The Economist August 15, 2020 pp25 Au-pair Wars “Essential of exploited?” “America’s au-pair programme is under assault from Donald Trump and the left”
With schools and childcare facilities closed, in response to the pandemic, working mothers and families could use the additional help usually provided, in part, by Au-pairs. Au-pairs are a form of “cultural exchange and grassroots diplomacy” that is regulated by the Department of State. They perform this work in exchange for educational funds, room and board and a stipend of $195.75 for 45 hours of work. Currently, the population of au-pairs are ending their term and families need 20,000 replacements but they are not coming because on June 22nd the POTUS suspended the program until at least yearend.
While a seemingly beneficial and innocuous program, regardless of the POTUS action, the program has become controversial. Some argue the pay is too low, when groups are not considering benefits besides wage, others say it’s removing opportunity to American citizens and others worry about the potential for human trafficking. Lastly, as the supply dwindles families , with purchasing power, are bidding up offer to $500 per week and or including use of a vehicle etc.