There is a difference indeed. My daughter was a nanny for a few years in New York. She was paid over $1000 week; worked nine-to-five; and her employers were responsible for the relevant taxes. It's a job, hopefully being fulfilled by someone who loves children and lives up to whatever references she provided. I do know of people who have had a nanny work for their family for years and they grow very fond of her.
And when my children were younger, they were babysitters. They would be called for specific nights or days and paid an hourly wage. Where I live, the only people available to babysit are 14 yeas old or younger. They don't drive and they are usually sweet and responsible caregivers. They earn about $15/hour for one child and more for late nights or multiple children. Once they're older, they can get "real" jobs at hotels or restaurants in this resort economy. It's more "grown up" and they earn a lot of money. I often have people call me looking for just summer help because they don't have a room for an au pair once they go home to their primary residence. I can sometimes find "short term" au pairs whose year ends by early fall, but I have a hard time finding them local high school or college-age childcare because all those folks have other jobs.
Au Pair means "on a par" with the family. He or she will live in your home and become a stable and understanding companion and caregiver for your children. She'll share her culture and be eager to learn all about yours. Hamptons Au Pairs come through an international program regulated by the State Department. Very little is left to chance. You can change the schedule weekly; she gets a set time off each week; she gets two weeks paid vacation. She goes through extensive screening at our overseas recruiting office and you will literally know everything about her from her family life to her specific childcare experience to whether she has a little butterfly tatoo behind her right ear! I have host parents that "meet" their au pair's natural parents via skype during the interview process. Program fees cover her screening and our agency takes care of visa, travel, child development courses, matching assistance, local support, CPR and First Aid Certification by the Red Cross and more. You pay an au pair $195.75 a week directly for up to 45 hours a week of childcare, when you need it. All costs rolled together average out to under $10/hour.
I hope we'll connect so I can tell you more about this enriching program. I'm having a wonderful time getting au pairs for my children's diaper buddies and the children of people I worked with long ago in a corporate environment. My families matter so much to me and I want to be sure they bring just the right person into their home. Cultural Care Au Pair: childcare you can trust like family.