Go Au Pair and 14 other sponsor agencies are defendants in a class action case in Denver, Colorado related to the au pair stipend. Go Au Pair has always remained in compliance with State Department requirements for the program, and is committed to upholding federal regulations. Plaintiffs’ claims are unsupported by any evidence, and are otherwise baseless. As the Court recognized in a recent order: “Plaintiffs do not proffer evidence that defendants actively concealed truthful wage and hour information from class members on class-wide bases. More importantly, the express language of the contracts referenced by plaintiffs disprove the plaintiffs’ assertions.”
However, to put an end to this lengthy and burdensome litigation for the benefit of all parties, a settlement has been reached. The parties have submitted a preliminary agreement to the Court, which must be approved by the Court before it becomes effective. The agreement to settle is a very positive and significant step toward reaching a conclusion. Importantly, the settlement agreement specifically states that Go Au Pair and the other sponsors continue to dispute the allegations. And the State Department’s formula that sets the minimum weekly stipend remains unchanged.
Under the settlement, which is subject to Court approval, the sponsors must pay a total of $65.5 million to resolve the claims. The au pairs’ lawyers are seeking compensation of approximately $25 million. The settlement also requires that the sponsors clarify in their written materials that the State Department stipend amount is a minimum. This requirement is consistent with Go Au Pair’s longstanding business practices. Since its inception, Go Au Pair has included clear statements in its contracts and written materials specifying that the stipend amount is only a minimum, and host families and au pairs are free to agree to a higher amount. Go Au Pair will continue to communicate this message to program participants.
Go Au Pair is proud of our commitment to helping au pairs and host families cultivate a rewarding experience.
As the State Department has described, “the viability of the au pair program is a quintessential federal interest. The program is a valuable tool of U.S. foreign policy. For over 30 years, the program has brought young people from other countries to the United States; immersed them in the home life of an American family; enabled them to continue their education at a local college or university; provided them with unique opportunities to develop leadership skills; and allowed them to return home as unofficial ‘ambassadors’ for the United States.”
According to participants and the State Department,the au pair program is very successful and popular among both au pairs and host families. Most recently, in 2017 as part of annual audits performed by all agencies, 93% of 1,000+ au pair respondents and 91% of 1,000+ host family respondents reported they would recommend the program to a friend.
The graphs below show the high levels of satisfaction reported in survey responses collected from thousands of au pairs and host families over a three-year period. Unlike other “studies” referencing a few au pairs (e.g. 1 -20 au pairs), these surveys provide a broader and more accurate picture of how participants feel about the au pair program. The State Department provides this information by consolidating the results of annual audits. These audits are conducted by independent auditors, who randomly select participants to survey from each sponsor.