25 March, 2012
I have just started work as a nanny to a 4 month old little girl in the southeastern region of the US (Alabama, specifically) and while I know nanny salaries probably aren't great down here in the south since the cost of living is fairly low, I feel that what my employers are proposing they pay me is, well, nothing short of preposterous.
I was hired very very last minute: as in I was interviewed at 7:00 on one night, and started the next morning at 7:30 am. Salary was barely mentioned as the parents were eager to get their daughter out of daycare, because they felt she wasn't getting enough attention, they didn't like the people there, and they were concerned that she only had 2 dirty bottles when coming home, meaning she was fed only twice a day.
They kept using phrases that I NOW know are huge warning signs, such as "Oh she's a very easy baby" and "This won't be a hard job" because the parents are very very lax and laid back and do not mind if I do with her what they would do with her all day: which is give her some playtime and attention, and then sit and watch tv with her or go on the internet. I will say, despite having explicit permission to do this, I still feel strange about it, even though there's not a whole lot you can do with a 4 month old. There's not a lot that really captivates her at this point and she has no interest in toys.
To get to the point: they want to pay me $200 a week for 50-52 hours of work, 5 days a week, 10-10.5 hours a day. That's.... $4 an hour with no overtime. In fact, they WERE going to pay me $175 until I sheepishly piped up and said more would be better, and the mother said $200 would be fine. To her merit, she does seem a bit clueless about what to pay a nanny and pretty much admitted to that. She did say she didn't want to screw me over, which is great, because I'd rather deal with someone who's clueless then someone who is deliberately trying to cheat me out of fair wages.
I genuinely have no idea how to go about telling them that $400 a week (meaning DOUBLE their proposed salary) is the MINIMUM I can accept. That's minimum wage with no overtime. I drive 35 minutes to work every day, and 35 minutes back. That eats up a lot of gas, so that's also part of it. Ideally I think that $500 a week is fair, but I know there's no way I'm getting that out of them. I do believe the father is fairly well off, but again, this is a sensitive issue and while I am grateful to them for hiring me, I feel it is a waste of my time for spending 50 whole hours a week being paid so little. How do I bring this up without it being a huge issue?
at 8:39 AM