About 100,000 au pairs who traveled to the United States to provide child care for American families could share in a US$65.5 million settlement reached on Wednesday, January 9, in a lawsuit that said their wages were kept artificially low.
The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Colorado in 2014 against sponsor agencies that operated the program under the auspices of the US State Department.
International au pairs, many of them young women, work under a US government visa program intended to give them an opportunity for education and cultural exchange, while they provide childcare to host families.
Most au pairs are paid $4.35 an hour, below the federal minimum wage of $7.25, according to a statement from Boies Schiller Flexner, which represented the au pairs.
The lawsuit accused the sponsor agencies of conspiring to illegally fix the wages of au pairs below the US minimum wage. The sponsor agencies did not admit any wrongdoing.