Re: Guilt & Regret Post

Received Friday, June 12, 2009
RANT on I SAW YOUR NANNY I have a response to the Guilt and Regret Post. Some of the people are saying, why would you work for that amount of money. Why would you do all that work for $400 a week. Imagine all the work someone at a grocery store does for $250 a week (yep, that's what it would come to) and they have to stock and carry heavy things and stand on their feet all day and pay for everything they drink. I say this because my boyfriend works in the deli of grocery store and he makes less than $300 per week after taxes. I am a nanny and I make $800 per week, no taxes taken out. Every time I complain about my job, he always play the money card with me and tells me I need to suck it up and take it for the amount of money I am making.

I take care of two children, one who is 4 months old and one who is 3 years old. The mother works from home one morning a week. This is a sample of a situation I have had to deal with, with her. She is really abrasive and thoughtless. She never comes home on time and never calls. And she wants me to start at 7:30 in the morning because she needs to be out the door at 7:45 but she is always still messing around until 9 AM-ish, during which time her 3 year old wants to be with her and she is constantly slamming doors on the 3 year old and PUNISHING her for wanting to be near her. For example, she grounded the little girl from TV because she wouldn't stop hugging her leg. Her husband is real nice, but nerdy with glasses and she totally runs him over. Emasculates him. He is always mad at her too for not coming home and so she tells me yesterday, "look I can't have "Phil" bitching about dinner. You need to make time when the children are napping to make something that is going to take care of his appetite and keep him out of my hair." I responded, "I'm really not a cook at all. I can do kid things, but.." and she snapped, "well you can read, can't you? Go online. Order some ingredients from peapod." She never says thank you for anything.

One of my job requirements is that I wash the children's laundry. On Friday, she left me like 20 pairs of sweaty stockings to wash with a note that said in large bold letters "DELICATE". So I think the point of my post is that we nannies are putting up with a whole lot these days because there is no guarantee that there is a better job around the corner. I wouldn't mind working for a nice person for $700 a week, but I can't take the chance and my boyfriend of course would ream me over the loss of the $100 per week.


ThankfulNanny said...

I agree with you 100%! I make 40k a year on salary, and my job is exhausting but in the end I'm thankful to just have a job, even though my employers think I'm more like a robot nanny. It exhuasting but we should still be thankful to be employed unlike millions of others. My fiance has a architecture degree and had a really good job in Baltimore as a superintendent for a ritzy apartment complex that is currently being built. He got a weeks notice and a weeks severence pay, and his job paid a lot more than mine does. He is now stuck on unemployment making 300 bucks a week, we are both thankful I have the job I do, even though I cry and complain mor than I don't.

ThankfulNanny said...

wow and my grammar blows. haha. I swear I know how to type and use grammar better than that I was just typing faster than my brain.

MinuteMuggle said...

It is rough all over. I can totally sympathize with the OP and with ThankfulNanny.

And ThankfulNanny, don't worry about grammar etc. It really matters more what you have to say.

WTF? said...

You don't pay taxes?

MinuteMuggle said...


I pay taxes. I think it sort of sucks not to.

Lori said...

Nasty employer aside, your BOYFRIEND would complain about the lost of $100 a week? I wouldn't let him run over me about this. Life is to short to be unhappy at your job.

Village said...

I agree with Lori. The BOYFRIEND would be upset? Who gave him a vote? It's YOUR money. He didn't put a ring on it. That's why he's the boyfriend, with no control over your life.

cali mom said...

Anyone who works FT/permanent at a steady job and doesn't pay taxes is an asshole. And any employer who agrees to hire someone FT/permanent under the tale is one as well.

That aside, I agree with your point OP. Times are tough and it's easier to feel brave about standing up to a boss when you're just sitting at a computer typing about someone else's job than it is when boss and your choices are: sucky job or NO job.

And speaking of unemplyment, if your bosses decide to boot you for any reason, you'll be screwed because you can't collect unemployment if you were working off the books. Just one more reason not to shirk your fair responsibility when it comes to taxes.

Jenna said...

I've got to agree with cali mom on this one... you really really really should be paying taxes...

TaxMan said...

If the OP paid her taxes, she would have to go get a new boyfriend because she would lose more than $100 a week....

world's best nanny said...

My friend (a former nanny) works in a grocery store, and your right she has to lift heavy stuff, and she's on her feet 5 hours a day with only a 10 minute break, all day! She only makes $175, take home!!! She has to put up with some nasty customers and if they decide to go to the store manager for some imagined complaint she could lose her job. The customer is always right, even when they are dead wrong!

I am so glad I am nanny. Your boss seems to be a total bitch and perhaps could use some meds, just be thankful she's not there all day everyday. Poor little ones though, to be punished for wanting to see their mama! Thank God you are there to fill the void.

Pay your taxes, girlfriend, it'll cause a lot less headaches! How would you buy a car, or get a loan without proof of income? Not to mention those warm and fuzzy folks down at the IRS!

You talk of employer running over her husband, it sounds like that is what your boyfriend is doing to you.

shame on you said...

People who don't pay taxes are criminals. Not paying taxes is lying and stealing. I wouldn't hire someone who didn't want to pay taxes on their salary. That shows me their character and I rather an honest person aid in the upbringing of my children. Taxes are a fact of life, deal with it.

Oh btw.. I'm a former nanny.. Not some bitchy mother who hates nannies, before you judge.

Also, I'm so sick of hearing everyone complain about being walked all over when they are so wonderful. If you don't like your job, man up and get a new one. If you can't leave your job because you are scared you won't make 800 under the table schelping someone's kid around - then be thankful you have what you have. Life is too short to sit around and loath every moment you spend being someone's slave. It doesn't take much courage to bitch behind your employers back on a website.. but it does take courage to stand up for yourself and make a change.

MinuteMuggle said...


great post! I really do agree with what you said about taxes. I can't imagine not paying them. I am self-employed and I get killed on taxes but that is the way I was raised to do the right thing. I feel sorry for people who were not raised that way and sorry for all of us who are really effected by people not doing their part.

glamnan said...

Calimom took the words right out of my mouth. What you need to do is start being a responsible American and pay your damn taxes!

Nonny Mus said...

True, Minute Muggle, but we are affected, not effected!

ChiNanny said...

No job is worth being consistently miserable. Losing $100 a week is totally worth being happy. If your boyfriend doesn't like it, tough. It's your money and your life.

And I'm hoping you meant that you make $800, then pay your own taxes to the IRS, because if you don't pay taxes then Shame on you is right, you're a criminal and I have no sympathy.

JustBeNice said...

i know what you are trying to say. while it's always good to be grateful for a job, no one should have to put up with being treated unkind. even if they pay and benefits are great.

Jane Doe said...

Shame on you,
If I ever run for office, I want you to write my speeches!

oh well said...

Your boyfriend tells you to suck it up so you come and rant on a website. Your boyfriend would never stand it if you were to make less money. Your boyfriend does not sound very supportive.
As for your boss, she seems stressed out, maybe it's related to her job, getting ready for work on a tough day is not particularly the time when you want to cuddle your children, no matter how much you love them. I hope things improve for you one way or another.

Ella said...

I understand why people would want nannies to pay taxes, but what people don't realize is if the employer pays taxes, then the nanny is entitled to the same labor laws that a cashier at Target is entitled to. I.e., I work as a cashier and I get two paid 15 min. breaks on the clock which means in an 8 hr shift, I get paid 1/2 hr on the clock for taking my break. The only time I am not on the clock is my 30 min. lunch break which I clock out of. A nanny who works full-time and pays taxes should also get two 15 min. breaks on the clock and a 1/2 hr. lunch break off the clock. If the employer is paying her on the books, she (by law) is entitled to her breaks and lunch breaks. Most people expect a nanny to get paid on the books for say 8-9 hrs, however the nanny is actually working the whole shift, without any breaks. Naptimes do not count. Because a true break is where you can grab a snack unsupervised or have an uninterrupted phone call, etc. So if employers pay nannies on the books, they need to provide ample breaks or they are just as guilty in violating labor laws as nannies are tax laws!!
Why do people always criticize nannies who work under the table? But no one bashes the families who pay on the books, and provide no breaks during the day? A perfect example of how people view nannies and so not appreciate them.

ChiNanny said...


So nannies and employers shouldn't pay taxes so employers can screw their nannies over, ignore labor laws, and have cheaper labor? There are different labor laws governing nannies than other fields of work because of the nature of the job. The laws vary from state to state, but often they redefine how nannies are to have "breaks". And, in my opinion, if a nanny can't work 8 or 9 hours without an unsupervised break, she got into the wrong career.

Paying taxes benefits both the employer and the nanny. The employer can claim the child care credit, the nanny is covered if she ever needs to file for unemployment, SS or SSI because she's been paying into them.

Plus, ITS A CRIME not to pay taxes. That's part of living in this country, you pay part of your earnings to the government. No one likes doing it, but it is the law.

Some Nanny's Employer said...

At 800 gross a week I think you could wash my hose without a complaint. At 800 a week you can learn a little bit more about cooking, as the kids will be getting older, who cares if the food also covers the dad - he paid for it. If you don't like your job leave. My job is exhausting too, but I still manage to go and not take the cut and make sure you get your fair share. No way are you my nanny because we take out the taxes.

Ella said...

I believe in taxes...I am not on here to say that people shouldn't pay taxes. I NEVER stated that I condoned breaking the law. It is just illegal to hire someone to work for you, and not give them their entitled 15 min. breaks that are mandatory by law. To expect someone to work 8 or 9 hrs a day, w/no breaks whatsoever is crazy. Nannies are human beings who need to eat and recharge their batteries just like anyone else. So if they are paid on the books, they should be entitled to mandatory breaks just like every other job, talk about breaking the law....if someone were to hire a nanny and not give them any type of breaks in an 8-hr period, that would be breaking the law just like it would be to pay under the table.

Portlander said...


A lot of the other posters here are right- it would definitely behoove you to talk to your employer about being paid on the books. It's a big expense for both of you, but you need to do it. If she can afford to pay you $800/week then she can afford to hire an accounting firm specializing in household employees. You are both at risk by not paying taxes.

I also want to add, without assuming too much about your personal life, that you are allowed to complain about your job as much as you want, no matter how much money you or your boyfriend make. Just because a job is well-paying doesn't mean that it's without frustrations.

Ella, I'm not sure you're correct on the labor laws. I think for household employees the rules are different?

sd said...

I agree with a couple of things. First of all $800 a week is a fabulous salary and you definitely need to learn how to cook. I'm sure they are not expecting you to be a gourmet chef off the bat, but come on! The Mom is right, find some recipes that you think are manageable, and make them! Don't pick any recipes that confuse you. Cooking is fairly simple as long as you follow directions. Practice is helpful.

Also, Ella - I do get what you are saying, but a good nanny will know how to balance her day so she does get a couple of breaks. Regardless of how old the child(ren) are. If you have little ones, then they do take a nap. I realize you are not guaranteed that they won't wake up and you want your uninterrupted phone call, but most kids do take more than a 15 hour nap without waking up. If you need a break during that time, take it. Kick your feet up on the couch and relax. Heck even close your eyes if you need to.

If you are watching older children, they do play on their own quite nicely if you give them something to do. Put some paints or some playdough out for them and for 20 minutes, just sit back and watch them, they will be fine.

No REAL breaks is just a part of being a nanny. It's kind of an assumed part of the job, so if you can't handle that, then it's just not the job you take.

sd said...

Of course I meant 15 MINUTE nap not 15 hour nap! Ahhhh wouldn't a 15 hour nap be nice?? Heehee!

Portlander said...

I did a little research. There is no federal law requiring breaks. In my state, unpaid breaks are required for workers who work over 6 hours, but only if it is "possible for the employer to do so." If it is impossible for the worker to take a break (for example, they are a nanny and can't leave the children unsupervised) the worker must stay on duty and is paid for the meal-time.

twinkiesmom said...

I don't doubt your boss is a difficult woman, but does she appreciate you when you accomodate her, or do the demands only increase?

Could you take the kids out while Mom is getting ready in the morning (to avoid the confrontation)?

Could you use a pressure cooker or crockpot to get a simple meal together with minimal prep time on your part? It sounds like Mom is willing to pay for the stuff needed to get dinner made for her...

The pressure cooker makes fabulous risotto, pulled pork, soups, etc...I have an electronic one, so all you have to do is set the meal up and it cooks itself.

Ella said...

I wonder if the laws are different in different states. I have been told by a few people, but I will do my online research and find out.

What about overtime pay, though? Are nannies who work over 40+hrs/weekly entitled to overtime as well?? If so, then that would seem weird to me if federal law entitled them to overtime, but not mandatory breaks, etc.

Also, as mentioned, I believe it has to do w/the nanny situation. Some nanny positions I held before wanted me to fill out a 1099 as an independent contractor. Others did not require a 1099 and told me I was a household employee so taxes were done differently.

I am just an advocate for the fair treatment of nannies since I believe it is the most important job out there since the liability factor is so high.

ChiNanny said...

Labor laws are different for domestic employees. Nannies are NOT independent contractors, employers try to claim they are to avoid paying their share of the tax. A nanny who is paid on the books receives a W2. explains it well.

Portlander said...

Nannies should receive overtime pay. Legally they are entitled to it. Nannies are never considered independent contractors- your former employers made a mistake. They are household employees.

Providing overtime pay is not equivalent to providing breaks. Lots of jobs don't provide breaks- if someone works in a store, and is the only worker there they can't take an off-duty break. Restaurant workers rarely get breaks. If there's not someone who can fill in for you during your break your employer is not obligated to give you one.

I agree that we should advocate for the rights of nannies. I think the first steps are encouraging more employers to pay their nannies legally. I don't feel that requiring breaks is necessary or even a real possibility.

Manhattan Nanny said...

Yes, nannies should all work on the books, but what about the employer's responsibility? Don't forget that for every nanny being paid under the table, there is an employer who is also breaking the law, and saving money by not paying their share of the nanny's social security and unemployment insurance. If all employers insisted on paying on the books, as they are legally required to do, all nannies would be paying taxes. The reality is however, the majority of employers insists on paying off the books.
In NY agencies are required to inform employers that they must pay on the books. Even so, I have gone on interviews with very wealthy families who made it clear that they had no intention of paying on the books. I would not take a job off the books, but I know nannies who have not been able to find a job on the books.

Portlander said...

I totally agree Manhattan Nanny. Employers often have the upper hand in contract negotiations, particularly in this economy. Nannies need to take responsibility to learn what their legal implications are (ie, we are not independent contractors), but employers are the ones who have the actual power here.

ChiNanny said...

That's why all nannies must insist on being paid on the books. If there was no one willing to be paid under the table, employers would have no choice. Sadly there are too many nannies all too eager to be paid under the table and therefore employers take the cheaper, and illegal, way out.

somepeoplereallysuck said...

I want to smack anyone who made their nanny file a 1099 - meaning SHE had to pay all the taxes and they got off scot-free. That is low, esp. since they KNOW what they are doing.

So many people out there seem to think exploiting other human beings is OK, that as long as someone doesn't complain when you screw them over, it's morally acceptable. It isn't.

Lola said...

you are absoulutely right, at least in my state, you are required to take a unpaid lunch break, only if you are able to abandon all job duties during that time. If you are working alone and cannot abandon your job duties, you must take a lunch break when you can, and must be paid for it. I have had several jobs where this was the case.

I actually had a boss who expected me to clock out for lunch and still be responsible for the store, or he wanted me to clock out half an hour early and keep working!! I told him to go screw (in not so many words) and he couldn't do a damn thing about it. People will try to take advantage of you.

somepeoplereallysuck said...

When I was in college working at a Blimpie, I had a boss who made us take our lunch and other breaks sitting in the restaurant and we had to jump up and interrupt our breaks if a customer came in - even though there were always 4-5 people working the store so it wasn't necessary at all. She would not let us step foot out of the store for a break.

I made the huge mistake of trying to (politely) argue this with her by referring to the law and she snapped "I've got a union background, missy, don't argue the law with me!" Well OK then. That job so so so so sucked. I puzzled for a long time about what she was talking about with her 'union background'...certainly she wasn't running a union shop at the friggin' Blimpie!

I think I should start a blog called Some People Really Suck for people to bitch about employers who take advantage of their employees. It certainly isn't limited to those who employ nannies, although nannies are easy to exploit (as a group) for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they get attached to the kids so that parents know they will have to REALLY abuse the nanny before she gets fed up enough to quit.

And of course, major kudos out there to responsible, respectful employers everywhere. If only you were more numerous. :)

Regarding teenage babysitters, I agree with Yaya, even the most well-meaning 13-year-old is too young (IMO) to be in charge of multiple younger kids as their "nanny", unless the kids are pretty close to her in age.

When I was 13 I babysat all the time, including for a family of 4 kids under 4 (including baby twins). When I went to sit for them there were frequently 1-3 *other* kids there that I would be expected to watch. The parents also frequently came home somewhat inebriated. But, being 13, I really didn't know how to deal with all of this. I kept the kids safe, mostly by putting the "older" ones in front of TV while I took care of the babies. But it chaps my hide that anyone would entrust their babies and kids to a CHILD, responsible as that kid may be!

(OTOH, I was probably more responsible with their kids than they were in some ways...but a parent I just look back in horror at my former employers!)

Ella said...

I have been on google and have not been able to find anything that says that a nanny is not entitled to to mandatory lunch breaks and 15 min. breaks by law. If anyone finds this info, can you please post a link...thank you so much. :)
I did find the link useful about nannies not being independent contractors, instead domestic employees. Thanks! This will will be useful info from now on.
Also, if it is INDEED true that nannies who pay taxes just like everyone else are not entitled to mandatory breaks in spite of the fact that they pay the same amount of taxes like every other working citizen, then this would be the biggest injustice I can ever imagine. I am so darn sick and tired of nannies being exploited like this.

ChiNanny said...

There is no federal law about breaks

Many of the state laws do not say that the breaks must be free of work responsibilities, i.e. naptime would be a sufficient lunch break. Also, many of the states do not have "15 minute break" parts. Often those are worked out in union contracts.

cali mom said...

This all goes back to the salaried/hourly compensation. If an employee is salaried, they are NOT entitled to OT pay. They are what is called "exempt". This does not mean expempt from all employment laws, just exempt from the OT requirement after 8 hrs/day or 40 hrs/week. They are *supposed* to get comp time (time off later in exchange for extra hours worked), but if a SALARIED employee works some time here and there over their "standard" working hours, that's part of the salary deal, and it would defeat the purpose of paying a set salary if an employer had to itemize every "extra" minute and pay time and a half for it. Likewise, if an employer comes home early and sends the nanny home, the employer is NOT "owed" extra time later to make up for that.

ALSO, there is no requirement that working more than 8 hours in a day results in OT for hourly employees, IF their total hours worked is not over 40. I worked with a woman who lived FAR from the office and requested an alternate schedule, which was granted, whereby she worked only 4 days per week, 10 hours per day. She was dumb as a doorknob actually, and after signing her new work agreement, stomped around bitching and moaning because she didn't automatically get 2 hours of OT payfor every day she worked. Her REGULAR schedule, agreed upon by herself, was a 10 hour day, 4 days a week, totalling 40 hours. So if a nanny accepts a job which is described in a contract as being 45 hpours a week, 9 hours a day 5 days a week, she is not automatically entitled to time and a half for every minute after 8 hours.

Ella, there is simply no law in existence that every employee in every job in the U.S. must have the opportunity to take an uninterrupted lunch break. If you cannot survive a workday without an uninterrupted 30 minute break, nannying is not the line of work you should choose.

Portlander said...


Have you seen anywhere that states that every worker is entitled breaks? I think that might be a better approach. Here is my state's break law:

How would you propose that a nanny, with no other co-workers to back her up, could take a break?

Portlander said...

Cali mom, I'm confused by your comment. It's true that a nanny would not qualify for overtime if their weekly hours did not add up to 40 hours per week, but their daily hours exceeded 8 hours. But "if a nanny accepts a job which is described in a contract as being 45 hpours a week, 9 hours a day 5 days a week" she would definitely be eligible for overtime for the 5 hours she worked that were over 40/week. Am I misreading your comment?

cali mom said...

It's my understanding that if the number of REGULAR hours is stated in a contract and agreed to, and the stated salary is based on THOSE hours, that OT or comp time as agreed upon would only be earned after the REGULAR work hours have been exceeded.

I've worked at MANY salaried jobs with hard deadlines and believe me, if I had earned time and a half for every minute or hour worked beyond 40, I'd be rich by now. Salary is salary, OT is frequently required, and the salary needs to be figured accordingly. Do you think Senior VP's charge time and a half for all their their travel time, weekend time spent at conventions making sales and contacts, dinners and after hours evenings spent with potential clients, making deals, etc? etc? No, that time is required for them to do their jobs effectively, and their salaries are based on what the JOB requires, not how many hours they are in the oiffice.

So, if you're cosidering a job that you think will pay you $25/hr based on the salary, but it turns out your hours far exceed whatever schedule" was estimated in the beginning, you're just making less per hour.

BUT, you get your paid time off here and there, which hourly employees usually never do.

Portlander said...

Okay, I wasn't clear that you were talking about salaried workers as opposed to hourly ones in the statement "if a nanny accepts a job which is described in a contract as being 45 hpours a week, 9 hours a day 5 days a week." I think we're on the same page- if the nanny is paid an hourly wage she is owed overtime for that extra 5 hours; if she's salaried she obviously does not.

ChiNanny said...

Overtime pay is only for hourly paid employees. There are also many types of jobs where the people are exempt and do not have to be paid time and a half for overtime. (Live in nannies are one).

I think, technically, a live out nanny would have to be paid time and a half for anything over 40 hours, however, maybe signing a contract waives that right?

sprak said...

My advice to you would your taxes and dump that boyfriend. If he would truly "ream" you for losing a bit of income in order to take a job that would be more pleasant and less stressful to you, he deserves it.

mom said...

You seem to be confusing a salaried employee with an hourly employee. there are different rules for each, but you aren't entitled to all the perks of both. If you're salaried, you don't generally get overtime.

And you don't sound flexible enough to work as a nanny. Working with kids can be hard, unpredictable work. You either bend and go with the flow, or you and everybody around you is going to end up miserable in very short order.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Overtime - If a nanny is paid hourly, she is entitled to OT for any hours worked over 40 per week. HOWEVER, once employers became aware of this, many changed to paying a SALARY for a certain number of hours a week, and then an hourly rate for time worked beyond the time agreed to in the work contract.

IOW, a nanny who used to work 50 hours/week at $10 per hour would earn $550 including OT.

That same nanny might be paid a SALARY of $525 per week for up to 50 hours, and then $10 per hour for hours worked over 50.

Nannies do not have any legal rights to many of the "peks" employees in large (or even smaller) companies get, like paid vacation, paid holidays, breaks during the day, etc.

In general, household employees are not covered by "business" regulations, because they cannot call someone in to cover for them while they take their 15 or 30 minute breaks. That's why nannies generally advocate "quiet time" for older kids, and encourage younger kids to nap. It's IS our break, once we have done any household things that need doing.

If you can't handle 8 - 12+ hours without a formal "break", nannying is not the job for you.


Pay them. Period. Because earning $800 under the table = earning $1000 plus on the books, and no one is going to offer you much sympathy.

Nannies are not allowed to be 1099 workers for tax purposes. Nanny employers are legally required to pay taxes and file a W2. No gray areas there at all.

cali mom said...

AND fwiw, I don't believe that companies, small OR large, are *required* to provide ANY paid holidays, vacation days, sick days, etc. They are most certainly 100% absolutely NOT required to provide any health plan. Or bonuses. The only reason they do provide many of these benefits is that they know that without ANY extras at all, they would have a very hard time finding good employees who would stick around long enough to make it worth their investment of advertising, interviewing, training new people, etc. But all these things are EXTRAS, not legal requirements.

Bsh,plz. said...

Oh, suck is, you sanctimonious b^itches. Most of the oparents are unwilling to pay nannies above board and the majority of us need the jobs too desperately to split moral hairs with the people paying us.

Why don't you dig deep in your own gardens, ladies. I'm sure there are plenty of nasty, dishonest worms in yours as well, and you are deluded (not to mention full of sh^t) if you think otherwise.

She did not come on here to be lectured about what a scandelous criminal she was for not paying her effing taxes, she came on for advice on how to deal with her b^tchy employer, and if you can't help her with that why don't you STFU, hrm?

cali mom said...

Learn to spell before you lecture others on how they should or should not post, please.

Fully employed, overpaid tax cheater? My advice is SUCK IT UP.

nyc mom said...

I fully agree with paying on the books and do provide standard benefits such as vacation, sick days, etc. However, my experience in hiring nannies has been quite different than most of the nannies in this thread. I have had a very difficult time finding nannies in Manhattan willing to work on the books. Most simply refuse to do so. And even those willing to work on the books have expected me to "gross up" their salary. I personally find the concept of grossing up very unethical. I do not think it's fair of an employee to expect me to pay THEIR taxes in addition to my share of employer taxes. Once you factor in the idea of grossing up, it's easier to understand why on the books/off the books is such a hot topic.

For example a nanny wanting to net $700/week, would often expect me to pay her a gross salary of $950 (add in my $100 employer obligations) for a total of $1050 weekly cost to me. Whereas, a nanny willing to pay her own taxes on $700/week gross, would net about $550 and my weekly cost would be about $800. I have no problem paying on the books, but do take issue with the idea of grossing up.

Ella said...

I believe in taxes and again, I would like to reinforce that I am not on here to encourage others to do anything illegal at all. But to expect a nanny to work an 8-9 hr shift w/out a meal break is cruel and unusual punishment and should be constitutionally banned. Childcare is hard work and to not be able to take a break to eat, well that is just inhumane. If a nanny watches one child, it may be possible to grab a sandwich while an infant or toddler naps or while an older child watches a video, etc. But I have worked w/more than one child and while one naps, the other one needs to eat, be supervised, etc. I would NEVER expect someone to care for my precious child w/out eating for 8-9 hrs!! burned out they would be! Maybe I would instead hire 2 part-time nannies to split the shift, but nannies work hard enough making sure the house is tidy, kids are safe, fed, clean and happy, etc. But to deny them food is crazy.

cali mom said...

ROFLMAO! Gee, that explains why there are so many gaunt mommies walking around America with their bones sticking out like toothpicks falling out of a box. There they all are, wasting away by the millions because no one ever explained to them that once you are watching a child, you are never allowed to take in a bite of food until another adult comes on duty. I just wonder then how all those single moms without nannies manage to live and not simply starve to death? After all, they are watching children 24/7, with never a chance to eat. It defies science and logic how they survive, doesn't it?

nyc mom said...

Ella, I have no idea what nanny positions you have experienced in which the employer "denies you food." How could WOHM and WOHD possibly employ a ft nanny and be able to give her completely free break time during the day? They would have to come home from work to relieve her. This is simply a ridiculous concept. Also, how to do you think SAHM's eat? They are with their kids all day long too (as are most WOHM on weekends) and yet we all manage to find time to stay nourished. Yes, we often eat quickly, on the run, or while holding a wiggly child or two. But you adjust and get organized. Once you establish a routine it's really not that tough to find time to eat. And fwiw most professional jobs I, my husband, or many friends have had also do not have designated off work meal times. I would say 25% of the time I skip lunch at my job and the rest of the time I eat while working.

Ella - I'm curious, are you or have you been a full time nanny? Do you have kids of your own that you care for full time?

deafnanny said...

Ella, your posts are annoying me greatly. You obviously have no clue what you're talking about regarding nannies and legally required breaks/lunches.

If you are a nanny for, say 4 children, for an 8 hour shift, and are not able to manage eating breakfast, lunch, and a snack or two in your day, the issue here is not nannies being required to have breaks, it's your ability to be a nanny. I am currently a nanny for a 3 year old, a 22 month old, and 2 month old twins. I work from 7am to 6pm. I am able to eat breakfast, lunch and a snack or two with the 3yr old and 22mo old while the 2mo olds either nap or chill out in a bouncy chair or swing. I also *gasp* spend at least 30mins a day sitting on my behind on the couch reading a book and checking my email on my phone, while all 4 children are either napping or 100% happy and safe in the same room as I. Seriously, any nanny who is GOOD at their job can manage to adequately nourish themselves and relax a bit throughout an 8/9/10 hour workday. Children DO NOT need CONSTANT attention!!! Too many people seem to think that it is detrimental to children if they leave them to entertain themselves with their toys for 5mins while they eat a sandwich in the same room. It's ridiculous! I am DEAF and yet I manage to supervise 4 children while also feeding myself. It is possible Ella!

BTW, I am paid on the books. During my interview, my employer stated that she did not want to pay on the books because of the cost to me. I told her I would not accept a position off of the books, and we ended the interview on a good note. I fully expected to not get the position because of the tax issue, but she called me back 2 days later and offered me the job, on the books, and she would be paying my taxes every week. I never asked for her to cover my taxes, I've never had an employer do so, but I certainly wasn't going to turn her down. So while I agree that many nannies are off base in asking their employers to "gross up" their salary to cover their taxes, I see absolutely nothing wrong with the employer offering to do so and the nanny accepting that offer.

Portlander said...

Okay Ella, at first I thought you were being genuine, but this sentence: "But to expect a nanny to work an 8-9 hr shift w/out a meal break is cruel and unusual punishment and should be constitutionally banned." is so bizarre and ridiculous that I can't take you seriously anymore. Once again, as had been said over and over again in this post, no one is guaranteed a break. It is not a constitutional right. It kind of disturbs me that you actually might think this would be "cruel and unusual punishment."

TargetGirl said...

Ella, I kinda see your point. I am also a cashier at Target, and boy are they strict about giving us breaks. (I believe it is a liability thing, personally). If we do not take our 15 minute breaks when we are supposed to, then we are written up. We also get in trouble if we do not "clock out" accordingly for our lunch breaks. I believe again, this is a liability issue with them.
I would rather do this type of work than be someone's nanny because at least I can make a phone call or read the newspaper in peace. I know some people who have nannies get mad when they see a nanny talk on her cell phone or text and I think that is unfair to ask for 8 hours or more.

Jane Doe said...

I think good nannies are able to multi task and get everything done most days. There are days when you go non stop and don't have a second to yourself. I had an employer who was aware when those days came up and was always appreciative and made sure to let me know.

There is a lot of talk about missed breaks, lousy employer and nannies who wish harm upon their charges, but in the end, isn't the nanny/employer relationship largely about chemistry?

takes two said...

I think the only problem comes in when an employer is either a sahm (or dad) or wahm, and they want you to spend any "down time" doing household tasks. Otherwise, yes, you should generally be able to squeeze in a little break.

Re: taxes- it is silly to criticize the nanny for not paying taxes when you have no idea what the employer's stand on it is. Some (not all) nannies would prefer to be on the books but the employers don't want it. I don't think many nannies in this economy are going to refuse a job solely because it's off the books

mom said...

You're strating to sound incompetent. Yes, it is true that when watching children, our meals are often unglamorous and frequently interrupted. However, I raised three of my own and frequently had half the neighborhood at my house playing as well, and I always managed to grab enough food to keep on living.

Takes two,
You're right, it takes two. And anybody who is one of those two is a criminal. Just because you may find an accomplice to enable your tax fraud does not make you any less guilty yourself. In fact, wouldn't conspiracy be an ADDITIONAL criminal offense, instead of the defense you seem to be claiming it to be?

maric said...

Cali Mom
Household employees are classified as Non Exempt and are entitled to overtime in excess of 40hrs,, or

maric said...

No a contracr/work agreement does not negate overtime $800 is calculated as both regular pay & overtime pay.

Also overtime is for Liveout nannies only Liveins are not entitled to OT

cali mom said...

I don't know anything about household employees specifically, but my pain point was that SALARIED employees do not get OT pay. Only hourly employees.

Portlander said...

I have to agree with Takes Two here- it's really hard to find a job right now, and as I said before, employers have the upper hand when it comes to paying on or off the books. I've had to turn down several jobs because the employers refuse to pay legally- I'm lucky that I can afford to be picky right now. Many people can't be. It's disingenuous to suggest that employees are just as at fault as employers. I'm sure that there are nannies who ask to be paid off the books, but in my experience it is very challenging to find employers who are willing to pay on the books, unfortunately. When you're desperate for a job you often have to take what you can get.

deafnanny said...

As I said before, I am paid on the books. My current employers are THE BEST I have ever had. I believe this is largely because the wife is deaf, and their 3yr old is also deaf. So the couple has natural compassion to all people, and probably more so to me since I am deaf as well. None of my previous employers were deaf or had deaf children, and I never felt "like part of the family" as some people put it. I got all of my work done in fear of being reprimanded, whereas in this position I am sure to get my work done, plus extra, just because I want to help out. Anyway, I am salaried at $700/wk(employer pays taxes on that, so I take home $700 every week). If the parents are 15-30mins late coming home, I'm not paid overtime(nor would I accept it if offered). However, if Mom has to pick Dad up from the airport and is an hour or more late, I am compensated at $20/hr. Same if I work an extra evening or weekend day, etc. I'm not sure if this is the way salaried nannies are supposed to be paid OT, as all of my previous positions were by the hour. But I think this is the fair way to pay OT when salaried, at least on the nanny's side.

Ella said...

Mom...I am sorry if I sounded incompetent. I am going to college and working and sometimes I do not proof read my comments. :(
About not eating: this is how I feel when watching multiples. Yes, you can eat, it IS possible, but usually you are doing it when one of the children are possibly crying or watching a video, etc. So hunger strikes and you decide you have to eat NOW so you let one of the kids cry for like 10 min. (awww...don't you just love Murphy's Law?)LOL....or put an older child in front of T.V. Now you can eat. If the parents are not there, you can get away. These days, w/some parents working out of the home, this is not easy. If you have any "down time" they expect you to do laundry duties, wash dishes, take out diaper genies, pick up toys, etc. If they see their child crying it out or in front of the T.V. while the nanny is microwaving a pizza or cooking some pasta, they are not too happy. Since they are paying you and you are "on the clock" at all times, they may say, "Why didn't you eat lunch at noon when 2 yr old Lucy was eating her lunch?" Well, maybe because at that time, I was simply not hungry or because I was supervising Lucy eating her cut up hot dogs so she wouldn't choke!! Again, w/one child it is easier to find time to take a lunch break, but w/two and a parent in the home, it is hard. Sure there are those times that I ask the parent if I can eat my sandwich while they hold the baby, and they comply, but I feel rushed and it is not like a regular lunch break where I can meet my friends at the sub shop or eat my burger on a park bench.
I stand by what I said. Just maybe not the way I said it. :()

Ella said...

Mom....I find it incompetent that you would actually call a parent who pays cash for a nanny an accomplice. Even the IRS does not prosecute people who pay under the table by going to jail. The worst they do is make both parties pay for any back taxes owned. There is too much for them to do than to go after all the babysitters who do not report their taxes.
And I agree, in this economy, if someone were to offer me a job under the table, and my family was in dire straits, I would accept the offer if it would put bread in my children's mouths for the months that they were out of school.

Portlander said...

Ella, may I ask how long you've been a nanny? I know it can seem hard to figure out a time to make lunch, or go to the bathroom, or do whatever you need to do that isn't about taking care of the children. Perhaps once you've been at it a little longer you'll learn how to multitask a bit better. Some advice: Don't try to cook things like pasta for lunch- why make a meal that takes 20 minutes to cook? Eat a sandwich when the kids are feeling acting mellow, not on the verge of tears. If there's a baby doesn't he/she take a nap? That's a perfect time for a break. And sometimes you just have to eat while holding the baby, or reading to the kids, or watching them play safely. I promise you'll get the hang of it.

I've worked as a nanny for a long time, and I've never had a job where I could "meet my friends at the sub shop or eat my burger on a park bench." It's just not that kind of work. If you need a job with scheduled breaks then maybe you need to find another field?

wiseone said...

Thank you. We should all count our blessings.
Hugs to you!

mom said...

Actually, it was probably mostly the way you were saying it that sounded weird...overly dramatic. Starvation? Exploited? The "Biggest injustice I can ever imagine"? Cruel and unusual punishment that should be constitutionally banned?

Good grief! That's what I meant by incompetent. You make it sound like you are so completely unable to figure out a way to eat while working that you are eventually just going to keel over and die at work one day. You should be able to manage the children in your care well enough that you can find time to work. If you cannot, that does not bode well for your nanny skills.

On a nanny job you will probably rarely get an hour to have a relaxing lunch unless the
child(ren) have a regular nap time (which, if they are so young that you can't reasonably ask them to play nicely for 15 minutes while you eat, they should.)
And no, you don't necessarily get to eat the moment your hunger pangs strike. That's not a tragedy, and many adults in many different professions live with that reality. On any job with a set lunch hour the employees don't get to march into the bosses office at lunch time on any random day and whine, "But I'm not hungry right now." And if they happen to get hungry an hour before lunch time, oh well.

If you're going to work with children, you're going to have to get used to the idea of being flexible. Eat what you can when you can...or plan to eat lunch with them, whether you're the "perfect amount of hungry" at that particular moment or not...or get them on a set schedule so that you can have a leisurely lunch while they sleep. (Of course, this will also depend on your willingness to eat at a certain time whether the hunger pangs strike at that particualr moment or not...but then again, that's what other adults in other jobs have to do every single day of the week too.)If you have chores to do, do them after you eat. Make yourself a relaxing dinner after work each evening and sit and enjoy it to your heart's content.

Ella said...

Mom..I would love to reply adequately however I have a job to go to and a night class to attend after that.
All I can say is that I stand behind every word I say, I will never stop advocating for the better working conditions and respect of nannies everywhere. Nanny work is the most important job in the world yet nannies always end up with the short end of the stick. Sure other jobs get lunch breaks and all, and most other jobs get health insurance, 401K, yearly bonuses, Employee of the Month recognition, etc, or some other type of benefits. Nannies should too.
Have a great day.

cali mom said...

OK Ella, I am the second one now to ask you how you propose giving all nannies the opportunity to simply walk away from the jobsite and relax out of earshot and out of sight of the kids for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. (Unpaid of course, unless you are salaried and then you are not required to clock out for your half hour). Would every working parent be required to hire a PT nanny in addition to their FT nanny, who would work solely from 12:00-12:30 M-F? Or would this half hour a day nanny be required to be on-call, so that whenever the hunger pang struck you, you could dial them up and alert them that they needed to come right away as you had decided it was time? Take this silly concept to other professions-what if a surgeon suddenly gets starving in the middle of a 9 hour operation? Call in a backup to hold all the organs together while the doctor goes to meet his friends at the sandwich shop for 30 minutes because that's what he/she feels entitled to do?

You claim to be a nanny, yet I really hope you don't actuallly have children if you truly can't manage the responsibility of eating a sandwich while kids are happily entertained for 10 minutes. (It actually sounds like you haven't figured out how to GET kids to happily entertain themselves for 10 minutes?)

Once again, if you simply can't live with the injustice of having to eat something as opportunity allows, you shouldn't be a nanny beccause A)you'll never be happy and B)you'll never be a good nanny (Let alone a good parent!) What happens when you have to use the bathroom, do you just hold it for 9 hours because all the ideal conditions required for you to comfortably release it uninterrupted are not exactly to your liking?

Portlander said...

I say this as a nanny, but how is nanny work the most important work in the world?

I'm glad you're concerned with the rights of household employees. I don't think fighting for breaks, or Employee of the month recognition (seriously?) is a fight worth having. I just think there are most important things to focus on. You can ask for benefits in your contract, and as you gain more experience you'll probably get them. My last job had health insurance, paid vacation, paid sick days, and bonuses.

Nannies don't always end up with the short end of the stick. I agree that it's a field that needs more activists, and it would be great to have employment standards. It sounds like you've had a bad experience, but that experience isn't necessarily universal.

MinuteMuggle said...

Ok Ella, here is my two cents, to add to Mom and CM:

you ask why people bash nannies who work under the table and the employers who allow it: because it is ILLEGAL.

That's why.

can't always get what you want said...

My job pays off the books, much to my irritation. But I cannot see the logic in quitting this job to search (in this current climate) for a job that pays legally. So the government is not getting my taxes? I should think that's preferable to it paying my welfare and food stamps when I have no income.
As I said, I would rather be on the books- it would be much better for me. But I'm not going to quit my job over it. That would be simply foolish.

MinuteMuggle said...

cant always get:

I feel your comment is grossly flawed. It would not be foolish to quit your job: it would be honest. First of all, you CAN get a job in this economy that pays on the books. Daycares are always hiring. You just don't want to adjust your lifestyle to make less money.

I would assume you would just have to cut some corners, or better yet find a nanny job that pays on the books.

I'm sorry but I'm just not buying what you are selling. I myself work out of my home, and I pay self employment tax and claim every penny I make although many people in my city do not claim anything. I struggle as a single mom to support my child and we live a modest lifestyle. It is dishonest to not claim what you make. You really have no excuse.

My advice to you: start looking for another job that is on the books, even if you have to take a pay cut. And then leave your current position. (That is if the parents do not agree to do the right thing as well.) It is the right thing to do. And before you say "easy for me to say" let me stop you: I don't have it easy. That's for sure. And I don't complain, but I am honest to the IRS.

mom said...


Well said. I liked your post.

I had to chuckle myself at the Empolyee of the Month Awards. But hey, at least there would be no competition for the award and thus Ella could be suitably recognized for her stellar efforts month after month after month, year after year....
I'm sure it would be very gratifying each month to know that she was to superior to...well...nobody else, actually.

Maybe in a year or so she could lobby that the Employee of the Month Awards come with a substantial and mandatory cash award (protected by a much needed Constitutional Amendment, naturally!) Or at least a parking place in front of the house with a little sign with her name printed on it. Maybe free meals for a month...oh, but wait, she can't eat them because the children are hanging like monkeys from the drapes all afternoon and preventing the possibility of even the merest morsel passing her lips from sunup to sundown.

Which begs the question: Ella, how do you possibly get from not being hungry enough to choke down lunch at lunchtime with the kids to being so utterly starved that it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment to the point of being "the biggest injustice you can ever imagine" heinous, in fact, that a Constitutional Amendment is called for to correct it....within just a few short hours?

Truly, I think you're in the wrong profession. Meryl Streep, move over. For that matter, Gloria Inbred, Diane Feinstein and Barbra Boxer had better watch their backs!

Sorry Ella, just funnin' with ya. You are going so overboard that the temptation is just too great....

Portlander said...

Minute Muggle, I think it's fantastic that you're a conscientious self-employer, but unless you actually have experience quitting a nanny job and searching for another one in this economy I think you need to stop assuming it's so easy. If you do have experience I'd love to hear it. As I wrote earlier, this is not an easy climate to find a job. I only accept jobs that pay above board, and they are extremely rare.

I share your belief that everyone should claim their incomes. It's not as easy as quitting your job and finding a new one, or taking a job at a daycare (which often pay little over minimum wage). Keep in mind that not every nanny who is paid under the table makes $700/week. Some people are barely scraping by and can't afford that pay cut that they may find at another job. It's frustrating that your comments are so unsympathetic.

@mom, I love the idea of actually winning an Employee of the Month award month after month with no competition! A nice boost to the self esteem!

MinuteMuggle said...

Portlander, I don't mean to sound unsympathetic at all or to frustrate you. Frustration is not good. LOL. I feel it often. :)

I just was raised to believe that you always claim your income. I believe it is as simple as that. I don't think that people who are being paid under the table should quit their jobs without finding a new one: I believe they should find a new one first, and then quit.

Additionally, I have been a nanny and I have worked in childcare centers as a supervisor. There are jobs available in childcare that do pay above minimum wage. I believe very strongly in paying your taxes. I am from a working class family and I would not work under the table. I have seen very hard times, especially in the last year. I don't want to get too personal on the internet so I can't go into the why and how and where, but I do believe that there is NO EXCUSE for not claiming what you make. It is not fair to the rest of us who are struggling, making peanuts and claiming what we make.

Where there is a will there's a way.

Again, sorry if I sound harsh. But that is where I stand.

p.s. your posts are insightful and interesting. not kissing a@@, just being honest.

mom said...

A trophy's a trophy, no matter how small!!! hehehehee

Portlander said...

Thanks Minute Muggle- I definitely appreciate where you're coming from. Trust me, I would love to see the day where all nanny jobs are paid on the books. It's ridiculous that it even comes up in interviews; there shouldn't even be a question that nannies should be paid legally. It's very awkward to have to negotiate for the "benefit" of being paid legally, and often being denied.

Thanks for the compliment, too!

Jane Doe said...

Re: "It's very awkward to have to negotiate for the "benefit" of being paid legally, and often being denied."
I agree 100% and then the field would be limited to legal employees who more fit the bill of professional nannies instead of housekeeping, dogwalkers who cook, launder and also watch the children.

Kim said...

I agree it is awkward to have to negotiate to be paid legally, but you have to do it.

Every interview I'm on I bring it up. I have websites ready to guide parents to who don't understand the laws. I make it clear that I will be claiming my income NO MATTER WHAT and therefore, they better do their share too or the IRS will be at their door very quickly.

I've probably not gotten jobs because of it, however, if that's why I wasn't hired, I don't want that job anyway. I have an amazing job now with a wonderful family, and everything is on the books.

I was raised to believe that you abide by the laws and pay your taxes. That is non-negotiable to me. If other nannies did the same instead of complaining about how hard it is to get people to, more employers would be forced to pay legally.

And as a side note, my salary is not "grossed up". I make what is slightly above average for our area before taxes because I have a college degree and experience.

Carol Anne said...

I am a nanny in Fairfield County and both of my friends are nannies in Westchester County. We all pay taxes, but our salaries are all grossed up. I don't know what that has to do with anything. The taxes are still getting paid. It's a benefit in our area for, well the cream of the crop nannies.

MinuteMuggle said...


Bravo!!!!! You rock! :)

mom said...

Portlander and Jane are right. If all nannies were forced to work on the books, then the field would be whittled down to mostly professional nannies who did a good job and took their profession seriously. In turn, nannies would be more highly regarded as a group of professionals across the board and those employers who are now so bitterly complained about here would probably try far less often to take advantage of them by squeezing in extra hours and making them do household chores that don't fall within the scope of normal nanny work. (Would you ever think of asking another professional to do your chores?)

Nannies, think about it. When an employer insists, or even suggests, that they pay you off the books, you are being told right there, right up front, that you are dealing with a person who is willing to be dishonest, even to the point of breaking the law, to save a buck. They are saying to you pretty directly, "I am willing to lie, cheat and take advantage to benefit myself." Why, oh why, are some of you then so angry and surprised when those same people (who are now, by the way, your co-conspirators in tax fraud)do not behave honorably towards you when it serves themselves better to take advantage of you? Have you heard the saying, "When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas?" How about, "There is no honor among theives?"

Besides that, when they suddenly show you the door one day after you complain one too many times about how they are taking advantage of you, you have no recourse and are not eligible for unemployment. Good deal.

Portlander said...

I totally agree, Kim. I hope that more nannies and employers are able to see that it hurts everyone to pay under the table. My point wasn't that one should avoid the topic of taxes during interviews because it's uncomfortable: every interviewee should bring it up, and it should be non-negotiable.

MinuteMuggle said...

Well said, Mom and Portlander!

WTF? said...

I can't believe there is even a debate about whether or not it's okay for nannies OR employers to not legally pay taxes. Seriously, WTF? Everyone needs to abide by the law. If you're not paying taxes, you're a criminal and I don't feel sorry for you.

And Ella, you have no sense of proportion which makes you sound like a complete and utter idiot.

nyc mom said...

Carol Anne,

I believe I was the one who brought up the issue of "grossing up." As someone pointed out above, if this benefit is offered to a nanny, I would of course not expect them to turn it down. In this case it's essentially simply a higher salary and, assuming said nanny has the qualifications/performance to warrant this salary, then more power to her.

However, the part I take issue with is nannies who present to an interview in which I have advertised a legal gross salary range, then feel entitled to the idea that I should be paying their taxes in addition to my employer portion. I doubt I can explain it well because it's a sort of ethically murky. But if an employee(rightfully) wants the benefits that come with being paid on the books such as worker's comp, disability, unemployment, and social security/medicare, then I believe the assumption should be that they will be paying THEIR fair share of the taxes that entitle them to such benefits. I will in turn be paying my fair share of employer taxes that pay for these benefits. I will also, separately, be paying employee taxes as an employee in my regular job. I do not think I should also be expected to pay my nanny's taxes. I am glad to pay above market salary, give good raises and benefits, but for some reason the idea of grossing up really bugs me.

carol anne said...

Maybe it also bothers you that my employers give me a credit card to carry for expenses or that I have a (2008) expensive nanny vehicle available solely for my use, during work and non work hours.

It's just a class thing, honey. You're working. Mothers who work aren't in the same league as the mothers we work for. We work for stay at home mothers. They don't have to cross compare what they are shelling out for their nanny expenses with what they are taking in. There are some Hedgefund people who are still living very large. My employers are not in that field, but I know one family with three nannies for three children, two personal assitants (one for the SAHM and one for the DAd) and a host of other staff. The economic crisis hasn't affected everyone.

cali mom said...

Carol Anne, your point is?

Are you one of those ones who thinks everyone is "jealous" of you because you are a professional nanny who is well paid and does her job properly? Why the chip on your shoulder, honey?

call me anonymous said...

Maybe CarolAnne is a professional nanny like myself who has been lured to interviews with employers who prefer to discuss the payrate in person and cannot even come close to offering what I made ten years ago. Yet they think they are entitled to someone as good as me to care for their little public schoolers, public poolers..

Ella said...

To all those that think I am an idiot...while we all hold differing opinions on certain issues, I think the name-calling is a little childish. Sure, you can call me a little extreme..and I am sure there are those that may not agree w/me. But life would be pretty boring for us if we all were on the same soapbox. Beside the point, we all have an opinion and I respect all the ones here on ISYN...except where I am called names. But it's okay, I am a big girl and can take it. (At least some of us are adults)

I just cannot agree when people tell me that if I do not agree w/the nanny standards, then I should find another profession since this is obviously not a field for me. I cannot understand people's attitudes about that. Would you say this to a factory worker who works 12 hr shifts? Would you tell this to the picketing grocery store workers who insist on better benefits? Or the city workers who have to take a 6% pay cut due to the state's deficit? Would you really say to them, just suck it up and find another profession. This type of work is not for you!!~ No, you would not and that is why unions exist. For fair treatment practices for employees. So this opinion that people should just deal w/it or find another job is not anything new, people have been told that for many years and thank God for the unions. We all need an advocate. Grocery stores have one. Why not nannies? I betcha if grocery store employees were working 8-9 hrs shifts, w/no lunch breaks or 15 min. breaks, you would see them holding picket signs right away. But if nannies were picketing, we would all be the laughing stock of the internet. Like...huh?! Nannies?? HA!! they would all say!!!
Yet, people want these nannies to work on the books, pay the SAME amount of taxes that other people pay, etc. Imagine if you added all the 15 min. paid breaks other jobs gave out. When you think about it in $ dollar signs $, it will add up I promise you. Not for a trip to Paris, but enough to pay for a nice weekend at Disneyland. :()
I agree, nannies should pay taxes. But if I had a choice between the street and a warm bed, I would work off the books. Maybe illegal, but don't we all do something illegal? Like...jaywalk? Make illegal u-turns when there is no visible cop? Not say anything when the cashier "accidentaly" hands us a $20 instead of a $1?? Sneak food in the movies even though it is clearly posted, NO FOOD OR DRINK ALLOWED INSIDE.
Anyway, for the person who said it is not the most important job out there, tell me another profession where you have this high of a liability....nope not even being a guard to the Hope Diamond....and I will eat my words.
Nannies....I support each and every one of you. Even after I finish college and get my Ph.D., I will never forget how I was treated in this profession and will always be an advocate for childcare workers.

shanna LA said...

One thing that is true is that people see your resume and hear about you from an agency and somehow they do get you out to their houses. Then they spell out the details, maybe it is longer hours to make that "salary". Some bogus rules like, "you need to give me one week night per week and one weekend a month" and then when you pass on their job, they get totally pissed off and slam the phone down on you. I am a nanny. I have worked in the LA area for 14 years, with two celebrity families. I don't have to work one weekend night a month and I don't have to throw in a weekday for no other reason other than to make the family feel better about what they are paying me. Like any professional, I work a standard week, with set hours. I get vacations, holidays and sick time (which I do not take because my employers count on me). I get bonuses. When they need me to work late or on a weekend, they provide notice and I get overtime. I get paid extra to travel with them. I had one family interview me and tell me all about their "luxury condo" on the beach in Florida and how we would be down there for 10 days (2 weekends) and I would "still get paid" even though they were paying my airfare and all of my meals.

With the cost of daycare these days, I get why working mothers hire nannies, but unless you are sitting on the board of Exxon or trading oil by day, how can you think to compete with what we professional nannies can and have every right to ask for?

Wouldn't you as a professional shop around for the best salary and benefits?

Yah, me too!

Portlander said...

Ella, my point actually was that there is no such thing as "the most important job in the world." It's silly to speak in terms like this. It's not a competition.

I can't even deal with the fact that you're comparing sneaking food into the movies to tax evasion. This is why people are having a hard time taking seriously.

I'm a nanny, and a graduate student. I'm very interested in the rights of household employees. You are trying to advocate for a benefit that other nannies here say they don't need. We don't need you to fight for our right to have scheduled breaks. As professionals we realize that scheduled breaks do not practically fit in this career.

Again, I would love for you to answer how you practically have this break system work out. Who would take of the children while you were out getting lunch without them? Who would watch them during those 15 minute breaks? Again, breaks are not a right. Many people, across professions, do not have scheduled or guaranteed breaks. I don't understand why you keep comparing nannies with grocery store workers. Employees at businesses like grocery stores or Target have breaks because there are coworkers there to take over their duties. This is not the case if you are the sole nanny at a job.

It seems that you have had a bad experience with the family you work for; this is not a social injustice. It also sounds like you need to advocate for yourself and talk with your employers about how you can manage lunchtime.

Ella said...

Shanna LA...I like what you had to say. We should all have the same benefits that you have.

For the record, if you do not think that watching another person's most precious blessing while the parent has to work is not the most important job out there, then YOU should not be a nanny.

If people do not take me seriously, it's no big deal. I do not personally know anyone on here from the guy on T.V. But it is my right to speak my mind and if it ruffles some feathers, hopefully it will make people think as well.

I have had some bad experiences, but am w/a great family now. So I know that nice families exist. :)

It was not meant to sound competitive by saying childcare is the most important work out there. This is what the problem on here is, my words get misconstrued and the next thing you know I am a tax-cheating, horrible mother/nanny and have fluff for a brain. There should not be any gray areas...only black and white.

Portlander said...

Ella, could you answer my questions?

MinuteMuggle said...

I don't mean to name-call but you sound very juvenile and even more dramatic than myself. (which is saying a whole lot since I tend to be a drama queen myself. ;))

I am betting my ass (and I am quite fond of my ass) that you would not be "sleeping on the street" under any circumstances. Come on, Ella. Get real. And comparing jaywalking and sneaking food into a movie theatre to tax evasion is just utterly ridiculous.

I think you need to grow up, seek out your support systems, pick yourself up by your bootstraps and do the right thing instead of spending your time convincing yourself that you are in the right when you clearly are not.

mom said...

Portlander makes an excellent point. There is not a practical way to get a nanny alone time for meals and so nannies find ways to make it work out...just like mothers do. Just like surgeons who do long operations, and transatlantic pilots, and any other person in a profession where the job is unpredictable does.

The difference between them and a grocery store clerk or factory worker is that those poeple are standing in a certain spot doing a certain specific thing for a certain amount of time. The nature of their jobs prohibits them from walking away to go to the bathroom, make a phone call or eat a meal. The idea of scheduled breaks is not so that they will have complete privacy with no interruptions or unwelcome background noise while they completely remove themselves from the work environment to use the bathroom, make a call, or eat. It is simply that they will have a reasonable amount of time to do what a body needs to do throughout the day. It is unreasonable to ask a person to stand at a counter for eight or nine hours uninterrupted. It is not unreasonable to ask an employee who has discretion over their time management on the job to simply work their bathroom breaks, phone calls, and eating into their workdays in the way that is most convenient to them.

It is wonderful that some nannies have found terrific families that can afford to, and do, lavish them with extra high salaries and tons of perks. It is not reasonable, however, to expect all families to be able to afford to have an extra employee on hand so that you can go out to lunch with your friends. You may feel you are worth it, and you may demand it...but it doesn't mean every family is going to be able to do it. You have to be realistic and practical.

On the "grossing up," I have a question. Does this mean that the employer simply pays the employee more money so that the nanny still makes the same salary after taxes as she would if she were off the books...but that nanny and employer both pay their share of the tax burden? Or does it mean the employer pays the nanny's taxes for her? Because if it is the first, it sounds perfectly reasonable to me. That would basically be just paying a better salary for a great nanny.

If it's the second one, that would still be illegal because the money the employer pays for the employees taxes would just be considered yet more income that the nanny should be paying taxes on. I don't see why any employer would do this, because it is still tax fraud and the employer is paying a lot of extra money anyway.

Magic Number? said...

This discussion of taxes has piqued my interest. At what point does a babysitter need to go on the books?
For instance, many families have occasional sitters who come on Saturday night for a few hours so parents can go out, and then get paid in cash. Do we agree that there is no reason they need to go on the books?
Obviously a full-time nanny who works 8-6, M-F "should" be paid on the books. What about a sitter who works 20 scheduled hours per week? 10 scheduled hours? 10 hours that are not scheduled but occur only on an "as-needed" basis? Are there legal guidelines for this? If not, what are your opinions?
Also, at the age of 13 I had some regular babysitting jobs with scheduled hours. But I was only 13. Was I breaking labor laws?

mom said...

Magic Number,
There is a specific section of the tax code that deals with this issue. It's not a matter of us deciding what the right and wrong thing is. There are specific laws.

I know that if you make under a certain amount, you don't pay takes...duh. But I'm not sure whether that excludes somebody from having to report their income, no matter how small, either.
I do know that employers of occasional help do not need to pay those taxes, but I don't knwo at what point the employer becomes responsible. I hire gardeners and housekeepers on a regular basis, and ot avoid any possibility of breaking the law I use professional companies that hire their own employees and pay the taxes on them. Having had a family member who worked for the IRS as an atoorney for years, I have a healthy fear of what they can do to tax cheats if they so choose. True enough, they don't typically go after "small potatoes," but they absolutey can do so if they desire...and I can guarantee it's not a chance I would ever take. And even if you think you've got nothing to lose now, wait until someday when you decide to run for public office, or take a government job the requires a serious background check...or your spouse does. These small amounts of money are not worth jeopardizing your legal status, your reputation, or in some cases, your future. Not to fees to defend this type of thing would probably far exceed the cost of the original taxes anyway.

Take popcorn to the movies if you want, but don't cheat on your taxes.

maric said...

Magic Number
The treashold is anything over $1600 yr taxes need to be paid.,,

mom said...

lots of typos. sorry

maric said...

"At what point does a babysitter need to go on the books?
For instance, many families have occasional sitters who come on Saturday night for a few hours so parents can go out, and then get paid in cash. Do we agree that there is no reason they need to go on the books?"

ONly if they do not make the treashold $wise for that familiy

mom said...

Please explain further. This is interesting to many people, obviously. And I'm sure there are many of us who would love to have any specifics you may offer.

My boys did some babysitting and it never occurred to me to have them file a tax return. When they got old enough, they had jobs with companies that issued them W2s. They file returns and get most of their money back in the end.

I wonder it legally OK to let children babysit when they are not old enough to legally get a job at, say, McDonalds? What do those child labor laws say? Do we need to get them work permits?

nyc mom said...


I'm not sure I have a simple answer to your two choices for grossing up, so I'll explain it as I have experienced it (but perhaps others have had a different experience). I'll quote the example I wrote earlier in the thread which I'm sure is long lost:
"For example a nanny wanting to net $700/week, would often expect me to pay her a gross salary of $950 (add in my $100 employer obligations) for a total of $1050 weekly cost to me. Whereas, a nanny willing to pay her own taxes on $700/week gross, would net about $550 and my weekly cost would be about $800."

I have also encountered a different situation in which a Nanny has requested NOT to have federal taxes withheld (as only medicare and ss are mandatory), then being hit with a big tax bill at year end and assuming I (the employer) will pay.

So, yes, my experience has been that I would be expected to simply pay a higher gross salary so that the Nanny made the same net. As I said to Carol Anne, I don't have an issue with this concept. I have an issue with advertising a gross legal salary and having nannies feel entitled to me paying it as a matter of course. The former seems to be a fairly earned perk for qualified nannies. The latter seems an unfair expectation/entitlement. But again I know my strong opinions on this are based more on personal bad experiences rather than a clear ethical boundary.

Finally, Carol Anne, your comment pretty much shows that it's not worth engaging in further rational discourse with you. If you want to try to make this issue into one of class based solely on whether both parents are working, well, you have a very sad, narrow view of the world. FWIW I have been at all ends of the economic spectrum and worked by choice and need. My attitude toward and treatment of my nanny does not change based on this.

small potatoes said...

A few years ago, my then BF was Audited. He was considered "small potatoes". Why they chose him, we will never know... but come to find out, the Company he was working for had messed up his checks and he ended up owing thousands to the IRS. He went on a payment plan and had them paid off in a year. The following year, during Tax time, we get a letter from the IRS basically saying, "Ooops! We messed up." So he got all of his money back and then another few thousand on top of that, all in one big check. What did he do? He put it all in the bank, waiting for that phone call from the IRS wanting all of their money back. After several months of waiting and tons of phone calls, it was his to keep. What a nightmare it started out to be but thankfully it all worked out in the end.

maric said...

Temporary Employment
Some families employ babysitters, housekeepers, tutors, and other household help to work on a temporary or part-time basis. In order to ease the tax requirements on these families, the IRS modified the law in 1995 to give an exemption to families who pay any individual less than $1,700 (2009) in a calendar year. If your household employee is below that threshold, you are not required to withhold taxes from her salary, nor do you have any federal tax responsibilities as an employer.

Please note that your state will require you to pay unemployment insurance and other applicable state taxes at a lower compensation threshold (typically, the threshold is $1,000 in a calendar quarter to all employees combined, although some states are as low as $500 per quarter). That means, if your total household payroll is more than $1,000 in a calendar quarter, you are required to meet some special payroll tax obligations.

While families with temporary employees may have a reprieve from taxes and the tax process, please note that the temporary employee does not. Like all wage earners in the United States, he or she must still report all wages to the IRS at year end and is responsible for paying any federal and state income taxes.

© 2007-2009 Breedlove & Associates, LLC

mom said...

Thanks Maric. Does an employee that makes under a certain amount (like maybe a kid who makes a couple hundred dollars a year babysitting and doing odd chores)have to file no matter how little they make?

And, seeing how low these threshholds are, I think I probably make out well in the end paying the higher up front prices of professional independent companies to do my household maintenance and cleaning than I would hiring a cheaper, hourly employeee myself and paying taxes on them. Plus, those companies are bonded and insured, so if they break anything, I'm also covered there. Now I'll feel better when my friends yet again try to convince that me I pay too much and their maid will clean my house for half the price if I want. No thanks! (Not to mention I also have a severe aversion to hiring illegial aliens...but that's a whole other argument...)

maric said...

Generally a t-ager making a small amount would not due to fact that they usually all withheld back at tax time. I would declare it if they have to file due to job at starbucks,mcdonalds and such

maric said...

What most employers do not realize is the same laws apply to cleaning persons, gardeners,chaufers,handy man and how not paying above table can come back and haunt then in future.

Also a nanny can apply for unemployment at which time the authorities will verify said employment. and will then go after employer for both parts of taxes owed + penalties (i believe)

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

"Grossing Up" means that nanny takes home, say $750/week net, and her employer pays the applicable taxes out of the employer's pocket. So at the end of the year, nanny will have taken home 39K, employer will have paid 13K in taxes, and nanny will get a W2 based on a 52K salary, but with the unspoken benefit of not having paid any taxes from nanny's own pocket.

A normal nanny making $750/week loses more 20% out of that amount to taxes, leaving her with a gross of less than $600. BIG difference between 750 gross and 750 NET.

"Grossing Up" is a lot less likely to happen these days, IMO. Many families that may have offered this incredible bonus in the past can't do it any more.

Of course, IMO we shoul;d solve the whole tax issue with passage of The Fair Tax. Then everyone is taxed based on spending, not on income.

nyc mom said...

Tales - you would get my vote for a Fair Tax too!

Also, I believe a full time nanny and a once a week housekeeper or gardner actually can be classified differently. The bottom line is that any ruling would be subject to interpretation to some degree. Nannies are clearly NOT independent contractors unless employed and paid by an agency on an ongoing basis. However, a once a week housekeeper or gardener often does meet criteria to be an independent contractor depending on each individual working relationship. Here's a reasonable summary that has helped me understand the subtle differences in the past:

deafnanny said...

Just to clarify how my salary is "grossed up". My employers are Optometrists, and own several practices. Therefore they already have employees and the whole payroll system. I am entered into that payroll system with my job description as "Personal Nanny" to clarify that I work for the family, not for the practice. When I interviewed for the position, I requested $700/wk salary. Upon being hired, my salary was bumped up to $950/wk. My salary is entered to the payroll system as such. Once everything goes through the system and taxes are taken out, I make at the least $700/wk (usually it ends up being $710-$715 depending on what my hours were for the week). My employer isn't directly paying my taxes for me, I don't think there's a legal way to do that. They simply raise my salary enough each week so that once the gov takes the taxes out of it, I break even to the salary I requested at interview. Hope that even makes sense...

mom said...

thanks deafnanny, maric and nannyhood,
I think I understand, and I think this grossing up sounds perfectly legal. As long as the IRS is aware of all money the employer spends on behalf of the employee, then there is no fraud whatsoever involved.
What it seems to amount to to me is simply paying the nanny a high enough salary that she makes a decent living after taxes, and her taxes are simply withheld from her paycheck and paid to the government directly by the employers, right?
Seems no different than simply paying a higher wage, as one would do for a well qualified annny anyway.

ChiNanny said...

I've heard of two ways of "grossing up". One is the legal way that others have mentioned, which is really just making a higher gross salary so the net is higher. The other is people who have employers pay their taxes, but not claim that money.

For example. If I made $600 a week take home, and that what was claimed as my gross salary, then my employers paid the taxes on that money out of their own pocket, instead of witholding.

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