, enjoys their work, and most importantly, are having fun.
What if issues come up and we need mediation?
We’ve found through research that the number one reason issues come up with live-in caregiving placements is communication barriers, especially ambiguity around roles and responsibilities. Our goal is to walk you through an agreement process that is as thorough as possible – right down to the house rules – so expectations are clear from the get go in terms of what the job entails and what is expected simply by being a guest living in the family home.
We feel that homepairs are at an instant advantage over traditional au pairs simply because language and cultural barriers are less pronounced – that said, we encourage all families and homepairs to have open lines of communication and to discuss concerns in a judgment free way.