02 November, 2010

As Good As It Gets?

Received Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Opinion 4 For three weeks a friend of the family visited from Guadalajara ("Yesenia" ). Her goal was to work and make some money and look for a nanny job that is comparable to her last one - the family moved to Dubai which ended her employment with them. Y requires cash under the table, expects room and board, app $400 per week in cash, expects very specific food to be provided - chicken,fish,fruits,vegetable,lots of fresh water to drink,about a gallon a day, also all toiletries,coffee in the morning - very specific things like that.

She expect to work maybe 11 hours a day,Mon - Fri , does not: drive,plan schedules,put together arts and crafts, but she is great with kids and very good at looking after them. She is 59 years old and in very very strong physical health.

As part of her package she is willing to do VERY HEAVY CLEANING although she will not do that while watching the kids.

She worked for me in my family catering company and was awesome with the kids, proactive in knowing what to do and come up with extra things to do and when she cleaned my house SHE ROCKED.

Do you think Yesenia can find a deal like this?


  1. New New York NannyNov 2, 2010, 3:55:00 PM

    In NYC I'm sure could find that. 400$ a week seems crazy low, even for live-in. The request for a gallon of water a day seems weird. Are you talking bottled water? That's the only thing I could see bing an issue. But I garentee in New York she could get work as aq nanny/housekeeper for at least 750$ a week, probably more.

  2. I agree that she can probably find a job that pays more than $400 p/w. The job being under the table may be an issue. Toiletries provided?? That's a first for me. And why can't she make/get her own coffee in the morning?

  3. yes bottled water and she does make her own coffee but literally everything to live must be paid for and supplied by the employer

  4. insists on being paid under the table? no chance in being hired by me

  5. I would concerned about her age and the health risks. I wouldn't hire to care for infants or toddlers, maybe school age children.

  6. Op again. All points are well taken. I am 48 and she is in better physical condition than i am - at the catering jobs she did for me last 2 weekends she was loading and unloading heavy equipment and transporting it. She has no vehicle and walks everywhere - miles and miles.

    I was thinking a baby or toddler would be the best idea because she would not be required to drive the child.

    But - yeah the illegal part is going to be a dealbreaker

    thanks for everyone's time ;0)

  7. New New York NannyNov 2, 2010, 6:24:00 PM

    Unfortunately, I don't think wanting to work off the books will be a big problem. Most famillies in New York won't pay on the books even if you ask. Parkslope parents network say something around 85% pay off the books. The only people I interviewed with who were willing to pay on the books were lawyers.

  8. New New York NannyNov 2, 2010, 6:27:00 PM

    Also the fact that she wants everything provided for her makes her sound difficult. Can she just ask for more money, and buy her own shampoo?

  9. I absolutely think she can get more than 400 even with her requirements...my employers go out of their way to be sure that there is food I like...I am sure if I lived in they would provide my toiletries...if she is such a great nanny, she will have her choice of families. The off the books thing-eek! Is she here legally? I am sure she could take home 400 pd on the books!

  10. There are always people willing to pay illegally (and hire someone who is in the country illegally, although I know you didn't say your friend was, in fact, an illegal alien), especially is they can get someone willing to do 2 jobs for one salary.

    Her list of "demands" and list of "can't do's" might be an issue, but it's possible a NYC family would be willing to indulge a servant's eccentricities and lack of certain skills for the sake of saving some money.

    Sadly, until parents who pay illegally are subject to arrest for tax fraud, people like your friend will be able to find work.

  11. Isn't planning children's schedules and arts and crafts usually part of a nanny's job description?

    I think her list of "won'ts" with her list of demands makes it less likely she'll find a job, especially where there are a lot more easy going, flexible nannies out there.

  12. If the reason for her not wanting to be payed on the books is that she is an illegal alien I hope she will NEVER find a job!
    There are so many great legal nannies out there right now, who are unemployed. It takes a lot of work to get a green card. So do not hire someone illegal.

  13. op here. I do not know if she is an illegal alien - she travels between here and guadalajara with a valid passport. But she is not a citizen - so yes i think working would be illegal. I guess her position would not be strictly called a nanny as the duties of a nanny are very specific

    very interesting everybody - again,thank you

  14. I think she would be better off leaving her list of "demands" off the table, and just asking for more money, so that if there's something specific she needs, she can purchase it herself. If she won't do arts and crafts, she would have to be really creative in other ways to keep the kids entertained.

  15. If she's only here on a passport and not able to work legally, then I hope she doesn't find a job and shame on you OP for hiring her when you knew this.

  16. point taken angry ;0)- she is a family friend visiting and my father and step mom asked me to work with her over 2 weekends so she could make some money. I did have to pay her cash which i usually do not do in my co. I did this as a family friend, not something permanent.

    And i learned about her needs piece by piece over a period of 10 days.

    Again, point taken and all the views are very informative ;0)

    It's going to be interesting when i relay all this info to them LOL

  17. Finally someone's sharing my opinion. Thank you angry!
    It doesn't matter if she's a family friend or not. The work she did for you could have been done by someone who is either American or has a Green Card/working visa.
    I really hope the next time that women tries to come back to the US the Immigration Officer will whoop her butt and deny the entry.
    Sharon, why do you post a question for an illegal alien? Don't you care at all about (y)our country?
    Very sad....

  18. Why can't she find her own work? Why are you having to do it for her?

  19. Agree, MissMannah. Although, to me it's pretty obvious. Maybe not, but, uh, yeah kinda...

  20. It is to me, too. I was trying to further push the "illegal" point until she gets it. I don't understand how anyone can think it is appropriate to go out and get good jobs for illegal aliens.

  21. loving nanny and miss mannah - (i learn from you frequently ) this is why i submitted this - to learn. Actually - i could not have found someone else to do the temporary work Yesenia did. She was the exact qualified available person to work the 2 weekends at this time - illegal, legal,semi-legal etc - and she did a great job and i am greatful to her.She got me out of a busy weekend bind.

    do i love my country? you have no idea ;0) seriously. I am an entreprene-- entre- where is spell check? I own my own business where i am my own boss and i know i could not do it anywhere else in the universe ;0)

    any of us who are americans are very lucky and i know that ;0)

    yes, my family has been trying to help yessinia - if that is wrong then i am learning

    and i would like to thank everybody for being so professional,interesting and circumspect in their words - i am learning alot - which is what this site does - teaches many types of people - thanks again

  22. Just My Two Cents Just NowNov 2, 2010, 11:58:00 PM

    Hi Sharon...if you want to use spellcheck...on this ISYN website when you misspell a word, it usually has a wavy red line underneath it if the word is misspelled. Simply right-click on the word and it will give you a list of correct spellings. Hope it helps! :)
    Anyway, I live in CA and $400/week along with living in expenses is pretty fair..almost good. But the fact that Yesenia actually HEAVY DUTY cleans house too makes it a great deal for the family too. I think her demands are a bit much, but if she cleans and cares for the kids then $400 is not bad.
    About paying off the books, I notice many families prefer to do this. Not to discriminate, but the families I meet via craigslist usually only want to pay me in cash. Some families from sittercity and Care.com want the same too unfortunately. However, I have met many families through a local nanny agency and all of these families have paid me on the books + health care + gas/mileage $0.50/mi. The reason the other families prefer off the books is because they don't want any liability problems from me in case I get injured on the job, etc. And the families that paid me on the books gave me 1/2 hr to 1 hr lunch breaks too!

  23. Sharon, you do not need to be a citizen to be able to work here :-) That's why there are Green Cards. I think that even people, who are not permanent residents, for example international students on a visa, can work on Campus, etc. Also, if she is able to go back and forth freely, she must have some kind of permit to at least enter the US.

  24. Just My Two Cents Just NowNov 3, 2010, 12:34:00 PM

    OP, I just re-read your post and actually think that Yesenia has a great chance of finding a job here in the U.S. If she is willing to work 11 hrs per day doing both housecleaning and childcare, then I think for $400/week she is definitely going to find work. That is a good rate if it includes BOTH services and whether it is paid on the books or not wouldn't matter. I think a job like that will only pay under the table since she will be making less than minimum wage + she is not making overtime wages. The family who hires her will be able to underpay her and she will not have to pay taxes on her income as she may not be fully legal so both parties will view it as a win-win situation for both I imagine.

  25. you guys are fascinating - thanks one more time

  26. Yes, she will easily be able to get a job for $400/week. There are a few issues:

    1. In nyc (if that's where she is) live-in jobs are harder to find because the extra bedroom alone is a big cost for the family. But if she does any burb, she'll be fine.

    2. I agree with others that she should ditch the demands, up her weekly price to $450 and just get her own food and bottled water. We provide food as desired for our Nanny, but bottled water would drive me crazy since we drink tap and I hate the waste of bottled.

    3. I know people are suggesting older kids for a 59yo, but I disagree. My experience is that as your kids get older, your caregivers get younger. My 8 and 10yo MUCH prefer their weekend college age sitters to our regular ft nanny because nanny is more like a mom - structured, strict, organized, less playful. I think she'll do better with very young kids.

    4. Her willingness to do heavy cleaning will get her the job separate from everything else. It's incredibly low pay for a housekeeper, who usually make more than nannies on an hourly basis.

  27. No arts and crafts, but will scrub toilets? Doesn't such a person go by a name other than nanny?

  28. not only scrub toilets, but vacuum in out of the way places,scrub, scour,mop and alot more-following instructions,the cleaning aspect

    apologize - i am learning :0)
    you guys are saying true - the name is not nanny,when they are ok with watching the kids and Heavy cleaning living in- what is the name
    not meaning to offend anyone - thaNK YOU !

  29. Maid or Housekeeper might be the name you are actually looking for.

  30. Just My Two Cents Just NowNov 4, 2010, 1:14:00 PM

    Or Nanny/Housekeeper.
    But in my book she would be the ultimate DOMESTIC GODDESS!!!!!

  31. "I am an entreprene-- entre- where is spell check?"

    This was FUNNY! Thanks for the laugh, I seriously laughed out loud.

    CuriousDad--YES, indeed.

  32. I dont think she will be able to find a job as a live in nanny in new york city. just like this lady I am here illegal and when I was a live in nanny I worked 30h for about $200 a week in average, and Im not old and im educated too. (and I had no weird wish list).

    People dont mind paying off the books, but they rather hiring someone who is here legally of course.

    Since the apt the family rented costed almost $5000 they figure they could take alot out of my salary. I realised I am better off as a live out nanny and I have never seen any live in positions that pay much in the city, but in NJ I've a friend who gets $10 as a live in.

    On the other hand I must say that the families that uses cleaning ladies pay alot so if she likes cleaning she might find a job as a cleaning lady. I know one family who paid $40 an hour for cleaning (she was not legal) and another family who pay $50 an hour. In new york city there are lots of illegal immigrants (half a millon?).

    And I dont need any comments that this is a shame and that I should leave the country etc etc, I heard it last time I posted on this site. I just wanted OP to know my opinion.

  33. "People dont mind paying off the books, but they rather hiring someone who is here legally of course."

    Duh. They don't want to be criminals...which essentially, you are.

    I'm not going to tell you to go back to your own country because that's none of my business, but I am going to tell you to take the proper steps to stay in this one legally.

    Sharon, I don't think it is wrong for your family to be helping Yesinia. I think yall are just going about it the wrong way. Convince her to get legal residency first because it seems like she doesn't even want to. I just find that really odd...but then I always find it really odd when people don't want to obey laws.

  34. But Miss Mannah, they become criminals anyway, if they pay off the books (tax fraud and all that). So for all the high-and-mighty-I've-never-gotten-a-parking-ticket people out there, what is the moral difference between paying an illegal resident off the books and pay a legal resident off the books?

  35. Just My Two Cents Just NowNov 4, 2010, 11:49:00 PM

    As a matter of fact, there was a recent news story here in the state I live in (CA) where the woman running for governor (Meg Whitman) had a housekeeper working for her and she was illegal and was paid $23/hour. A lot of folks may think that is high for to pay someone who cleans your home, but consider the area you live in and how much it cost to live there. In CA, the cost of living is high and the $23/hour is appropriate to pay someone who busts their butt to keep your house clean. :)

  36. Not defending Meg Whittman, just want the facts out there.

    Whittman was well within the requirements of the law in regards to having an illegal alien as an employee.

    She paid all taxes and social security for the housekeeper as required and paid the housekeeper a very decent wage. The housekeeper provided a false social security number and documents.

    When the social security administration informed the Whittmans that the number was wrong. They were not allowed to do more then inform their employee and their employee was to take care of the problem. The Whittmans were legally not allowed to investigate further. Not until they were informed by their housekeeper that she was actually working illegaly were they allowed/required to take action.

    That said, does not mean that the Whittmans probably did not actually know that she was illegal. They just followed all laws regarding it as far as anyone can tell.

  37. Lizzy, find a nice man to marry you and make you legal because I know for a fact that it is nearly impossible to get a greencard. You might have luck getting a work visa but they will prob send you back to your country first.

    I know a few of my gay friends did this to help out their immigrant friends. I also considered marring a gay man from brazil to help him but I'm in a relationship and in college, so the my grants and taxes would be effected.
    You could also try getting a student visa.

  38. Just My Two Cents Just NowNov 5, 2010, 5:00:00 PM

    Curious Dad..I was just bringing up the wage issue in Meg Whitman's case to showcase how wages may vary from state to state. I am a Democrat so for political purposes, I am not a big fan of Meg Whitman. However, I do not believe she did anything wrong in her situation. She did not hire some random person to clean her house. She actually went through an agency to find her maid so I think it was up to the agency to verify the documents. I was just saying that what Meg Whitman did by paying her maid $23/hour is a fair and decent wage for the state of CA.

    Shame on you Boston Nanny for encouraging fraud to obtain a green card. It is fraud if you marry someone only for the sole purpose of obtaining legal status. Immigration would need to verify that the marriage was legit and one way of doing this would be by checking the living arrangements of you and your spouse. They do this to see if people are actually in a committed relationship or just pretending to be so someone can get his or her green card. I don't understand how you are so opposed to nannies working "under the table" as you think it is illegal, yet you think it is okay to consider marrying a gay man to help him get his legal status. What's the difference? Breaking the law is breaking the law to me...

  39. just my two cents- I think the people to blame for working under the table are the employers, who hire under the table to save money. If no employers did this then less illegals would be able to find work and more taxes would be paid.

    Also if the country made it slightly easier for people to to obtain work visas or green cards than we wouldn't have ppl marrying for citizenship. Our government is so fucked up, Its almost impossible to obtain a green card unless you have money. People who filed in 2001 are still waiting for their green card.
    Shame on me for trying to help someone become a citizen and start paying taxes. Their are ways around the home check to by the way. you jut have to be convincing during your interview. Plus their are tons of women who marry for money and couples who don't live together.
    But whatever ppl and the government bitch about having illegals but do nothing to help them become citizens and employers hire them so they can avoid taxes and overwork them for less then minimum wage.

  40. Just My Two Cents Just NowNov 6, 2010, 1:46:00 AM

    Boston Nanny, I am neither pro or anti-illegal immigration. And I am neither pro or anti-working under the table...does that make sense??! LOL.
    I just don't see how you can write about how you are so against working under the table and yet are condoning committing fraud to obtain legal status. I had to go through many channels, wait a LONG time + spend lots of money..but eventually I did become a citizen of this country. It is not impossible to do so. It makes me angry to see people on the news, protesting this and that and demanding their right to citizenship. Citizenship is a privilege..not a right. It cannot be given to anyone who just wants it. I cannot automatically become a citizen of whatever country I want to be. Life does not work that way. If people want to be citizens of this country, they should do what all of us law-abiding people do and take the proper channels and be patient. But everyone wants instant gratification and want their demands met ASAP.

  41. Just My Two Cents Just NowNov 6, 2010, 1:51:00 AM

    And yes, there are many people who want to hire "under the table"..but the parents should not be the only ones to blame for this. The illegal people should be as well. They take jobs away from the citizens of this country and are just as guilty. I know this for a fact. I live in Laguna Beach, CA and when I take my charges to the park..I get to meet many nannies. I would say 90% of them are Mexican Nationals. They are very friendly and take excellent care of their children. However, many of them make more than me and are hired over me not because they are cheaper, but because they speak only Spanish to the children and families here in Cali want their children to be fluent in Spanish as the Hispanic culture is proliferating. I think it is unfair for us American Nannies that our jobs are being stolen, but hey..that is life. Just like not everyone can be a citizen in this country..that is life as well. :)

  42. My grandparents are from Cuba, so I guess I was raised thinking about immigration differently. They were refugees and recieved llegal status quickly. I also live in MA and meet a lot of illegals who work had and get paid about half of what I get paid for more children. Maybe it's just different in other parts of the country because we are not on a border.
    As for being paid under the table I'm kinda with u where I don't care unless people start bitching about how their job sucks and they don't get benefits or they can't quit cuz they won't be paid as as much. I'm know I'll be contradicting myself but I can't clarify defend myself on a blog because I don't feel like writing a two page post. I believe employers need to be held more responsible for hiring under the table. If everyone paid taxes then illegals wouldnt find work and if the government offered better work visas then more would be paying taxes. As for taking the jobs from us citizens, most of the jobs illegals take are the job. We believe are below us, that's why so many stay on unemployment until it runs out. They think cleaning toilets, mowing lawns and being line cooks are crap jobs.

  43. Just My Two Cents Just NowNov 6, 2010, 11:37:00 AM

    Bostonnanny, I believe a good reason the government is not being very strict on immigration as it could is that there are many illegal immigrants working in this country with fake SSN and this is a great thing the U.S. Why so? Because while the government is bitching and moaning how they hate illegal immigration, at the same time they are collecting money "under the table" since many illegal immigrants are using fake SSN so the money that is being deducted from their paychecks actually is going unclaimed..and guess who is getting their dirty little hands on the unclaimed Social Security $$ ? Yep, you guessed it..the government is! I think it is a dirty little secret that they do not want anyone to know about..but governments are making lots of dough under the table as well.

  44. Just my two cents, wow I never thought of that. Now my question is how do you get a fake ssn and how are employers not able to figure out they are fake? Wouldn't the IRS figure it out?

    I've heard of people selling infant's ssn numbers because they have no use until they turn 18.

  45. Just My Two Cents Just NowNov 7, 2010, 1:37:00 AM

    I personally do not know how people obtain fake SSN..but I imagine they probably buy them from unscrupulous folks out there. Employers probably do not verify the SSN's through a federal database..they are not required to do so, I guess. If they get audited, they can just show the employee's SSN and say, "Well, I hired them after they showed me this." That way, they are off the hook. I do not think all companies even know how to verify the SSN through a federal database.
    Again..it is sad how much $$ the government is making off these fake SSN. I don't see how the economy is struggling with all the $$ being made under the table that the government is getting their hands on.
    Sad, huh??!

  46. Interesting discussion. I have 18 years of education, and I've a math degree and a teacher degree and would love to obtain a green card and start working as a math teacher instead as a illegal nanny.

    I read that Obama wanted to hire another 10 000 math teacher and that 1/3 of the math teachers in the US has no education. I wished the US government would make it easier for people like me to work legally, if the person is able to find a real job.

    I am swedish. There is a swedish preschool in NJ which is unable find educated swedish teachers to their school. The problem? They need someone with a greencard. I pray to God I will win one in the lottery this year, but the chance is like 0.1%.

  47. In sweden we dont have the issue with illegal nannies, and illegal immigrants taking nanny jobs from citizens because everyone put their kids in preschools. (and schools can only hire legal ppl as we all know).

    At the age of 1 to 5, kids go to preschool which cost $200 a MONTH. I've worked in preschools in sweden and they are fantastic. The family I work for now (part time) spend $4000 a month on childcare so it's a big difference.

    Before the baby turn 1 he/she stays home with one parent who get to keep 80% of her salary, (but the limit is $150 a day).

  48. Lizzy, I hope you win your greencard because the US needs more highly educated teachers. I'm sorry if a lot of others on this site attack you because of your status, I understand how hard it is to obtain one. Everyone wants to complain about jobs being taken from them but I believe most of those jobs they wouldn't accept to begin with. Im on care.com and posted that I'm available in May 2011 and at least once a week I receive an email from families wanting to have interviews with me. So I don't believe jobs in my area are hard to find if your qualified. I have my option to choose between families offering me benefits that I want. I'd also like to add all of them want to pay taxes.

    I feel bad that illegals who are here for the right reasons are taken advantage of and are having difficult time getting citizenship. I know a man from brazil who moved here with his wife in 2001 and right after 9/11 they suspended visas for a bit and 10years later he still hasn't recieved one. What makes it worse he hasn't visited his family in brazil for ten years because if he leaves the country, when he returns he has to start the process all over again.

  49. I Think It's A ShameNov 11, 2010, 4:59:00 AM

    Jobs are being taken by illegals because not only are they being paid under the table, but they accept lower salaries. Even if immigrants have working papers they can drive salaries down because they often accept less money than we do. That's one of the reasons more seasoned nannies often aren't paid what we're worth.

    I know it's not the immigrant's fault. They seek a better life. But something has got to be done about this. And I do agree that it's the hiring American citizens who will make the difference.

    If jobs were more plentiful it would be different, but they're not. A recent stat said that the immigrant unemployment rate has gone down, while the America citizen unemployment rate stays the same. America, don't forget about your own!!!

    This woman will probably get a job, but I think it's a shame under the circumstances.


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