Tuesday

Under FLSA Law

Received Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN A family has offered me a position and negotiated for me to work for $500/week. We talked this over based on hours and I told the mom that number was based on 55 hour work week. She agreed with me and told me anything over 55 hours would be overtime. When making final negotiations, she asked, "Just making sure you know this is 7 days a week coverage, right?" I told her I thought we agreed on 55 hours a week (I assumed 11 hours, 5 days a week- I have never been asked to work weekends as a live-in), which with young children is not the correct amount of hours when working from morning to night. She told me it was- my non-working time would be when they napped (maybe 2-3 hours a day) and when they were with the parents for ONE HOUR at bedtime. She also told me that the pay was lower because I will not have to pay rent in the city. So long story short, I did some research and found out that under FLSA you have to pay live-in nannies overtime for hours worked over 44 hours in a 7-day period. Nap time, meal time, etc. where you COULD NOT leave the house counted as WORKING. So, this crazy lady is trying to get me to work 84 hour weeks with no day off. She wants to pay me $250 less PER WEEK than what is legal. I'm in a bind about what to do. I told her I need at least one day off per 10 days and she started to complain about where to find help for that. She has had illegal, young girls working for her before and has been paying less than 500 per week for their services. Even if we come to terms should I work for a family that is looking to exploit their employees like this? Seriously, no day off? I thought about emailing a link to FLSA so she could see what she is required to pay by law but do not want to be rude. Has anybody else found a similar situation? I am college educated with 10 years of childcare experience, truly a great nanny and feel like she is trying to get out cheap. I know they have money or else the kids would just be in daycare. Help me with this bind! Thanks nannies! :)

27 comments:

Yikes said...

If you are having doubts, don't sign the contract!! That is just crazy to work for $500 for 80+ hours a week. My last job I was making $250 a week for just 13 hours. Don't let yourself get ripped off. She is trying to take advantage of you and if she wants a real nanny, she needs to pay for one.

If she needs help on days off and such, she can put them in daycare, hire another nanny, get help from a family member or GASP watch her own damn kids!!

Run, and run fast from this crazy nut job.

NVMom said...

I agree, take a pass on this one. You sound like a good nanny with lots of experience. Even in this tough economy you shouldn't have to work 7 days a week. It shows how little regard this person has for her kids that she would want someone on the clock like that. It would just lead to burnout for you.

Indigo said...

Wow you are too smart to be putting up with this. Think about this: If she is starting out being so cheap with you, how much work will it get later after you have worked for a while?

This family is not a good match for a nanny and is not suitable for having a full time employee.

Aliana said...

This family is horrible, do not work for them, that is why they hire illegals. Slavery is over! ahhhh i am so mad!!

emily said...

I wouldn't continue to negotiate with this family for two reasons:

1) It was sneaky for the mother to throw the 7-day work week thing in towards the end of negotiations. If you don't intend to give a nanny a day off during the week (crazy, I feel) you need to disclose that up front from the very beginning.

2) Parents who are frightened of spending one day alone with their kids are a red flag! Of course, I know of families who are lovely & who have full-time coverage (using two nannies--you can't make a person work everyday without time off, I feel), but these families are the exception to the rule.

People don't change. If she's sneaking in more hours at this stage of the game it will only get worse as you begin to work for them. Please do yourself a favor & continue your search.

chgonanny said...

I agree with all the other posters, especially Indigo. If this is just the contract negotiations, what's going to happen a year from now when you're negotiating your raise? Also, if she's asking for 7 days/week now, slowly it'll turn into 24 hours/day, too.

If you still want to work with this family (I totally understand, the economy is awful. My husband's been looking for a job all summer) don't email her the FLSA stuff. It's a bit passive-aggressive. Meet with her face-to-face if possible, and print all the info out. And yes, napping time you are still ON THE CLOCK! What happens if the baby is sick and can't sleep? Are you supposed to let the kid cry since technically you're on break? Maybe try and explain that to her. Would you be paid overtime if the kid didn't sleep as long as usual? Also, you are too nice! I'd ask for a MINIMUM of one day a week off every week. Getting one day off every 10 would burn me out after a month.

Basically, if I were you, I'd run screaming. But if you're in a serious bind, put your foot down. Explain that there are certain things you're willing to negotiate, but you don't do slave-labor.

Good luck, and keep an eye out for a different family!

Mom in the City said...

Run. Anyone who feels that their kids don't deserve a refreshed nanny and can't spend more than an hour with their children is going to be your worst nightmare. I am a mom and when I hear about these employers (and I KNOW of them personally) I feel so sad for their employees AND their kids (wonder what they are like if their Mom isn't a basically fair person?)

Frankly, if there is a true need for these hours, the woman needs to hire TWO nannies.

djembé said...

What do you mean, "help me with this bind!"? How could you possibly be in a bind? What makes you think there is ANY reasoning with a woman like this? You say you are college-educated... prove it and do what any intelligent person would do: move on and don't look back. Sheesh, why do people even give half a thought to situations like this? No wonder there are women like this out there, if someone like you, with an education and 10 years of experience, is struggling with this and asking strangers for help when it should be a no-brainer.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Tell her that you will only agree to take the job if you are paid minimum wage for 40 hours, then time-and-a-half for all hours over 40. Explain to her that if you cannot leave the house (i.e., during naptime) you are working. Give her a definite salary number (say 80 hours/week, that would be 7.25 X 40 + 10.88 X 40 = $725 per week).

Your issue will then be resolved, because she will never contact you again. Instead, she will keep hiring illegal slaves, burning them out, and replacing them every few months.

Shocked said...

Don't work for this family. What these people really want is to pay someone to be their kids' parent.

How can you tell someone you won't give them ANY days off? That doesn't make any sense. Even house servants back in the 19th century had a day off a week.

The pay is kind of irrelevant if you give up your life. I find it really shocking that anyone would even try to negotiate such an outrageous set of demands.

RUN AWAY. NOW.

Shocked said...

Also, if you are worried about informing the employer of your legal rights because you are worried about being "rude", you really need to think about that. It is not rude in any sense to inform someone of their legal responsibility, although it is VERY rude to conduct "negotiations" as your prospective employer has been doing.

It sounds like maybe you do not have enough self-esteem. Why should you enslave yourself voluntarily to someone who has already shown themselves to be completely out of bounds - at the point where they are supposedly trying to win you over??

Now that your eyes are open, you can't take this job. Personally, I would not take it even if there are no other jobs to be had.

Slavery is not an option.

Denver Nanny said...

Run away screaming, I totally agree! The economy stinks for sure but you sound like you have a lot of experience and could find a different job. I have 10 years of experience as well as being college educated and your situation doesn't sound like something that sits well at all! I had to take a job with lower pay than I'm used to but I'm employed and the family is amazing. Keep looking, there's something better for you out there!

Mary said...

Don't take the job. If it's already this bad and you haven't even started, just imagine how bad it'll get down the road. It's not worth it. If I were you, I'd tell her you can't accept the job under those conditions and move on.

CuriousDad said...

I disagree with other posters on this board, SEND her the link to the FLSA law. She possibly is ignorant of what it implies. This may or may not help you with the negotiations. Just send her a I am unsure if you are cognizant with the FLSA law that applies to this job.

I suggest finding a better fit for yourself. Inform her that her requirements are unacceptable and you are declining her job, send her the link with your declination. After declining, do explain in a reasonable manner why you cannot except the job. Then politely LEAVE or hang up as needed. Economy be damned there are other jobs out there, they just are not always in a position we would like or at the salary we want. But most are LEGAL and do not work you to death.

Wow, if other industries during a two to three hour equipment shut down would not pay their employees for that time period there would be allot of savings for the industry. The reason why they DO NOT and give them other work even if its just sweeping floors or basic maintenance, is so the employees are available onsite for when the equipment is started back up and are not straggling in at the time the equipment is suppose to start up. If you are off those two to three hours who is going to watch the baby since you get to leave the house being as you are off?

She should have given you other work during those nap hours the baby would be asleep (doing the babies laundry, picking up the baby areas, setting up meals, etc..) and possibly given you a half hour to an hour lunch break, though on the clock since you must be available in case the baby wakes up.

nyc mom said...

Is this job on the books? (sorry if I missed this in the post)

If not, I don't see how the FLSA laws would matter to her. If she is already hiring people who are not legally employable and/or paying off the books, why on earth would she care what the law governs for overtime pay?

You need to make a personal choice of what salary and hours you could agree to and still be happy in the job. Then present it to the employer direclty and let her take it or leave it. You have little to lose by being direct here. Don't take a job in childcare where you start out resentful and unhappy - even in this economy. Were this housekeeping or retail, I would say take it. But with small children involved, I believe it's unfair to the kids (forget the crazy mom) to start the job with such unhappiness as it will certainly translate to the care the kids receive. Good Luck.

shaking said...

Given this information, I would be truly scared to live in the same house as this woman, who does not want to treat you like a human being. If she is holding the "rent-free" thing over your head, once you are under her roof, she will feel like she owns you.

DenverNanny said...

This sounds like a Craigslist WTF?: mom wanting slave labor and btw, you should be qrateful for the free room--if you ever get to sleep!

Kathrine said...

Don't do it, she is doing you a favor by showing you her true colors up front.

Manhattan Nanny said...

NYC Mom makes a good point. It is one thing to take a lousy office job for a while in a bad economy. You can do an adequate job, put on a fake smile and suck it up. You shouldn't be doing that as a nanny. Children need, and deserve a happy enthusiastic care giver.

This woman will be a nightmare to work for. Run for your life, and don't look back!

seriously? said...

OP, why are you even asking this question? I can't see how ANYONE would ever conclude that you should take this job. Obviously you need to run, as everyone has said. You could get paid (much) more and work much less at McDonalds.

Wicker Park Nanny said...

RUN, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

Cyn said...

I agree with Curious Dad. Show her the information even if you don't take the job. That isn't rude. At least she won't be able to claim later that she didn't know about the legal issues if she hires someone else under the table.

huh said...

Cyn,

I agree that she should show the woman the legal papers (without taking the job!!!), but of course she can still "claim" later that she didn't know the legalities if she hires another person (not OP) under the table. How would that change anything for the new person? If the woman gets in legal trouble, of course she is going to lie about it, and OP won't be involved in this crap at that point.

NannyVal said...

Run fast, run far!!!!! It's crazy to expect anyone to work 7 days a week, month long, year round! Seriously, she thinks someone would work 365 days a year? As if you have no friends, no family, no life of your own, errands to run, appointments to be made????? What an idiot! And naps are not equal to off-duty! What happens when the kid gets older and doesn't nap any longer. And then what when the kids are in school....NOW you get a break? You get a whole day off, paid, to make up for all the on duty hours in years before....somehow I doubt it. Definetly send her the links with a polite response as to why you can't accept the position, the head for the hills!

nanny liz said...

Don't sign anything, this job sounds awful. You sound like a professional nanny that could have her pick of jobs. good luck.

Liz said...

i'm confused...were you applying for a job with children or to ADOPT children?

times are tough, yes! but any job would be better than this. man i'd work as a janitor* first, and i hate cleaning.

* i do not hate janitors. i admire them!

cali mom said...

RUN! Fast!