Wednesday

Does this Seem Fair or Crazy?

Received Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Opinion 4 I know a woman who has 4 month old triplets and only offered her $10/hr. That seems extremely low to me. She lives in Northeast Florida in an affluent area. Why would a "professional" nanny, if she is one, accept a salary that low for such a difficult job? She will be caring for the kids by herself and knowing the mother she will also require her to do some housekeeping duties. Does this seem fair or am I crazy?

51 comments:

nycmom said...

It seems quite low to me, but I don't know the market in Florida. Are there other perks - live in, nanny bringing her own child, etc? As discussed recently, areas with a large immigrant population often have lower childcare costs. not saying it's fair or ethicial, but it does seem to be reality. I always say that fair is what the market will bear. If the employer advertised for $10/hr and got lots of interested, qualified sitters, I doubt she feels the need to increase the wage. It's also possible the mom is new to employing nannies and will have to learn herself that rates if rates are higher. I often say that learning to be a good employer is as much a learning curve as learning to be a good employee.

reality bytes said...

You aren't crazy, but this is no longer a nanny market. Jobs are scarce all over. A job is better than no job.

Nanny in AZ said...

I agree with NYCMom for the most part. I do have to say that as a professional nanny in any market - I would not work for $10/hr for triplets (In N' Out Burger pays more with benefits).

Many nannies will take a position out of desperation, lack of due diligence, under false pretenses etc and then become burnt out and jaded. The mom will continue to offer a $10/hr salary and then wonder why she can never get a great, long term, professional nanny. The vicious cycle continues!

A professional nanny will take her time searching for a position that is the PERFECT fit and not just "any fit." When a family offers an abhorrently low wage I automatically feel as though they do not respect their provider. I have seen an increasingly large amount of families seeking a nanny (not an in home daycare, facility, or babysitter) for $2-4 per hour! I have posted an article I wrote on Craigslist explaining the realistic expectations one should have when hiring a nanny. Let's be honest...a nanny is a luxury. If you can't afford one (which not every one can and most people would love to) there are other options out there. :)

Nanny in AZ said...

Reality Bytes,

Will all due respect, your comment supports my sentiment perfectly. The idea that "A job is better than no job" leads nannies to take a position out of desperation. When nannies settle on just "any" wage because they feel it is all they can get, it only supports the market being driven downward.

I stick to my guns when a family contacts me through my website (I have a personal website where families can contact me). My rates and expectations are listed on my website. When a family tells me they can only "afford $12.00 right now" but you seem PERFECT for our family!! I kindly thank them for contacting me and let them know that, unfortunately, as a professional in my field I cannot support myself on that wage but thank you for the offer. Often parents will only write to tell me that they wish they could afford me but they totally understand the wage requirements (which I always think is very sweet).

Sure the market is not "perfect" right now, but certainly if you put in the time and effort and hold your head up high for your profession...you WILL find a great family. :)

reality bytes said...

Look Arizona Nanny, I'm not here to entertain the ramblings of some southwest babysitter with a website and a chip on her shoulder. If an employee responds to an ad and accepts the job at ten dollars an hour, that's that. The market is less than perfect right now. I know because many of my friends are now home with their children and their nannies are long gone. The situation is not getting better, it's getting worse. So you stick to your guns and get the $12- if you can. Get $20, if you can. I know many nannies who are still making huge salaries. I'm just so sick of the woe is me attitude from nannies or the people who opine on nanny sightings that a nanny must be underpaid if she is being neglectful. Do the job your hired for. Do it well. Live your life with some shred of intergrity.

reality bytes said...

Please direct me to an In and Out Burger that pays more than $10 an hour.

Nanny in AZ said...

Reality Bytes,

I posted my honest and heartfelt response to the OP - there is no need to be so volatile. Honestly, it is is message board and it is made for opinions. I love to support both the nanny side and the employer side the best way possible. I'm actually a very kind person with a passion for this profession and a love for the corporate world as well.

And I do live my life with much integrity...thank you. It doesn't quite seem like you do the same.

Cheers.

Nanny in AZ said...

Reality Bytes,

In regards to your second question from the In-N-Out Corporate Website:

Great Benefits
We start all our new Associates at a minimum of $10.00 an hour for one simple reason...you are important to us! And our commitment to a higher starting wage is just one of the ways in which we show it. Another way is through offering excellent benefits like flexible schedules to accommodate school and other activities, paid vacations, free meals, comprehensive training, and a 401k plan. For our full time Associates, we provide a benefits package that also includes medical, dental, vision, life and travel insurance coverage.

If you need additional information the link is: http://www.in-n-out.com/employment_restaurant.asp
(I'm not sure if I can post links but we will find out).

Nanny in AZ said...

OP- The International Nanny Association just posted their 2010 Salary Survey. Miami Florida average wage is $15/hr single child. You can always head over there to get the stats on various positions/benefits/and wages. :)

Bostonnanny said...

Reality bytes,

Chill out, az nanny said it right. Sure you can get a nanny for $10 per hour but don't expect her to stay with u for the long run. If you can't afford a nanny stick your child in daycare. By the way their are plenty of parents who pay more then $12 a hour for an experienced nanny. If your qualified you will find a job that pays well. So why not hold out until u find a better job? Hell when I waitressed I made about the same as I make now and I would just slum it at a waitressing job until I found a better paying nanny job. Why would I work for cheapass parents who cry economy. If the economy was really hitting your family that bad you would either be home with your child or they would be in a family daycare.
By the way I have a website too, it gives you a little extra edge and weeds out the parents who can't afford you or won't pay that wage.

Nanny in AZ said...

Reality Bites,

In regards to your second question - you can visit In-N-Out's Corporate Website (I don't believe I can post the Link here). Once there, you can see their minimum salary BEGINS at $10/hr and includes benefits for ALL of their locations. If you are full time you also receive medical, dental, vision, etc. I know this because one of my former charges makes $11.67/hr with full benefits with the company.

Anonymous said...

I can see all points here. I just know how difficult it is caring for children and I too would choose slinging burgers over being responsible for 3 infants for $10/hr. I pay my teenage babysitters $10/hr for 2 children that for the most part are asleep when I leave. My friend in this same area pays her nanny $12/hr for 1 child, toddler. No matter which way you look at this I just feel that nanny is being cheated and when she does a little research she will find out she could have a much easier job for the same, if not better, money.

Anon2 said...

Anonymous,

I think $10/hr for a teenage babysitter is fine. :)

Of course, as with anything, I'm sure people understand that the more experience, the higher demand, the more education etc...the higher the value of the provider.

babinurse said...

If a nanny and her employer are happy with $10/hour, that is their business. I hate to be a party pooper, but the job of "nanny" cannot be classified under a profession, nor can a nanny be labeled as a professional. There are certain characteristics that allow an occupation to be considered a profession, and "Nanny" does not qualify. Here is a list of some of the characteristics of a profession:

Specialized education in a university or college and a body of knowledge.
Testing of competencies.
Licensing.
Code of Ethics.
Autonomy.
Altruism.
Professional Associations.
Self-regulating.

Now, wouldn't it be nice to have "Nanny" join the list of other professions? It is something to work towards. In the meantime, any warm body can be a "Nanny" and that same warm body can accept any payment they deem acceptable to them. Including $10/hour for three babies (yikes). If the parents are comfortable with this arrangement, they are the governing body here!

Anonymous said...

For a teenager, $10 is great. For a full time nanny of 3 infants, that is terrible! I say pay her a fair wage, if not better, so she will value her job and feel she is taken care of. A little extra goes a long way. I am well aware some people like to get away with what they can. It just stinks they would cheat someone they expect to love and care for their babies.

Nanny in AZ said...

Babinurse,

Obviously, no one person can force you to accept or not accept a position. Of course, if both parties are in agreement then all is well.

Secondly, in regards to your posting on being a professional.

Specialized education in a university or college and a body of knowledge.
*I hold 2 degrees from top universities - including a degree in Education and a degree in Psychology. I am pursuing my Ph.D in Psychology with an emphasis trauma and neglect.

Testing of competencies.
*The INA has a credential exam as do various Universities across the world.

Licensing.
*I am licensed by the state to perform Habilitation and Respite. Additionally, I am in the midst of become a licensed foster care provider. In WA and other states you can receive licensure through the STARS program. I also hold a Class 1 Fingerprint Clearance (IVP) card through the FBI

Code of Ethics.
*Please see the INA Code of Ethics & Standards on their website.

Autonomy.
*I govern myself and my practice just as any self-employed or sub contractor would.
Altruism.
*Obviously, one in this profession is most certainly altruistic.

Professional Associations.
*I am a member of the INA in addition to being a member of various professional Education and Psychology associations.

Self-regulating.
*I regulate my standards, contracts, and all other aspects as it pertains to securing a position in my chosen profession.

Now, tell me again what you were saying regarding my profession?

Nanny in AZ said...

Babinurse,

In regards to your post about "professionals."

By definition, a profession is, "the body of people in a learned occupation."

Per your qualifications:

Specialized education in a university or college and a body of knowledge.
I hold two degrees from well known universities including a 4 year degree in Education and a 4 year degree in Psychology. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D in Psychology with an emphasis on treating child victims of trauma.

Testing of competencies.
*The INA offers a credential exam as do various universities across the world in regards to early childhood education & care.

Licensing.
*I am licensed by the state as a provider (both Habilitation & Respite). I am also in process of becoming licensed for foster care. In WA you can become licensed via the STARS program. Additionally, I have an FBI Class 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card (IVP).

Code of Ethics.
*The INA has a code of ethics and standards listed. I adhere to these ethics and standards and they are listed on my site.

Autonomy.
*I govern myself, my practice, and my position as an independent provider.

Altruism.
*I am passionate about my profession. I know very few people in this field who are not altruistic.

Professional Associations.
*I am a member of the INA along with various other professional associations in the broader realm of Childcare, Education, and Psychology.

Self-regulating.
*As an independent contractor everything about my profession is self-regulating as it pertains to securing a position and functionality.

I'm not stating that ALL nannies are professionals. I AM saying that if you want a professional nanny you're most likely going to need to fork out more than $10.00/hr.

Anonymous said...

babinurse,

you are absolutely correct! It is none of my business. It just irritates me that these people pride themselves on all of their "custom made" possessions and spare no expense on material things not to mention how they have to let you know how much everything costs. I know I may sound jealous but I can assure you that is not the case as my husband makes significantly more than the 2 of them combined. It is just irritating to me that they are "cheaping out" on the one thing they should not! I know, it's none of my business!!:)

Professional Nanny said...

Babinurse,

My posting in its entirety will not post but I can assure you that not only am I licensed through the state with an FBI Class 1 Clearance, educated (2 degrees from 4 year Universities), and have taken a professional credential exam but I also follow a set standards and ethics that is outlined by a professional nanny association (of which I am also a part of).

You are completely ill informed.

babinurse said...

That's great Professional Nanny, and your families are lucky to have such a well-educated nanny caring for their children. Unfortunately, your personal degrees don't make "Nanny" a profession. There is no education requirement to be a nanny. There is no licensing requirement to be a nanny. Anyone off of any boat can nanny our children. Having a nanny is a personal luxury that well-off families indulge in. Do I believe "Nanny" should become a profession and WILL become a profession in the future? Absolutely! Work needs to be done to get it there though. Someone has to be a nannying pioneer. Perhaps that can be you? You can be the Florence Nighingale of Nannying! Now, until that day, "Nanny" is an occupation, not a profession and there is no such thing as a "professional nanny." Sad but true.

Professional Nanny said...

Babinurse,

As I stated previously, you are ill informed. Do you know the definition of a "profession"? Meriam-Webster would be a great place to start. As defined by them a profession is, "b : a principal calling, vocation, or employment." You are reneging on your already stated qualifications of "a professional" when I met all your requirements. It seems as though you are set in your belief that one who is a Nanny is not a professional.

All that being said, titles do not excite me in the least. I have worked in the corporate world as well and it all means very little. What it boils down is that I am respected in my chosen "profession," make wonderful money and benefits, and absolutely LOVE what I do.

There are more important things in life, like impacting lives, over "pioneering the way for nannies to be recognized as a "profession."

MONKEYSHINES said...

As a responsible parent, I would never leave triplets with 1 person. I bet the mom never cares for all 3 babies by herself. If they were not conceived naturally the mom probally went through a lot of trouble to concieve and now she leaves the babes to be raised and nurtured by a nanny?

Anonymous said...

Monkeyshines,

I agree. I think $10 would be a fair price if she had 2 nannies and paid them each $10 since they would share the workload. Yes, years of heartache and IVF. And, no she has not been by herself yet. Her parents, who are in their late 60's, have been functioning as an additional set of parents along with night duty and all. That all ends in 2 weeks so she will get an opportunity to see how difficult it is by herself. I guess we are all different and I just have to accept that I will never understand ANYTHING she does or says. That being said, we are just aquaintances so I plan to avoid her entirely.

Marypoppin'pills said...

Nanny in Az,
You are more than welcome to post links if they are relevant to the topic.

Professional Nanny said...

Babinurse
A secondary dictionary definition of professional...."following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain"
For example, a professional photographer earns a living as a photographer as opposed to an amateur, or hobbyist who might occasionally sell a photo. He doesn't necessarily have any special education or credentials.
That is what is usually meant by professional nanny. Someone who treats it as a career, rather than a stop gap job. The use of professional may also imply a high level of qualifications, and/or performance

babinurse said...

Sorry Professional Nanny. This apparently upsets you. You can consider yourself professional, but the occupation of "Nanny" is simply not a "Profession." Would you hire a nurse or a doctor or a teacher who didn't have a degree? No, because they cannot practice their profession without a degree. Would you hire a nanny who didn't have a degree? Yes, because it is not a profession and a nanny does not need a degree nor does a nanny need to take a licensing exam or hold a professional license. I am not putting down nannies in any way, and I do believe that "Nanny" should be a profession. So, what I am saying is I think every nanny should receive the same education in a university, take a licensing exam (the same exam that every other nanny in the country takes), and retain a license. These are our children and our future. Our children deserve the best. Plus, this would eliminate anyone paying a nanny $10/hour to watch triplets. My point was about the $10/hour. It is a perfectly acceptable wage for a nanny position if both parties agree on it. I bet if you were to do a bit of research on the characteristics of a profession, you would understand what I am trying to convey. Nannies are a wonderful gift; I just think there should be more regulation for the safety and well-being of the nanny and the children.

alex said...

um, I would definitely say that is LOW. Triplets? I'm a triplet and know that we were never easy!! And some high school kids make $10 an hour.

The original professional nanny said...

Babinurse,

The last post with the moniker "professional nanny" is not mine. My last post was at 6:04. Someone else posted with the same moniker. That being said - I am in no way upset. :) I made my points and will stick with them.

mikki said...

Okay, we are in a recession. We have ex CEOs now managing Target. So please don't predict the demise of a $10 nanny. She may last. She may like it. Who knows. The fact is, the employers set the wages NOW and the nanny can accept or not. I hate this as much as you do. I live in Brooklyn where I used to command $18 an hour and now there are too many people flooding the market willing to work for less so I ended up taking a job for $14. with more responsibility and one more child. It's a cold, hard fact. I can't resent my employer. I can only be the best nanny I can. And clip coupons. And cease saturday nights out in Little Italy. And no more Saturday matinees either. And the gym membership...

NervousNanny said...

Desperation? Jobs are scarce.

Or maybe she really clicked with the family and was willing to deal with that rate in order to work for people she liked? Some nannies have had bad experiences with families (obviously you know this through this website) and are willing to accept a lower pay for better working conditions.

Ultimately, it's a personal decision about how much you will accept for a job. I've worked for lower wages for people I really liked.

MDGH said...

I used to pay my nanny $16.50 an hour to watch my two children 2 and 3. When she quit we advertised the job with the salary as dependent on experience. We found a candidate we liked who accepted $13.75. Happily. She's done wonderfully, so I plan to give her a fifty cent raise after six months (in two weeks). We also gave her a bonus of one weeks pay in cash and three or four gifts. People who don't give their nanny's decent bonuses really upset me. It does mean something when you can leave your child sans worry in the company of a reliable and loving caregiver.

Nanny in AZ said...

True, no one can MAKE you take a position and it is up to you. During the recession I, personally, have not seen any reduction in quantity or caliber of families who contact me. I clearly state on my website $20/hr minimum and full benefits package.

I work between Arizona and Washington. Washington has a stronger market (25-40 families seeking per week) where Arizona is a bit less (15-20 families per week) seeking.

Obviously, if you're fine working for $10 per hour that is completely up to you. I just know for myself, I wouldn't be able to pay my mortgage, graduate school, car, etc making $10/hour. Luckily, there is a wonderful market of various nannies seeking and families seeking to be able to find a match for most everyone.

Interesting discussion for sure!

Nanny Tanya said...

I get paid $10/Hr and I think it is too low. ;(
I feel the family can afford to pay more, but just pays me this rate because that is what their friends all pay their nannies. I admit, I do the bare minimum when I am caring for their child. I do not neglect or abuse the child at all..don't get me wrong. I simply do not do any "extra" chores that I could do and I only perform the chores I am asked. In other words, I do not go the extra mile at all. I have had families pay me between $12-15 per hour and with these families I am a much better nanny. I do the extra mile with the children, I play with them more and do more chores around the house.
I do love being a nanny, but do not think it is a profession. It's just a means to an end while I continue my college education. In fact, nanny work motivates me to do well in college so I do not have to be stuck doing this forever. I love my families and the precious angels I care for, however if I could do something better, I would in a heart beat.

Nanny In AZ said...

Nanny Tanya,

I'm sorry you aren't paid well and feel like being a Nanny is only a "means to an end." It sounds like, while you care for the kids, your heart just isn't completely in it (I can understand for only $10.00 per hour).

Even having a few degrees, I still choose to Nanny because I absolutely, wholeheartedly, love what I do.

Sounds like you have Nanny Burn-out! :)

nycmom said...

The link to the INA survey was extremely interesting . . . but actually I think it bodes very poorly for nanny salaries.

INA is a sample of the most educated, experienced, internet savvy nannies in the country. I think it is reasonable to assume they represent the highest paid of nannies.

For example in INA survey 74% are paid On The Books vs. 84% paid OFF the books in the Park Slope Parents survey (where parents are the respondents so likely a much more realistic sample of nannies at least in nyc).

So starting from there, this is what I got from the INA survey (please feel free to correct my math if I've made any mistakes). Keep in mind that some of the numbers do involve a % of nonresponders and that I am just summarizing the parts I found interesting in aggregate.

To give a sense of the caliber of nannies in INA survey:

Nannies with more than 10 yrs experience: 40%
Nannies with more than 5 yrs experience: 57%
Nannies with more than 4 yrs experience: 68%

Nannies who found position through agency: 50%

Now on to salary, benefits, and bonuses.

Nannies making greater than $799/week gross: 18%
Nannies making greater than $699/week gross: 30%
(some may be part-time)

Nannies making $16 or more/hour: 22%
Nannies making $15/hr: 25%
Nannies making $14/hr: 7%
Nannies making $12/hr: 15%
Nannies making $10/hr: 14%
So, in sum, nannies making less than $16/hr: 63%

Nannies who did receive a year-end bonus: 52%
Nannies who did not receive a year-end bonus: 48%

Holiday gift (not sure how this is differentiated from year-end bonus, but they are separated out)
One week's salary: 19%
Between roughly $100-500 with cash and gifts: 26%
Two week's salary: 7%
Gift greater than $500: 4%
One mother or greater salary: 4%

One year Anniversary Raise?
Yes: 39%
No: 61%

Raise for additional child?
Yes: 27%
No: 73%

Anyway, sorry if I bored anyone with this summary, but I found it remarkable. To see how littel the highest paid group of nannies are making is disappointing to me. To see how few really get year end bonuses, gifts, raises, or extra child raises is astounding. I have to assume that for the "average" nanny things look even more grim. It really does lend a lot of credence to what babinurse is saying above - having a recognized licensing/testing process with a mandatory internship (which is better than an educational component IMO) really might make huge changes in the pay and benefits for nannies.

markie said...

You are mostly correct in your summary. The INA nannies represent nannies who are really in to being nannies. They are part of nanny organizations, wear "Love your nanny" sweatshirts and fraternize with groups of similiarly skilled nannies where they exchange childcare tips and advice. However, the true upper echelon of nannies is quiter group less likely to socialize with any other nannies. They may interact with nannies as part of their jobs but they do not partake in nanny surveys or bonus surveys. They don't discuss their salaries at all, but everyone knows they are well paid. Their employers tend to regard them with the utmost respect. These nannies are more likely to be friendly with mothers. They are a quiter bunch,more serene. You will not see their salaries accounted for here.

Nanny in AZ said...

NYCMom,

You are right, from a scientific standpoint, there are many flaws with the study. :) I mentioned it, primarily to give a general starting point. The sample size for the study is relatively low and definitely is not a random sample. As with all studies there will outliers. I know that the numbers do not accurately reflect many of my peers, though we do not discuss salary, I know that the majority of us own homes, are in graduate school, and in general, live very comfortable lives.

Markie is also right in many regards. Although, I do belong to INA, I do not participate in the surveys (I also do not wear nanny t-shirts). I participate in various groups as a means to be a lifelong learner which is something I place a high value on. Additionally, I have never, and would never discuss salary or benefits with other nannies in person. Anonymously, online - I don't really see any issue. CEO's participate in salary surveys, which if done properly,provide valuable information about a market.

I don't put a ton of faith in having a mandatory licensing/testing process. There will always be providers who love and do their job with integrity and those who do not, regardless of qualifications. I know many Psychologists who are wonderful and many who are absolutely horrible. All had to attend the same clinicals and pass the same licensing exams.

I suppose I appreciate the variance in availability and caliber of both nannies and families. The horrible families who pay lousy and are inconsiderate employers can absorb the horrible nannies. :)

Great discussion! :)

Anna said...

But aren't people in Arizona super poor?

GetAGrip said...

Anna, you can't possibly be serious? Have you been to North Scottsdale?
Of course, all people in Arizona are poor...and Asians only eat rice *insert eye roll here*

Anonymous said...

I personally find this whole thread amusing.

The OP was missing some vital information. The hourly rate is only part of the total compensation package. You've got to look at what else is offered not just the dollar/hr amount.

$10/hr at 50 hr per week = 26K/year. Not a whole lot. If this was the total compensation then the nanny is being taken advantage of. However this a fair price in most daycare markets.

A live-in position adds a large amount of benefit to the nanny. A studio apartment runs more than $500 per month in most major cities. So we'll take this low number as a baseline. Add in $200 per month for utilities and such and it totals out to $8,400.

The use of a vehicle for the job and personal use is an easy $500/month benefit ($300 loan, 100 ins., 100 gas/maint.).
add in $6000.

If meals are included I'd say that's an estimated $200 per month. Add in another $2,400.

The extra benefits come out to an additional $16,800 per year. These in most instances are not taxed. So we'll add in another 25% to covert it to monetary value and brings it to $21,000.

Total compensation = $47,000/year or $18 per hour. With the added benefits it becomes a very fair wage.

So look again at the job offering and calculate the total compensation not just the dollar per hour.

Of course this little bit of math completely invalidates the statistical value of the INA study. Then again the vast majority of statistics published are completely invalid anyways.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there was nothing more to add. No car, no benefits, and it is not a live in position. $10 per hour, that is it. 35 hours per week. So, after taxes, gas, and time driving I am estimating a take home pay of around may 6 dollars per hour? Roughly $11,000 per year, take home. I am just wondering how long it will take this "nanny" to figure out she is not getting paid nearly enough for the amount of work expected.

Not THE Professional Nanny said...

Professional Nanny,
Sorry, I apologize. I didn't see your posts, and so didn't realize there was already a Professional Nanny. I won't use it again. It seems we posted very similar points though!

Nanny in Southern California said...

Eek, I make only $10 per hour. I get paid off the books though since the family is only having me part-time (26 hours per week) and doesn't want to be my official employer. I get paid in cash and don't have to pay taxes. I only watch one child.
Since I am not paying taxes on my pay, I wonder if that is considered a benefit too.
For the record, I am currently seeking a replacement nanny position at no more than say 30 hours per week, however am having a hard time finding a family who is willing to pay on the books. I live in Southern California and there is a large illegal immigrant population. Many families know that they can get a $10 per hour nanny who is willing to work under the table and they can have their pick from tons. Why would they want the hassle of someone like me who wants to get paid on the books? No one does. *Sigh*

Just Call Me Professional said...

Not THE Professional Nanny - No problem! :) I'll go by "Just call me professional" LOL

Nanny in Southern California - To answer your question...no, being paid under the table is not a benefit it is a detriment. 1) Working under the table is unethical and fraudulent. This statement applies even when "everyone else is doing it." 2) It becomes increasingly difficult as you become older. How will you purchase a home? I am 27 and in order to qualify for my mortgage, I had to prove income (and quite a bit of it). What about a car loan? Student Loans? When applying to graduate school I had to prove steady income for loans, grants, and scholarships. 3)Social Security, Unemployment, and other federal benefits. They may not seem like such a big deal when you're younger but you need to think about your future.

I too, live in a place where immigration is extremely high. I encourage you to research how easy paying on the books really is (acquire an EIN & your employer pays quarterly) and stick to your guns when you interview. Explain to prospective families that you pride yourself in being an ethical employee and you value honesty. You can also explain that you love your chosen career path and would like to be paying into Social Security for your future as well. If needed, create a small packet of information on the ease of paying household employees. I think you will find there will be some families out there that will respect you all the more!

Good Luck!

lindsey said...

Nanny in Southern California,
No, it isn't a benefit, it's a crime. Are we clear?

babinurse said...

Now you're talking Professional Nanny!! It is everyone's obligation to pay taxes. When someone does not pay income taxes, the burden is placed on the rest of the taxpayers by having to pay more or higher taxes. I am surprised someone actually asked if this is a benefit of employment. You may land yourself a nice, quiet, private cell at a FEDERAL PRISON with other convicted criminals because not paying taxes is a crime not a benefit! I would run for the hills and find an employer who knows what the word ethical means. Oh, and not all cells are private.

Nanny in Southern California said...

I agree that I should be paid on the books. I have an accountant uncle who has told me all the benefits of getting paid on the books and I know all the rules. I want to get paid on the books primarily because I need to not only show a steady work history (for any nanny/non-nanny job in my future) plus I need a valid work pay stub in order to get a car loan. I tell people during interviews that it is a win-win situation for both of us, they get a tax write-off as well and I am not a 1099 Independent Contractor as many believe I should be. Sadly, many families do not want to pay on the books since they do not want a lawsuit in the event I am hurt on their premises and choose to sue them?? (How stupid, how many employees sue their employers??!) Also, they do not want the high unemployment insurance to pay since they know eventually they will have to let me go when their child enters preschool. I am not going to go on umemployment just because I am "let go"..I would never do that to my family. :(
Anyway, I have rent, food and bills, bills and more bills to pay and I am staying at this job until I can find one who pays on the books for part-time. I am so financially destitute now that I cannot afford a car/bus pass or even a cell phone. I am behind on my electric bill and have nothing in savings. I know there are some full-time families that pay on the books, but I can only work part-time now as I am also currently attending UCLA until March.
I cringe at receiving cash, but am praying that I find a nice family who will pay me legally in the near NEAR future. I have noticed that many of the families I meet via my agency choose to pay me under the table as opposed to some families who advertise on craigslist. Many families on craigslist seem ethical and even claim in their nanny wanted ads that they are income tax compliant. However, many craigslist families get millions of responses to their ads and I usually do not find jobs through them.

lindsey said...

Nanny in Southern California..waa, waa, waaa....
Even if I was broke, homeless and sleeping under a bridge, I would NEVER accept a nanny job that paid me cash. I would prefer to do the right thing, follow the laws of our country and avoid jail time then do what you are doing. You are a criminal, a true criminal. It's like those people who get caught stealing food from the grocery store. They cry foul, saying they only stole a pound of ground beef or a loaf of bread because they were starving and needed to eat. Well tough luck. A crime is a crime. Whether you steal a car, hold up a bank or work under the table, you are a criminal and you deserve to be prosecuted. I would rather sleep in the snow in Frankfurt than accept an illegal nanny position.
Many people are homeless, many our precious veterans. But do you see them working under the table, babysitting kids?? No.
Grow some balls.
And for those nannies that were profiled in the nanny survey, those that accepted cash bonuses and cars should also be prosecuted. I am sure none of them reported their "gifts" to the IRS. Didn't you know that even cash gifts or material gifts such as the brand new car need to be reported come tax time.
Babinurse and Just Call Me Professional, thank you both for backing me up on this!!!!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

WRT the INA survey/licensing:

Nanny wages have been affected by the recession, and any area with a large immigrant population is going to be even more affected. Plus, as has been pointed out, the uber high-end nannies often are contractually forbidden to discuss salary, so they may not even respond to surveys on salary.

That said, no one goes into nannying expecting to make a fortune. "High-end" nannies may be more likely to burn out or simply leave the profession, because they are often expected to be available 24/7 in exchange for their 6 figure salary. "High-end" families may go through many nannies because their requirements can be somewhat extreme - nanny is definitely earning her $$! So the nannies who make 100K+ may be "short-term" nannies. In fact, a major agency head stated as much when discussing the special characteristics of "high-end" positions.

On the other end of the spectrum, many families who cannot afford nanny care (such as the triplet mom!) want a nanny for various reasons, but pay crummy wages. They will burn out novice nannies, and those nannies may decide to seek other work instead of looking for another position. They may also not be answering salary surveys, and are often not even aware of organizations like the INA.

Then there are professional annies who are "long-timers". They know about Nanny organizations, answer surveys, and make average to slightly above average salaries. When they leave jobs, they often must accept a lower wage at their now positions and work their way back to a higher wage. Many of these nannies lost their jobs when their employers became jobless, and they have now started their wage cycle over again. The nannies in this group who have been with families for 6+ years often have their salary frozen when all their charges are in school, accepting fewer hours as a "raise".

As for the Professionalism angle, the nannies I just described tend to view themselves as Professional Nannies, and they often pursue additional education, attend educational conferences, etc. If fact, there have been several attempts to define qualifications and qualities of a "Professional Nanny" so that the upper middle calss parents seeking a nanny and willing to pay a living wage will be able to identify nannies who take their career seriously, as opposed to "park bench" nannies.

Those efforts fizzled for various reasons, but one issue that seemed to come up regulary among those interested in establishing professional standards was this:

What happens if we do establish certain high level requirements or even a licensing exam? Will the nanny jobs that are "on the bubble" as far as salary is concerned simply disappear, or will those parents just drop their salaries further and hire babysitters who call themselves Nannies? What will that do to the overall standard of care among children cared for in their home by non-relatives? Will the volume of nanny jobs drop drastically, and if so, what happens to nannies with the best of intentions who can't or won't meet the demands of parents able to pay the highest salaries?

And by setting standards and practices in place, will we be shoving nannies out of the profession who simply need help meeting those higher standards? If so, how can we help those nannies meet the higher standards? And what if there are no longer enough jobs for nannies regardless of their skill set because we have established a high benchmark for required skills and knowledge?

And the discussions went round and round - how do we establish high standards without eliminating the possibility of employment with families who can't afford high salaries? Will nannies take proficiency exams or continuing education classes if they are not in some way guaranteed at least the possibility of better pay? And ultimately, will enough parents CARE that they can hire a "qualified" nanny to make the effort to establish standards worthwhile?

No easy answers!

Just Call Me Professional said...

I have to say I agree with Lindsey. I am a model citizen and even if I was down and out, with a starving family to provide for to boot, I would NEVER work under the table. It is a true crime and those that do it should be in jail. If I were so down and out, I would simply skip meals and sleep under a tree, but at least I would know I was not selling myself out. @Nanny in Southern California, you should be ashamed of yourself. Not only are you breaking the law, but you also are enabling other families to continue this criminal behavior.
Hungry?? Rent to pay?? On the verge of being kicked to the curb?? So you are going to accept cash from babysitting and then justify it by saying you had no choice since it was the only job you could find?? How stupid can you get??
Yes, I agree with Lindsey. Even the gift cards that were received as bonuses should be reported to the IRS. They fall into the gift tax category. I report EVERYTHING to the IRS. All bonuses, incl. any gift card received even if they were only $25.
All nannies should follow my lead.

lilanyc said...

@Just Call me Professional....most Americans do not realize there is NO Law that states citziens must pay taxes. Only businesses must report your earnings and that is all....you can get the form to be exempt from paying taxes. Our gov is so very corrupt and all for the New World Order. they waste on War which is "old fashioned", violet and not a Leader to follow. there's much to be researched on this fact...don't be naive and fall victim to our gov- who is very wasteful of our tax dollars as it is, we are trillions in debt and the amount we are in, they falsify that figure; it's MORE!