Families fight against new labor regulations for au pairs

BOSTON (AP) — A group of families in Massachusetts is fighting a recent court ruling that found that au pairs should be treated as employees entitled to minimum wage.

An organization called Au Pair Families of Massachusetts is planning to lobby for legislation in the Statehouse on Wednesday, the Boston Globe reported on Sunday.

A federal court ruled on Dec. 2 that au pairs in Massachusetts were entitled to earn state minimum wage and overtime, which could raise host families' costs by as much as $333 per week.

Many host parents agree that au pairs should have additional protections but argue that the new changes will make the program less accessible in a state that has some of the nation's highest childcare costs.

The au pair program, which is overseen by the U.S. State Department, was launched as a cultural exchange program in which young people live with families in other countries while helping with childcare and some housework.

Massachusetts host families paid au pairs at least $197 a week for a maximum of 45 hours of work before the ruling. Now families that require 45 hours of care will be expected to pay up to $528 a week.